Author: Natalie Salvo

My writing portfolio can be found at: https://nataliesalvo.wordpress.com/

Sydney Film Festival Review: XY Chelsea is barely the first chapter in Manning’s story

June 17, 2019

You get the sense that the stage was set for a great documentary about Chelsea Manning. It was May 2017 when the former US army soldier and intelligence analyst had her sentence commuted by President Barack Obama. She also granted a documentary film crew unfettered access to her life. And yet what follows is a […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: David Crosby is an open book that teaches us children well in Remember My Name

June 16, 2019

David Crosby was a Byrd who became a “difficult cat”. In Remember My Name he is an old dog armed with a guitar in one hand and a spliff in the other. This musician and artist is very candid about his full and colourful life in this feature-length documentary. This film is ultimately an entertaining […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Leftover Women is an eye-opening look at love & marriage

June 13, 2019

Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. But what do you do if you’re a single woman who is over a certain age living in China? The documentary, Leftover Women, is an illuminating look at three individuals who grapple with various stigmas and expectations, in a society where women are encouraged to […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Martha: A Picture Story is a sharp look at her many pictures of you

June 12, 2019

They say if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. American photographer, Martha Cooper fits this to a tee. She has had a long and storied career capturing some fine images of urban landscapes, and changing towns and communities. Martha: A Picture Story is like a love letter to […]

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Film Review: Tolkien is a pedestrian look at the famed writer from childhood to hobbit

June 12, 2019

There is no question that author, J.R.R Tolkien is worthy of a bio-pic. The writer is responsible for some of the most beloved fantasy epics including: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This bio-pic is a rather pedestrian telling of some of his life events and as such, is unworthy of such a […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Amazing Grace makes you want to sing hallelujah with Aretha Franklin

June 10, 2019

There is no question that the late, great Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul. But what you may not know is that she was also an accomplished gospel singer; the daughter of a preacher who first developed her musical chops at church. Amazing Grace is a homage to Franklin’s past, a 1972 concert film […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: My Nudity Means Nothing bares all and nothing at all

June 8, 2019

It should come as no surprise that in My Nudity Means Nothing (Ma nudité ne sert à rien) the protagonist is naked. In this case, it is the French, Underground filmmaker, Marina de Van. She holes herself up in her flat and flitters between existential angst and some serious naval gazing. All this and absolutely […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Amazing Johnathan Documentary is like a film directed by Puff the Magic Dragon

June 7, 2019

Most documentaries are good at providing observations about a subject. They are often unobtrusive and just like a fly-on-the-wall. But what do you do when you’ve chosen to chronicle an individual who is an illusionist and expert prankster by day? TV director, Ben Berman grapples with this as well as the notion of the truth […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: A Dog Called Money sees the worlds of music and video collide

June 5, 2019

Inspiration can strike at any time. But if you’re an artist like PJ Harvey you may choose to go in search of this illusiveness. A Dog Called Money is a music documentary that depicts the process that spawned the album, The Hope 6 Demolition Project. The result is a beautifully-shot film that can be uneven […]

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Book Review: Paul Dolan’s Happy Ever After proves we don’t have to be princes & princesses to experience bliss

May 20, 2019

I’ll have what she’s having. Or will I? When it comes to “Happy Ever After” many of us believe we all want the same things. But Paul Dolan’s latest book, Happy Ever After, challenges us to think otherwise. He does this with some myth-busting and some clear-eyed, intellectual arguments. Paul Dolan, as Professor of Behavioural Science […]

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Film Review: All is True (UK, 2018) is a quiet look at Shakespeare in retirement

May 8, 2019

It’s fair to say that most people know Shakespeare and his plays. But, very little is known about the old Bard himself. All Is True is a bio-pic about ye olde William i.e. the writer in his twilight years. The result is a story that relies on some speculation and doesn’t always live up to […]

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The 5 things we learned about Nico Muhly’s Marnie

April 22, 2019

The Omega Ensemble are Sydney’s Chamber music all-stars. In July, the group will feature in a world premiere. Young composer, Nico Muhly has composed, American Masters, especially for this troupe. The work looks poised to draw heavily on his inspirations like Philip Glass and Steve Reich. The Ensemble held a fundraiser for this new work […]

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Book Review: Melina Marchetta’s The Place on Dalhousie makes you appreciate those boys & girls next door

April 21, 2019

Some people read books to escape their lives. For other readers, they want to consume a story that mirrors their own. Author, Melina Marchetta certainly fits into the latter camp. Her latest novel – the third in her Inner West trilogy, set in the suburbs of Sydney – is a close examination of the issues […]

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Film Review: Waiting: The Van Duren Story (Australia, 2019) is a touching film about your new favourite artist

April 2, 2019

The name “Van Duren” may not mean much to most people. But to Greg Carey and Wade Jackson this Memphis musician is king. The pair went on a journey to discover more about this artist. The result, Waiting: The Van Duren Story is like Searching for Sugar Man, because it sees some fans searching for […]

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Book Review: Janet Malcolm’s essay collection Nobody’s Looking At You prove that journalism is often skin deep

April 1, 2019

If there were a title for Grand Master of narrative fiction then the undisputed champion would be Janet Malcolm. This American author has been writing since the 1960’s when she first began with The New Yorker. The author of several books, her latest one, Nobody’s Looking At You, focuses on recent times by drawing together […]

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Interview: Melina Marchetta holds up a magnifying glass to beautiful & ordinary aspects of suburban life

March 30, 2019

Melina Marchetta’s novels are often about the boy or girl who lives next door. Her book, Looking for Alibrandi, was a perfect example of this and continues to find new audiences, some thirty years after it was released. Marchetta’s latest novel, The Place on Dalhousie, takes a leaf out of her previous works by reprising […]

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Theatre Review: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’s West Side Story proves that thunder & rainbows only happen when it’s raining

March 24, 2019

It was Wet Side Story at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour on Friday night. Leonard Bernstein’s Broadway classic was an emotionally-charged and important affair. It may have been over 60 years since this musical first premiered in the States, but its themes and feel remain as fresh and resonant as ever. This production is the […]

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Film Review: Nicole Kidman is unrecognisable as a broken cop in Destroyer (USA, 2018)

March 18, 2019

Cops are tops. But if you’re Erin Bell in Destroyer you’re less tops and more likely to be drinking hops. Nicole Kidman plays a bedraggled and unrecognisable detective in this noir. While there are some moments where it is thrilling, most of it is far too slow-burning and perfunctory to really cut through. This film […]

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SXSW Film Festival Review: Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall (USA, 2019) is a celebration of the infamous photographer’s rock & roll circus

March 15, 2019

Imagine the photo shoot for Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ or concerts like: Woodstock, Johnny Cash’s gigs at Folsom and San Quentin, and The Beatles’s last official show at Candlestick Park. Most of us would trade our left hands to have been there. But if you were Jim Marshall, you could boast that you went and shot […]

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SXSW Film Festival Review: Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins (USA, 2019) examines the politics behind this unsinkable Molly

March 12, 2019

The Titanic had the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Texas meanwhile, had the unstoppable Molly Ivins. This tall, flame-haired woman was an outspoken, political commentator with a razor-sharp wit. Raise Hell is a documentary that covers every inch of this larger-than-life character. This film is the first documentary to be made about this formidable subject. It’s hard […]

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