The former is prefaced by a piece of viewer advice, the result of the recently announced review of ABC content in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Jedda is a film of historical significance,” the title card reads. “Its depictions and characterisations reflect the attitudes and prejudices of the time. Some elements of the film may cause offence to contemporary audiences.”

The cultural warriors of the right may howl at this intervention, but it is spot-on. Jedda is culturally significant – the first Australian-made feature in colour, the first to utilise an Indigenous cast and storyline, one of the few local features of any sort made in the Dark Ages of Australian cinema from the 1940s to 1970, when we had virtually no cinema industry to speak of. But gee, it’s a bit of a shambles.

The acting is rough and ready, the action frequently illogical, the dialogue wooden. One of the lead characters is played by a white actor in blackface. And its admirable concern for the plight of an Indigenous woman torn between cultures is made risible by the way it reduces the source of her conflict to a sexually charged Pavlovian race memory.

Is it offensive? In many ways, yes. Should it be seen? Absolutely. It is massively educational – even, in spite of itself, in an ethnographic kind of way. But heed that advice: it is absolutely of its time.

The Square, co-written by Joel Edgerton (who is also in it) and directed by his brother Nash (who helms the excellent Foxtel series Mr Inbetween) is almost timeless. It’s a tightly constructed suburban noir that slipped by at the cinema with barely a blip, but I reckon it’s a right little gem.

At its heart is an affair between construction manager Ray (David Roberts) and hairdresser Carla (Claire van der Boom). Both are unhappily married and dream of escaping together, and when Carla’s violent part-time criminal husband (the always excellent Anthony Hayes) comes home with a bag of ill-gotten loot, they have their chance.

David Roberts as Ray and Claire van der Boom as Carla in the 2008 noir thriller The Square, co-written by Joel Edgerton and directed by his brother Nash. 

David Roberts as Ray and Claire van der Boom as Carla in the 2008 noir thriller The Square, co-written by Joel Edgerton and directed by his brother Nash. 

It all goes horribly wrong, of course, but the possibility that it might yet go right hovers just out of reach throughout.

There are plenty of other films worth checking out here, with close to 50 slated to drop in and out over the next few months.

If you’re among the naysayers, do yourself (and me) a favour and watch some. Then, and only then, can you let me know if you still think Crocodile Dundee was the last decent movie this country ever made.

Follow the author on Facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on Twitter @karlkwin





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