MonthSeptember 2020

Sara Dowse – West Block

New edition
For Pity Sake Publishing, Australia, 2020
Reviewed by Dorothy Johnston

In 1983, when West Block was first released, there had been very little prose fiction set in Australia’s national capital.

The first published novel to be set in Canberra was Plaque With Laurel, by M.Barnard Eldershaw, the pen name of Marjorie Barnard and Flora Eldershaw. It appeared in 1937.

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Canberra Bonsai Society Annual Show

10-11 October 2020
Canberra High School
Bindubi Street, Macquarie ACT

The display will feature high quality bonsai from the collections of CBS members, including some created by local artists currently represented in the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia at the National Arboretum, Canberra (NAC).

Barbie speaks with Brenda Berkeley from Canberra Bonsai Society
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Sputnik – Film Review

Dendy Canberra
1 to 14 October 2020

Horror, sci-fi
In Russian with English subtitles
113 minutes, rated MA 15+

This ‘alien taking possession of a space traveller’ film will initially remind sci-fi fans of Alien. Sputnik, set in the Soviet era, has all the violence and horror of any such scenario – we are immediately repelled by the strangeness, the physicality of the invasion of the human body.

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On the Rocks – Film Review

Palace Electric Canberra
From 2 October 2020
Comedy/drama (dramedy)
97 minutes, rated G
Directed by Sofia Coppola

A young New York mother (Rashida Jones) faced with sudden doubts about her marriage teams up with her playboy father (Bill Murray) to tail her husband (Marlon Wayans). The ensuing comic adventure draws father and daughter closer.

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Petronella McGovern – The Good Teacher

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2020

This is a thrilling second novel from the author of the best-selling Six Minutes.

Beginning in a distinctly domestic milieu with a primary school teacher suffering the breakdown of her 20 -odd-year marriage, the story moves inexorably into the dark realms of sociopathic crime. We feel our hackles rise as we live this story with Allison Walsh. It’s an emotionally demanding book with layer upon layer of conflicting emotions for the reader to navigate.

Petronella McGovern talks about The Good Teacher
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Four Kids and it – film review

At Palace Electric
110 minutes, rated PG
Directed by Andy De Emmony

Alice and David take their children from previous relationships to meet each other for the first time.on a family holiday in a Cornwall cottage

The holiday takes an unexpected turn when the kids discover a magical (and very grumpy) creature, with the power to grant wishes, on the local beach. And then there’s the oddball Tristan, the local lord of the manor. The ensuing adventure brings the new siblings together and teaches them to accept their parents new-found happiness.

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Mess – Belconnen Arts Centre

1-2 October 2020
COVID-safe restrictions apply – bookings
No door sales

Director Natsuko Yonezawa delves deep into the psyche of Hikikomori – the phenomenon in which people elect to be socially and physically isolated. Mess employs physical theatre, dance and live sound composition and plays experimentally with the shadows and light found in isolation and self-made mess.

Barbie speaks with Mess director Natsuko Yonezawa and performer Christopher Samuel Carroll
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Jill Baker – A Dog Called Harry

Hachette, Australia, 2020

One would expect an award-winning journalist to write well, and indeed we are not disappointed with Jill Baker’s engaging and moving book, A Dog Called Harry.

Jill’s comfortable and happy life as editor of major newspapers and magazines, married to George and living contentedly and healthily on a small farm, was suddenly brought to an end with two major life events – the sudden death of her husband due to an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, quickly followed by her own diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent chemotherapy treatment. She had well and truly lost her joy in life.

Jill Baker talks to Barbie about A Dog Called Harry
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Susie Dureau – I am not an Individual

Suki & Hugh Gallery, Bungendore NSW
Weekends 10am to 4pm , other times by appointment
Until Sunday 11 October 2020

Susie Dureau’s new paintings express our relationship with the natural world. They are dream like evocations with combined memories and observations of both the natural and the built environment, the outer skin of things and the internal organisms.

Susie Dureau talks about I am not an Individual
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Italian Film Festival 2020

Palace Electric Canberra
1 to 18 October 2020

The 21st Italian Film Festival showcases a selection of the best new films from Italy, opening with a spectacular live-action adaptation of the classic fairy tale Pinnocchio. From the Director of Gomorrah and Dogman, Matteo Garrone’s seven-time Nastro d’Argento award-winner is an enthralling gothic fantasy starring Roberto Benigni as the woodcutter Geppetto.

With dramas and comedies, the Festival includes films from locations including including Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cernobbio and Morocco.

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Milena Cifali – Mallacoota Time – the lost summer of 2020

Echo Books, Australia, 2020
Available in soft and hardback editions
Design by Peter Gamble, Canberra
Cover art by – soft back Milena Cifali; hardback Ishak Masukor

Part memoir, part hymn to Mallacoota, part account of the fires of the Australian summer of 2019-2020 and the devastation and loss that resulted, Mallacoota Time is a beautifully written passage through grief.

The author aims to help others who have suffered loss through the fires, or other grief, to heal. She writes honestly of her own losses, fears and struggles and in this she invites us to feel our own – whatever they may be.

Milena Cifali talks to Barbie about Mallacoota Time
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Milena Cifali – Mallacoota Time book launch and event

Music, poetry and readings from Mallacoota Time a memoir of recovery
Windsong Pavilion | Four Winds Road| Barragga Bay NSW
4pm Satuday 26 September 2020
Free, but registration essential (see below)

Highly-regarded creative talent Milena Cifali is an award winning singer-songwriter and poet,   who, along with her partner Jim Horvath, lost her home, instruments and beloved parrots  in the Mallacoota bushfires on New Year’s Eve 2019.

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Rawah Arja – The F team

Giramondo Publishing Company, University of Western Sydney, Australia, 2020
Design Jenny Grigg
Cover illustration Ben Juers

This is Rawah Arja’s debut novel and what a superb novel it is! Ostensibly and billed as YA fiction, The F Team has much to say to all readers.

The story hangs on a group of four Lebanese Muslim boys from Punchbowl High School whose behaviour (and potential) brings them to the notice of the school hierarchy in the context of a possible school closure. They are teamed up with four lads from rival school Cronulla to form a rugby league team for an inter-school competition and we follow the ups and downs of this process along with the challenges of the personal lives of each.

Barbie talks to Rawah Arja about The F Team
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