Arts & Culture

La Belle Époque at Perth Festival


La Belle Époque is the sort of film that only the French could pull off – a heady mix of modern times and nostalgia – sexy, smart and utterly charming.

After viewing the trailer, I was mildy interested in coming to watch the movie. The premise wasn't fully clear, but seeing as I usually find anything with Daniel Auteuil quite enjoyable, I was willing to give it a go.

After settling in at the Somerville among the pines and with our premium on-site pizza from Charlies (two thumbs up for the field mushroom one), we put on the mozzie repellent (a must!) and waited for the trailers to end.

When La Belle Époque finally began, the opening scene gave me a brief moment of panic before everything came together and the magic began.

Attempting to summarise the plot of La Belle Époque risks ruining the experience for others, so I'll simply say that this a wonderfully entertaining and enjoyable film, showing that even when people change (or when they don't!), love still remains eternal. But love is not always simple or easy!


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Portrait of a Lady on Fire at Perth Festival


Director and writer Céline Sciamma’s latest romantic movie Portrait of a Lady on Fire revolves around the story of artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant), who is commissioned by the mother of a bride to be to paint a secret portrait of her daughter Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), to give to her future husband.

As the painting progresses, Marianne and Héloïse become better acquainted and form a strong emotional and sensual bond.

Set in the 1770’s in France, Portrait of a Lady on Fire brings to the fore some interesting issues that women had to face during those times – lack of recognition for their chosen vocations (Marianne as an artist), restricted social freedom, repressive public morals and more.


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Bang Bang at The Blue Room Theatre


Standing on the balcony outside the Blue Room Theatre, my partner and I mused on what we were about to witness during the performance of Bang! Bang!, a theatrical dance double-header. Not being dance devotees, we were interested in how the cast and crew would bring the two pieces, Love You, Stranger and Act 2, Scenes 1-4 to life.

Prior to settling into our seats, we crossed a stage stripped bare of props and scenery apart from a half-dozen or so black wooden boxes. The focus was undoubtedly on the three cast members, dressed in garb reminiscent of Victorian era dresses. Love You Stranger presents the fates of three women of those times who were brought to trial for murder, and provides a commentary on our own modern issues of public shaming.

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Farming at Luna


Based on an autobiographical story by writer-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Farming centres around the story of Enitan, a young Nigerian boy growing up in the UK last century.

During the 1960’s to 1980’s a practice called “farming” took place, whereby Nigerian families fostered out their children to working class white families in Britain, so that they could focus on work, study and saving money.

As the movie unfolds, we are thrown into Enitan’s childhood and coming of age story which one can only best describe as turbulent.

He is alone and a misfit – caught between cultures, and subject to constant racism. When he gets drawn into the world of a racist and violent skinhead gang, it starts a sequence of events that lead to pointless repeated violence and tragic circumstances.

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By the Grace of God at Luna


In his latest movie By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu), Director François Ozon (Frantz, Swimming Pool, 8 Femmes) tackles some highly sensitive and challenging issues in regards to the sexual abuse of children by priests.

The movie centres around main character Alexandre Guerin (Melvil Poupaud), who at age 40 is happily married with a lovely wife and 5 children.

Beneath that happy family life, his intense memories of being sexually abused by a priest during his childhood days continue to haunt him.

When Alexandre discovers that this same priest is still working with young children, he decides to take action and lift the veil of silence on his long standing secret.

His journey to seek justice unwinds with many interesting turns – bringing forth other victims who share  their stories of hurt and the widespread impacts that it has had on their families.

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Fully Sikh by Black Swan Theatre Company and Barking Gecko


Three years after appearing on Australia’s Got Talent with a powerful poem on racism, spoken word artist Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa has made her theatre debut: Fully Sikh. The “Fully Sikh” experience began pre-show outside Studio Underground – where I attempted to play carrom, an Indian tabletop game for the first time, while others got turbans tied.

When it was time for the show, we took off our shoes and were invited into the theatre. The set had been beautifully transformed into Sukhjit’s childhood home, where she was preparing a meal in the kitchen.

Through her spirited, interactive performance poetry, Sukhjit told her story of growing up as a Sikh girl in suburban Perth.


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Italian Film Festival 2019


The Lavazza Italian Film Festival is off and running in Perth, with a wide range of movies to suit all tastes.

For those looking for a romantic comedy, Bangla is a fun and light hearted romp where boy meets girl from very different sides of the neighbourhood. The story of Bangla follows the budding romance between 22 year old Phaim (who is born in Italy and whose Muslim parents are from Bangladesh) and a modern Italian girl Asia (Carlotta Antonelli).

As the relationship progresses, Phaim is forced to confront the conflicts between his family and religious values (e.g. no alcohol, no sex before marriage) as he falls head over heels in love with the impulsive Asia.

A contemporary and witty look at multicultural love in current day Italy, Director Phaim Bhuiyan's debut film Bangla has made an outstanding contribution to modern cinema.

And here are Perth Walkabout's five movie picks selected from the 2019 Italian Film Festival Program Guide:


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