Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Another Year (film)

This is a film about us, whether we like it or not.

Another Year is full of brilliantly believable characters, searching for happiness as they negotiate life's ups and downs. As the year passes friends and family move in and out of the lives of Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen), savouring their hospitality, generosity and friendship. Tom and Gerri's stability is irresistable to those whose lives have taken a tragic turn. They are the epitome of great friends, doing what they can to help.

Each season we return with Gerri and Tom to the community garden where they tend their garden with care, just as they do their relationships. The garden is a metaphor for happiness, not flash-in-the-pan but a sustained kind that comes with an investment of time and devotion. The garden is also a sanctuary away from troubled friends, in fact their son is the only one we ever see joining them to tend the garden beds.

But Gerri and Tom are not doormats. Generosity is not doled out at their family's expense, and when Mary (Lesley Manville) crosses this line they are "disappointed" and distance themselves from her. Ultimately our choices are our own responsibility, affecting our relationships, health, work and attitude to life.

Written and directed by Mike Leigh, Secrets and Lies(1996), Vera Drake (2004) and Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Another Year premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2010, and has been widely acclaimed and awarded.

In Melbourne Another Year is reaching the end of its cinema life, but it can still be seen in some Palace Cinemas (Balwyn, Brighton Bay and Kino), Cameo Belgrave, and Mornington.

Watch the movie trailer
Have a gander at Lucy's other reviews

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: Cafe Scheherazade (play)

My review of Cafe Scheherazade by Therese Radic (based on the novel by Arnold Zable) is now published by Stage Whispers.

Cafe Scheherazade is playing at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne until 3rd April, 2011. It is commended as a compelling 90 minutes of theatre which may prompt a dose of self-reflection.

Have a gander at Lucy's other reviews

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wearing Bamboo: Slip, Slop, Slap with an environmental plus

Bamboo may prove to be the unlikely hero in the global quest for environmentally responsible agriculture thanks to the discovery by a Deakin University PhD candidate.

Amid concerns about cotton's water footprint in a country with an increasingly erratic water supply, fabric made with bamboo fibres is emerging as a future alternative, with added environmental advantages.

Tarannum Afri, a student at Deakin University's Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, has identified the property that gives bamboo superior sun-blocking characteristics. She is now working to develop a fabric using bamboo fibres in an environmentally responsible way.

Ms Afri, a former textile engineer, said that bamboo is 60% better than cotton at blocking UV rays. Bamboo can grow up to metre overnight, and spreads rapidly allowing a yield per acre 10 times that of cotton with no need for irrigation, pesticides, chemical weeding, insecticides and fungicide to thrive.

"Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and grows to its maximum height in about three months, and reaches maturity in three to four years," she said.

Video Interview with Tarannum Afri

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