Author: Jasper Hagan

A conversation with film composer Bruce Smeaton

The first thing prolific and respected Australian film composer Bruce Smeaton tells Canberra is a lie. It isn’t a bad one, but it’s the sort of blatant, quickly disproven claim that we’re getting all too used to. He claims that he isn’t a performer or storyteller. But he is. Smeaton has been working as a composer since the 60s and generously gave an evening of his time at the National Film and Sound Archive last week. The Q and A segment went for 50 minutes, which was sadly too short, before leading into screenings of two films he had worked...

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Flowery tale of a forbidden love

Tulip Fever is less than the sum of its parts. A lot of films have this problem. Coordinating individual elements filmed and created separately is the hardest part of film-making. It’s what separates good from great, that coordination and orchestration. The frustrating part of Tulip Fever is that those parts are good. Very good. Any of them could have been the focus of a fine film. The problem is that none of them were the focus. The film starts out following Sophia, an orphan in 17th century Netherlands, played by Alicia Vikander. She is, essentially, purchased by a wealthy...

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The Teacher: Movie Review

It’s fitting that The Teacher, a movie about a pervasive, ubiquitous system, should itself be so harmonious. The opening shot of parents trudging into a mysterious meeting at their school, synched up with the students arriving earlier in the day, tells much of the story. The cold, uncomfortable parents moving through a stark building, with the reverse of propaganda paintings in the background, give the viewer more insight. The film is about a system, a cruel one that is better at protecting itself and putting on appearances than helping anyone. The titular character, Mária Drazdechová, is the embodiment of...

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