The French film School’s Out is a masterpiece.
Avenue B Productions, Canal+, OCS
A flawless French film, a Macedonian parable and a documentary following alt-right strategist Steve Bannon are three of the stand out films from this year's festival.
Dame Edna Everage at Melbourne Town Hall in 2006 after being presented with the Key to the City.
June 13, 2019
Public taste has changed and that is that. It's not just the references that date in topical satire. Audiences are powerful, and if they feel insulted they can shut down a comedian.
Mona Lisa, Musée du Louvre, Paris, April 2019.
June 11, 2019
Art's famous smile
Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is the world's most visited artwork. Its appeal rests partly on several mysteries.
The New York Times decision to end daily political cartoons in its international edition has led to predictions of the death of cartooning. But the decision actually reflects an increasingly globalised, online industry.
Wes Mountain/Baiducao/Carlos Latuff/David Pope/First Dog/David Rowe/Jon Kudelka/Glen Le Lievre/Rebel Pepper/António Moreira Antunes/The Conversation
A New York Times decision has led to predictions of the death of cartooning. But rather than perishing, is the global art form just feeling the full force of technological and workplace change?
Writing wasn’t just invented once by a single person. Many different ancient societies invented writing at different times and places.
Writing has only been a part of the human story for the last 5,000 years. In comparison, humans began to communicate using speech some 50,000 years ago.
View from a highway rest stop east of Ravensthorpe, Western Australia. In Kim Scott’s Taboo, the landscape becomes a narrator.
June 14, 2019
Inside the story
The omniscient narrator is alive and well in fiction. Kim Scott's most recent novel uses a collective narrative voice that encompasses the landscape as well as the human.
Pope Francis with a group of nuns in Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City, in 2018. History and the Bible provide good reasons why women should be in positions of authority in the Catholic Church.
A recent Vatican commission report on women's ordination as deacons was inconclusive. But allowing women priests would help the Catholic Church achieve much-needed reform.
Isabel, on left, when she was working for Mangankali Housing Company, talking to politicians and/or bureaucrats on the Wollai, the Aboriginal reserve at Collarenebri.
Family collection, provided to author.
June 6, 2019
Denied an education in 1930s Australia because she was too black, Isabel Flick went on to fight segregation at her local cinema in the early 1960s. She became a powerful campaigner for Indigenous rights.
The author in his vegetable patch.
June 7, 2019
For poet John Kinsella, veganism is an ethics of commitment. Living as a vegan, he writes, is not a holier-than-thou situation, but a move towards being more respectful of life.
Rupert O’Flynn with Rudolf Marcuse’s bronze bust of Douglas Grant, December 2016.
Photograph courtesy Tom Murray.
June 4, 2019
A mystery solved
In 1918, in Wünsdorf prisoner-of-war camp, a German sculptor created a bust of Indigenous soldier Douglas Grant. For decades, the whereabouts of this nationally significant sculpture were unknown - until now.
Despite a rise in feminist-themed books for children, picture books remain highly gendered overall.
June 2, 2019
Where are the girls?
Boys are scientists, girls are ballerinas - that's if girls appear at all. A recent analysis of bestselling picture books shows gender stereotypes are alive and well.
The town of Schalkenmehren and its adjoining maar lake, Germany.
A maar is a volcanic crater, often filled with water. New research highlights the similarities between oral stories around the world that shed light on the formation of these craters.
Poet Walt Whitman in his home in New Jersey in 1891. Born 200 years ago this week, Whitman is celebrated in America for his daring poetry collection Leaves of Grass.
Samuel Murray/Wikimedia Commons
May 31, 2019
200 years of Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman is perhaps America's most admired poet. His work, now praised for its themes of equality and democracy, was once shunned for its experimental verse and discussion of sexuality.
A retouched photo of Mary (Mollie) Dean from Sydney newspaper Truth (1 February 1931). Dean, who was murdered in Melbourne in 1930, was the subject of two Australian books published in 2018.
Public domain/The Conversation
May 30, 2019
True crime-related storytelling has shrugged off its former low-brow baggage. Two recent Australian books show how victims' stories can be told sensitively and humanely.
China’s five-storey Tianjin Binhai Library occupies an area of 33,700 square metres with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves which can contain up to 1.2 million books.
May 30, 2019
In our world of pervasive consumerism, libraries continue to be founded on humanism. Their core purpose as accessible places is vital – yet they are also now popular tourist destinations.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison sings during a service at the Horizon Church in Sydney in April.
Along with a belief in miracles, other key aspects of Pentecostal doctrine – from divine providence to pietism – will likely shape the actions of our re-elected Prime Minister.
A still from the new film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which opens this week. In a time of environmental destruction, Godzilla is the perfect monster to represent the consequences of humanity’s actions.
May 28, 2019
Monsters and movies
Popular monsters often reflect humanity's greatest fears. Godzilla, with its destructive rampages, is the foremost monster for our age of environmental threat.
The National Museum of Iraq photographed in February 2018. Many of the pieces discovered at the ruins of Ur, arranged and labelled by Ennigaldi-Nanna, can be found here.
May 21, 2019
Ennigaldi-Nanna is largely unknown in the modern day. But in 530BC, this Mesopotamian priestess worked to arrange and label various artefacts in the world's first museum.
An upcoming film will explore the origins of the Joker, last seen in the Batman franchise. But prequels are often poorly received – perhaps with good reason.
From the Joker to a Game of Thrones prequel, origin stories are increasingly common in film and TV – perhaps at the expense of originality in popular culture.
Beauty YouTuber James Charles recently made numerous apology videos following a public feud. Such videos are now so common they have become the subject of parody.
May 23, 2019
From Steve Smith's tearful apology to anonymous apps like Whisper, public confessions can be therapeutic, emancipatory, or potentially exploitative.