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Richard Leathem

Richard Leathem

Richard Leathem is the producer and presenter of Film Scores on 3MBS FM. He has been the State Manager of the Australian Film Television and Radio School in Melbourne and Manager of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image Lending Library. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association.

‘Flee’: An animated journey from Afghanistan

ABR Arts 14 February 2022
A teenager’s arduous journey from a Taliban-occupied Afghanistan in 1989 to the safe haven of Denmark is given a uniquely painterly treatment in Flee. Far from diminishing the story’s impact, this animated documentary is all the more profound for the insidious way the visuals undermine our defences. Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen became friends with Amin soon after the Afghan refugee ... (read more)

'Pig': Nicolas Cage is masterful amid the muck

ABR Arts 13 September 2021
Truffle hunters and the pigs they bond with might be unlikely subjects for a film, yet in 2021 cinema goers have been treated to two films centring on such characters. Earlier this year, the documentary The Truffle Hunters (2020) offered a whimsical tribute to the humble foragers of northern Italy. Now Michael Sarnoski’s Pig presents a darker but no less playful portrayal of a fictionalised hunt ... (read more)

'Percy vs Goliath': Uninspired, colour-by-numbers storytelling

ABR Arts 07 June 2021
Percy vs Goliath, known simply as Percy in some territories, is based on a real-life legal case of an independent crop farmer who took on a large-scale agrochemical corporation. One can imagine a shared sentiment that the story would make a great Hollywood movie. Problematically, the reason for thinking this is because Hollywood has made this film before, repeatedly. The familiarity and predictabi ... (read more)

Supernova | Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci beautifully evoke dementia’s devastating impact

ABR Arts 12 April 2021
Supernova marks the second film released in cinemas this month to deal with dementia, following The Father (2020). While Florian Zeller’s film, based on his own stage play, employs inventive devices to place the audience inside the mind of a character afflicted with the condition, Supernova’s more traditional approach is in service of achieving maximum emotional impact. The afflicted cha ... (read more)

'Minari' (Madman Entertainment)

ABR Arts 10 February 2021
The immigrant experience in America has been told on film many times, but Lee Isaac Chung’s tangibly personal Minari is as distinguished by its eschewal of the familiar as by the disarming intimacy evoked. Set in the 1980s in Arkansas, Chung’s semi-autobiographical tale concerns a Korean family’s attempts to adapt to rural American life. It’s clear from the opening scene that Jacob ( ... (read more)

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Madman Films)

ABR Arts 02 December 2020
Admirers of Oliver Sacks (1933–2015) may think a documentary on the famed British neurologist and author is superfluous given the number of books published on him in recent years. Lawrence Welschler’s memoir And How Are You, Dr Sacks? (2019) is impressively comprehensive. Sacks’ own partner, Bill Hayes, provided more insight with Insomniac City (2017), and Sacks himself produced two memoirs, ... (read more)

'Cinema’s future in Australia' by Richard Leathem

ABR Arts 12 November 2020
As Victoria emerges from its long lockdown, cinemas, among the last businesses to reopen under the roadmap to recovery, are finally open to the public again. But how will they operate in a Covid-normal world? Have we learnt to live without them? Right now there is a sudden glut of new content hitting the big screens. While people in other states have had the pleasure of going to the cinema for mo ... (read more)

Pain and Glory

ABR Arts 01 November 2019
Pedro Almodóvar has often infused his work with a certain amount of autofiction. In his début, Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), the Spanish auteur presented us with the burgeoning La Movida Madrileña, the cultural explosion that emerged in Madrid following General Franco’s death in 1975. This was the world in which he lived, and by offering us a glimpse inside, he set the tone for his career. His ... (read more)

Late Night

ABR Arts 05 August 2019
There’s an element of metafiction about Late Night that makes the main character, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), much more sympathetic than she ought to be. In an early scene, the successful late-night television chat show host states that she’s not part of the mainstream. She doesn’t watch superhero movies and she isn’t on Twitter or other forms of social media. Although there’s an ... (read more)


ABR Arts 12 April 2019
Japanese author Haruki Murakami may be one of the most revered authors alive, but his work is seldom adapted for the screen, perhaps because the internalised nature of his narratives doesn’t leap out as being easily translated to film. Until now, only Norwegian Wood (2010), an atypical Murakami novel, has seen wide exposure. The only other works to be adapted are his first novel, Hear the Wind S ... (read more)
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