Saturday, 23 June 2018

Two is a Family

Samuel (Omar Sy) is suddenly a single father. A former 'one night stand', Kristin (Clemence Poesy) dumps a baby daughter he didn't know he had fathered with him and disappears. Samuel tries to locate Kristin without success and raises the child himself. Eight years later Kristin re-enters their lives.

'Two Is A Family' is a bit of a mess. Apart from the dubious morality of the plot line, the film is not particularly interesting. The daughter is the only remotely endearing character.


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Hamer’s Hall

Hamer Hall is Melbourne’s impressive concert venue. Spread over multiple levels, four of them below street level, it can be a bit of a trap for the novice or the unwary. I was both these on my recent, first attendance there.

Arriving there early for a concert I ventured down various levels by escalator in search of a food outlet I assumed to be there from the evidence of others munching away in the foyer levels.

Four levels of escalators down I discovered a small sandwich selection on one of the bars. Having purchased some food I looked around in vain for an empty chair but all were taken. Go back up I thought but the question was how. I realised all the escalators were set to travel down. No escalator was travelling up.

There were stairs and so I trudged up one level at a time until I could find seat on the first level I started from. Not good for an almost septuagenarian! It was only when I got my breath back that I noticed the elevator in a corner.

By the way, at concert's end all the escalators were reset to travel up.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The power couple

The 2,000 seat auditorium is filling fast. Two minutes or so to go before the start of the concert. All the seats in our row are occupied except for the two to my left which adjoin the side wall so their occupants, if any, will need to squeeze past the full row to reach them.

Late arrivals are streaming down the aisles then doing the sideways crab crawl to their seats.

Then they appear. The power couple.

He is in his mid-twenties, growing a thin moustache which is barely hairier than his 8pm shadow. He is wearing a skinny suit, slightly crimped behind the knee joints from tightness and day long wear. He has slip on shoes and is either stocking-less or wearing skin toned socks. He looks like lamb posing as debonair mutton.

On this winter’s night she is dressed for a balmy summer’s evening on a verandah wearing a loose short sleeve pastel coloured blouse, light skinny jeans and towering stilettos.

Both carry auditorium friendly tiny plastic cups containing red wine. As each of us in the row stands in turn the couple slides by careful not to spill a drop of wine. They are not so much protective of our clothing but of the minuscule amount which surely won’t last till interval.

They take their seats at the row’s end and, entrance made, they share a whisper.

Fifteen seconds pass by, 105 seconds now to performance time. Nothing has happened yet, so she decides it is time to make her way out minus the plastic cup and wine. I decide on a semi raise rather than a full raise and she exercises additional caution to avoid my protruding knees. The others in the row take my cue and follow with semi raises of their own. She ambles off casually into the flow of other latecomers, smaller numbers now, who are almost racing down the aisles to reach their seats.

Another fifteen seconds passes. Although no-one in my hearing has said a word, it seems he feels the need to make an announcement. Apparently speaking to no-one in particular but everyone in general he says ‘I saw Ramin in back to back concerts in New York last year and’

‘Oh really?’ is the response from the row behind.

‘Ah...may...zing’, he reiterates.

‘And I saw Anna on her opening night at the Regent’, he adds.

No response from anyone. Maybe nobody is interested in Anna?

Sixty seconds to performance time.

She has reappeared and the audience member on the aisle decides not to rise; not even a semi rise. Each of us in turn, as though by unspoken concensus, follows suit. This slows her progress but undaunted she continues with ostentatious care to ensure her summery skinny jeans make no contact with the roughage of our wintery apparel.

Thus reunited, the power couple is ready. The auditorium lights are extinguished. The concert can commence.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

No bliss

I had tickets to see 'Bliss' at Belvoir Street but felt anything but blissful as I drove to the theatre. My nose was running, my throat felt like sand paper and I was coughing regularly.

I sat in my car thinking that somehow I would be able to get through the performance but that was wishful, not blissful, thinking. Apart from spreading my cold across the audience I would be a complete nuisance for those sitting around me.

I didn't get out of my car. I drove home where I should have remained all along.

No bliss for me.

Friday, 8 June 2018


'Aurore' (retitled 'I Got Life!') is a woman in midlife who is separated from her husband and whose daughter is pregnant. She is about to become a grandmother. Having lost her job after a row with a snooty cafe owner, Aurore runs into an old schoolmate with whom she had a school romance.

This French language romantic drama is is quite delightful with Agnes Jaoui sparkling in the title role.


Thursday, 7 June 2018

‘The Marriage’

I would be pretty sure that 'The Marriage' is the first film I have ever seen made or even set in Albania.

It opens with a long, somewhat obscure, scene. A man and a woman are waiting with a number of others for some arrivals. Eventually a line of vehicles arrive and as do numerous people wearing white hazard protective clothing. It seems that the people have been waiting to identify and recover the remains of relatives; victims of war.

The man and the woman are engaged to be married and a friend of the groom arrives from France where he has been living for four years. Initially the three of them socialise but strains emerge as the true nature of the groom's friendship with this new arrival begin to surface.

A rather slow film which I imagine is more daring in its native country than it comes across in Australia. Provides an interesting glimpse into Albanian culture and life.


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Tea with the Dames

'Tea with the Dames' (made for television under the title 'Nothing Like a Dame') has four British actors, all of them honoured with Damehoods, sitting around a table discussing their lives and careers.

The situation comes across as a little artificial but it is variously a humorous, revealing and sad reflection of four artists in the twilights of their careers. I don't think there are first time revelations but a bonus in the film comes with flashbacks to their youthful days; a reminder of how they appeared  at the height of their freshness and beauty.


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Water feature

The water feature facade at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria is a constant fascination for adults and children alike.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Sunday, 3 June 2018


(The Production Company)
Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Oklahoma!' premiered on Broadway in 1943 and to this day is widely regarded as the landmark introduction of the 'musical play' in which the songs are relevant to and progress the play's plot.

Set at the dawn of the twentieth Century as the Territory of Oklahoma approaches statehood, the musical depicts twin tales of men vying for the affections of their love interests.

A quaint plot but the tuneful songs and rollicking dance numbers carry the day.


Saturday, 2 June 2018

Up, up and away

They look like five tiny dots in my photo; just off centre to the right in the upper half. But if you can make the photo larger you can can see balloons poking through the cloud just north of Melbourne (Christmas Hills?). The baskets, possibly containing passengers, are not visible. I guess any passengers were still below the fog line.