8:00 PM, 21st April, 2007
In Canberra there are many public servants who have served overseas: with children packed off to boarding schools, partners who weathered difficult separations and officials who paid personal prices to carry out their positions. Wah-Wah explores contradictory external social appearances and the inner domestic turmoil through the semi autobiographical eyes of writer/director Richard E. Grant who grew up in Swaziland in the 1950s & 60s. Wah-Wah is set in the beautiful Swaziland of Grants childhood and the story dissects the private lives of the Compton family: senior Education official Harry (Byrne), estranged wife Lauren (Richardson), awkward young son Nicholas (Hoult) and Harry's new American girlfriend Ruby (Watson). Harry uses alcohol to cushion his life and after the adulterous Lauren walks out he packs Nicholas off to boarding school. Harry creates a new life with extrovert Ruby; who coins the expression "Wah-Wah" to mock the expatriates who live like royalty with cheap domestic servants and outdated social codes. Nicholas's relationship with his father deteriorates as he becomes a young adult and he witnesses the outcomes of his father's heavy drinking at a time when his support would have helped the young man most. The ensemble casting is strong and like the novel Heart of Darkness this film shows that the problems facing the characters frequently lie with the emotional baggage they import to the colonies. Highly recommended. '
10:37 PM, 21st April, 2007
Remember The Story of the Weeping Camel from a couple of years back? Well, this is the new one from that director (as if you mightnt have guessed from the title). We're back in Mongolia, we're observing family life again, and the theme of modernisation creeping into indigenous culture is included once more.This time, we focus on a nomadic family, and, in particular, six-year-old Nansa. Whilst out doing chores, she comes across a little dog, which she proceeds to "adopt". Her father, however, is not that happy about the arrangement, as he believes the critter will only bring bad luck in the form of other wild animals to kill his herds.As with Weeping Camel, this is a heart-warming tale, as well as an insight into another culture (if you think you didn't need to know how to dismantle a yurt, then think again!). It slows down a little in the middle, but stick with it, as it even has a thriller sequence towards the end that would put many Hollywood flicks to shame. Enjoy. (And keep an eye out for his next film The Life of the Ticklish Meerkat... maybe).'