Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford is the author of No Document (Giramondo, 2021), shortlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize, and Live Through This (Bloomsbury, 2015). Her work has appeared in publications including The Monthly, The New Yorker, The White Review and Sydney Review of Books, and in 2021 she won the Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. She is a long-time zine maker and collaborative visual artist. She lives in Sydney.

BPM (Beats per Minute)

ABR Arts 14 May 2018
BPM (Beats per Minute)
BPM, or 120 battements par minute, to give its more expansive French title, is not the first film to be made about the charismatic activist group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, better known as ACT UP, but it is the most lyrical piece of cinema so far to have emerged from ACT UP’s history. ACT UP, founded in New York, in 1987, has long been recognised for its direct actions – occupying the Ne ... (read more)

Loveless

ABR Arts 23 April 2018
Loveless
Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless is a cold, despairing film, befitting its title. It opens and closes in the depths of winter, with wide, lingering shots of an ice-bound river; in between, it delivers a portrait of a marriage that has hardened into estrangement, with a child lost to the void that exists between his parents. No character is improved by their trials, much less redeemed. No thaw ever ... (read more)

The Death of Stalin

ABR Arts 26 March 2018
The Death of Stalin
Madnesses pile up in The Death of Stalin, too fast and too numerous to itemise. Victims of tyranny are snatched away in the dead of night, locked in basements, or pushed down staircases at Chaplinesque speed. The terms of engagement change halfway through a conversation: forbidden thoughts are now doctrine; the condemned rise again. ‘I’ve had nightmares that make more sense than this,’ lamen ... (read more)

Anwen Crawford reviews 'Sticky Fingers: The life and times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine' by Joe Hagan

April 2018, no. 400 14 March 2018
Anwen Crawford reviews 'Sticky Fingers: The life and times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine' by Joe Hagan
Sometime in 1970, an unidentified person – perhaps a disgruntled journalist or aggrieved interviewee – scrawled the words ‘Smash “Hip” Capitalism’ onto an office wall at Rolling Stone magazine. It was an incisive piece of graffiti. Rolling Stone had begun publishing in 1967, in San Francisco, at the epicentre of the counterculture, but it had already proved less than radical. As the re ... (read more)

Lady Bird

ABR Arts 06 February 2018
Lady Bird
Too often the suburbia on show in American movies feels like a suburbia that only exists in the movies; a fantasy land stocked with preposterously large, catalogue-neat houses populated by families that boast perfect complexions and expensive teeth. Not so in Lady Bird, set in Sacramento, California, where the glitz of Los Angeles and the fashionability of San Francisco feel very far away. Christi ... (read more)

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

ABR Arts 13 November 2017
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
One can pinpoint the moment at which The Killing of a Sacred Deer gets stuck, like a train between stations. It happens midway through the film, during a scene set in a hospital cafeteria, somewhere in Cincinnati. A greying, bearded cardiologist (Colin Farrell) sits opposite a teenage boy (Barry Keoghan) whose gormless, sweaty countenance conveys an undertone of menace. The boy, whose name is Mart ... (read more)

God's Own Country

ABR Arts 25 August 2017
God's Own Country
It’s springtime in Yorkshire, but you’d only know it by the lambs. The earth is stony and the wind is biting. Even the wildflowers struggle to bloom, let alone the romance that forms the central plot of God’s Own Country, an accomplished début feature from British writer–director Francis Lee, who was raised, like his film’s protagonist, on a farm in the Pennine Hills. Johnny Saxby (Jos ... (read more)

A Quiet Passion

ABR Arts 07 June 2017
A Quiet Passion
An account of the life of Emily Dickinson can, like that of a saint, be reduced to its elements of spiritual and physical suffering. She was acutely sensitive, frequently ill, and when she died she left behind thousands of unpublished poems. It would be easy to portray her as a heavenly creature, temporarily descended upon nineteenth-century Amherst, Massachusetts from a more empyreal realm. Immor ... (read more)

Things To Come

ABR Arts 24 April 2017
Things To Come
Nathalie Chazeaux (Isabelle Huppert) is a married professor of philosophy, with two adult children, a sunny, book-lined Parisian apartment, and several published works to her name. Success has granted her self-assurance, at least in public. Early in Things to Come (or L’Avenir, to give the film’s French title), we watch her cross a student picket line without compunction, the arguments of the ... (read more)

Berlin Syndrome

ABR Arts 19 April 2017
Berlin Syndrome
Australian director Cate Shortland has made three feature films about young women who find themselves out of their depths. Her first, Somersault (2004), set in wintry Jindabyne, featured Abbie Cornish in an early and memorable role as a troubled teenage runaway. Lore (2012) was adapted from Rachel Seiffert’s Booker-shortlisted novel The Dark Room; its titular character, the daughter of Nazis, mu ... (read more)
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