It’s dark, kinky and funny. The Fabulous Punch and Judy Show is the Aussie extreme adaptation of this classic puppet show. This medley of sex and murder scenes portrays the violence and turns into cabaret as if out of this world. On the other hand, they could be found in the news every day: wife beating, child raping, gay bashing and so on.
No wonder why I felt very intense after the first time visiting this play as a photographer on the final run-through. While I was concentrating on visions through the camera, the violence came straight into my brain without diluting with punch lines. It is a comedy, anyhow. Once I saw it again as an audience on the opening night, I could laugh with its wits and outrages. The surreal tone went along perfectly with the wacky performances. Especially, the cover version of Aussie pop classic was the most adorable.
The Fabulous Punch and Judy Show is a part of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival 2008 and currently playing at Cleveland Street Theatre until 29 February.
The Science of Sleep
I am a big fan of a French Director, Michel Gondry. The visions he creates such as Chemical Brothers’ Star Guitar and Kylie Minogue’s Come into My World are always astounding. His second feature film, The Science of Sleep, has all his visual tricks that go with dream-and-reality-cross-over theme.
After his father’s death, Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal), moves to France to find out that he does not get the job he was promised as an Illustrator but as a Typesetter in a calendar publisher. The escape from real-life frustration is in the journey through his dreams. Then he falls in love with a local, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), but the girl seems so distant even though she is living next door. While he is trying desperately to win her heart, his delusions become closer and closer to reality.
So what our dreams are made of, just some random intuitive thoughts or emotional fragments of daily life? Boundary between the realms of reality and fantasy is blurred in schizophrenic patients. In this case, Stephane’s mild illusions expose his ingredients of his dreams and mix up with reality quite beautifully.
The vivid dream sequences are made of conventional animation and old-time movie techniques, at least, I do not detect any computer graphics. It is the right medium for a French romantic-comedy—I am not talking about Amelie. The down fall is that I just cannot help comparing them with Terry Gilliam’s work, only more or less Brechtian.
Paris, Je T’aime: Sugar-coated Paris
Thank to the generosity’s of Australian Centre for Photography, I and Stilgherrian have a chance to see an advance screening of Paris Je T’aime. It is an interesting and challenging project—18 different love stories taking places in Paris districts from different directors. We see the diversed lives of the people in the city: lonely Parisians, grieving mother, couples in the edge of their relationship, disadvantage migrants and, of course, clueless tourists.
Nothing is new about a collaboration of directors telling different stories under one theme. The style becomes the genre itself. New York Stories is closest cousin to this film. But to line up 18 shorts together is quite an ambition. It is another hi-concept that could be the problem itself, in other words, there are too many. It is like watching SBS’s SOS with the certain theme on Saturday night but less variety of style.
Despite the big names such as, Gus Van Sant, Gérard Depardieu and Wes Craven, few of them deliver a fresh feeling of love and emotion. No need to talk about each segment, most of them are pretty much the same with the exception of Vincenzo Natali‘s Quartier de la Madeleine, Coen Brothers‘ Tuileries and Alexander Payne‘s 14th arrondissement. What puzzles me the most is the weird and dream-like segment, Christopher Doyle‘s Porte de Choisy which jumps out from all of them. He not only stamps his signature on Kathy Li‘s cinematography, but prove his strong connection to the orient.
After the screening, I have a craving for spicy food. We go to Snakebean Asian Diner on Oxford Street and have Thai late dinner there. Ironically, the food is still a bit too sweet for my taste buds.