Plot Synopsis: In 1975, Indonesia invaded Timor-Leste (East Timor in English), tacitly backed by the
US and Australia, who felt it would be easier to negotiate with the Indonesian government for East Timor's undersea oil
reserves. On August 30, 1999, East Timor held a referendum to vote for independence from Indonesia. UN peacekeepers
were sent to the island to supervise the voting process. The story focuses on three main characters: Julie Fortin (a
Canadian volunteer officer), Mark Waldman (an Australian volunteer officer), and Ismenio Soares, an East Timorese
translator whose father is on the local militia's "death list". Following the vote, as violence and bloodshed
erupt, the UN is forced to break its promise to the East Timorese and evacuate the island. During an attack on a
UN convoy, Ismenio and his family disappear. Back home, Mark, racked with guilt over those he left behind, vows to keep
the UN's promise, return to East Timor, and help restore justice.
Character: Mark Waldman
Notes: David has been a member of the Australian East Timor Association (Sydney chapter) since the early
'90s. From the East Timor News Digest:
Wenham is the kind of actor who collaborates with the character he plays in order to create an inseparable
fusion of fact and fiction.
It's increasingly difficult to detect where his characters begin and where Wenham evanesces. And he
is terrific in this series, gravely intelligent and, out of respect for his fellow actors one suspects, decently self-effacing
for someone so charismatic.
Asked how closely he had followed events in East Timor, the answer is emphatic: "Very. Full stop. Or
exclamation mark," he says in a phone interview. "I saw a documentary, John Pilger's Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy,
and it affected me and angered me, so I joined the Australia-East Timor Association to get information on what was happening
In 2006, just as Answered By Fire was airing in Australia, Timor-Leste plunged into a crisis which nearly
ended in a civil war. The democratically elected Prime Minister came under intense pressure and was forced to resign. A UN
sponsored team of investigators was sent to Timor-Leste to investigate what had taken place. At least 30 people died and over
100,000 people became displaced. New presidential and parliamentary elections are set for the first half of 2007.
Factor: Two words: Police uniform.
Memorable Quotes: "The East Timorese saved our arses in World War Two against the Japanese, and then
in 1975 we just stood by and let the Indonesians walk in and take this place. We owe these people, big-time."
Julie Fortin: "What about our face?"
Mark Waldman: "We don't have a face. We're neutral."
Availability: Region 4 only
(2005). Dir. John Hillcoat. With Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny
Huston, Emily Watson, and John Hurt.
: Blood-soaked kangaroo western, set in the 1880s
at the end of the bushranger era. An outlaw gang, the Burns brothers, have been terrorizing a small outback town
and are wanted for the murder of a family. When two of the brothers, Mikey and Charlie, are captured in a gunfight,
the local lawman, Captain Stanley, makes a proposition to Charlie: if he tracks down and kills the oldest brother, Arthur,
then Mikey will be set free. Otherwise, Mikey will hang. This moral dilemma sparks off tragic consequences,
as Charlie sets off into the bush to find Arthur. Meanwhile, in an effort to appease the townspeople's desire for revenge,
Eden Fletcher, the local landlowner, orders Mikey flogged. Emily Watson turns in a lovely performance as Captain
Stanley's wife, a transplanted English rose bewildered at the harshness and remoteness of her new home. The
is a lengthy meditation on family bonds, survival, frontier justice, civilization, and ethnic conflicts.Character
: Gore galore: exploding heads, spear through chest, very bloody and excruciating flogging
scene. View at own risk. This film does not contain any gay cowboys. (That we're aware of.)Drool
(Eden gets an additional bucket for having bathed recently)
(hard to assess; Eden manages to be evil AND nerdy)
Davidity: C-. David isn't in the film that much. Eden is chillingly
loathsome, and the stomach-churning violence makes it hard to relax and savor his presence on screen.
Availability: The Proposition has been making the rounds of art-house festivals in the U.S. and
Europe, and is available on Region 4 DVD.
(2005). Dir. Robert Connolly. With Frances O'Connor, Sarah Wynter.
Three Dollars is the portrait of a decent man's struggle during tough times. Eddie Harnovey, a thirty-eight year
old chemical engineer, finds himself out of work one day after refusing to sign off on a batch of contaminated soil
samples. He has a wife, a child, and three dollars to his name. And his childhood sweetheart,
Amanda, keeps re-appearing in his life every nine-and-a-half years. (Chance meetings and coincidences play a huge role
in this film.)
The present-day action is interwoven with flashbacks of Eddie and Tanya's life together: meeting at university,
visiting the local record shop, dancing to Joy Division, and other significant moments in their relationship.
"A brilliantly deft and poignant portrait of a man attempting to retain his humanity, his family, and his sense of humor
in a corporate world." (according to Publishers Weekly)Character
: Eddie HarnoveyNotes
Memorable Quotes: "This is how healthy people feel in unhealthy times."
"You like Edam. I like Edam. Everybody likes Edam."
(Eddie, voiceover to his younger self dancing at a nightclub:) "It wasn't until years later that I realized Ian Curtis
"I'm sorry, sweetheart, but when I get home we'll have more children and put all your family in a home. I promise."
"It wasn't always easy being in love with Tanya. The second year at university we experienced difficulties.
We stopped greeting each other with a kiss. To kiss hello was too bourgeois. To kiss goodbye was too sentimental.
To kiss during sex was too time-consuming, and it also required having sex."
Availability: PAL/Region 4 DVD only.
and The Brush-Off
(2004). Dir. John Clarke, Sam Neill. With Julian O'Donnell, Robyn Butler, Sam Neill, Nick Molloy.
: Based on the urban detective novels by Shane Maloney.
Stiff: When the body of a Turkish meat packer is found frozen inside the freezer at the Pacific Pastoral
packing plant, Murray, a rumpled advisor to a Labour MP at the Ministry for Ethnic Affairs, finds himself
drawn unwillingly into the murder investigation. Meanwhile, his house is crumbling, his marriage is a shambles,
and his son, Red, demands attention. Things go downhill from there. (The title has a double meaning:
"Stiff" as in corpse, and "Stiff" as in "Stiff luck").
The Brush-Off: Murray, newly transferred to the Ministry of the Arts, becomes entangled in yet another
murder mystery when the body of a local artist is found floating in the moat at the National Gallery. A tangled scheme
of art forgery and duplicitous investments threatens to torpedo the political ambitions of Murray's boss (and,
by extension, Murray's job.) Again, the title has a double meaning: "brush" as in paintbrush, and "brush-off" as in,
Character: Murray Whelan
Notes: A big fan of Shane Maloney's books, David felt particularly drawn to the role of Murray
Whelan, with whom he identifies on many levels. The 90-minute telemovie format allowed him to fully explore the character.
'From my point of view, it gives me a terrific opportunity to play an extremely rich character,' he says. 'The wonderful thing
about telemovies, in terms of the quality, is that everyone involved aims high. This has definitely been one of the most enjoyable
projects I have ever worked on.'
Visit Murray's World, the official Shane Maloney website. Includes still photos from the Murray Whelan series.
Memorable Quotes: "Are you talking to me? My ears have just popped."
"You get a free pair of pants with that shirt, Duncan?"
"Hey Red....Shut up, darling."
Availability: PAL/Region 4 DVD.
(2004). Dir. Stephen Sommers. With Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh.
Gabriel Van Helsing, a professional monster wrangler, is dispatched to Transylvania by the Vatican to do battle with Dracula
and assorted CGI creatures. He is accompanied by Anna Valerious (Beckinsale), and his sidekick, Carl, a monk who invents weapons.Character
Carl the Monk. (Actually, he's a friar.) Notes
: Carl's character is a cross between Q and the fussy C-3PO
from "Star Wars". On the one hand, the vandalism to his hair, which is styled in a swooping Julie Andrews/Florence Henderson-circa-1974
bob, is an unforgivable crime against humanity. On the other hand, he steals the movie with funny lines, an endearingly timid
scuttle, and a jester outfit. He also gets the movie's only love scene.
Paul Hogan was initially in talks to play Carl, until David's audition tape landed on Stephen Sommer's desk.
To look the part, David taped his ears back, got a silly haircut, and hunched himself over.
: "If there's one thing I've learned, it's never be the first to stick your hand
in a viscous liquid."
"Why does it smell like wet dog in here?"
Van Helsing: And you're coming with me.
Hell, no. Damn, I'm not.
Van Helsing: Carl, you're cursing. Badly, but still cursing. Monks can't do that.
Carl: Actually, I'm a friar. I can do whatever I want. Dammit.
"[I'm] a genius with access to unstable
(to Frankenstein's monster) "Where are you going to go? I don't know if you've looked in the mirror lately, but you
kind of stick out in a crowd."
Availability: DVD release date: September 28, 2004
|Basilisk Stare dude
(2003). Dir. Mis Kamieniak. With Jared Turner.
: A jealous husband watches a videotape
of his wife's infidelity as it unfolds in an apartment building across the street. The action occurs on a split
screen. On the right half of the screen, David is busy fiddling with the controls on the playback equipment and
telephoto lens, while creepy electronic music plays. On the left side of the screen, we see what he's watching: his wife
cheating on him with another man. Tension is created through close-ups, heightened gestures, and visual clues (the pearls
David is holding, for example, are seen earlier being put around his wife's neck). The ending contains a surprising
: The Basilisk Stare guy Notes
: A 12-minute short with no dialogue, filmed while
Mis Kamieniak was still an undergraduate at AFTRS (Australia Film Television and Radio School). David's role is extra
challenging because of the tight close-ups, long intervals between cuts, and lack of dialogue. His emotional state is
conveyed solely (and skillfully) through facial expression, heavy breathing, lip-biting perspiration, and subtle gestures.
It's a riveting...hypnotic....mesmerizing....performance.
Pouting, sweating, fondling of cigarettes
Memorable Quotes: None, unless you count heavy breathing and one loud sniffle.
Davidity: A++ for unwavering blue-eyed, sexycreepy goodness.
Availability: Because it is a short subject, Basilisk Stare is hard to find. In
the U.S., it occasionally airs on the Sundance Channel.