Film Screening 2nd November, 2012

Poster for The Sapphires

The Sapphires 

8:00 PM, 2nd November, 2012
No Guests

  • PG
  • 99 mins
  • 2012
  • Wayne Blair
  • Keith Thompson, Tony Briggs
  • Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, 
Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell

Just like 2010's Bran Nue Dae, The Sapphires is an indigenous musical based upon a successful stage play - a musical comedy tinged with sadness.

In this case, the comic feel-good nature of The Sapphires is counterpointed by its dramatic setting during the Vietnam War in 1968. The indigenous girl band of Julie (Mauboy), Gail (Mailman), Cynthia (Tapsell) and Kay (Sebbens) - accompanied by their self-proclaimed 'soul brother', white Irish manager Dave (O'Dowd) - travel to Saigon to boost the morale of the troops with their singing.

One of the reasons I liked Dark Shadows (set in 1972) was its toe-tapping 1960s soundtrack. So I like The Sapphires even more, as The Sapphires sing many more toe-tapping 1960s songs, with an emphasis on Motown and soul music.

A special note should be made of production designer Melinda Doring, who evokes my memories of the 1960s with sets so primary-coloured that they are almost fluorescent. Likewise cinematographer Warwick Thornton keeps his lensing brightly saturated. But most importantly, the sound team led by Andrew Plain and Bry Jones ensure that the classic 1960s hit tunes are eminently audible.

Richard Hills

Poster for Hysteria


9:54 PM, 2nd November, 2012

  • M
  • 95 mins
  • 2011
  • Tanya Wexler
  • Stephen Dyer, Jonah Lisa Dyer
  • Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett

Hysteria is the story behind the invention of the vibrator - in the name of medical science, of course. Set in the 1880s it tells the story of how Dr Mortimer Granville (Dancy) came to invent the vibrator to treat Victorian ladies' 'hysterical' disorders.

Dr Granville has been fired from his most recent post for suggesting such ridiculous notions as bandages being changed regularly and doctors washing their hands before treating patients. He takes a position working for Dr Dalrymple (Pryce), who has a booming business treating ladies diagnosed with 'hysteria', which pretty much encompasses everything you could possibly think of, mostly psychological.

While working for Dr Dalrymple, Mortimer lives with Dr Dalrymple and his daughter Emily (Felicity Jones), whom he is encouraged to court. But it is the older, more strong-willed daughter, Charlotte (Gyllenhaal) who attracts Mortimer's interest. Charlotte runs a charitable set-up to help the poor, much to the chagrin of her father. Through their friendship Mortimer starts to see women are capable of far more than he gives them credit for.

After providing 'treatment' to many women each day Dr Granville's future career is put at risk when he develops hand cramps and is unable to perform his duties. That is until he and his rich, eccentric friend Edmund (Everett) semi-accidentally invents an electronic equivalent. Hallelujah!

Hysteria is an entertaining comedy which more than lived up to my expectations, with Rupert Everett being a highlight. Now I know what I need the next time someone tells me I'm being hysterical.

Jacinta Gould