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Newsnight Review, Friday, 5 December, 2008

Sarah McDermott | 15:17 UK time, Friday, 5 December 2008

Here's Kirsty with news of what's coming up on tonight's Newsnight Review:

Tonight on Review I'll be joined by guests Germaine Greer, Ian McMillan and Johann Hari and we'll kick off with the great big, epic adventure that is Baz Luhrmann's vision Australia.

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Already described as an Australian Gone with The Wind, it stars Nicole Kidman as the aristocratic English snip, who comes to Australia to find out what her husband is doing with his remote cattle ranch (and his sex life), and Hugh Jackman as the handsome wild drover who comes to her rescue. But there's everything here from the Japanese bombing of Darwin, to the cruel and inhuman treatment of "half caste" Aboriginal children known as the Stolen Generation. The star of this show is a "creamy" called Nullah, 13 year old Brandon Walters, who also narrates. Surprisingly, he gets last billing in the production notes.

We'll also be reviewing The Striped World, the first book of poetry by the young Australian poet, Emma Jones, who has already won the most prestigious Australian poetry prize for one poem in the collection about The Stolen Generation. Her verse evokes the landscape and history of Australia, and the power and pull of the sea.

Send in the Clowns, a song made famous by Judy Collins, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand, is the most famous number from Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. It is the musical chosen by Sir Trevor Nunn for his first production of Sondheim. It is based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night and, at the centre of the plot, is Desiree, a beautiful Swedish actress approaching forty. She realises her parade of lovers offer an increasingly empty existence and it is time to prepare for her future with her child. Hannah Waddingham, fresh from Spamalot, takes the role and Maureen Lipman plays her wonderfully acid-tongued, old courtesan mother. The production is at the intimate Menier Chocolate Factory in London where you are so close you think you are with the players at their country house weekend.

Another kind of country house festivity awaits in the little horror movie The Children, reminiscent of The Omen, and Don't Look Now. It is a Christmas chiller from Tom Shankland in which two young middle-class families and a gaggle of children gather at a country home to celebrate a boozy, chaotic Christmas. But then the children are struck by a vomiting virus and start to turn on the parents... and I don't mean everyday naughtiness. I wonder if our panel were watching from behind their hands?

Do join us at 11pm and let us know what you think of the programme by leaving your comments below.



  • Comment number 1.

    I would have to say that I would have taken much more notice of the panel's critical opinion of the film Australia and it's depiction of Australia if they had shown any accurate knowledge of Australia. In the least they might have been aware that Indigenous Australians are Aboriginals, not Aborigines, and that the use of the latter would very likely offend many Aboriginal peoples. That oversight in itself shows their diconnection from all matters Australian.

  • Comment number 2.

    Kirsty walk used the term 'half caste' to describe the race of the main character in the film australia, this term is unacceptable regardless of if it was used in an historical context, this was not specified. I was shocked at the use of such a word on a 'culture' and 'arts' based show, and the fact that none of the guests objected or clarified any context points to the social isolation these people must live in.
    The term originates from the Indian caste-system, where a person of 'lesser' or half-caste would be deemed to be of a 'lower class' it is offensive and people paid to present such television shows should know better.

  • Comment number 3.

    My Dears,Welcome to the Newsnight Party,
    Air kissy kissy, with perfume 'Arty'.
    Would you like your words with ice and lime,
    Sliced and diced and packed in rhyme?

    Have you seen the latest big thing?
    It's Fabulosa. A ring ding a ling.
    If we race around on life's ice hockey rink
    Art can give us time to drink and think?

  • Comment number 4.

    A rather pedantic point csjones when probably 99% of Australians use the term "Aborigine" including many Aboriginal people/Aborigines.

  • Comment number 5.

    i hope that newsnight had an interesting review...


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