Advertisement

KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Editors' Picks

Best of 2013 (Part Two): Television, Film and Writing

by Kill Your Darlings , December 19, 2013Leave a comment

In the final of our two-part series, some of our favourite Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2013 – in television, film and writing. Have they missed any?

Best Televsion — Julia Tulloh 

Arrested Development

What a monumental year for television. Breaking Bad wrapped up after six years of South Western crime; Arrested Development released its long-awaited fourth series; and Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special screened in cinemas around the world. We found out the third series of Girls would feature Danielle Brooks as its first black female characterOrange is the New Black gave us hope that complex female characters may one day be commonplace. Melbourne’s very own Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, despite its sometimes questionable acting and pacing, launched a ridiculously successful costume exhibition.

Predictably, the television episode that stuck in my guts the most this year was Game of Thrones’ ‘The Rains of Castamere’, a.k.a. the Red Wedding. Since this episode spawned an onslaught of recaps, blog posts and memes after it aired, I needn’t say much – except that it’s the only story I know of where audience engagement actually increased after all the apparent ‘goodies’ (and I mean all) were brutally killed off (and I mean brutally).

My other main moment of 2013 concerns New Tricks, the BBC crime-comedy-drama that your grandparents probably love. For ten years, Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) has busted serial killers with her team of old codgers: this year, she got promoted and left the team (and hence show). I nearly cried when she announced it. Even though the series’ gender politics were sometimes troubling (see how FUNNY it is? A FEMALE boss?) Pullman still smashed the glass ceiling like it weren’t no thang. I’ll miss her.

Read more from Julia Tulloh here

Best Film — Kate Harper 

Before Midnight Best ofBefore scolding me for not mentioning that film, be aware that these are only the five that have stuck with me the most. Beginning the year, an image that I can’t shake is of a pigeon trapped inside a Parisian flat in Michael Haneke’s Amour. Starring Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-louis Trintignant, Amour’s depiction of long love and impending death as both ordinary and entirely unique was a breathtaking way to kick off. Then in May there was Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, which I loved for its chutzpah. A Three Act intergenerational melodrama, it was Greek Tragedy for today: the cursed houses of Glanton (Ryan Gosling) and Cross (Bradley Cooper) blessed with super-sexy genes and a Mike Paton score.

In July, I met up with old friends, Jessie and Celine – a.k.a. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy – in Before Midnight. A series that began in 1995, the third made for some uncomfortable-looking dates at the screening I went to: showing the mixed results of following romantic love, the film begins where most Hollywood films would end. Talking and tears continued into September in Sarah Polley’s documentary Stories We Tell, where she uncovered her family’s narrative through a uniquely kaleidoscopic style. The last of the best for me was Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity; despite some naff dialogue, few recent films have exhibited the affects of cinema’s magical capabilities quite as spectacularly.

Looking back, it sure has been an emotional year of films, with the spectre of mortality and troubled relationships at every turn. Thank God for Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa!

Read more from Kate Harper here

Best Writing — S.A. Jones

harmless2013 was a year that reminded us how important reading is. When print media bares its ferociously partisan fangs as it did in the national election, there is power in literacy. What we read and how we read matters. We have to bring our full selves to reading, mind and body. My 2013 ‘best of’ are the works that demanded something of me – the reader – but honoured me as a reader too.

My favourite fiction was Julienne Van Loon’s superb novella HarmlessIt is heartbreaking, wise and provacative. In creative non-fiction I enjoyed Karen Hitchcock’s column in The Monthly. Hitchcock writes about the mysteries of the human body and the limits of medical knowledge in solving those mysteries. For online news I’ve subscribed to The King’s Tribunewhere I was moved by Jane Gilmore’s sensitive writing about The Gatehouse in St Kilda and the murder of Tracy Connelley.

In historical non-fiction the standout was Wibke Bruhn’s My Father’s Country, a book I came to a couple of years after its publication. It’s a family history that provides an insight into Nazism and the price paid by those who resisted. Read it. (Then watch Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon. Whatever was obscure in high school history about the rise of Nazism will become clear). Shout-outs also to The Sydney Review of BooksAnne Summers Reports and The Toast: all welcome additions to the reading landscape in 2013.

Read more from S.A. Jones here




Frances Abbott

David Donaldson

Why #whitehousegate matters

A few days after the release of the budget, in which the Coalition government announced it was spreading the burden by increasing university fees, cutting school funding, and cutting welfare for young people comes a story that confirms what many already suspect to be the nature of opportunity: it’s much easier to come by if you’re born into privilege. Read more »

money

David Donaldson

When does lobbying become corruption?

Whether it’s Clive Palmer buying his way into parliament, the recent, varied ICAC revelations of dodgy fundraising in the NSW Liberal party, or the refusal or inability of successive governments to effectively tackle powerful corporate interests in industries like gambling, mining, media, and junk food, there is a feeling among many Australians that democracy is up for sale. Read more »

cluster munition

David Donaldson

How to make treaties and influence people

In an era when Russia can annex Ukrainian territory, when the Refugee Convention is regularly flouted, and when nobody seems to be able to do anything to stop the carnage in Syria, it can be tempting to ask: what can international law actually achieve? Read more »

1397733525000-TheOppositeOfLoneliness-600

Carody Culver

A published afterlife: Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness

Marina Keegan looked set for literary stardom. For an aspiring writer, her credentials were so perfect they could have been lifted straight from fiction. Read more »

warning

SA Jones

‘Weather is never just weather’: Sophie Cunningham’s Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy

We’ve had national disasters in the forty years since Cyclone Tracy, but Tracy’s iconic status in the national consciousness endures. Read more »

The Fictional Woman

Carody Culver

Learning from semi-charmed lives

When famous public figures take a step further and use their personal experience as a literary vehicle for exploring wider social issues, I can happily check my celebrity memoir prejudice at the bookshop door. Read more »

1398878478_lea-michele-brunette-ambition-zoom

Julia Tulloh

How to be beautiful, according to Lea Michele

Lea Michele’s new book, Brunette Ambition, is what you might expect from a fairly young television and musical theatre star. Read more »

Mariah Carey

Julia Tulloh

Is she Mariah, the ‘elusive’ chanteuse?

Two weeks ago, Mariah Carey launched her fourteenth studio album, Me. I am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse. Yes, that’s the real name, and it’s hilarious not only because the title is so long and happily shameless but because Mariah has long styled herself as one of the least elusive pop stars in the pop music galaxy. Read more »

Douglass books

Julia Tulloh

High fantasy writers who aren’t George RR Martin, and who are also women

‘Tolkien is the greatest burden the modern fantasy author must labour under and eventually escape from if they are to succeed.’ So wrote Australian high fantasy writer, Sara Douglass, a decade and a half ago. Replace Tolkien with George RR Martin, and one might say the same principle applies today. Read more »

wetlands_poster

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Lucky Dip Diving: an approach to film festivals

I wanted to let go of the grasping desire to watch everything and be part of every conversation. But with the Melbourne International Film Festival in full swing, anxieties arise again. Read more »

Happy Christmas

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Joe Swanberg’s Real Women

In Happy Christmas, the female characters are a pleasure to watch, largely because they’re so familiar in life and so rarely depicted on screen. Read more »

Gabrielle

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Beyond tics, limps and prosthetics

Think of a disability – mental or physical – and there’s sure to be a film that features it. What about giving big roles to actors who actually live with the disability they’re depicting? Now that would be authentic. Read more »

hbo-silicon-valley

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Silicon Valley will eat itself

  At a certain point in the lifespan of any subculture, fiction and reality start to blur. Members of the subculture begin to model their character and appearance on the idealised representations of themselves they read about or see on screen, and the loop continues until nobody … Read more »

inbox

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Death to the Inbox

The primary source of our ‘email problem’ seems to lie in our belief that email is a vastly richer and more capable medium than it is. Read more »

5881861191_90de8b5bc9

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Making trolls eat their words

If we’re not conscious of a troll’s desired response, we risk inadvertently encouraging further trolling by allowing ourselves to be played. Read more »

detail

Danielle Binks

Fan-Girling Over Super Heroines

The testosterone-fuelled BIFF! BANG! KAPOW! of classic comics can seem uninviting, filled with spandex-clad men and swooning damsels who hold limited appeal outside the stereotypical 18-35 year-old male demographic. But things are changing in the world of comics. Read more »

9780143305323

Danielle Binks

Australia Needs Diverse Books

The ‘We Need Diverse Books’ team is made up of authors, editors and publishers from North America, but the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag and campaign has reverberated in youth literature communities worldwide. Read more »

tumblr_inline_n6wz16ohb91r8e10g

Danielle Binks

YA is the New Black

Apparently those of us who do read and enjoy youth literature should be ‘embarrassed’. At least that’s what Ruth Graham said in her recent clickbait article for Slate, ‘Against YA’. Read more »

Jabberwocky1

Chad Parkhill

The carnival is over

Jabberwocky, scheduled to take place last weekend, was the kind of festival that wasn’t supposed to fail. Read more »

Robin Thicke

Chad Parkhill

Why has Robin Thicke’s Paula flopped?

What, exactly, has caused Paula to sell so poorly that it has already positioned itself as this year’s most memorable flop? Read more »

splash

Chad Parkhill

Queering the Power: The Soft Pink Truth’s Why Do the Heathen Rage?

The Soft Pink Truth’s new album ‘Why Do the Heathen Rage’ demonstrates that despite their superficial differences, dance music and black metal have a lot in common. Read more »

2014-07-03-theleftovers

Stephanie Van Schilt

TV pilots: The good, the bad and The Leftovers

With the wealth of shows on offer, committing to a new TV series can feel like a big deal. It’s often during a pilot episode that audiences determine whether the program is appealing enough to stick with for the long haul. Read more »

Alg-90210-jpg

Stephanie Van Schilt

Sick-Person TV

The only upside to getting sick was the many afternoons I spent curled up on the couch at home, watching daytime TV. I inhaled the drama of pre-recorded episodes of Beverley Hills 90210 while playing with my Brandon and Dylan sticker collection (interspersed with sporadic vomiting). Read more »

The_Million_Dollar_Drop_logo

Nicholas J Johnson

Highbrow vs Lowbrow: Nicholas J Johnson defends Lowbrow TV

I can’t stop looking at Eddie McGuire’s smug, stupid face. It’s not my fault. It’s just I’ve never been this close to the man before, and it’s not until now that I’ve realised how oddly smooth and tanned his skin is. As if someone has stretched the orange bladder from a football over a slab of marble. Read more »