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THE WESTWOOD DIGEST

Writing by Emma Westwood. Most likely about movies, monsters, cinematic events and other wild trips. Words should go down nice and easy.

Book Launch: THE FLY and ROLLERBALL

Yes, this is happening…

What: Andrew Nette and Emma Westwood invite you to the launch of their new cinema books on ROLLERBALL and THE FLY
When: Sunday 4th November @ 4.30pm
Where: Grub Street Bookshop, 379 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
RSVP: andrewnette@gmail.com and emma@emmawestwood.net

💋

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DIAMONDS FOR BREAKFAST: New DVD audio commentary

Yes, I’m planning another DVD audio commentary with my stunning partner-in-crime, the incomparable Lee Gambin, who has convinced the Kino Lorber company that I should join him behind the mic again after our recent efforts on KOTCH.

This time, it’s something a little out of the box: Marcello Mastroianni’s English language film debut, DIAMONDS FOR BREAKFAST (where he plays a Russian, no less). It’s a farcical, ’60s glamour heist film that also stars Rita Tushingham, The Triplets and a lovely Pekingese called Chang.

This is sure to be a very interesting commentary. More later…

Sesame Street’s Pinball Number Count

After watching the excellent documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, about US children’s television producer and presenter, Fred Rogers, I’ve felt compelled to reshare a mini memoir I wrote for the website Stereo Stories a few years ago. It’s an ode to Sesame Street, in particular, the musical genius of Walt Kraemer.

Sesame Street’s Pinball Number Count

The electronic babysitter had fulltime employment at our place. Married in 1971 at the age of 17 – with the shotgun firing behind her – my mother was the one who needed the babysitting. She’d gone from a household of six to the solitary confines of a flat, so the box acted as a constantly yammering family of a different kind, even if she wasn’t paying attention to it most of the time.

As the progeny of this pop-cultural upbringing, I followed my mother’s lead and took up a cross-legged position approximately three feet away from the television most afternoons. The routine went something like this: Playschool (for the sake of it), Doctor Who (for the love it) and then, scheduled in-between those two programmes, Sesame Street.

I adored Sesame Street. Rather than gravitate to the familiar, I was romanced by its differentness to my suburban Australian reality – the urban decay of its ‘70s New York City setting; the ethnicity of the regulars with their Hispanic names, flares and large ‘fros; and the cast of misfits including a misanthrope, Oscar the Grouch, who lived in a rubbish bin (or ‘trash can’ as Sesame Street taught me, not to forget the pronunciation of the letter ‘zee’ that earned me a slap on the wrist from my primary school teacher – “But Miss, if I say ‘zed’ then it doesn’t rhyme with the rest of the ABC song!”).

And then there was the music.

Continue reading “Sesame Street’s Pinball Number Count”

The Act of Seeing

I’m chuffed, to say the least, that Screen Education has chosen my piece, The Act of Seeing: Cinema, Ethics and Responsibility, as one of the feature articles on their website for edition No. 91 of the magazine.

This was a mind-twister of an article and, given the breadth of subject matter, I enlisted a number of expert interviewees to put forward their opinions. Huge thanks to Matthew Beard, Steve Thomas, Stuart Richards and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas for lending their voices to this ongoing debate. Their contributions have helped make this particular article a work of which I can be very proud.

‘The Act of Seeing’ also functions as a partner piece to my previous article, ‘To Watch or Not to Watch, That is the Question’, examining similar ethical considerations on watching cinema but from a different angle, which you can read online at Diabolique.

I urge you to subscribe to Screen or purchase a copy so you can share in the many other insightful film articles this edition has to offer.

The great southern creature feature

Once upon a time, in the summer of 2017, I wrote a story for Metro called ‘The Great Southern Creature Feature’ that used the release of the independent monster movie, Red Billabong, as a launching pad to talk about Australia’s proclivity for eco-horror.

While I was contractually unable to share this story with you until now, I’d like to point out that this particular edition of Metro is still available for purchase online, where you can enjoy this story (and many more) in all its colourful, printed glory.

Otherwise, here’s a plain text version for your reading pleasure… Continue reading “The great southern creature feature”

KOTCH: New DVD audio commentary

One of the most amazing minds in film commentary, Lee Gambin, has invited me to join him behind the mic to create a commentary track for a new DVD release from Kino Lorber of the 1971 film, KOTCH.

Starring Walter Matthau in an Oscar-nominated role, KOTCH is the one and only film directed by Jack Lemmon but it is the second DVD commentary by Lee and myself. What is the first one? That’s still under wraps.

Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for more…

Happy MIFF 2018

A reminder to everyone that the Melbourne International Film Festival is now in top gear, and the Plato’s Cave crew on Triple R is spending hours upon hours across the next two and a bit weeks in darkened cinemas to bring you the best festival coverage in town.

Tune in live on Monday 6th August and Monday 13th August at 7pm for your MIFF filmic fill or listen back to the podcast…

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Cheers from Plato’s Cave x

The 25 greatest Australian films of the 21st century

The brief was ambitious (and contentious) but Luke Buckmaster from Flicks.com.au approached over 50 Australian film critics and asked us to vote for the greatest Australian films since the year 2000. The clincher was: we needed to rank them in order of best to worst, with number one being our choice for the best film of the century so far.

As you can appreciate, this was a very challenging task, and I speak for myself in saying that the inclusions and running order changed several times. However, when all the votes were tallied, the top ten looked like this… Continue reading “The 25 greatest Australian films of the 21st century”

Watch the bear panel (grrrrrr!)

It was a pleasure to host a panel on bears in cinema following the Cinemaniacs screening of Prophecy earlier this year.

For those who weren’t in attendance, we created a Facebook live video that is now immortalised on the Diabolique website. Please watch it, and be aware that the screen will turn from landscape to portrait at about the three-minute mark.

Thanks to Lee Gambin, Clem Bastow and Christian McCrea for being so wonderful.

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