Dilan Gunawardana

Dilan Gunawardana is an arts reviewer and online content editor. He is a former Deputy Editor of Australian Book Review (2017–18). He currently manages the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) website and edits its Stories & Ideas section. He holds a Masters Degree in Communications and Media Studies from Monash University (Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence).

Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'The Sorrow Stone' by Kári Gíslason

March 2022, no. 440 21 February 2022
Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'The Sorrow Stone' by Kári Gíslason
In his extraordinary journey through Iceland’s history, Saga Land (2017, with Richard Fidler), Kári Gíslason described Icelanders as ‘being reserved’ and ‘a bit severe’ at first glance, likening them to the Hallgrímskirkja church that looms over Reykjavik with its enormous basalt column wings and stony façade. The first three days I spent alone in that city gave me a wholly different ... (read more)

‘Drive My Car’: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s luminous new film

ABR Arts 14 February 2022
‘Drive My Car’: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s luminous new film
Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s latest feature, Drive My Car, ponders fidelity and sorrow, and the universal truth that people are mostly fucked up. It adapts Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name from his collection Men Without Women (2014), about a widower recounting his deceased wife’s infidelities to his ‘homely’ female driver. Hamaguchi’s film gently teases out the many quir ... (read more)

Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'A Passage North' by Anuk Arudpragasam

December 2021, no. 438 23 November 2021
Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'A Passage North' by Anuk Arudpragasam
One year after Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009, my family travelled to the city of Jaffna after the main highway leading to the country’s north reopened to tourists. Driving up the narrow, two-lane road as it became progressively bumpier, the busy towns, Buddhist temples, and green rice paddy fields of the central region gave way to scrubland sparsely broken up by army checkpoints, village ... (read more)

The Nico Project (Melbourne International Arts Festival)

ABR Arts 15 October 2019
The Nico Project (Melbourne International Arts Festival)
After spending more than a decade in New York as a muse and mannequin for a slew of photographers, filmmakers, and musicians, the German model and singer Nico, whose name is paired ubiquitously with The Velvet Underground, decided to stake her own claim as an artist. The soundtrack of the 1960s was becoming progressively angry as the disaster of the Vietnam War unfolded, but Nico was looking inwar ... (read more)

Joker (DC/Warner Bros.)

ABR Arts 01 October 2019
Joker (DC/Warner Bros.)
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 various comic and film adaptations. Perhaps the earliest ‘serious’ attempt was Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 1998 graphic novel, The Killing Joke, which endeavored to humanise the hapless Arthur Fleck and to exp ... (read more)

On 'Black Panther' by Dilan Gunawardana

June-July 2018, no. 402 22 May 2018
The Marvel film Black Panther has currently earned more than US$1.3 billion dollars at the box office worldwide since its release on 13 February 2018, which places it high among the most financially successful films of all time. Such an achievement isn’t necessarily indicative of quality – the Fast and the Furious and Minions films are on the same list – but countless column inches have been ... (read more)

On 'Black Panther'

ABR Arts 22 May 2018
On 'Black Panther'
The Marvel film Black Panther has currently earned more than US$1.3 billion dollars at the box office worldwide since its release on 13 February 2018, which places it high among the most financially successful films of all time. Such an achievement isn’t necessarily indicative of quality – the Fast and the Furious and Minions films are on the same list – but countless column inches have been ... (read more)

On Body and Soul

ABR Arts 07 May 2018
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul opens to a stag and doe wandering in a snowy forest to the slow, meditative sound of wind chimes and cowbells. The stag sniffs the doe cautiously and then tenderly rests his head on her back for a few seconds before she canters away, leaving the stag looking forlorn. Edited in a way that anthropomorphises the animals’ interactions, this is a beautifully composed scene reminiscen ... (read more)

The Disaster Artist

ABR Arts 04 December 2017
The Disaster Artist
Few bad films have received such prolonged adoration and exposure as The Room. The story of Johnny (Tommy Wiseau), an ‘All-American guy’, and his fiancée, the ‘devious’ Lisa (Juliette Danielle), who cheats on him with his handsome best friend Mark (Greg Sestero), has been screening in cinemas worldwide since its initial release in 2003. Audiences are enamoured by the film’s hilarious in ... (read more)

2017 Melbourne Festival

ABR Arts 23 October 2017
2017 Melbourne Festival
In his introduction to this year’s Melbourne Festival, Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway emphasised the need for people to step away from the hateful invective festering in public discourse and to note the bigger picture of humanity’s journey. ‘The last couple of years – globally – have not been our best’, he says in the Festival program. This era of ‘Brexit and Trump’ – a term ... (read more)
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