It seemed impossibly good to be true, too much of a dream to miss, the most tantalising of carrots to be dangled in front of subscribers a year ago when the 2012 season was announced: Ralph Myers directing Toby Schmitz in Noël Coward’s Private Lives. In a nutshell, the play is about two newly-wed couples – Amanda and Victor, Elyot and Sybil – who go on their honeymoon. To the same hotel. Elyot and Amanda were previously married, and now they’re are about to find out all over again why they got divorced in the first place. Considering Coward wrote the piece as a vehicle for himself (playing the role of Elyot, Schmitz’s character) and the censors tried to ban it upon its premiere in London in 1930, it’s pretty much still bang-on the money, still definitive in its wit, almost-perfect in its plot, and utterly beguiling in its critique of modernity and the rich, to paraphrase Belvoir’s season book.
I don’t normally do this, write singular reviews or pieces about one film. It’s not because I don’t want to, but rather because most of the films I see don’t particularly warrant it, or that the various reviews found in the newspapers and online encapsulate my thoughts, if not to the letter then in the approximate vicinity. But every so often I make an exception. (My Honours thesis, in its own way, was an elongated piece on Across The Universe, but that was kind of different again).
Back in June, at the Sydney Film Festival, I fell in love with Wes Anderson’s latest film, Moonrise Kingdom. Intrigued by his style and the oeuvre he has built up over the past eighteen years and seven feature films, I recently watched all his films, some for the first time, and it was an interesting if slightly neurotic adventure. In many ways,
Moonrise Kingdom is the epitome of Anderson’s oeuvre, a
kaleidoscope that refracts and refocuses his distinctive stylistic traits and
thematic concerns into their most concise, most emotional – most whimsical –