Calls for Cadel Evans to be dumped as BMC's Tour de France leader may be premature, but the 2011 champion is certainly walking on the precipice after the best part of 12 months riding in the shadow of young American talent Tejay van Garderen.
"There is some short-term memory from the media, I had a virus last year and I still was seventh in the Tour de France... I did actually win the Tour once before (in 2011). That does sort of proves that I can do it (again)."
So said Evans in an interview with Reuters journalist Julien Pretot after the finish of the Criterium International on Sunday.
The Australian had just rolled into the finish of the crucial Col de l’Ospedale stage some 15 minutes down on overall winner Chris Froome (Sky) after working in the service of van Garderen to the bottom of the 14.2km Category 1 climb, and then turning off the lights and cruising to the summit.
Sandy George is thinking about Alejandro González Iñárritu and feeling some déjà vu.
What directors have a flawless body of work? I’d have no hesitation in arguing that director Alejandro González Iñárritu is one of the few. Okay, maybe not flawless, but close.
This Saturday March 30 at 9.30pm, SBS ONE screens his most widely seen feature film, Babel, starring our Cate (Blanchett) and Brad Pitt, who recently became the first man to front a Chanel 5 advertisement. Then, at the same time the following week, SBS ONE airs his fourth and latest film, Biutiful, starring the mesmerising Javier Bardem. What a (double) treat.
[ SBS ONE Film season: full schedule ]
By several accounts, the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq
war passed without much fanfare in Australia. This may seem odd
considering Australia joined Britain and Poland in being one of few
nations materially supporting the US invasion of Iraq.
The Australian military even gave its contribution its own codename – Operation Falconer. All three services got their hands dirty with troops, aircraft, and naval ships getting in on action that has been estimated to have cost the Australian government – that means taxpayers – over $3 billion.
But 10 years later? Pretty much crickets.
That was until Alexander Downer, the Foreign Minister at the time of the invasion, piped up in the Australian media to reminisce. A headline trumpeted “Even with hindsight the Iraq war was the best option for all concerned” which set a tone that pretty much went downhill from there.
The search for a CEO is fuelling the debate about the agency’s role and its future direction.
Should Screen Australia redefine its role and goals? And who should lead the country’s biggest and most influential screen funding agency?
Sections of the film and TV industry have long questioned Screen Australia’s remit and its performance, particularly its generally dismal track record in investing in feature films. That debate is sure to intensify after Screen Australia advertised the CEO’s position last Friday.
The board informed Ruth Harley, who has led the organisation since its inception in 2008, that she is welcome to apply and she told staff she would do so. Her term expires in November. Chairman Glen Boreham declined to comment but the board clearly feels the appointment should be a competitive process.
Being a native of the Italian Alps, you'd have thought I would be accustomed to freezing conditions, snowstorms and roads covered with ice.
And you'd be right. I am very used to experiencing these conditions in my lounge room, in front of the fire with an espresso and biscotti. Not frozen to my saddle with icicles dripping from my nose and being unable to feel my legs.
The race started out well enough, even though it was bitterly cold, and it was fine when we were in the middle of the peloton. But then the crosswinds hit and I found out what it means to be a domestique.
My team leader demanded I get up front in our team's echelon to protect him from the wind. He sat four riders back so he was well covered and there I was, exposed to the brunt of the wind. Every time I tried to roll back through the group, I got reminded in no uncertain terms of my place in the pecking order, and what I was there for.
Director Lynne Ramsay pulled a no-show on day one of what was to be her new film, Jane Got a Gun.
Normally this column reports on people going to work, but that’s not the case with Lynne Ramsay. Last week the Scottish independent director, who had initial success with 1999’s Ratcatcher and 2002’s Morvern Callar and then made a prominent comeback with 2011’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, was due on set for the first day of shooting of Jane Got a Gun, a western previously covered here about a frontier wife who must ask a former love, a famous gunfighter, to protect her wounded husband from the men coming to kill him. The film was to star Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Michael Fassbender, but Fassbender exited several weeks ago, claiming that he had a schedule clash with the X-Men: First Class sequel, and Australian Joel Edgerton replaced him.
A little chopping and changing is normal amongst independent productions in the lead-up to shooting, but the director not turning up is extremely rare. Ramsay, for reasons unknown, quit by simply not coming to the New Mexico set even as the cast and crew were present. A few days later Law, who had signed on because he wanted to work with Ramsay, dropped out. Portman, however, wasn’t going anywhere, as she was a producer. And within days she and her fellow producers had recruited director Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory, Warrior), who is already on set at work. Jane Got a Gun is due out next year, and for once the press junket should be very interesting.
Projects divide Moses' story
Biblical epics are so hot right now: as Darren Aronofsky continues work on his version of the Noah’s Ark tale with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson, there are rival Moses projects being prepared. The first, which is being rewritten by Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List, American Gangster), might be directed by Ridley Scott, while the second could be offered to Ang Lee, fresh from Life of Pi. Similar films from rival Hollywood studios are common enough, although Moses is more highbrow than this year’s terrorists-in-the-White-House face-off. The one thing everyone reportedly agrees on is that Christian Bale, having shed the Batsuit, would make a perfect Moses.
The popularity of annual film market continues to take off.
Kitty Koo, long black hair and black wardrobe, sits in the modest New York Film Academy booth on the corner of two aisles at Hong Kong's Filmart (March 18-21) looking like a benign black widow spider waiting for catch. Southeast Asia provides some 30 percent of the school's intake and apart from the Brisbane campus, her Hong Kong bureau is the institution's furthest outpost.
But appearances can be deceptive. "This isn't about recruitment," she says, "it's about our profile in the region."
And it isn't the only film school with a presence at this film, TV and digital expo; the New York University's Tish Asia contingent of 10 students includes the exotic-looking black dude with big hair and the unexpectedly British but movie-relevant hyphenated name of Stephen Small-Warner. "Producers have to be nimble these days," he says at the end of the conference session on piracy, having questioned the panel on copyright issues. He majors in international media production.
After an unforgettable day on the bike in Taiwan, Tom Palmer waxes lyrical on how sweet the feeling of victory is within a well-oiled team, even if it's not your own personal success that you're celebrating.
There's something rewarding about being a domestique. Cycling is obviously a team sport but I guess it is hard to comprehend what that really means until you've experienced racing for a team.
It has always seemed to me that teamwork is supercharged with an element of sacrifice and injustice in a sport where only one team member crosses the line, salutes and stands on the podium. In reality, the dispersal of that success is really dependent on the dynamics and relationships in the team.
You're don’t get a medal when your team-mate wins. It rarely earns you praise or helps your career but in my experience it has always felt almost the same.
Another week. Another story of animal cruelty. It seems, as Anna Krien wrote for the Quarterly Essay, that our relationship with animals has reached a weird point. Some people fetishise animals; treat them as child substitutes, make them wear ridiculous clothes, jewellery even. Take them shopping in their hand bags. Feed them better than we feed hospital patients. Then, in another part of the same society, we also incarcerate them in ways we never have before. Feedlot them. Intensively farm them. And treat them inhumanely; these beings that are our charges, our responsibility. Though the mistreatment happens often where we can’t see it. Sadly, it’s often left to animal activists to find out the truth.
Which reminds me. Last year, I wrote a blog about our chickens at home and said I’d write more on the topic later. Well, because we filmed those chooks, and the show is running today on that, it seems a good time to give a bit of background to the filming. And only a very, very small story it is. I wanted to visit a modern chicken meat farm. One in my state. I had been asked by the Australian Chicken Meat Federation to visit one in NSW to “dispel some modern misconceptions” around chicken farming. But when I said I’d love to come, but that a film crew was following me, there was no “capacity to bring them along in this instance”.
We took a different tack. Through Gourmet Farmer, our researcher tried to get access to film at a chicken meat farm in Tasmania. That’s my home state, so it made sense to visit a farm that we could get some day-old chicks through. Like many of our stories, it would’ve been good to visit a farm that could help with my own attempts to rear animals. But not a single one, that we could find, would let us film.
The superannuation industry has had it pretty tough lately.
Earlier this year, the CEO of the Association of Superannuation Funds, Pauline Vamos told me in a story for SBS World News Australia, that 2013 was all about rebuilding the super industry's reputation.
Falling equity markets along with excessive fees have turned some people away from the sector. In fact, a Financial Services Council Bond Report showed, discretionary contributions of the 12 months to September 2012 fell by 6.3 per cent to $1billion.
On top of that, the industry has to abide by new and changing rules sparked by the global financial crisis including Stronger Super, MySuper and the Future of Financial Advice reforms.
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