Come on, he’s surely the coolest Dictator this Feb? Castro doesn’t die, he retires and lets his brother take over. I’m sure that’s not how the CIA imagined him going out from the sixties onwards, they apparently tried to kill 638 times. Thats got to be a record, Guinness? Retired and beloved in his eighties, Castro is Cuba. They say Emperor’s don’t die in their sleep, but Castro just might.

Castro is a great revolutionary leader, with some slight reservations. i.e. his misguided abuses of homosexuals and his ill treatment of some anti communists and dissidents. That aside he is a true classic Political figure to be openly admired. He stood up to the US for 50 years and still lives to write his autobiography and smoke his famous Cubans in his 80’s. While an avowed socialist, then Marxist/Leninist communist, some have noted a certain Fascist ‘spirit de corp’ to his dictatorship of over 50 years not that dissimilar to Mussolinian notions of corporatism, national syndicalism, charismatic leadership and myth, land reform and many other issues of comparison. Indeed, Castro has mixed ideas from both the Left and Right in his own mix tape of a decade’s long reign at Cuba’s DJ decks, lately embracing even some aspects of Capitalism and the free market.

Friend of the poor People of Cuba and Che Guevra, victorious over thrower of the corrupt regime of Batista, Castro strikes a distinct pose in late 20th century politics and casts a guiding shadow into our own century. The Bay Of Pigs, The Cuban Missle Crisis, the opening of Cuban prisons and expelling of their contents on the USA. Great (and dangerous) historical moments all.

He has the air of a true revolutionary, too. When Forbes magazine put him amongst the Wealthiest people on Earth list claiming he owned Cuba’s businesses, Castro got pissed off and considered suing, “If they can prove that I have a bank account abroad, with $900m, with $1m, $500,000, $100,000 or $1 in it, I will resign.”. Some revolutionaries are exactly that. They don’t want money, they don’t want swiss bank accounts with gold, they want justice, they want freedom for a Volk. Sometimes, they get a little carried away in their zeal for their specific political project, we admit… but their true calling as revolutionaries cannot be doubted.

Here is his abstract from wikipedia (with my own tiny edits):

Castro first attracted attention in Cuban political life through nationalist critiques of Batista and the United States political and corporate influence in Cuba (Good on him). He gained an ardent, but limited, following and also drew the attention of the authorities.(Yikes)[6] He eventually led the failed 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks, after which he was captured, tried, incarcerated and later released. (Boo hoo) He then travelled to Mexico[7][8] to organize and train for the guerrilla invasion of Cuba that took place in December 1956 (Yea!).

Since his assumption of power in 1959 Castro has evoked both praise and condemnation (hooray, hooray, whinge, whinge). Opponents characterize Castro as a dictator, (Dictator… or Philosopher King?) claiming that he has not risen to power through open, public elections, and some contend that his rule is illegitimate because the socialist system itself was not established through what they considered to be legal means. (Crap, Power is self legitimising or at least can be made easily so, see Schmitt) [9] Supporters, on the other hand, see Castro as a charismatic leader[10] whose presidential authority has been acquired through legitimate elections. (Yes, Like us here at Idea Fix, Go Fidel baby!)[11]

Outside of Cuba, Castro has been defined by his relationship with the United States and the former Soviet Union, both of whom courted Cuban attentions as part of their own global political agenda. (Double Dating?) While Cuba’s relations with countries of the Soviet bloc were generally cordial during the Cold War, the Castro-led government has had an antagonistic relationship with the United States since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 by U.S.-backed forces (bye, bye JFK).

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Cuba’s one major Latin American ally, Sandinista Nicaragua, in the early 1990s, the Cuban government found itself in a precarious spot. However, in recent years, Castro has found new regional allies in Latin America. Regional socialist and nationalist figures such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia have been ready allies (That’s right boys, just March Northward into North America and we’ll have something). Castro also holds currently the title of Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement  (and why not too!).

At home, Fidel Castro has overseen the implementation of various economic policies, leading to the rapid centralization of Cuba’s economy, land reform, collectivization and mechanization of agriculture, and the expropriation of leading Cuban industries. Opponents claim that these changes have at best maintained Cuba’s pre-1959 level of development, but at an “extraordinary” cost to the overall welfare of Cubans. (sound like pretty good ideas to us)[12] Conversely, supporters attribute the U.S. embargo for some or all of Cuba’s shortcomings, but maintain that Cuba’s economy has expanded and grown at a more than acceptable rate since the revolution (Fuck the US and its sham democracy).

The expansion of publicly funded health care and education has been a cornerstone of Castro’s domestic political program (Better than the US’s). Cuba ranks better than many countries on the United Nations’ list of countries by infant mortality rate, which is claimed by Castro’s supporters as a success of his government. (More babies live under Castro, cool)

So Castro Enjoy being Idea Fix’s Feb centrefold Dictator of the Month.

You deserve it!

He’s Even trying out now for American Idol. See below…


Go West

February 25, 2008


Daniel Krige’s West is a great low budget Oz flick. I viddy’d it recently and would have to add it to my top ten list of last year, so let’s make it a top elevan.

Set in Sydney’s dreaded Western Suburbs its about two handsome cousins who fall for the same girl and pussy trouble ensues involving speed, gang fights, murder, drug deals and other forms of sordid mischief. You know what I really liked about this film? It’s unflinching portrayal of the low lives of its protagonists. Kham Chittenden plays Pete and Nathan Phillips portrays Jerry two Westy neer do wells who smoke pot, hang at the pub and bum around under a bridge. When Pete gets bashed by a local thug and his stash of pot stolen, he turns to pushing and taking speed to make up for it. Meanwhile, Jerry is fucking local slut Cheryl… who Pete also has the hots for. Cheryl is a classic Westy tart who attracts our two knights in Shining Coldoroy. Jerry is fucking her, then he gets a job at the local fast food Emporium and then Pete takes over, as he is around more, moving the Lou Reed. When accosted again by the guy who bashed him, Pete, Cheryl and his drug dealer boss turn the tables on the assailant thug. Pete then beats the guy to death with a lead pipe at Cheryl’s ‘on heat’ behest. Cut to Pete and Cheryl’s post murder love making session.

It’s all fairly sordid but thats the point. Like Alkinos Tsilimidos excellent Em4jay and the early shorts and new feature of Jason Turley this film provides a non PC portrait of just how ugly things can get in some parts of the Australian back waters.

Sometimes as I read the political ideas of Burke, De Maistre, Bataille and Schmitt, I forget how uncouth and lacking in sophisitication the average Australian male is. Betrayed by the socialist state’s education system and by Capitalism’s enframing emptiness, they are left deserted like detritus in societies gutters. This film is brave for telling their tale in all its true ontological grimness.

Jerry looks up at some graffitti that says “Paradise”. Some shitty graffitti under the gloomy bridge they hang out in. Its an important epiphany moment in the film. A hopeless world is what these boys inhabit. Sold out by their fellow country men and forced to live hopeless lives of not so quite desperation. Jerry kills himself after taking the rap for Pete’s crime and then Pete still turns himself in.

The truly wretched lives of many young Australian comrades whose only option is either a job at McDonald’s or dealing pot is fully comprehended here in West.

Who could free these young men from their sorry existence? What political force could unite this poor underclass that seethes with anger and teach them to fight those who profit from their misery? These are the kind of political questions that one is left with, after watching this  tale of urban hopelessness. Director Daniel Krige must be congratulated for his solid direction and uncompromising vision. Ditto all the leads for strong performances in demanding roles. We live in hope of the day when a ‘settling of the accounts’ is in order for those for have promoted an economic and social system that so ignores the plight of its fit, virile and healthy male youth, forced by social circumstance into their ring of fire, whilst still this side of the ole man River Styx.

West is out now on DVD through Palace.

Cuts like The Knife

February 25, 2008

Ice Cold Swedish Electro from The Knife

Two tracks:

We Share Our Mothers Health

Silent Shout

(I love this track, the way it archipegi’s and contorts, fucking classic. I played this to Pankow in Wangaratta last year, nice moment)


I followed a controversy late last year regarding Morrissey’s views on immigration in Britain and Identity politics. It stemmed from an interview he did with the NME, where he complained that Britain had lost its cultural identity due to its excessive multicultural policies and open immigration.

Here are some of his quotes on the issue:

“Also with the issue of immigration, it’s very difficult because, although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous.

“If you travel to Germany, it’s still absolutely Germany. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity. But travel to England and you have no idea where you are.”

“You have to be sensible about everything in life. You can’t say ‘Everybody come into my house, sit on the bed, have what you like, do what you like’. It wouldn’t work.”

He also stressed his anti racist position, claiming there is a difference between the loss of National cultural identity through over immigration and that of racist beliefs, which Morrissey claims he finds absurd and untenable.

Having been to London four times over the past 20 years …the last in 2004. It is hard to disagree that the England of Empire and political standing the world, of its National cultural, artistic and even pop culture significance … is now dead or dying. As a colony or outpost of this former Empire, where do we in Australia stand in this quagmire?

Here are two articles on the Morrissey controversy.

Article 1

Article 2

Morrissey songs in the past had hinted at his interest in right wing ideas with tracks like Bengali in Platforms about an immigrant who doesn’t “belong here” and National Front Disco with its catch cry of “England, for the English”. All these issues now seem to have embroiled him in the UK immigration debate.

It raises interesting issues…

Where do you draw the line with immigration? A limited multiculturism like in Australia is acceptable, but how long should it be allowed to continue unchecked? Until a nation’s whole identity is altered?. Should a country to loose its cultural identity with excessive influxes of refugees from any culture, any where in the world? Isn’t Japan great because its full of Japanese people in touch with their own culture? There is also the issue of originary population’s general acceptance of multiculturism? And the issue of cultural hegemonic integrity raised by new immigrants sticking exclusively to their foreign national, cultural and ethnic values and not even adopting, say, the National language? Or the issue of harboring religious ideas at odds with the Wests current campaign against extreme Islam?

The influx of refugees from future resource wars, third world misery and poverty and the potential of global warming displacement is clearly a sign of the times.Above all this an ominous Malthusian concern for general human overpopulation and its sustainability on our Gaia. All these issues need to be explored beyond the blinkered impulses of talk back radio shows and other forms of reactionary media, they need to be raised in youthful, new, vital and invigorating political paths, realities and discourses.

I hope to explore some of these issues here on Idea Fix in the future.

In the meantime enjoy Morrissey’s new Greatest Hits, out now and featuring a cool new song “That’s How People Grow up”. Indeed!

The Black Baloon

February 21, 2008

Some one sent me this trailer for Elissa Down’s The Black Baloon because of the Tropfest article (below) talking of Tropfest graduates results post festival and I thought I’d whack it up online. To be honest, it doesn’t look too good, though I like the title.

I mean why do we want to see another film about a mentally handicapped person and their family? It looks like Somesrsault 2 with a retard thrown in for good measure. Honestly, these films look like govermernt ads for getting along with each other. Like some light weight Socialist mind control experiment but the catch is we are supposed to pay 15 bucks to see at the box office?

I mean there’s even a fucking Hills Hoist in the Trailer?

Is it just me people or is something really amiss here in the Australian film industry?

You ask anyone NOW and they’ll tell you Somersault was a piece of shit. Back when it came out it was God’s gift to cinema. Now The Black Balloon. I hope to be surprised (and you can’t be sure from a trailer) but it looks like a formula Aussie story about a difficult family situation, plod, plod, plod, ala: Romulus, Home Song, Clubland, et al.

I mean are Australian’s watching recent good to excellent commercial world cinema? No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Into The Wild, …Jesse James…, Cloverfield, Grindhouse, Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men, Zodiac, Marie Antoinette, I’m Not There, The Fountain, Paranoid Park, Rescue Dawn, Inland Empire, Eastern Promises and on and on. Big ideas, major novels, ambition, daring, controversy, zeitgeist thinking, great concepts, direction and execution. Not kitchen sink family drama and quirky romance, ad infinitum. Should we not at least reach for what is going on in world wide cinema? At least some variety people, variety!

Mass Murderer Restaurant Art

February 21, 2008


What’s up with the pictures of Chairman Mao in Chinese Restaurants?

China Bar in Melbourne has a picture of Mao walking stridently in Green Uniform across a part of the Forbidden City. There’s also a bar called Double Happiness where Mao smiles down on punters at happy hour doubling the drink sales. There’s even a restaurant called Mao’s with miniature statues and posters of the Great Leader everywhere.

Is this the same Mao whose death toll as a mass murderer comes in at around 40 million human beings? It is just add the figures from the Rural and Urban Purges, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Tibet, Forced land reform, work camp deaths and collectivisation. The figure could be even more if you add in the Famine’s caused by his regime’s stupidity.

What is so cuddly about Mao that we want to stare at his iconic metaphorically blood soaked face while we dine on Beef Chow Fun? I have even seen Stalin, the 20th centuries greatest liquidator of human beings adorn some venues and book shops in Melbourne.

Can you imagine a German restaurant having diners sit under portraits of Hitler in full regalia? Why not, he’s no worse than Mao. Hitler’s death toll stands at around 6 million (leaving WW2 out, ok, ok, add another 20 Million if your a pedant) and he is still a third place starter, compared to Mao and Stalin.

Or perhaps on Lygon st., can you envisage dining under the smiling vista of Il Duce? Mussolini is not a blip on the war criminals of the twentieth century wall chart. His own atrocities don’t even make it into 7 figures. Mussolini ranks under half a million people killed and only if you include the Ethiopian conflict.

I’m not one to advocate censorship and taking down these Commie psycho’s from Restaurant walls, as they have a certain pop culture perversity and je ne sais quoi. They are icons of certain ideas and have a romantic appeal to Leftists, I imagine. Hell, I have a soft spot for Mao and Stalin’s crazy ambition, strong leadership concepts, writings and their self evident historical significance. I like this portrait of Mao too by the way (above) adorning this article. I don’t know why?

So, let these Commies hang.

But, please lets have a little sympathy for the other spectrum of politics. Fascist dictators are getting a raw deal, in the restaurant icon adornment stakes. You heard it here first on Idea Fix, peeps.

Perhaps, in the name of simple fair play in the realm of iconic mad dictator art, let’s see The Fuhrer, Franco and Il Duce’s happy visages smiling down benevolently on the people of Melbourne. Yes, in German, Spanish and Italian restaurants who want to get even in the pop culture icon stakes, let see these Fascist’s lead the way… to a delicious meal.

Bon Appetite.

Jim Goad – Man of Letters

February 20, 2008


For those of you not up to speed on the wit, wisdom and weltanschuung of the one wonderful Jim Goad, here’s a wee introduction.

Jim came to fame publishing a cool, dead hip zine in the early nineties called Answer Me! It was published by him and his then wife Debbie and was an us against the world hate magazine par excellence. The writing leapt from the pages with such life, misanthropy and vitality that you couldn’t put it down. Goad and his wife would deconstruct, no that’s too tame a word, Destroy! …such issues as suicide, serial killers, political correctness, feminism, race and many other controversial and cutting edge issues. It also had interesting ramifications in the real world. The suicide issue was seen in the hands of Kurt Cobain shortly before he offed himself, another issue of Answer Me! was found and cited by Robert Pickett who shot at the White House with a machine gun in 2001 and Goad was left money from that trio of Neo Nazi Goths – Bateman, Greenhow and Fleming who enacted a suicide pact back in the 90’s.

Answer Me! all ended in the notorious Rape issue that featured writings from JG and DG, Boyd Rice, Adam Parfrey, Peter Sotos and others, that examined Rape from a perspective not always hostile to its subject matter. You can get The First Three issues of Answer Me! in a reprint with new material from Jim and the Rape issue is still available out there somewhere in reprint. I’m proud to have a rare first edition.

After Answer Me! Jim Goad went it alone and wrote “The Redneck Manifesto”, a treatise that suggested that White Trailer Trash should get over their racial prejudices and unite with their down trodden African American brothers and kick it to the wealthy upper class elite. It was a radical rethink and mix of socialist/fascist ideas and a call to arms that wanted to replace lower class race obsession with US class war. It was a great, daring political treatise of the mid 90’s.

Next Jim got in trouble with the law after an assault charge was filed by his stalking then girlfriend Anne Ryan and did hard US jail time. The case is controversial and having met Jim and heard his side of the story it seems after a year of the craziest behaviour from his on again off again girlfriend, he was backed into a corner, had his nose broken and lost the plot. Jim, if you meet him, is a big man, a sweet, well spoken person sure, but not someone you would ever back into a corner and give him no way out but violence. If you do that, well, you’d be a silly little sausage.

Jim said about Us prison that it was awful but the people were nice!

He wrote a book about his stalking nut girlfriend and hard time in the Big House called Shit Magnet and you can hear Ryan’s pre assault Death Threats on line at: http://www.jimgoad.net

He also visited Australia (when I met him) to be on the John Safran and Father Bob Triple J show to speak out against the violence against women ads running in Australia. He pointing out that women can be just as violent and destructive as men in the home and else where, from mothers in childhood to psycho spouses who bash men (with the men not reporting it, fearing a stigma of not ‘taking it like a man’, etc.) in and out of relationships.

Where are the ads for abused men in relationships on our TV and cinema screens? Men and Women can be equally violent in my own opinion, given the circumstances and those Aussie ads were pure one sided hypocrisy.

Jim recently published JG’s Gigantic Book of Sex. Jim’s guide to the boudoir that is surely a must for any self respecting hedonist to have sitting next to well leafed editions of Kinsey, Freud, De Sade, Von Sacher Masoch, Havelock Ellis and Kraft Ebbing.

His next project is a book on Race, no less.

Jim Goad is like an underground HL Mencken, the famous opinion columnist and editor of the 20’s and 30’s. Amazingly witty, clever and erudite in his opinions he comments on many issues in his regular writings for magazines world wide and also on his website and discussion forum NetJerk to be found at: jimgoad.net. I consider Goad a serious writer and Man of Letters of the caliber of Hunter S. Thompson and others of that ilk, fearlessly destroying all in his path with his pen, prose and acumen. In the later years of the 21st century his writings will be looked back on with reverence.

Jim is also expecting a child it seems from his website. So Congrats to Jim and new family. We Salute you at Idea Fix!

Here is a recent piece “Hillary Clinton Must Die” that has some classic prose from this later day Dostoevsky – Goad Article.

Tropfest 2008 Uncut

February 20, 2008


I was interviewed in the new issue of Filmink about John Polson’s Tropfest. While you have to respect how it’s grown and the publicity it provides to it’s winners, I raised some other issues in the interview.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think its a good event with a strong International Profile, etc., But it could now move in a direction more towards cinematic authenticity, daring and originality and away from the Advertising or Benny Hill gag reel some entries have been in the past.

I did not see the 2008 broadcast, but Michelle Lehman’s film about a young girl chasing a schoolboy around the school yard won best film for “Marry Me”. So congrats to her, I hope it was good. I’ll try and catch up with somewhere and file a report.

Regarding the Filmink interview. My answers were edited (naturally), so here are my answers (in full and uncut) to Brian Duff’s Questions (why not it’s my blog?!):

Q. Does Tropfest have a role to play in the market,either by shining a light on talented filmmakers or as a training ground for actors, directors, dops, screenwriters, etc?

RW. Sure, any film festival that encourages movies and
movie makers is a good thing in some senses. Period.
The best way to learn how to make films is to actually
make them. So, Tropfest does contribute to this
regardless of content.

Q. Was Tropfest ever indie? Did it stray from that? If
so, how far, and is that to its detriment? Do
celebrities, big crowds, revelry take away from it in
some way?

RW. It started Indy and then went mega to its detriment, I
believe. Basically, I think Tropfest is a commercially
driven prescriptive “filmmaking by the numbers”
competition… that part is unfortunately bullshit. The
problem is that you have to include a flame or a dildo or something silly like
that. It’s advertising language and speak. Include a carton of milk or tin of spaghetti and lets move some product! The skill sets it develops may be fruitful for advertising but for cinema or even short cinema? Not so much…

Not to say that some entries are not good cinema. Its just
the tasks, milieu and environment the festival sets is
like a festival for TV ads. That is fine in itself. Serious works of cinema are
few and far between at Tropfest, I imagine. I speak
generally of course there are exceptions that prove
the rule. Also, how many of the winners have gone on
to make great features or docos or other cool shorts?
MUFF I wager has an equal or better track record for discovering or fostering
real talent like James Wan, Scott Ryan, Mark Savage, Stuart Simpson, Jason Turley and many others than that over hyped celebrity gob fest known to you all as Tropfest.

Q. Do its winners have to go on to make great features
for the festival to be relevant? You seem to think so;
what do you expect from upcoming films like Black
Balloon (Elissa Down) and The Tender Hook (Jonathan
Ogilvie), for example?

RW. Yes. Surely, that’s its raison d’etre? To discover new talent was its
original purpose? Talented people like Gregor Jordan and Nash Edgerton have gone through its mill and that’s a darn good thing if it helped them along their way. I
know nothing of Black Balloon and The Tender Hook does
sound interesting with Hugo Weaving set in the 1920’s.
I can’t comment until I see the work. But of course it will produce some good filmmakers and that is a good thing.

Q. Do you see Tropfest as a viable and/or important
filmmaking initiative; as more and more filmmakers
create Trop projects, does that provide a service
for the industry and for arts in general?

RW. It’s over sold as an event ‘bread and
circuses’ to placate the media hype machine. Most
entries are based around gags, technique and
advertising style tropes. This breeds feature
filmmakers who are equally as inane as TV ads. Tropfest has its
place but it should be seen as part of a network of
festivals that show good work like MIFF, SIFF, BIFF
but also Revelation, MUFF and now SUFF. These later
festivals should also get more credit for showing
innovative and truly daring programs and new cinema
without silly gimmicks and overt celebrity

Q. Has Tropfest strayed from its indie roots and
gone too corporate (betraying constituency, etc)?

RW. Yes, sure. Tropfest is not all bad, of course. It has a
carnival atmosphere that is fun, large crowds and is based in
Sydney… that needs all the culture it can get! I also have no problem with its Populism…more Australian feature cinema should be so.

Q. Tropfest films are often labelled as cookie-cutter in
some way. Is that a fair complaint, if so, why do you
think they have become so of a type?

RW. Yes of course it is cookie cutter. This is the main
problem. If you can’t formulate a slick ad style short
with gags, humour and flashy emptiness you stand a
good chance of not even being selected for the main
program. Regardless of who directed it. Sometimes
these traits are good in cinema but rarely without any
story, ideas or philosophical/ideological substance.
Unfortunately, Tropfest tends to play into the hands
of the nihilistic emptiness and cultural waste land
that is our present reality. Rather than flip the dominant paradigm with real subversiveness… it reinforces it with cash in hand mediocrity and acquiescence.

Home Song Snoring

February 17, 2008

I finally caught up with Home Song Stories – the other much lauded Australian film of 2007 – on DVD having missed its blink and you’ll miss it theatrical run.

As I had been told its basically Romulus My Mother. Instead of European New Australian’s we are treated with the Asian variety this time round.

The film is obviously heartfelt by writer and director Tony Ayers and you can’t help but sympathise with him for his childhood… but really is it a good idea for commercial cinema? Confessional novel, yes, film, well…

It’s about Rose, a successful Hong Kong nightclub singer who comes to Australia. Rose is a little bit of a tart it seems…by her own son’s portrayal in this movie. She goes from home to home, with her two poor kids, and from Uncle to Uncle who can’t wait to bed her. In Australia there’s Uncle Bill, a nice enough Anglo Aussie sailor, whose Mom looks and acts like an aging Pauline Hanson, determined to prove that her son’s new love is a using money hungry slut. As Uncle Bill is away and Rose has no one to play with her Chinese butterfly, she goes to Uncle Joe, the handsome but sleazy Asian Illegal immigrant chef at the local Chinese Take Away. Things go swimmingly like a slow boat down the Yangtze until Bill’s mom catches Uncle Joe slipping Rose the old Spring Roll, then its crazier than a Cultural Revolution. Mom kicks out Rose, family and friend faster than it takes to order dim sum. Joe and Rose then go it alone living in a shit hole rented to them by an exploitative fellow Chinese Australian. Uncle Joe gambles and has eyes for Rose’s teenage daughter and is soon reaching for the jailbait. This brings on suicide attempt 1 from Rose. Followed by suicide attempt 2 from daughter over her guilt for Joe’s wandering eye. Followed, eventually by 3rd (this time successful) suicide attempt from Rose… after more poverty and drudgery.

Sounds like a fun evening in, hey? Your running for the DVD library as I speak, right?

Joan Chen is good though as Rose and gives a strong performance like Bana in Romulus, but again such bleak subjects. The film is saved partially by a nice sequence that explains why Rose is fucked up, involving family arranged underage marriage back in Hong Kong to a man called Mr Sun. This sequence works and lifts the film a bit. Also good are the daydreams of the young Tom who has fantasies of defeating family foe’s in mock martial arts sequences. Both are nice additions to the story.

While these later elements lifted the film from the complete doldrums of Romulus My Father, one can’t get away from the question: Who on God’s Green Earth would want to watch such depressing fare? From the box office of Home Song Stories, the answer is not many.

This film spends about a quarter of its time in suicide wards and the plot is dreary by necessity given its tale, that leads to sleep inducing sequences. Snore, Snore…

Both Romulus and Home Song Stories are supposed to be Politically Correct examinations of migrant stories but oddly enough both are examples of the failure of multiculturalism. Both families are outcast, alienated, broke and alone in their new country to the point of serious desperation and then suicide. Rose says in the film, “Australia is cursed. I wished I had never left Hong Kong”. Well, it might have been cursed for her, but her later sentiment one cannot help but agree with. She may well have been happier staying in her own country, where she was a hit club singer and trying to succeed in a culture she knows, understands and was born into.

Home Song Stories is out now on DVD in Australia.


Creepy Ad

February 17, 2008

I wrote a post called the Monstrous a few weeks back about how I find a lot of today’s advertising taking on a strange form of monsterism and deliberate decay.

Now I’m all for people who deface mainstream ads and make them ugly or change the message, etc. More strength to you.

But the phenomenon that interests me of late is the horrific message hidden in plain site behind a lot of modern ads.

Here’s one I saw recently for a Dymo labelling machine of all things:


The ad is supposed to be humorous but instead gives a picture of mutant teeth parent archetypes that says something completely different about mutation and deformity. I intend to post more of these ads which to me reveal the nightmare side of Capitalist emptiness.