The Beguiled (M) Sofia Coppola’s remake of Donald Siegel’s The Beguiled, which she scripted and which won her the best director prize at Cannes a couple of months ago, is understandably tilted more towards the female characters than the original. That’s fair enough, and she has an excellent cast at her disposal. Rather than aim for the gothic, down and dirty approach of Siegel, Coppola goes for languid sensuality. Philippe Le Sourd’s camera glides through the mosscovered, sun-dappled trees or worships the beautiful women in their white dresses in interiors lit only by candles. It’s all very beautiful and just a tad dull. Admirers of the original film probably won’t be impressed with the way Coppola manages to turn such a volatile narrative into something frankly rather bland. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the original, this tasteful and undeniably beautiful film may well beguile you.
The Black Prince (M) The Black Prince is written and directed by Indian actor and filmmaker Kavi Raz and stars Indian poet and singersongwriter Satinder Sartaaj in his acting debut. This two-hour movie is close to a biopic. At its centre is Duleep Singh (Sartaaj), the last maharaja of the Sikh empire, the last king of Punjab. At 15 he was sent to England, royally housed and well educated. He became a favourite of Queen Victoria (Amanda Root). If you don’t know much about Singh, you can follow this like a historical thriller. It is a carefully made film, sometimes to the point of slowness in plot development and over-explanation in dialogue. But it also goes beyond the dates-and-places history we read at school to consider the thoughts, desires and regrets of a man born to have everything but forced to have nothing. Defiant Lives (tbc) Defiant Lives is a documentary feature about the campaign to gain rights for people with disabilities. A great deal of Sarah Barton’s film uses archive video footage of past protests, especially the period during which people with disabilities challenged the authorities during the Carter and Bush Sr presidencies, demanding wheelchair access to public transport and public buildings. These protests proved an inspiration to activists in Australia and Britain, and footage of their protests is also included. The film delves into the sorry history of how society deals with the disabled, who in the past often were confined to institutions and insane asylums. The main aim of many disabled people featured in the film is to be allowed to live in their own homes, outside the prison-like places where they were formerly forced to live.
The Kings Cross Theatre, 2/244-248 William Street, Sydney. Tickets: $25-$35. Bookings: (02) 9331 9900 or online. July 28-August 19. This Much is True This Much is True, by Australian playwright Louis Nowra, is set in a pub called the Rising Sun. The play has a wonderful collection of bizarre figures and becomes an exhilarating celebration of community. It reminds us to spend time with the strange people we meet in pubs or on the street, and to appreciate their humanity. Toby Schmitz’s production is excellent. It moves the characters around the space, continually reconfiguring them in new ways, as we do when we are moving around a crowded bar. The Old Fitz Theatre, 129 Dowling Street, Sydney. Tonight, 8.15pm. Tickets: $35-$42. Bookings: 0416 044 413 or online. Duration: 2hr, no interval. Until August 12. Rice Michele Lee’s whip-smart, finely tuned and ultimately very moving play Rice simply has