Possibly the weirdest film I’ve ever seen: Toni Erdmann

You might think that a two and three quarter hour German language film about an annoying prankster father and his career obsessed, high-flying daughter would not appeal, but believe me, it is brilliant.

The title is a pseudonym the father adopts when pretending to be alternately a life coach, a consultant, an ambassador and the friend of a famous tennis player. He is actually a piano teacher whose last student has quit and whose dog has just died. He decides to head to Bucharest in an attempt to connect with his businesswoman daughter, who is ruthlessly engaged in promoting her career as a downsizing business consultant.

What follows is a hilariously painful series of encounters in which the father appears at her office, at parties and business functions, often wearing a bad wig. In doing so, he exposes the emptiness, lovelessness and hard-heartedness of her life.

This is perhaps the weirdest film I’ve ever seen, but also one of the funniest and most touching. Put 3 hours aside. It’s worth it.

“Toni Erdmann” was written and co-produced by Maren Ade. It stars Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller. It won five awards at the 29th European Film Awards: Best Film (a first for a film directed by a woman), Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Actor, and Best Actress.It also won the European Parliament LUX Prize.It was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards. (Wikipedia)

Free the Garron Five: Brock, Dally, Flett, Hopkins, McKenna – Saturday 25th March 2017 7 p.m., Blackwood.

2016-10-07-09-03-12

 

Well, not quite free, but only $5 on the door. A reprise of the launch of the 2016 Garron chapbooks at The Artisan Cafe, 252 Main Road, Blackwood, South Australia.

Probably advisable to book a table in advance.

For bookings/info call Rebecca Edwards on 8278 2473

On Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1857556531173873/

 

artisan

 

 

Book Review: “The North Water” by Ian McGuire

The North WaterThe North Water by Ian McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gripping read. The incredible story (maybe at times too incredible) of an ex-army surgeon with a chequered career, who signs onto a whaling ship headed to the frozen north. It is a page-turner but also incorporates significant historical detail of the period and the professions of the characters.
Some characters are drawn in more detail, which is probably inevitable with a large cast, but I found myself not fully understanding the motivations of some of them.

McGuire has created one of the nastiest pieces of work ever to besmirch a novel, one Henry Drax. Drax is not a man you would ever want to encounter in real life. In this novel, however, he provides a compelling villain.

Almost as horrifying for me, as a vegetarian, are the attitudes to nature exhibited by the characters. Nature is to be plundered and ravaged, and not much more value is placed on human life.

I found McGuire’s prose overly ornate at times. He could be accused, I think, of trying to impress with his vocabulary. For instance:

“The moon is gibbous, the arcing sky garrulous with stars. The two dead bodies lie just as they were, exposed and recumbent, like the eerie gisants of a long forgotten dynasty”.

WTF? Still, don’t let this put you off if you’re looking for a gripping tale of murder and mayhem. Not for the faint-hearted or squeamish.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016.

(You probably knew this already, but in case not, a gisant is “A tomb effigy, usually a recumbent effigy or in French gisant (French, “recumbent”) is a sculpted figure on a tomb monument depicting in effigy the deceased.”)

View all my reviews

Book Review: “Piano Lessons” by Anna Goldsworthy

Piano Lessons: A MemoirPiano Lessons: A Memoir by Anna Goldsworthy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is as much about an inspirational teacher as it is about a precociously talented young student who reaches the top-level of her artistic profession. Goldsworthy takes us on the path from an Adelaide childhood through to an adulthood dominated by her obsession with the piano. Her whole life is changed by the piano teacher discovered by her grandfather. The teacher is a Russian exile, living in Adelaide. The teacher has amusingly fractured English, and unique insights into the difference between someone who plays the piano with technical proficiency, and someone who is a true artist.

It reminds me in some ways of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, in that it describes in great detail a subject which few of us know intimately, and manages to do this in a gripping way. There are of course also shades of “Dead Poets Society” in the inspirational figure of the teacher.

View all my reviews