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Jenna Lee Connors
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The Turning explores the impact of past on present, how the seemingly random incidents that change and shape us can never be escaped or let go of. All of the stories are bound together by recurring themes; the passing of time, regret, addiction and obsession. Written by
This is an Australian art-house film or rather films. It is the idea of Robert Connelly who brought us the excellent 'Balibo' in 2009. He has brought together seventeen directors and writers to make a version of the book 'The Turning' by Tim Winton. This is essentially a collection of short stories that all have the theme of 'turning' or changing and to say it is a mixed bag is a massive understatement.
Each segment or 'chapter' has been made as a separate film and that can be a bit confusing as you lose the flow of the overall piece; but that is highly intentional. The acting is all well above average with some notable performances. There are some themes that seem to be recurring, such as disfigurement, poetry, narration, regret and more over loss. The subjects vary as much as anything else, including first love, hidden childhood memories, trailer parks, Jesus and Volks Wagens. We also have some modern interpretative dance - just to prove how art-house the whole ensemble is.
Now as I said this is ambitious and in most respects that ambition is realised. However, this is 173 minutes long and, as such, required some commitment to stay the course. It should be the sum of all its parts but that too is a 'big ask' as is the colloquial these days. The parts are so different that I felt some were completely out of kilter with the rest and others almost stand alone stories. And I think that is the intention here, after all they are all short stories and so would want to be both different and stand alone. But that is also the weak point as you will inevitably like some an awful lot more than others.
I am a fan of alternative and art-house cinema but this did require bearing with as I said it is nearly three hours long, but it is still a commendable effort but I would not be able to sit through it twice.
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