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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Jan/Feb 1998

Letters to the Editor are welcome; they can be on any relevant subject (relevant meaning relevant to this zine) and preferably no more than 350 words. The Editor has the right to edit. We’d like to hear your movie related stories, anecdotes and – of course – your opinions.
Go ahead, write one. Click HERE

BAFFLED BY TIME
I just wonder what exactly constitutes a good film for Mr. Richard Corliss of Time, because I am utterly baffled at his review of Titanic. Three hours of epic grandeur obviously bored him, Russel Carpenter’s nonpareil of cinematography clearly was lost on him, intricate costuming, outrageous special effects and stunt work within an elaborate set are apparently all just evidence of a production house gone mad with their cheque books. But all these things are just a backdrop, admittedly an expensive backdrop, for a truly emotive storyline. James Cameron did a very clever thing; he created a riveting narrative of fiction and wove it convincingly into a famous factual scenario. Everyone knows from the outset that Titanic is going to go awfully pear-shaped. But Cameron turns a distant historical fact, one that is so distant and so ironic that these days we glibly allude to it in a variety of comic ways, into a story with a heart. A beating live heart that we can care about and cry for. So much so that I for one will never think of the Titanic again in the same way. Therein lies the magic of period-piece cinema; the ability to recreate circumstance and involve an audience on an emotional level in an event that would be otherwise limited to passive observation. The sinking of the ship, being a known, is exactly what that first ninety minutes is all about; that sense of doom that hangs over the young lover’s heads unseen. It’s what they call dramatic tension, Mr. Corliss! Chop that ninety minutes and you’ve got a disaster movie, like any other disaster movie, full of people we don’t especially care about getting in the way of that expensive set that is falling on top of them. Mr. Cameron gave us insight into a tragedy that was fast fading into the realms of a myt. Just as the treasure hunter say, after listening to Rose’s story on the Titanic; "before, I just didn’t get it." Thank you, Mr. Cameron, for allowing us all to ‘get it’.
Kathryn Ash, Cairns, Qld

THANKS FOR MUM THING
Cheers and congratulations on a terrific online magazine. Thought I might drop you a quick line to introduce myself and thank you, Andrew, for the kind and extraordinary words you penned in your "RUSHES" column in Melbourne's THE SUNDAY AGE a while ago. I'm the 32-year-old composer/orchestrator who happened to win Best Music in an Animation at the Australian Guild of Screen Composers 1997 Screen Music Awards back on December 8. I'm also the son of the now infamous Mrs Patrick who "nearly stole the show" (as you put it) at the Awards banquet with her acceptance speech. Andrew, I can't tell you what a thrill it was for my parents to be involved in the Awards ceremony, let alone to receive all the positive feedback they garnered in response to Mum's speech, both from folks at the event and from your column. Talk about a shot in the arm! After your article, my Mum has been on Cloud Nine -- a veritable legend in her own living room! Although I couldn't be there because of work commitments here in LA, it turned out to be an unusually wonderful evening for the entire Patrick family. Please accept the heartfelt thanks of a grateful son for the "Most Unexpected Self-Esteem Boost of the Year" for my Mum. Needless to say she's been talking non-stop ever since!
Cameron Patrick, Los Angeles, USA

POP TO ART
Re: Jan Epstein’s interesting piece [Cinema Is Not Dead, Cinematheque ]. I understand the reasons for Sontag's sadness - partly that the 'masterpieces' aren’t as well known or taught much now, and that the old guard of art cinema isn’t necessarily being replaced by equal talents...who equates (really and truly) with Godard or Bergman these days? Similarly one can't say that Martin Amis replaces Saul Bellow either!! The other point to make is that what was pop became art in many cases: Shakespeare wrote soap operas and Dickens wrote serials for newspapers. Many of the admired art films from America were B grade pot boilers...but became elevated by critical appreciation. Thus my affection for Sam Fuller is because I was taught to appreciate him by a teacher...I had ignored him until I became a film student. There has always been a need for a 'list' and Susan Sontag feels her list is fading/faded. I happen to think that Renoir and Godard are the two greatest artists on screen, but who talks about them these days? Cheers
Hunter Cordaiy, Sydney

DON’T GO INTO THE H’WOOD
I thoroughtly enjoyed the articles Welcome to Oziwood and The Bitch. As a follower of Australian films and quality talent, it's sad to see what influence Hollywood has had on some of Australia bundle of talent. I have seen so many intelligent, clever movies from down under that I urge my co-workers to support films that make it overseas to the U.S. However, I do have a major concern about a trend that seems to be developing with some actors/actresses jumping ship to make a name in Hollywood. Some of them have claimed their object reason is to bring recognition down under, but I think it more for their own benefit and to use that claim as an excuse. One person in particular is Russell Crowe. He had better quality films prior to 1995 than here in Hollywood, with the exception of LA Confidential, and seems to be content on trying to make a name for himself here in the United States than focusing on his homebase. He seems to be sidetracked and lost by all this media attention lately and has lost me as a supporter in the meantime. Do you think that will become more common with Australian actors/actresses? Another question is the focus on the Oscars. It's nothing more than a glamorous showing of Hollywood patting themselves on the back for mostly mediocre films (this year might be an exception with The Boxer, The Sweet Hereafter and Mrs Brown, Oscar and Lucinda, etc.) but should it really have an effect on true talent and a vision that packages quality films regardless the size of budgets?

I would hate to see Australia's film industry water itself down trying to imitate the Oscars and Hollywood. Keep up the good work!!
Pamela Glover, USA

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PATRONISING CASTLE
I found The Castle to be a patronising and not very insightful potrayal of an Australian working-class family. Michael Caton was portrayed as an idiot who had to ask what a sponge cake or a chicken was - the other members of the family weren’t much better. This film was a condescending caricature. The only "normal" person was the lawyer played by Chas Tingwell. Of course, because he's educated, just like Rob Sitch! For a much more sensitive, funny, and successful portrayal of a simple-minded battler, check out Mr Reliable.
Marshall Harris, Brisbane

UNDERSTANDING CASTLE
I saw The Castle in the air on an Ansett flight and I enjoyed it although only an Aussie would understand it I think.
Shirley Smith, Australia
Ed:
As we now know, Americans at Sundance also understood and enjoyed it. Good news.

TALK TO THEM
When BLUES BROTHERS 2000 is released, could Urban Cinefile please do an interview with either stars Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman, or director John Landis?

Andrew Kieswetter

ED:
We’ll do our best.

TA
Thanks for Urban Cinefile - it looks really good.
Rob Woodburn, Sydney

EXCITING
I really, really like Urban Cinefile, and have it bookmarked. Today I felt especially excited to read about The Castle being sold to the US market. The question is, will the Americans get it? Dreamin! Looking forward to reading more of the site in future weeks.
Nerida Shackleton, Melbourne

HELP!
I am trying to locate the video of Koyaanisquatsi to buy; can you help me???
Labry, Netherlands
guy-n-dot@worldnet.att.ne

KEEP IT UP!
I’m a Sydney based filmmaker and just discovered your site. Keep up the good work.
Glenn Fraser, Sydney

STAR SEARCH
Do you maybe know where I could get photos or info on Steve Bastoni or Gary Sweet except from imdb? Do you think they also have their own E-mail address and do you have E-mail address of Southern Star Xanadu?
Tina, Slovenia
Ed: Contact Morrisey Management for info on Steve Bastoni. Their email is: info@morrissey.com.au
Sue Muggleton Management represent Gary Sweet. No email is listed. Their fax is 61 2 9328 7035 (Address: 15 Glebe St Edgecliff NSW 2027)
Email for SouthernStar Xanadu:
general@sstar.com.au







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