(M) This is a brilliant, profound, at times moving documentary that is a must-see for anyone interested in how art can change people, countries and even history. If you have followed Stratton as a critic, you will learn a lot over an hour and 40 minutes: about the movies and the man himself. Would his former television cohost Margaret Pomeranz agree? She pops up here, with charm. David Stratton: A Cinematic Life is written and directed by Sally Aitken, a Kiwi who has made acclaimed local TV series such as The Great Australian Race Riot and Streets of Your Town.
Bitter Harvest (M) Director George Mendeluk offers a disappointingly trite reminder of the appalling events of 1932-33 when, on the orders of Stalin, Soviet authorities were responsible for the deliberate starvation of between seven and 10 million Ukrainians. Despite location filming in Ukraine, this Englishlanguage production suffers from superficial scripting.
T2 Trainspotting (R18+) It’s fascinating to watch the 1996 heroin addiction tour de force Trainspotting today and think about who the young actors have been on-screen since. Now they have reunited for director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge in the much-anticipated sequel, Trainspotting, and sadly it will not be remembered as the best work of any of them. New material, such as Mark and Simon having to sing in a pub they plan to rob, feels more like a skit than something real. “You’re a tourist in your own youth,’’ Simon says to Mark at one point. Unfortunately that could stand for the film as a whole.
Silence (MA15+) Martin Scorsese’s cherished project is a faithful and visually impressive adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel — previously filmed in 1971 by Masahiro Shinoda — about Portuguese missionaries who, in the 17th century, attempted to bring Christianity to Japan despite an official edict banning the alien religion. The harsh opposition these undoubtedly brave but arguably foolhardy men faced is vividly depicted, with fine performances.
The Insiders ARIA award-winning singer Bertie Blackman (pictured) is further cementing her name in the visual arts scene with her first exhibition in Sydney. The musician is exhibiting her work in Sydney at the Harvey Gallery in the city’s north. The Insiders, which features more than 20 works on paper and canvas — with titles that include Making Ladders to Dream and Two Heads are Better than One — is described by the gallery as encapsulating “fanciful narratives with a delicate precision” and a visual dreamscape. Harvey Gallery, 515 Sydney Road, Seaforth. Admission is free. Inquiries: (02) 9907 0595 or online. Ends tomorrow. A Fit Place for Women: NSW Parliament This exhibition explores the history of women in state politics. A Fit Place for Women: NSW Parliament