ABR Arts Film

True History of the Kelly Gang 

Jordan Prosser
Monday, 13 January 2020

The suggestion that any single retelling of the story of the Kelly Gang might come close to ‘true’ is laughable, but by drawing attention to this fact at the outset, Carey gives himself unfettered creative licence to embellish the tale however he pleases. And while the aural-visual medium of filmmaking could never hope to recreate the unique interiority of Carey’s Kelly or the breathtaking poetry of his loquacious, first-person prose, Kurzel’s film nevertheless succeeds, positioning itself less as a direct adaptation and more of an invocation. It summons the same restless spirit as the novel, and permits itself those same grand liberties with the so-called ‘truth’.

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The Truth 

Felicity Chaplin
Wednesday, 18 December 2019

For much of his working life, Hirokazu Kore-eda has been preoccupied with the question of what makes a family a family. Following on from the critically acclaimed Shoplifters (2018), which received the Palme d’Or at Cannes, The Truth continues to explore the idea of family, the roles we assume, the parts we play, and, above all, the lies we tell. It also interrogates our attachment to the idea of truth, something which for Kore-eda we may never, as humans, reach.

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Sorry We Missed You 

Jack Callil
Wednesday, 18 December 2019

For anyone who has seen I, Daniel Blake (2016), the baked-beans scene is likely to be burnt upon the brain. It is a harrowing moment, one that draws attention to the brutal lives of many people who depend on the British welfare system. The film, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, tapped into what for many was a daily existence – and even influenced political elections. Now its director, the octogenarian auteur Ken Loach, has returned with Sorry We Missed You, a sort of thematic sequel following one working-class family’s struggle to stay afloat in the gig economy.

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By the Grace of God 

Nicholas Bugeja
Monday, 25 November 2019

‘By the grace of God, the statute of limitations has expired’, pronounces Cardinal Philippe Barbarin (François Marthouret), the Archbishop of Lyon, at a 2016 press conference. He is, of course, referring to the historical child abuse crimes committed by Father Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley). The press corps is understandably shaken. A journalist rises, indignant: ‘Excuse me, do you realise how shocking that is?’ Barbarin tries backpedalling, to no avail. The words are etched in history, signifying a rare moment of truth nestled among the lies, prevarications, and confidentiality agreements that the Catholic Church has often deployed to salvage its tainted reputation. Yet these tactics have had the opposite effect, further plunging the Church into a profound legal and moral crisis.

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Judy and Punch 

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 18 November 2019

The fictional town of Seaside is ‘nowhere near the sea’, state the opening credits of Judy and Punch. Fine, but where or even when this film is set remains a puzzle throughout. The two titular characters, puppeteers Judy (Mia Wasikowska) and Punch (Damon Herriman), speak with an Irish lilt. The rest of the townsfolk – who come bedecked in grimy pirate shirts and motley, corseted gowns – possess an array of Scottish and English accents. The film opens with the medieval spectacle of three accused witches being stoned to death, and yet Seaside also boasts a uniformed police constable. Enough eucalypts are glimpsed in the background to alert any attentive viewer to the fact that, wherever Seaside is meant to be, this film was shot in Australia – in Eltham, Victoria, as it happens. Yet no reference is made to Australia at any point.

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The Irishman 

Aaron Nyerges
Wednesday, 06 November 2019

Martin Scorsese, as the world well knows, makes movies about Italian restaurants. Sure, he makes bloody crime films, too, but at some level he seems to be asking: what’s the difference? In Goodfellas (1990), a man crashes into a pizzeria, one hand shot to pieces, bleeding all over the place. He’s kicked out, and the film cuts to a platter of deli meats surfing through a crowded eatery. The gambling mastermind at the centre of Casino (1995) masquerades as a ‘Food and Beverage Manager’. Meanwhile, the film’s trigger-wild tough, played by Joe Pesci, opens up a classy night spot.

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Pain and Glory 

Richard Leathem
Friday, 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. 

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Anne Frank: Parallel Stories 

Tali Lavi
Friday, 11 October 2019

Earlier this year, not being able to find my childhood copy of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl for my eldest daughter, I bought another one. It seemed bigger than I had remembered, but the cover had the same recognisable photo of the demurely smiling Anne gazing somewhere into the distance – a wisp of a girl with distinctive dark features that would have made it highly unlikely for her to ‘pass’ as anything other than Jewish. The book bore a label that seemed to be making a dubious claim: ‘The Definitive Edition’. Was it more definitive than the journal I had read when I was a similar age to the girl who wrote it, as my daughter is now?

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Joker 

Dilan Gunawardana
Tuesday, 01 October 2019

Since his creation in Batman #1 in 1940, there have been many attempts to flesh out the psychological make-up of the Joker, chief antagonist to the (arguably more) heroic Batman, in vario ...

The Dead Don't Die 

Aaron Nyerges
Monday, 23 September 2019

The Dead Don’t Die is – in a manner of thinking – Jim Jarmusch’s second zombie film. Technically, Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) is a vampire film, but its central character, the depressively immortal Adam (Tom Hiddleston), lords it over ‘the zombies’, his term for the human population, whose ignorance he resents and whose degradation of Earth he fears ...

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