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Thursday, 8 February 2018

My Life in Film: the memoir film review

I'm the first in line to decry the death of the traditional film review. I loathe the clickbait take-down culture that's replacing measured and contextualised film criticism and entertaining consumer-oriented newspaper and magazine film reviews. Sometimes it scares, the frenzied speed with which every new film must be evaluated through the lens of identity politics, often by writers who lack any other analytical tools with which to measure or experience cinema.

But lately I've been enjoying my own kind of non-traditional film writing, revelling in the overt subjectivity and freedom of writing memoir-infused film reviews. My own life and relationships have provided the starting point for essays about films that have touched deeply in one way or another. Perhaps this is a little self-indulgent, but to me it feels like an honest and thoughtful way to acknowledge the intertwining of my life and the many hours I spend watching films, and I try to bring my experience as a traditional reviewer into the discussion so there's a real sense of what the film itself is like - the way it's made and the themes it tackles.

These pieces have been published in Neighbourhood, a monthly arts and culture magazine delivered to inner-city suburbs in Sydney, with a complementary online site.

You can read the three memoir reviews I've written so far at the links below:

Phantom Thread and the Everyday Sadism of Marriage

In which I confess to the occasional urge to kill my partner, and discuss the normal marital sadism of cohabitation, inspired by Paul Thomas Anderson's brilliant dark romance Phantom Thread (pictured above).

Brad's Status and the Anxiety of Middle-Class Parenting  

In which I bemoan the way questions about my son's schooling bring out competitive instincts and basic human fears.

Blade Runner 2049: Does the Ability to have a Relationship Grant us a Soul?

The love story in this film touched me deeply and made me think of my own illicit love affair and the longing to make it 'real'.

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