Michael Kirby. Kate McC­ly­mont and Alex Mitchell. Jenny Hock­ing.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents|The Week - Richard Ack­land

Gad­fly re­paired to Syd­ney’s Mac­quarie Street for a mys­tery event hosted by Mac­quarie Univer­sity. The in­vi­ta­tion said the oc­ca­sion is to “pay trib­ute to the Hon­ourable Michael Kirby AC CMG”.

It was to have been held at the Fed­eral Law Courts un­til the sprin­kler sys­tem caused havoc to the halls of justice, so it was trans­ferred across the road to the Mint, which was fit­ting, given we were about to get in­for­ma­tion on “gift­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties”.

Any­way, Vice-Chan­cel­lor Bruce Dow­ton an­nounced that the new premises for the law school will be named the Michael Kirby Build­ing. This comes hard on the heels of the for­mer judge be­ing gonged by the em­peror of Ja­pan with an Or­der of the Ris­ing Sun.

Al­ready many things are named in hon­our of the “rock star ju­rist”, in­clud­ing bar­ris­ters’ cham­bers, the Kirby In­sti­tute for in­fec­tious dis­eases re­search at the Univer­sity of NSW, and the yearly Michael Kirby din­ner and lec­ture at South­ern Cross Univer­sity.

Kirby is weighed down with trib­utes, in­clud­ing hon­orary de­grees from 24 Aus­tralian and over­seas uni­ver­si­ties, and has nine medals and hon­ours rang­ing from a Com­pan­ion of the Or­der of Aus­tralia to Na­tional Trust Aus­tralian Liv­ing Trea­sure.

Bask­ing rep­tiles

Speak­ing of hon­ours: Fri­day night at a vast feast in Syd­ney more than 50 rep­tiles were in­ducted into the Aus­tralian Me­dia Hall of Fame. Some were very old; some dead. It was an eclec­tic mix, in­clud­ing: Vic Car­roll, Alan Ram­sey, Anne Sum­mers, Richie Be­naud, Mar­garet Jones, Max Suich, Pa­trick Cook and Kate McC­ly­mont. In fact, Kate did the ora­tion on the night. A book of leg­ends of jour­nal­ism is com­ing out next year. Vet­eran re­porter Alex Mitchell has writ­ten chap­ters on Mur­ray Sayle, Evan Whit­ton, Rags Hen­der­son and Tom Fitzger­ald. Harry Evans, the for­mer ed­i­tor of The Sun­day Times, has done a chap­ter on Phillip Knight­ley.

The whole thing is the brain­child of the Mel­bourne Press Club. The MPC’s Mike Smith tells Gad­fly the idea is to get a his­tor­i­cal pic­ture of the sweep of vic­to­ri­ous jour­nal­is­tic achieve­ment go­ing back to the 1930s.

Yet, so many great names are miss­ing from the hon­our board. Where’s Maddy Devine, Janet The Planet, Lit­tle Chris Kenny, Gol­lum Hen­der­son etc etc?

Maybe in decades to come some­one will wake up to their bril­liance and nom­i­nate them as liv­ing, or dead, leg­ends.

Late book­ing

Ex­cite­ment mounts as the an­nounce­ment of the win­ners of the PM’s Lit­er­ary Awards draws near.

Even though they were ap­pointed in July, the judg­ing pan­els for each cat­e­gory have at long last been an­nounced. Nor­mally the ex­pec­ta­tion is that the judges are re­vealed much ear­lier in the year so ev­ery­one knows who is read­ing and cri­tiquing the works. But here we are in Novem­ber, only just now aware of the pan­els’ mem­ber­ship and still with no news of the short­list and when the ul­ti­mate prizes will be handed out.

It’s a big deal, with $100,000 taxfree cash in each cat­e­gory – non­fic­tion,

Aus­tralian his­tory, fic­tion, poetry, chil­dren’s fic­tion and young adult fic­tion.

Maybe PM Trum­ble has his hands full at the mo­ment – in fact, too busy to ig­nore the judges’ rec­om­men­da­tions and come up with his own choice of win­ner, as hap­pened in 2006’s his­tory prize with Lit­tle Win­ston, 2013 with Kevin from Queens­land and 2014 with Ten Flags Tony. In each of these in­ter­ven­tions, war sto­ries got the prime min­is­te­rial nod of ap­proval.

Half crown

What a shock to wake up and dis­cover our law­mak­ers are a bunch of Hun­gar­i­ans, Greeks, Brits, hap­less New Zealan­ders and associated for­eign­ers.

This is mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism run amok while Trum­ble said that ques­tion­ing the for­eign­ness of his MPs amounts to a “witch-hunt”. Maybe this was one of the many oc­ca­sions he chose his words un­wisely. It’s ac­tu­ally about the le­git­i­macy of his gov­ern­ment and whether it is in power con­sti­tu­tion­ally.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion (sec­tion 42), MPs and se­na­tors have to swear or af­firm al­le­giance to tax haven devo­tee HM the Queen. The oath or af­fir­ma­tion says: “I ... do swear/af­firm that I will be faith­ful and bear true al­le­giance to HM QEII, her heirs and suc­ces­sors ac­cord­ing to law. [So help me God.]” Yet sec­tion 44 says any per­son who is “un­der any ac­knowl­edge­ment of al­le­giance, obe­di­ence or ad­her­ence to a for­eign power” shall be in­ca­pable of be­ing cho­sen or of sit­ting as an MP or se­na­tor.

There seems to be an in­con­sis­tency be­tween these pro­vi­sions. The Queen would surely fall into the cat­e­gory of a “for­eign power”, even as the Wind­sors try to put as much dis­tance as pos­si­ble be­tween them­selves and the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, it­self a branch of the House of Wet­tin.

Maybe s.42 makes the en­tire par­lia­ment in­el­i­gi­ble un­der s.44? What a she­moz­zle.

Gough’s toffs

It gets worse. Pro­fes­sor Jenny Hock­ing’s lat­est edi­tion of The Dis­missal Dossier: The Palace Con­nec­tion brings to light new ev­i­dence of the in­volve­ment of Buck House in the sack­ing of the Whit­lam gov­ern­ment.

The ev­i­dence is one of di­rect med­dling by the Bri­tish For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice and the palace in the po­lit­i­cal af­fairs of Aus­tralia. At all costs the Lib­er­als were des­per­ate to stymie Gough Whit­lam’s pro­posed half-se­nate elec­tion, which had the prospect of giv­ing La­bor con­trol, at least tem­po­rar­ily, of the up­per house. The Brits were in step with the Nasty Party’s po­si­tion on this, be­cause Whit­lam was hell-bent on un­stitch­ing the “colo­nial relics” of the Bri­tish–Aus­tralian re­la­tion­ship.

Hock­ing has un­cov­ered var­i­ous crucial back­door meet­ings be­tween Tory grov­ellers such as the fa­ther of Fish­nets Downer and sus­pected pae­dophile prime min­is­ter Ted Heath, as well as a schmooz­ing visit to gover­nor-gen­eral

Sir John Kerr at Yar­ralumla by the per­ma­nent un­der-sec­re­tary des­ig­nate of the for­eign of­fice, Sir Michael Pal­liser.

The mis­sion was to avoid the palace be­ing put in the po­si­tion of re­ceiv­ing con­flict­ing ad­vice about a half-se­nate elec­tion from her prime min­is­ter in Canberra and her pre­miers in the states. Such is the legacy of the colo­nial con­ceit of a bi­fur­cated crown.

Hock­ing un­cov­ered an FCO memo headed “Aus­tralian do­mes­tic pol­i­tics: pos­si­ble in­ter­ven­tion of UK gov­ern­ment”. The ti­tle of that doc­u­ment alone says it all – White­hall re­garded Aus­tralia as some sort of client state.

No won­der ev­ery­one in par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing for­eign­ers, is re­quired to swear or af­firm al­le­giance to Betty Bat­ten­berg.

Sub­side Piper

Mean­while, things in Point Piper are looking de­cid­edly grim. A re­cent is­sue of the real es­tate bible Do­main shows that there are 18 prop­er­ties in the tiny sub­urb cur­rently on the mar­ket. Of the most ex­pen­sive top 11 prop­er­ties up for sale, the cheap­est is listed for $2.9 mil­lion.

What is go­ing on in the PM’s bor­ough? Is the pres­ence of the over­worked fed­eral po­lice crawl­ing all over Wunulla Road and the wa­ter­front get­ting on ev­ery­one’s wick? Or are res­i­dents sick of liv­ing in a place where there’s no pub, no bot­tle shop, not even a cor­ner store?

Trum­pette #47

Have you no­ticed the way Bark­ing Dog Trump strug­gles to read a speech, even when it’s typed in 24-point Hel­vetica bold with triple spac­ing?

Among the myr­iad prob­lems be­ing jug­gled by the great orange leader, such as his di­a­bol­i­cal un­pop­u­lar­ity, his delu­sional views about him­self, and his small hands, he has the added bur­den of not be­ing able to read prop­erly.

Some ex­perts as­sess his read­ing skills as com­pa­ra­ble to a slow eightyear-old, and all his brief­ing pa­pers are no more than half a page. He def­i­nitely has trou­ble with words of more than one syl­la­ble – for ex­am­ple, the word “Namibia”. The av­er­age hu­man be­ing knows be­tween 20,000 and 35,000 words in their na­tive lan­guage. An eight-yearold knows about 10,000 words, which is more or less where Trump can be found.

A fine ex­am­ple rests in his re­cent trip to South Korea, where he pro­posed a sim­ple toast: “To­gether, our na­tions re­mind the world of the bound­less po­ten­tial of so­ci­eties that choose free­dom over tyranny, and who set the free. And we will free, and we will sac­ri­fice, and we will hope, and we will make things beau­ti­ful, es­pe­cially the as­pi­ra­tions of your peo­ple.”

De­spite all this, the Pussy Grab­ber in­sists he loves to read. Ear­lier this year, he clar­i­fied the is­sue with one of Moloch’s muffins on Fox News: “Well, you know, I love to read. Ac­tu­ally, I’m looking at a book, I’m read­ing a book, I’m try­ing to get started. Ev­ery time I do about a half a page, I get a phone call that there’s some emer­gency, this or that. But we’re go­ing to see the home of An­drew Jack­son to­day in Ten­nessee and I’m read­ing a book on An­drew Jack­son. I love to read. I don’t get to read very much, Tucker, be­cause I’m work­ing very hard on lots of dif­fer­ent things, in­clud­ing get­ting costs down. The costs of our coun­try are out of con­trol. But we have a lot of great things hap­pen­ing, we have a lot of tremen­dous

• things hap­pen­ing.”

It’s some­thing of a mir­a­cle that Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos, 44, has had time to di­rect all his short films, ads, mu­sic videos, ex­per­i­men­tal the­atre pro­duc­tions and six ex­tra­or­di­nary fea­ture films, as in the past decade he seems to have also given about nine bil­lion in­ter­views. And the Greek di­rec­tor, launch­ing his new The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer across the world, doesn’t give terse, gnomic an­swers, as one might ex­pect from the cre­ator of his se­verely beau­ti­ful and un­com­pro­mis­ingly dis­com­fort­ing cin­ema. Nor is he the hag­gard, lab­o­ra­to­rial dis­sec­tor of hu­man frailty that his films evoke. Now liv­ing in Lon­don and mar­ried to ac­tress Ari­ane Labed, Lan­thi­mos is looking 10 years younger than his age, plump of bearded cheek and re­laxed, work­ing his way through a morn­ing of yet more in­ter­views and ready to dis­cuss with lauda­tory ex­pan­sive­ness the evo­lu­tion of his par­tic­u­lar, pe­cu­liar cin­ema.

“The ef­fort of re­al­ism in cin­ema, most of the time, alien­ates me. Be­cause it is a con­struc­tion. For me some­times it’s just em­bar­rass­ing, to watch peo­ple pre­tend that they’re in an ‘emo­tional space’, what­ever that is. So I think I have just a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to things. Maybe you have an el­e­ment which ap­pears to be more de­tached and colder, but then you jux­ta­pose it with very emo­tional mu­sic, or the way you film might make some­thing feel so dif­fer­ent. Most of the time you can’t di­rectly feel it; peo­ple who are not en­cased in mak­ing films do not go, ‘Oh, this is a high an­gle! So this is why I feel so…’” On the phone from a Lon­don morn­ing, he laughs. “But it’s just the whole con­struc­tion that makes you feel a cer­tain way and it doesn’t have to be so ob­vi­ous and ex­po­si­tional. Which I hope I never do.”

It seems un­likely: his work, which works its ac­tion and pro­tag­o­nists as aus­terely as a stage play, is no­table for its an­ti­sep­tic cool­ness and an in­sis­tent af­fect­less obliq­uity that brings on a kind of para­dox­i­cal alert­ness in the viewer. Lan­thi­mos hates the term “dead­pan” but his char­ac­ters speak, as critic Roger Ebert put it, as if read­ing a love poem in botched trans­la­tion by a third grader, and of the most mun­dane things. Two med­i­cal men walk out of an op­er­at­ing the­atre dis­cussing the straps of their watches. A man is re­minded brusquely that he is late in the chore of dig­ging his own grave. A fam­ily dis­cusses the love­li­ness of their own hair at din­ner. By spend­ing any screen time at all on such trivia, Lan­thi­mos casts the au­di­ence into a space where ev­ery item and view­point and scene feels hazed with sig­nif­i­cance and metaphor, so that a young girl singing un­der a tree feels omi­nous; a man giv­ing a boy a watch makes you shift in your seat; a youth eat­ing spaghetti makes you imag­ine mur­der­ing him. In an in­stant, as his films be­gin, view­ers are ejected from their com­fort­able seat of pre­sump­tions and into the realm of an as­ton­ish­ing fa­ble. It was a Greek, Ae­sop, who told the most fa­mous fa­bles. But his con­tem­po­rary coun­try­man would never add a moral maxim at the end.

“Any­way,” Lan­thi­mos goes on, “even­tu­ally you buy into it and be­lieve it’s real. By put­ting all these things to­gether you reach a point where you are moved even­tu­ally, if its in­di­vid­ual part is emo­tional or sen­ti­men­tal by it­self, or you’ve cre­ated this emo­tion just by put­ting one thing next to an­other, like a nar­ra­tive, like some­one say­ing a story.” He speaks flu­ently, in well com­posed, slightly repet­i­tive sen­tences, each sub­clause sat­is­fac­to­rily landed, each part granted its equiv­a­lent. It is rem­i­nis­cent of the cu­ra­to­rial care ev­i­dent in his work, the metic­u­lous cine­matog­ra­phy by long-time col­lab­o­ra­tor Thimios Bakatakis, the long steady shots and am­ple con­fi­dence. He, too, takes his time, with the air of one who needn’t fum­ble for an ex­pla­na­tion, but who is in­ter­ested in con­sid­er­ing the ques­tion anew. “In­ter­est­ing”, “ques­tion” and “dif­fer­ent” are words he uses a lot. And “thing”, a word that in Greek gives us that di­rec­to­rial term, “prag­matic”: in the sense not so much of cyn­i­cism but “ap­plied to the real world”.

“We start from want­ing to ex­plore a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion,” he says. “We ob­serve things around us and we think about con­flict and prob­lems and sit­u­a­tions. Then we come up with a lit­tle story around it and that leads us into de­vel­op­ing it fur­ther and see­ing how com­plex it can be­come, and what ques­tions it asks, and is it in­ter­est­ing for us to ex­plore and in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther. And it’s al­ways about ask­ing ques­tions and not nec­es­sar­ily giv­ing an­swers, which in­ter­ests us. We would never make a film to give a so­lu­tion or preach some­thing or teach some­thing. It’s just hu­man be­ings, you know, be­ing in this world and try­ing to make sense of it and ex­plor­ing var­i­ous sides of it and go­ing, ‘Huh, what do you think about that?’ ” He laughs, a philo­soph­i­cal chor­tle from a Greek man who has emerged from a na­tion with no film in­dus­try and who now finds him­self with fist­fuls of awards and given gen­er­ous bud­gets, a choice of in­ter­na­tional casts and crew, and ex­cep­tional cre­ative li­cence.

Even be­fore 2015’s English-lan­guage break­out

The Lob­ster, Lan­thi­mos was al­ready much ad­mired for his Os­car- and Bri­tish In­de­pen­dent Fim Award­nom­i­nated and Cannes-win­ning Dog­tooth (2009) with its cool al­le­gory of so­cial con­stric­tion as a fam­ily de­taches en­tirely from so­ci­ety to build their own dis­ci­plined re­al­ity. Alps (2011), in which a group of peo­ple im­per­son­ate, for a fee, the or­di­nary dead, was sim­i­larly lauded. The riv­et­ing dis­ci­pline of his cin­ema, with its chilly pal­ettes, wide-an­gle de­tach­ment, op­pressed di­a­logue and as­ton­ish­ing poignancy has made him a ma­gus, along­side Italy’s Paolo Sor­rentino, of an in­vig­o­rated Euro­pean cin­ema.

In par­tic­u­lar, Lan­thi­mos and his co-writer and friend Efthymis Filip­pou have ma­tured an ad­mix­ture of the sin­is­ter and the hi­lar­i­ous that tips its hat all at once to the sur­re­al­ism, min­i­mal­ism and fas­ci­na­tion with dilemma of Lan­thi­mos’s favourites, Buñuel, Bres­son and Cas­savetes, with a strong nod to Kubrick’s love of wide fright­en­ing cor­ri­dors as well. The weird sto­ries the two men have made, and their sheer un­ex­pect­ed­ness, pro­voke para­dox­i­cal re­ac­tions. In the in­sis­tence on the banal, the whiplash­ing of sud­den fe­roc­ity at tar­gets of the ten­der­est of pa­thetic hu­man con­nec­tions, some see mis­an­thropy, even cru­elty. Oth­ers sense a great com­pas­sion, pity for their docile and de­jected char­ac­ters. Even the ap­par­ently malev­o­lent ones, such as Barry Keoghan’s teenage curse-caster Martin from The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer, seem mostly be­mused, mis­guided or com­pla­cently ge­nial.

“I don’t know,” Martin shrugs, even as he im­pla­ca­bly over­sees the de­struc­tion of Colin Far­rell and Ni­cole Kid­man’s in­no­cent fam­ily. “It just seems like the clos­est thing I can think of to justice.” Like any good heir of Euro­pean phi­los­o­phy, Lan­thi­mos em­pha­sises that his films are never about ab­so­lutes or clear morals, but much more in­ter­ested in rais­ing ques­tions. He may set his cin­ema in sub­ur­ban homes, mod­ern hos­pi­tals and age­ing ho­tels, but he is work­ing with the sav­age and in­scrutable re­al­ity of myth. Ap­par­ently pro­saic sce­nar­ios gleam with al­le­gory as well as floor-cleaner. His pro­tag­o­nists – bour­geois, in­of­fen­sive, obliv­i­ous, such as Far­rell’s fleshy mid­dle-aged men – are given pul­veris­ing choices, such as whether to suf­fer so as to share suf­fer­ing with a soul­mate, or to sac­ri­fice a loved one in or­der to save the oth­ers. “I do ap­pre­ci­ate when I’m not con­sid­ered an id­iot,” Lan­thi­mos ex­plains, “and I’m not be­ing preached at, if that’s the right word, and I’m not be­ing told what to think and how to feel and what’s good and what’s bad, what’s wrong and what’s right. I re­ally have a re­ac­tion against those kinds of things. But it’s not nec­es­sar­ily that I like films that are metaphors in gen­eral. I just like when some­thing is made in a way that in­trigues me and en­gages me and makes me think about other things.”

Many view­ers are also tick­led by the pre­pos­ter­ous­ness of a work such as The Lob­ster and its nifty satire on the vi­o­lence of so­cial pres­sures.

Any­one who uses Beethoven’s and Shostakovich’s string quar­tets as ac­com­pa­ni­ment to scenes of a chintzy ho­tel where a cou­ple forms a con­ju­gal bond by one of them pre­tend­ing to be un­moved by the pre­tended chok­ing death of the other in a jacuzzi is a per­son in full grasp of both the comedic – no, re­ally – and the orig­i­nal. In that film, sin­gle peo­ple are obliged by law to cou­ple up within a short ho­tel stay, earn­ing ex­ten­sions through hunt­ing ex­pe­di­tions for rogue “lon­ers” in the woods, or be mat­ter-of-factly turned into an­i­mals. In a vir­tu­oso bit of world-build­ing, au­di­ences be­come ac­cus­tomed to this sce­nario within min­utes, so that the ho­tel man­ager con­grat­u­lat­ing Colin Far­rell on his pu­ta­tive choice of a crus­tacean iden­tity seems both funny and nor­mal. The hu­mour in The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer is more il­licit, hov­er­ing some­where in the Psy­cho-like mu­si­cal score’s melo­dra­mat­ics and the hor­ri­ble bathos of a paral­ysed child drag­ging him­self across a clean kitchen floor to show off his obe­di­ent new hair­cut.

Mu­sic, a fea­ture of only his two most re­cent films, is a ma­jor el­e­ment in both the pathos and hu­mour, but in the Lan­thi­mos rubric, only as in­con­gruity. “Be­fore, I just couldn’t fig­ure out why you’d use mu­sic to just un­der­line the same thing that’s hap­pen­ing in a scene, and nav­i­gate peo­ple to a very spe­cific way of think­ing and feel­ing.

I love mu­sic, but when­ever I tried to use it in a film

I al­ways felt that it only limited ev­ery scene, and the gen­eral tone. You couldn’t re­ally as­so­ciate the scene with more than any one thing; it just be­came a very re­stricted thing. And then The Lob­ster was the first time I man­aged to use mu­sic in a way that it brought some­thing dif­fer­ent to the film. If I used it, I wanted mu­sic to be re­ally present.” The score fea­tures Shostakovich, Sch­nit­tke and Stravin­sky, and places its sonorous strings and melo­dra­matic jar­ring chords at ex­quis­ite pulse-points of the ac­tion. The ef­fect is both solemn and hi­lar­i­ous as well as in­ge­nious, such as when char­ac­ters are in­formed of an­other hu­mil­i­at­ing ho­tel rule and in the fol­low­ing diges­tive pause a gi­ant Teu­tonic or Stal­in­ist-era chord slams down. “I don’t like to take my­self too se­ri­ously or the film that I make to be too self-se­ri­ous. So I hope I find ways of us­ing mu­sic in a way that cre­ates this other tonal­ity. Then you have some­thing dif­fer­ent in your hands.”

He plays it a lit­tle disin­gen­u­ous: the preda­tory track­ing cam­era shots of The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer and the use of the lit­er­ally shin­ing Kubrick­ean cor­ri­dors are ad­mit­ted to only as im­pro­vi­sa­tions ac­cord­ing to cir­cum­stances or in­stinct. For all the philo­soph­i­cal lais­sez-faire, he seems very tightly in con­trol of his di­rec­to­rial au­thor­ity, ruth­lessly fling­ing the au­di­ence from ex­hal­ing re­prieve to a scene where some­one bites a hole in their own arm. “The dif­fi­cult thing is that you can’t re­ally con­trol how peo­ple feel when they’re watch­ing a film, be­cause peo­ple are so dif­fer­ent and they un­der­stand things so dif­fer­ently. You can only con­struct this thing ac­cord­ing to your own un­der­stand­ing and per­cep­tion of things. It’s a dif­fer­ent per­son who watches it; it just de­pends so much on who they are, what their ed­u­ca­tion is like or their back­ground or ex­pe­ri­ences in life, or how much they’ve been ex­posed to films or other forms of art or en­ter­tain­ment.”

Does he make his un­nerv­ing fa­bles for him­self, in the end, or his au­di­ence’s en­ter­tain­ment? “It’s not like I make them for my­self,” he says as the pub­li­cist be­gins hur­ry­ing him off the phone. “It’s just about ex­pos­ing these things and say­ing, ‘We don’t have a clue’, and, ‘Yeah, isn’t it strange to feel this way about cer­tain things and not be­ing able to an­swer them with con­vic­tion?’ That in­ter­ests me as a feel­ing. I’m try­ing to cre­ate that. I do want other peo­ple to en­joy it, but I can­not make it by think­ing how that will hap­pen. I can only make it by think­ing what I find most in­ter­est­ing. It’s the only com­pass you can have when you’re mak­ing a film like that.”

He and Filip­pou have a rou­tine of ges­tat­ing a new project while still edit­ing the pre­vi­ous work, so in Lan­thi­mos’s head al­ready a new in­ter­est­ing ques­tion is form­ing, some shin­ing shadow, some new fam­ily’s se­cu­rity to be dis­mem­bered. “Don’t be scared,” says The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer’s Martin through a blood­ied

• mouth. “It’s just a metaphor.”

KATE HOLDEN is the au­thor of the memoirsIn My Skin and The Ro­man­tic: Ital­ian Nights and Days.

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