May Film Reviews

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52 Tuesdays (MA)

Directed by Sophie Hyde

When her daughter Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) was 16 years old, Jane (Del Herbert-Jane) decided to pursue a long-standing desire to transition into a man called James. Jane’s ostensibly gay younger brother Harry shared the house but she decided to send Billie to her father’s place for the year it would take for the gender transition. In order to keep their relationship strong during this time, Jane and Billie decided to meet up every Tuesday afternoon. At a time when Billie was exploring her own sexuality in increasingly risky ways, the film is not only about the gender transition but how the teenage girl deals with her mother’s decision to go through a sex change.

Writer/director Sophie Hyde says she was influenced by Michael Apted’s ‘Seven Up’ series. She shot this remarkable film in her hometown of Adelaide for 52 consecutive Tuesdays, with the actors only receiving their scripts one week before. Although she deservedly won the best director award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival it is her lead actors, neither of whom had acted before, who make the film so authentic – particularly Del Herbert-Jane who does not identify with either gender and was originally the film team’s adviser on gender transition.

So much happens in a year and the film would have been a marathon effort for the actors as their characters search for their authentic selves. The snapshots obviously only tell part of their stories but cumulate into a powerful drama where everyone involved make a transition of some sort.

Healing

Healing (M)

Directed by Craig Monahan

After 18 years in prison for murder, Viktor (Don Hany) is transferred to a Won Wron, a low security prison farm 200 km outside Melbourne in regional Victoria. He does his time quietly, sharing a room with withdrawn Paul (Xavier Samuel) and unreliable Shane (Mark Winter) who are both nearing the end of their time in prison.

To prepare them for the world beyond prison walls, the prison officers also have to be case workers and counsellors who have to come up with rehabilitation projects. Prison Officer Matt (Hugo Weaving) establishes a program where the men rehabilitate injured raptors – beautiful, fearsome eagles, falcons and owls. Viktor takes on the responsibility of looking after Yasmine – a majestic wedge tailed eagle with a two metre wingspan.

There are obvious parallels between the men who have given up hope and the injured birds of prey, and with Academy Award winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie behind the camera, this story of redemption hits an emotional soft spot. This powerful film was inspired by the remarkable Raptor Rehabilitation Program that exists between Healesville Sanctuary and Prisons Victoria. Director Craig Monahan followed the progress of this program and witnessed the unexpected and inspirational successes it achieved. “The relationship between the most hardened and hopeless men and the vulnerable, damaged birds wrought unimaginable changes. It is not about injustice, or about right and wrong; it is about the deep, human need to love and be loved, because only through this do we heal and redeem and find our way home.”

This must-see film has a Q&A with director Craig Monahan at Luna Cinemas Leederville, after the 6.30pm screening on Thursday 8 May

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