The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

EX­TRAS: None AT just 53 min­utes, Kanyini is a mod­est and unas­sum­ing film, yet it is el­e­gant and beau­ti­ful to watch. It is re­mark­able for its depth of Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory and be­lief told so suc­cinctly and with such clar­ity, and for the depth of gen­eros­ity and warmth dis­played by its charis­matic nar­ra­tor and sub­ject, Bob Ran­dall. Ran­dall, a re­spected Abo­rig­i­nal elder, was born at Mid­dle­ton Pond in the Cen­tral Desert re­gion of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and is listed as one of the tra­di­tional own­ers of Uluru. Kanyini is the Pit­jan­t­jat­jara word for con­nect­ed­ness, be­tween a per­son and four con­cepts: be­lief sys­tem, spir­i­tu­al­ity, land and fam­ily. Ran­dall as­serts that what is per­haps the old­est cul­ture in the world ( here in the time of Cae­sar, Je­sus Christ and Cleopa­tra) was sys­tem­at­i­cally stripped of each of the Kanyini el­e­ments by gov­ern­ment pol­icy, so that a once proud, in­de­pen­dent and healthy cul­ture has been left racked by abuse and poverty. Ran­dall was a child of the stolen gen­er­a­tions, yet de­spite his ob­vi­ous suf­fer­ing is sur­pris­ingly op­ti­mistic. Key el­e­ments are his mus­ings on what di­rec­tions to take to as­sist Abo­rig­ines and the at­ti­tude to the land that was passed down to him as a child: not to take more than you need, not to de­stroy. Ran­dall co­pro­duced Kanyini with Me­lanie Ho­gan, who also wrote and di­rected. Ar­rest­ing cin­e­matog­ra­phy by Martin Lee and Den­son Baker is sup­ple­mented by en­gag­ing archival footage. Kanyini should be es­sen­tial view­ing for ev­ery Aus­tralian.

Sharon Fowler Kanyini ( PG) Road­show ( fea­ture runs 53 min­utes) $ 39.95 WATCH­ING Volver , I couldn’t es­cape a vi­sion of di­rec­tor Pe­dro Almod­ovar as a boy, fas­ci­nated by his aun­ties and other women in his life, com­pelled by their rich, gos­sipy lives. Volver is al­most un­bear­ably fem­i­nine as it in­ves­ti­gates the lives of a fam­ily of women liv­ing in present- day Madrid. There are just two men in the story, the highly sexed Paco ( An­to­nio de la Torre) and a rather dis­em­bod­ied restau­rant owner. But what women Almod­ovar cre­ates. Pene­lope Cruz gives the per­for­mance of her ca­reer as hard­work­ing Raimunda. Her heav­ily fea­tured cleav­age and all those ex­pressed Span­ish emo­tions and re­ac­tions make her a de­light to watch. Raimunda is mar­ried to Paco and they have a teenage daugh­ter, Paula ( Yo­hana Cobo). The sex­u­ally frus­trated Paco, who we see mas­tur­bat­ing in bed be­side Raimunda when she turns down his ad­vances, turns his at­ten­tion to the wil­lowy Paula. One night when drunk he throws him­self on top of her. She fights back with the only weapon that comes to hand, a gi­gan­tic kitchen knife, and stabs him to death. To pro­tect her daugh­ter, Raimunda takes re­spon­si­bil­ity, tem­po­rar­ily stor­ing the body in the freezer at a restau­rant she has com­man­deered to make a few euros. There is also a con­fus­ing plot about the ghostly re­turn of Raimunda’s mother ( Car­men Maura) and an­other about a fam­ily friend who is dy­ing of can­cer. Be­neath the plots beats Almod­ovar’s true pur­pose: re­veal­ing the ten­der­ness, the in­trigues and the spe­cial ties only women can know.

Ian Cuth­bert­son EX­TRAS: In­ter­views, trail­ers Volver ( M) Magna Pa­cific ( fea­ture runs 121 min­utes) Rental ( avail­able July 4) ‘‘ JE­SUS pissed off a lot of peo­ple, you know. Will you stop turn­ing the wa­ter into wine, I’m try­ing to take a shower.’’ It’s jokes such as th­ese, de­liv­ered in Bos­ton co­me­dian Steven Wright’s trade­mark dead­pan bari­tone, that have earned him a rep­u­ta­tion as king of the one- lin­ers. The clos­est thing we have lo­cally is prob­a­bly El­liot Gob­let, the sim­i­larly dead­pan al­ter ego of Melbourne comic Jack Levi. I find Gob­let fun­nier and I think that’s be­cause of the lo­cal­i­sa­tion, the tenor of the com­edy and fa­mil­iar­ity of the ref­er­ences. Still, Wright has his mo­ments: ‘‘ The uni­verse is ex­pand­ing. That should help ease the traf­fic.’’ ‘‘ Imag­ine Pulitzer prize fight­ing.’’ Pause. ‘‘ See two writ­ers beat­ing the shit out of each other.’’ ‘‘ Imag­ine how weird phones would look if your mouth was nowhere near your ears.’’ But just when it looks like he’s go­ing to keep de­liv­er­ing th­ese lit­tle self- con­tained gems all night, he changes the pace al­most im­per­cep­ti­bly by launch­ing into a pro­longed se­ries of them about a for­mer girl­friend, which is the first time we get any­where near the typ­i­cal in­ter- con­nected rou­tine comics gen­er­ally do. Short at­ten­tion span? Maybe. ‘‘ The rea­son I’m so laid- back is be­cause in high school I smoked a lot of Ri­talin.’’ When Wright is on, his ma­te­rial has ter­rific author­ity. ‘‘ My nephew has HDADD. High def­i­ni­tion at­ten­tion deficit dis­or­der. He can barely pay at­ten­tion, but when he does it’s un­be­liev­ably clear.’’ Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away ( M) Um­brella ( fea­ture runs 75 min­utes) $ 24.95

Ian Cuth­bert­son EX­TRAS: Ad­di­tional per­for­mance; short film

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