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  1. Look at transsexual’s life a real head-turner

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    December 21, 2018 by admin

    THE first scene of Xavier Dolan’s movie Laurence Anyways is the first part of the script that he wrote. It follows a figure walking down the street, a woman shot from behind.
    Nanjing Night Net

    What we see is how she is seen: heads turn, people look into the camera, and the expressions on their faces are varied and ambiguous. It’s the first of many scenes in this vivid, lengthy, languorous yet hectic film in which we are made aware of the impact of the gaze.

    Dolan, a young French-Canadian filmmaker, is a multi-hyphenate on a grand scale. He’s an actor, writer, director and producer, whose first feature, How I Killed My Mother, was screened in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2009, when he was only 20. Laurence Anyways, his third movie, is the first in which he does not appear.

    The film takes place in Montreal, in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s the story of Laurence Alia (Melvil Poupaud), a writer and academic who begins to realise that he can no longer deny his true self, his female identity. The opening sequence shows us Laurence, dressed as a woman, the subject of public scrutiny.

    For that scene, Dolan says, ”We had this great extras casting director, who suggested faces. And we wanted to have true, human faces, not preppie people who just wanted a headshot.” He found the first person in this sequence of faces, he adds, when he was having breakfast at McDonald’s. He saw a young man with green eyes, and asked him if he’d like to be in a movie that was shooting.

    The extras weren’t seeing the figure of Laurence, of course, he says, they were staring into the lens, watching a camera crew pass by, ”and I guess they were intimidated. And that’s sort of what we were looking for, because they’re intimidated by the vision of a woman who’s walking down the street.”

    There’s another scene, about the power of the look, in which the subject is Laurence’s intense, volatile girlfriend, played by Suzanne Clement, who is having a good deal of trouble coming to terms with the new identity of the person she knows and loves. It takes place at a costume ball, and it’s filmed with delirious, tactile detail. Dolan wanted her character to be having a good time, he says, but the sequence itself is about delusion, about how she wants to be seen rather than what is actually taking place. ”This bubble, this dream sequence, it’s a fantasy, she’s not wearing that dress, she’s not being looked at that way. It demonstrates what she is seeking. She’s seeking attention, but she doesn’t have it.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  2. Facing up to flawed judgment

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    December 21, 2018 by admin

    Compliance star Ann Dowd plays Sandra, a restaurant manager forced to deal with accusations against a staff member.THE film Compliance is based on a true story, a claustrophobic and unsettling account of human nature and its capacities that has had a strong, sometimes polarising impact on audiences since it was first screened at Sundance last year.
    Nanjing Night Net

    It is set in a fast food restaurant in a small American town, on a day very much like any other. The middle-aged manager, Sandra (Ann Dowd), has already had to deal with a couple of unresolved problems before she takes a call from a police officer with an allegation about one of her employees. How she chooses to deal with it – and what happens as other people become involved – is the unnerving heart of the movie. To go into too much detail would be to risk undermining the film’s slow-build effect.

    Writer-director Craig Zobel became aware of the events on which the film is based, through reading about the famous Milgram experiments of the early 1960s, which explored people’s responses to instructions from authority figures. He came across this story, the basis of Compliance, and one of the things that fascinated him was the process of rationalisation that followed. He says, ”it was a revealing and fascinating story that I could not stop thinking about once I had started.”

    It wasn’t an easy film to cast, he says. It was a low-budget movie, but he wasn’t looking, in any case, for well-known faces who might look out of place behind a fast-food counter. He wanted actors who he felt would have the ”right spirit” for the roles. Finding them involved talking to them about the story, and seeing if there were aspects of the characters or situation they could identify with.

    ”What was interesting about that story,” he says, ”was that a bunch of people were talked into doing things they would normally never ever think they were capable of doing. So you should be able to watch it and have some empathy for Sandra” – whatever you might think of her judgment, or lack thereof. Dowd’s performance has been singled out; she won the National Board of Review award for best supporting actress.

    Sandra takes the accused employee to a back room at the restaurant, as she is told by the police officer, and events begin to unfold. For Zobel, there were challenges involved in the choices he made about these aspects of the narrative. ”It was incredibly difficult to decide how to depict the scenes that turned towards the darker elements of the story. I talked a lot with the actors, and with my other collaborators. I proposed things, asked how they would be interpreted by my teammates.”

    In the end, he says, the decisions were his, and he had to follow his instincts, but, he adds, ”I thought it should feel as uncomfortable as it must’ve been in that room, just put us in there and realise how insane it was that these types of things got this far.”

    There were some challenges he was able to enjoy whole-heartedly. ”Considering how dark this movie is, it feels weird to admit that the fast food restaurant was a blast to design,” he says. He tried to think like a marketing person. He and designer Matt Munn made trips ”to every fast food restaurant we could find and critiqued their menus, their colour schemes, their wardrobes, their food item names” to help devise the fictional ChickWich chain.

    Compliance opens on January 17 at the Cinema Nova, Carlton.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  3. Push to tax sugary drinks to fight obesity

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    December 21, 2018 by admin

    Craig Padayachee demonstrates the amount of sugar in a single can of soft drink.What soft drinks are really doing to you
    Nanjing Night Net

    A CAMPAIGN to tackle unhealthy levels of sugar consumption is pushing for a tax on soft drinks and restrictions on advertising directed at children.

    The Rethink Sugary Drinks campaign, run in conjunction with Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation, features an Australian version of a US television ad in which a man sits at a bar eating 16 sachets of sugar.

    Sixteen teaspoons is the amount of sugar in a 600 millilitre bottle of soft drink. Consumed once a day, that amounts to 23 kilograms a year.

    ”You’d never eat 16 packs of sugar,” the ad, from the New York City Department of Health, says, ”Why would you drink 16 packs of sugar?”

    One in four Australian children is overweight or obese and health organisations say sugar-sweetened beverages are partly to blame, with 25 per cent of two to 16-year-olds consuming sugary soft drinks daily.

    ”You are really just getting a vehicle for the delivery of sugar without any nutritional benefit whatsoever,” said Craig Sinclair, chairman of the public health committee at Cancer Council Australia.

    Mr Sinclair said there was ”something inherently not right” in having Coca-Cola and Powerade sponsor events like school rugby and junior soccer, and it was a matter of time before tobacco-style bans on direct marketing to children were introduced for unhealthy food.

    During his university days the drink of choice for Craig Padayachee was Solo, which contains 81 per cent of the recommended daily sugar intake in each 600-millilitre bottle.

    The 27-year-old Heart Foundation IT administrator regularly drank three 375-millilitre cans a day at his friend’s internet cafe and said he soon began feeling the effects.

    ”My activity level dropped off quite a bit. I had pretty much no energy,” Mr Padayachee said.

    A spokeswoman for the federal Department of Health and Ageing said unlike healthier food, items like confectionery and soft drinks were subject to GST, but the Henry tax review had not recommended increasing tax on less healthy products.

    New dietary guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council due in February include a recommendation to ”limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars. In particular, limit sugar-sweetened drinks.” In Victoria, Education Department policy on school canteens directs providers not to supply soft drinks with high sugar content.

    This week in the US, Coca-Cola released an ad boasting that 180 of its 650 drinks contain few or no calories.

    A spokeswoman from Coca-Cola Amatil in Australia said the company was evaluating the US campaign ”and its relevance for the local market”, adding it was the first beverage company with nutritional information on the front of its labels and, ”in line with our long-standing global policy”, did not market to children under 12.

    Australian Beverages Council chief executive Geoff Parker said whether 16 teaspoons of sugar per bottle was unhealthy depended on the consumer.

    ”It’s no surprise that young adult males are the people that consume full-sugar varieties the most,” he said. ”They are the young tradies, the apprentices, out there with physically active lifestyles. No one food or drink causes obesity.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  4. Health courses in rude health

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    December 21, 2018 by admin

    Charlotte Ganderton, 23, studied physiotherapy because it’s a field that offers a large variety of career options.HEALTH sciences are among the steadiest performers of all university courses, with growing demand from students seeking good career prospects.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Students will receive first-round offers from universities on Thursday and courses such as dermal therapies at Victoria University and paramedicine at Australian Catholic University have recorded consistent increases in preferences in recent years.

    Demand has also grown substantially for the course known as health sciences and physiotherapy practice at La Trobe University. It attracted 637 first preferences, increasing by 175 from the previous year.

    La Trobe’s head of physiotherapy Megan Davidson said students were drawn to the course because of stable job opportunities after graduation. Students complete the four-year course with a bachelor of health science and a master of physiotherapy.

    ”It’s fairly intensive but I think the market is telling us they like it because preferences have gone up this year,” Dr Davidson said.

    It was the sixth most sought-after course overall this year, up from 12th spot in 2012.

    Many students believe that studying a field within health sciences would allow them to travel with their skills, Dr Davidson said. ”I think it’s seen as very portable. Australia has a very good reputation for health sciences education.”

    Charlotte Ganderton, who will graduate from La Trobe’s health science and physiotherapy course with honours this month, has already secured a job at Peninsula Health.

    The 23-year-old has wanted to work as a physiotherapist since she was a child.

    ”There are so many avenues you can go down depending on where your interest lies,” she said. ”What I love about it is you can have 10 career changes but still remain a physiotherapist. I think that’s what drew me to the profession.”

    Ms Ganderton said she had seen many job vacancies for physiotherapists in aged care. But she believed it was harder to get jobs in other areas, such as the public sector.

    The five most popular courses were arts, science, biomedicine and commerce at Melbourne University, along with medicine/surgery at Monash University.

    These courses have consistently dominated the top five. But arts and science at Melbourne were the only top five courses to record consecutive increases in first preferences since 2009.

    First preferences for dermal therapies at Victoria University have more than quadrupled in the past five years, from 35 for 2009 to 163 for this year.

    Victoria University’s dermal therapy course does not require an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank but applicants must sit a test and be interviewed.

    Dermal therapies discipline leader Frank Perri said the course prepared students for work in a growing industry. He said students learn wound management, scar-tissue reduction and treatment of some skin conditions.

    He also believed the field offered good job prospects. ”In the longer term it’s going to grow. Living in Australia there’s always a lot of sun damage,” he said.

    For this article, The Age analysed first-preference data from everyone who applied for a course through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre.

    These figures could have changed slightly among non-year-12 applicants who might have altered their preferences.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


  5. Drought ends for NGV water wall after summer shutdown

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    December 21, 2018 by admin

    AFTER lengthy repairs to the National Gallery of Victoria’s water wall, the drought broke on Wednesday when the steady stream sprang to life – anxiously monitored by gallery director Tony Ellwood.
    Nanjing Night Net

    A cracked glass pane forced the shutdown of the Melbourne landmark in early December. Children expecting their first watery baptism in art have been met with signs and maintenance works during the peak holiday season.

    ”I pushed for a new look and feel and campaign for summer, and here we’ve had this unwelcoming entrance which has really upset me,” said Mr Ellwood, who took the helm of the gallery six months ago.

    The pane has been replaced, but the silicone sealing the glass failed twice, with leaks forcing the gallery to stem the flow until now.

    Philip Goad, professor of architecture at the University of Melbourne, has criticised the time taken to restart the popular attraction. ”The water wall was redone in the refurbishment back in 2002-03 so it shouldn’t be failing. Sometimes things like this are technically complex but it shouldn’t be that difficult to fix.”

    Mr Ellwood defended the time spent on repairs, saying he wanted to guarantee the leaks were fixed.

    The crack was discovered on a day of extreme heat, and could have been caused by ”thermal stress”, he said. He immediately commissioned an engineers’ report, which he said was ”inconclusive” about the cause of the crack. ”There’s also the likelihood that the pane of glass may have had an existing fault.”

    He didn’t rule out that a mural painted on the water wall could have damaged the pane through the black paint absorbing heat. ”It’s possible, we don’t know.”

    The engineers’ report by Arup concluded that several issues combined to result in the crack. ”Namely, a black motif painted on the back of the glass causing the glass to heat up, the water had been turned off to facilitate maintenance work on the external ceiling above the water wall and a very warm day. The combination of issues was unusual and unfortunate in that it caused the glass to crack due to thermal stress,” the report said. It found no structural issues of concern.

    The gallery removed the mural, created by Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho ”primarily for safety”. (Each water wall pane measures 6 metres by 3.3 metres and weighs about 1.2 tonnes.)

    Mr Ellwood said he hadn’t anticipated problems with murals on the water wall because there had been precedents that didn’t cause damage. He does recall that merely weeks after US artist Keith Haring painted on the water wall in 1984, vandals threw a hammer shattering the art and glass.

    Before becoming director last year, after heading up Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, Mr Ellwood spent seven years as deputy director of the NGV when it underwent a refurbishment between 2001-04. The team of Mario Bellini and Metier3 controversially altered the Roy Grounds-designed 1968 St Kilda Road building, including the water wall.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.