Posted by Jenn Winterbine
30. May, 2011
Ana Kokkinos’ Blessed is a powerful tale of dysfunctional family life in contemporary suburbia.
An adaptation of Melbourne play Who’s Afraid Of The Working Class? the film is set in the western suburbs and follows the stories of troubled teenagers estranged from their parents. They wag school, shoplift and get wasted under railway bridges. Knee-jerk conclusions about neglectful parents are shattered in the second half of the film, when the mother’s stories are revealed.
Performances in Blessed are outstanding. France O’Connor won a well-deserved Best Actress AFI for her portrayal of Rhonda, a struggling single mother whose love for her children is primal. In Kokkinos’ words, she is “the mother mainstream media loves to hate”. The roles of close friends Katrina (Sophie Lowe) and Trisha (Anastasia Baboussaras) burst with life, whilst Eamon Farren’s depiction of exploited street-kid Roo tugs at the heart strings.
Blessed is notable not only for its intimate look at socioeconomic issues, but also its poetic cinematography. The connection with characters is strengthened by close-up camera angles, whilst the dilapidated back-streets of Footscray are softened by a crisp, golden tinge. Melbourne’s beaches are proudly showcased in astonishing shades of blue.
Blessed is a powerful piece of cinema, touching upon the taboo issues of youth suicide, sexual abuse and poverty with a profound sensitivity. Yet the tone of the film is neither gritty nor harrowing. Rather it is a delicately woven tapestry of stories that, in their entirety, are confronting yet strangely beautiful.
Milk Bar Mag asks James Nolen, director of the Fashion On Film festival, about his love of fashion and its designers.
Pencil in David Bowie Is, a doco exploring the iconic singer's career.
It comes as no surprise that Melbourne has cheekily emerged as Australia’s digital-scene capital at the fourth annual Pause Festival.
Milk Bar Mag got to speak with action movie icon Fred Williamson about the premiere of his latest action flick Atomic Eden for Monster Fest.
Let the power of beautiful words devour you at Poetic License.
Photographer James Voller continues his exploration of the intersection between installation, photography and documentary media in his latest exhibition.