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Philippa Hawker

Philippa Hawker

Philippa Hawker is a film and arts writer. She is working on a book about Jean-Pierre Léaud.

Philippa Hawker reviews '"La Parisienne" in Cinema: Between art and life' by Felicity Chaplin

June-July 2018, no. 402 24 May 2018
On the cover of Felicity Chaplin’s La Parisienne in Cinema: Between art and life, Audrey Hepburn, arms aloft, reigns triumphant in a strapless scarlet evening gown and organza shawl. This is a scene from Funny Face (1957), in which she plays a shy Greenwich Village bookshop employee transformed into a high-profile fashion model. At first glance, this image might seem a surprising cover choice. ... (read more)

Philippa Hawker reviews 'Movie Journal: The rise of new American cinema 1959–1971' by Jonas Mekas

September 2016, no. 384 24 August 2016
'Do you really want me to fall that low, to become a film critic, one of those people who write reviews?' asks Jonas Mekas, responding with typical brio to complaints from readers. Between 1959 and 1971 he produced a regular movie column in the Village Voice, a polemical and poetic enterprise that has plenty of resonance for contemporary cinema and those who write about it. Movie Journal is a coll ... (read more)

The Measure of a Man

ABR Arts 28 June 2016
French writer-director Stéphane Brizé's The Measure of a Man (La loi du marché), looks at first to be a character study with a quasi-documentary feel, then takes a disconcerting turn. At its centre is Vincent Lindon (Welcome [2009], Mademoiselle Chambon [2009]), a robust, often demonstrative actor who is also capable of surprising restraint. In The Measure of a Man, for which he won best actor ... (read more)

Philippa Hawker reviews 'John Wayne' by Scott Eyman

April 2015, no. 370 26 March 2015
‘I’m Duke Morrison, and I never was and never will be a film personality like John Wayne. I know him well. I’m one of his closest students. I have to be. I make a living out of him.’ In Scott Eyman’s biography John Wayne: The Life and Legend, these words, uttered by ‘Duke Morrison, aka John Wayne’, serve as an epigraph. They are a curious mixture of the frank and the evasive, a combi ... (read more)

Philippa Hawker reviews 'Ripping Open the Set: French film design, 1930-1939' by Ben McCann

February 2014, no. 358 19 January 2014
Ben McCann’s Ripping Open the Set begins with four epigraphs, observations of various kinds. They come from American figures – Frank Capra, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Nathanael West – and they express a range of notions, none of them particularly positive, about the place of design in cinema. McCann – senior lecturer in French at the University of Adelaide – then starts his in ... (read more)


ABR Arts 28 August 2012
Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel Cosmopolis could be described as a rarefied CBD road movie, and the same might be said of David Cronenberg’s new film adaptation, an unnervingly faithful, uncomfortable, and elusive version of the book. Cronenberg, a consistently absorbing and provocative director, is still probably best known for early, visceral works such as Videodrome (1983) and The Brood (1979). H ... (read more)


June 2012, no. 342 23 May 2012
Choosing to set a screen adaptation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) in contemporary India might seem like an almost perverse shift, or an over-determining decision. But for British film-maker Michael Winterbottom, there is consistency and history of a sort. It is his third Thomas Hardy adaptation, and his fourth feature shot on the subcontinent. In re-imagining and relocating Tess, he has ad ... (read more)

Philippa Hawker reviews 'The Age of Movies: Selected writings of Pauline Kael' edited by Sanford Schwartz

March 2012, no. 339 01 March 2012
Pauline Kael did not shy away from big statements. She said that the release date of Last Tango in Paris would be as historically resonant as the night The Rite of Spring had its première, and she described Fiddler On the Roof as a movie of operatic power. As a film reviewer at the New Yorker from 1967 to 1991, she was a significant cultural figure, particularly in the 1970s, when her influence w ... (read more)

The Slap (ABC)

ABR Arts 27 September 2011
‘Whose side are you on?’ is the challenge posed on the cover of the tie-in edition of The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas’s bestselling novel of 2008. Yet there isn’t really a ‘side’ in The Slap, more a series of angles, explorations, and provocations. It has a ‘way we live now’ scenario and a structure that lends itself to television adaptation, with eight chapters told from different poi ... (read more)
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