ABR Arts Film

Saving Mr Banks

Tara Judah
Sunday, 19 January 2014

P.L. Travers (1906–96) did her best to keep her private life private. Perhaps her reservations harked back to the days before she penned Mary Poppins (eight novels, 1934–88) when she was a human interest columnist for a daily newspaper. As a writer of both journalism and fiction she knew as well as anyone that hearsay and speculation were quite different ...

The Counselor

Stefan Solomon
Thursday, 05 December 2013

When a film is created by an equally renowned cast and crew, it can be difficult to identify the most notable contributors. In praising or blaming, we often focus on the director or the actors. In this instance, however, it is the screenwriter’s efforts that command our interest and ultimately reorient what could have been a straightforward narrative.

It ...

Stranger by the Lake

Dion Kagan
Thursday, 28 November 2013

Stranger by the Lake is set entirely within the perimeters of a cruising ground for men by the shores of a lake in France. There unfolds a perfectly simple temporal conceit in which the cruiser, a handsome thirty-something everyman called Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), arrives each summer day, parks his car, and walks down to the pebbled beach by the lake’s ...

Fallout

Jake Wilson
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Nevil Shute’s apocalyptic 1957 novel On The Beach and Stanley Kramer’s 1959 movie adaptation hold a continued fascination, particularly for Melburnians – even if we have grown weary of the famous quip, attributed to Ava Gardner, about the city being the ideal place to film the end of the world. Largely setting aside such parochial concerns, Lawren ...

Mr Pip

Brian McFarlane
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Film-wise, 2013 has been the year of adapting dangerously. Dangerously, that is, in the sense of daring to affront devoted readers of the original novels or plays, valuing enterprise over fidelity. Now, just after admirable versions of Much Ado about Nothing and What Maisie Knew have finished their runs, we have director–screenwriter Andrew Ada ...

What Maisie Knew

Brian McFarlane
Friday, 27 September 2013

The last twelve months have seen some notable film reworkings of classic literary texts, with Anna Karenina set in a theatre, a black Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and a gorgeous Much Ado About Nothing enacted in monochrome contemporary California. Now we have a compelling version of Henry James’s novel What Maisie Knew (1897), ...

The Turning

Jake Wilson
Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Anthology films are expected to be uneven; in a way, the unevenness is the point. With no less than eighteen directors on board, this adaptation of Tim Winton’s short story collection The Turning (2004) resembles an epic round of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse, in which players separately draw parts of a human figure on a sheet of paper which is ...

Much Ado About Nothing

Brian McFarlane
Wednesday, 24 July 2013

There have been more than 900 Shakespearean film adaptations of one kind or other, for screens large and small, dating back to scenes from Macbeth in 1898. The Stratford playwright would have become rich beyond the dreams of avarice from film rights alone; equally, though, I think he would have acknowledged that film-makers have notched up a pretty hono ...

The Great Gatsby

Brian McFarlane
Friday, 17 May 2013

One should approach a new film with an open mind, but it’s very hard to do so when it has been preceded by the sort of hype that has accompanied The Great Gatsby. And it’s not just the hype but the other threats to the open mind which include the famous source novel (one that people know about even if they haven’t read it), the previous film versions, ...

Great Expectations

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What is it about Great Expectations (1861) that makes it seem indispensable? Can it be its hero, Pip’s, search for a liveable identity? The small, terrified, often bullied child gets a glimpse of ‘the quality’ albeit in desuetude, becomes dissatisfied with being a blacksmith, receives the eponymous expectations, and tries to become a gentleman before se ...

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