25 April 2000

Losing Tickets, Gallery 19 -- press coverage

Odds-on favourite

Michael Hutak's "tribute to the little punter" is a cool reworking of the "found" object the artist's failed betting tickets. Exhibited in the genteel, poverty-stricken surrounds of Gallery 19, the visual gesture creates a kind of wallpaper, combusting high modernism and lowly craft. The art of the racetrack is one place where aristocracy and the herd meet, not only in Landseer's and Wallinger's world, where the racehorse is more inbred than bred, but in egalitarian Australia too, where 17 cents in the betting dollar is squirrelled by government. This mug punter's Losing Tickets are scanned, mounted laserprints. Their pristine surfaces resemble more the calligraphic registrations of Marinetti's speedy posters than any humble betting tabs. In the reprocessing of such objects, questions of ethics and more take turns, for Hutak was once a racing journalist. However, a nose for the track is not needed to rate this finely edged show. Phone 9212 4776. Until Saturday. 
The Galleries - Courtney Kidd, 2 May 2000, Sydney Morning Herald.


Colourful racing identity

IF you spent five years trawling the racetracks of NSW and then found a job in the artworld, what would you do on weekends. Former Gadfly columnist Michael Hutak put to use his days spent scraping up the seamy side of the track by collecting bookmaker's betting tickets. He has blown them up, put them on a wall and that's art, baby, opening in an exhibition at Gallery 19, Haymarket, on Tuesday. Hutak says Losing Tickets is a "tribute to all punters who have done their dough'', i.e. Australia. 
- Candace Sutton, 23 April 2000, Sun Herald.

21 April 2000

Baise-moi (2000)

CAST: Raffaƫla Anderson - Manu; Karen Lancaume - Nadine
CO-DIRECTORS: Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi
CO-WRITING CREDITS: Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, adapted from Despentes’s novel.
PRODUCERS: Phillippe Godeau, Dominique Chiron


In a grimy contemporary urban France, Nadine (Lancaume), a bored prostitute, and Manu (Anderson), a rape victim, hook up by chance and hit the road on a wanton sex tour and thrill-kill crime spree, fucking and killing almost anyone who wanders into camera-shot, and attracting a manhunt with inevitable consequences.

So extreme it was banned in its native France, BAISE-MOI is screening here as ‘FUCK ME’, and in the US as ‘RAPE ME’. While you're at it, you could add ‘SHOOT HER’, ‘STOMP ON HIS FACE’, ‘BLOW THIS OUT YOUR ARSE’ and ‘FUCK YOU TOO’. Starring two actual porn stars, co-written and directed by a female team whose credits include 'CUNT SUCKING SLUTS 5', this psychotic yet ice-cool satire is a rotten stew of gratuitous violence, actual hard core sex, and feminist buddy flick, shamelessly referencing THELMA & LOUISE. 

The Office of Film and Literature Classification reckons STRONG SEXUAL VIOLENCE, HIGH LEVEL VIOLENCE, ACTUAL SEX, and ADULT THEMES, and that’s a fair call: a rape scene that repels you from the screen is the prelude to a rampage of quasi-feminist revenge, a brutal, sadistic assault on the world of the film and those that have to view it. That said, if you can stomach the violence – which is no less brutal than a thousand American teen horror flicks. And if you can ‘handle’ pornography the two leads can really act. 

This is ultimately a bitter place where ‘the money shot’ meets ‘Iron Jane’ polemics meet arthouse pretensions. Despite being designed to solicit maximum mass-media outrage, BAISE-MOI will probably have more lasting impact on the adult film industry it pillories, parodies and attacks.


Is it just payback for every act of sexual violence against women shot on film? Or is it merely a bunch of porno professionals out to demonstrate that punk’s not dead? Either way, the filmmakers couldn’t care less what we think: ‘FUCK US’.

** (Two stars)


First published in Empire

1 April 2000

2001: A Space Odyssey -- preview capsule

Dir: Stanley Kubrick

Released at the height of psychedelic hysteria, Kubrick’s supra-philosophical mind fuck was billed as the ultimate trip, but was dismissed by critics as little more than a ponderous light-show with a few riddles thrown in for diversion, and thus didn't rate even a nomination for Best Picture at the 1969 Oscars. Carol Reed’s musical, Oliver! won that year, with Kubrick nominated for Best Director but also losing out to Reed. Thirty three years later, if you haven’t seen 2001 on the big screen, then take the chance while it’s going. But if you’re all Kubricked out - and who isn’t after the orgy of hype surrounding the maestro’s death and the release of Eyes Wide Shut - rent Oliver! instead and see what all the fuss was about.
First published in Australian Style magazine, national. April 2000