Feldman @ the flicksPeter Feldman
Peter Feldman: The Eye of the Storm is another one of those classy, adult dramas that the Australians are so good at doing.
The Eye of the Storm
Cast: Geoffrey Rush Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling
Director: Fred Schepisi
Director Fred Schepisi has assembled a first-rate cast in Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and a superb Charlotte Rampling for a caustic and engrossing production that explores the emotional wreckage of a dysfunctional family.
Screenwriter Judy Morris has injected searing social observations and dark, yet incandescent wit into this adaptation of Australian Nobel laureate Patrick White’s celebrated novel, and Schepisi has brought it to vivid life in an intelligent and visually sumptuous manner.
A great deal of the drama unfolds at the stately magnificence of a socialite’s Sydney mansion where Elizabeth Hunter (Rampling), a dying matriarch, has summoned her two errant children, Basil (Rush) and Dorothy (Davis).
They have been at odds with their domineering socialite mother for decades and have now arrived on the scene, with all their emotional baggage, to squabble over their inheritance.
The children endured a particularly loveless upbringing and the scars of inner torment can never be totally eradicated.
The narcissist Basil is an expatriate actor with a knighthood and a taste for women, while the awkward, introspective Dorothy is still smarting from a failed marriage to a member of the French nobility.
Mother has lost none of her destructive fury and even on her deathbed continues to torment her cash-strapped offspring.
The narrative undergoes shifts in time and perspective as it carefully examines Elizabeth’s past relationships.
Minor roles are filled by a strong Australian cast with Colin Friels, Robyn Nevin and Helen Morse (“Picnic at Hanging Rock’) as Lotte, Elizabeth’s housekeeper, a Holocaust survivor with a bent for recreating extravagant cabaret performances for her employer’s benefit.
The film is slow-paced and given to detail, but it’s a storytelling mechanism that will appeal to film-goers who can appreciate its genteel and intensely dramatic process.
Feldman has been a journalist and arts critic for over 45 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He is active in the freelance field and his work over the past 12 years has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He writes regularly for Artslink.co.za, The Citizen, South African Jewish Report, The Sunday Independent and is a contributor to "Eat Out" Magazine. He also contributes movie reviews on Mondays to The Gordon Hoffman Easy Morning Show on 1485 Radio Today (www.1485.org.za) and has worked on TV in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. After retiring from The Star in April, 1999, Feldman joined the PR and events management company, Dlamini Weil Communications, where he currently works as an entertainment and media consultant.