Sydney Morning Herald
Garry Maddox and Philippa Hawker
September 26, 2013
The multi-director adaptation of Tim Winton’s The Turning is a hit with critics and audiences – even before its opening.
”I’ve picked the 16 best screens in the country to launch this film,” says Connolly, whose boldness ran to using 17 directors for different chapters of the film including actors David Wenham and Mia Wasikowska. Connolly is one of the producers of the film and also directed one of its segments.
In Melbourne, it’s at the Nova, Rivoli, Palace Como and Palace Brighton. Other venues are the Palace Electric in Canberra; Palace Centro and Dendy Portside in Brisbane, the Arts Centre on the Gold Coast, Palace East End in Adelaide, Luna Leederville and Luna on SX in Perth and the State Cinema in Hobart.
This is a project of ambitions and self-imposed constraints, limitations and freedoms. Producer Robert Connolly presided over the filming of a collection of interlinked stories by Tim Winton, published as The Turning. Each short film (there are 18 in all) is about 10 minutes long: each has a different director and writer. Recurring characters are played by different actors.
Hugo Weaving in The Turning
These are tales of loss, failure, connection and redemption, and they have things in common: recurring images and themes, locations with a particular significance, pain and disappointment that stretches across generations. The filmmakers of The Turning worked independently, but there’s coherence, as well as difference, in the way the stories play out.
The films illuminate each other, but some carry a particular weight. Actress Mia Wasikowska, in her directing debut, creates a witty, dark tale of childhood and obsession. Justin Kurzel distils a detailed narrative into a series of lyrical, piercing apprehensions. Claire McCarthy’s story feels as dense as a feature, with a striking performance from Rose Byrne. Yaron Lifschitz’s dance piece has a strong emotional connection.
Those unfamiliar with the book might feel anxious about identifying characters across narratives, and the prospect of a long, intense viewing experience. But each short film stands alone – there’s a case for surrendering to the work and its flow, and making your own connections. And the pleasures of the whole film are in details and their accumulation.