New Hugo Weaving Photos From Turning Premiere, First Review

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I'll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

I'm rather disappointed to report that so far absolutely no video interviews with Hugo Weaving from the MIFF Turning premiere have been posted online since the event on August 3, and only one formal review (a very positive one, from The Guardian) has appeared. There were several raves on Twitter (including a few from Australian critics) immediately after the screening, so I'm guessing that either the film is so intense or complex in scope that viewers are taking their time putting together reviews– that or they're simply waiting for the film's Australian wide release next month.

There has been only one red carpet video from the MIFF Turning premiere, from SBS; Hugo Weaving is seen briefly near the beginning (and is seen in the queue to get in with Katrina) but, strangely, no interview footage was shared. The video seems to focus on the film's aboriginal directors and stars, so maybe that's the reason. (The other international star at the premiere, Mia Wasikowska, also wasn't interviewed in the clip.) SBS shared both long and short clips of their video coverage of Mystery Road's Sydney Film Fest back in June, so maybe they have more they'll post later– I hope so anyhow. I know from photos thatat least four reporters interviewed Hugo at least briefly– I don't know if that footage is being reserved for a later date, or if it only appeared on Australian TV.  We'll have to wait and see.

Fortunately new photos keep appearing; most will be under a cut, as they're fairly large:

Photo: Superjay Hemingway via Twitter/Instagram

Photo (plus next one) WENN via Just Jared

New Photos:

Photo(plus next two): Jim Lee, via The Turning's Facebook page, @MIFFOfficial

The film's directors (minus David Wenham, who's acting in The Crucible); producer Robert Connolly introduces the film. Hugo is fourth from left.

Here's a print article from the Herald Sun featuring a brief interview with Mia Wasikowska and a pic of Hugo:

 The first, and so far only, formal review for the film appeared in The Guardian Online; here's a quote. (Click on the link for the full text, which is well worth a read.)

Jim Poe, The Guardian:  "The idea of such a curated project is noble, but it wouldn't be worth much if The Turning didn't work as feature-length entertainment. Omnibus films often feel like the cinematic equivalent of a meal of cocktail hors d'oeuvres; one of the achievements of The Turning is how well-crafted, cohesive and satisfying it is as a film. Despite its sprawling ambition and daunting runtime, it's surprisingly light on its feet – engaging, entertaining and frequently mesmerising throughout, with only a few missteps along the way.

It also effectively recreates the experience of being sucked into a top-notch short-story cycle by a gifted author. While most episodes here would stand alone, it's hard to recall another omnibus film with such narrative unity. Characters re-appear in different episodes at different stages of their lives, fleshed out in snapshots that explore recurring themes from different angles. In that sense it works a bit like a TV series, where different creative teams adhere to one master vision (with Connolly as showrunner, perhaps). The different disciplinary approaches and mixed media generally keep things fresh and interesting.

It's also a beautifully, unapologetically Australian film, imbued with the rhythm and detail of life in the remote coastal towns and hinterlands of Winton's home in Western Australia…. Like the best pieces here, it succeeds by avoiding the precious, one-dimensional quality of so many short films; it trusts the audience enough to present a tantalising glimpse of a fully-formed dramatic world. Most episodes are strikingly open-ended; the same characters are played by different actors, often of different races, creating a dreamlike quality."

Inside Film posted an article noting the film's enthusiastic response, including applause at the end of each segment:

'…Afterwards the tributes flowed. Radio National film critic Julie Rigg declared the film “a huge success,” observing, “Despite trepidation on the part of the different filmmakers, none of whom had seen each other's films, they flowed"… Australian Directors Guild executive director Kingston Anderson said, “It was a great night and the audience responded enthusiastically to the film. It is a milestone in Australian filmmaking to have 17 Australian directors working together on the one project"…. Composer Guy Gross said, “I was blown away. After a four hour flight to get there, how my bum sat through a three-hour movie was a surprise. It really kept me engaged. Biggest surprise was how connected most the films felt despite their disparate crews. To me it shows clarity and strength in the underlying Winton material. An amazing snapshot of a part of Australia, both its psyche and geography, certainly equal to and greater than the sum of its parts. Huge credit to Rob Connolly for the vision"…. Tony Ayres, who directed the segment Cockleshell, said: “I can genuinely recommend this as a unique cultural event.” '

Here's a selection of post-screening tweets:

"The Turning" was amazing. Best movie that I have seen since Snowtown. Best chapters were Rose Byrne's and !

WOW is fan-bloody-tastic. One small complaint only: shortest three hours of my life. Huge congrats to all.

Enjoyed sharing the stage with "The Turning" directors including Hugo Weaving & Mia Wasikowska…

loved The Turning – wonderful cast, directors, and the centrepiece gala party was fun too. Loved it all.

Amazing gala night tonight. Saw "The Turning" incredible film based on Tim Winton's book of short stories. A huge achievement

After seeing at I admire Hugo weaving just that little more

: Great to spend the night in Melbourne for the opening night of

Last nights opening gala for The Turning-absolutely incredible. A must see.

The Turning was magnificent last night. So impressed with Aus film right now. Am also tipsy in the back of a lot of Hugo Weaving interviews.

Tim Winton said he felt proud & hopeful about film adaptation of The Turning during panel discussion at .

Head full of The Turning this morning. Absolutely magnificent.

also, you should catch @ – beautiful filmmaking

Haven't yet read any wholly negative comments; some viewers preferred some segments of the film over others, or thought the narrative flow was impeded in places when strikingly different films were placed in succession, but the variety and ambition are mostly seen as pluses at this stage. I hope we will see more reviews and coverage of the MIFF events as the film's special, limited Australian release September 26 approaches; you can book tickets for those dates right now at the film's official website. And if anyone gets an extra copy of the booklet that's being give out as part of that release (they were also handed out at MIFF), I'd love to buy one! Somehow I doubt the film will receive such loving treatment at the hands of its international distributors. (International distributors: that's your cue to prove me wrong, by the way!) 😉

In Other Hugo News: Both The Turning (actually, an abbreviated version featuring the West Australian-shot sequences, but it does feature "Commission") and Mystery Road will screen at Cinefest Oz (The Turning on August 24; Mystery Road on August 22 and 25). Hugo Weaving and David Wenham fans at Cinefest Oz will also have an opportunity to see them in the short film "No Budget", which will be shown in a Free Community Screening with the documentary Music of The Brain. More info here.

And the Sydney Theatre Company blog features some great photos from past productions (including Hugo's plays Uncle Vanya and Hedda Gabler, and many more featuring Cate Blanchett) in their profile of lighting designer Nick Schlieper.

UPDATE August 6: Screen Daily has posted a new review of The Turning, which, like The Guardian's, is complex but mostly positive, and stresses the importance of seeing the film in cinemas. Excerpt below. Also, I've added three new pics of Hugo at the MIFF premiere of The Turning under the cut with the previous batch, and I thank The Turning's Facebook page and Twitter staff (and MIFF) for sharing them.  Australian fans will want to see the three hour, full edit of the film during its limited engagement starting September 26. (Another early screening, at Luna Cinemas, Leederville on 16 September, was announced today. Rob Connolly and Tim Winton will be present.)  There have been many hints that the wider release of the film (and international release) will be edited, and, of course, won't feature all the lovely extras like booklets and in-person filmmaker appearances. (Well, maybe TIFF will be an exception.) 😉  Also, Tim Winton's source book is readily available in most international markets in case anyone wants to get acquainted with the Lang family before seeing so many different versions of them.

Frank Hatherley, Screen Daily: "Connolly’s vision was for each team to have total control of the interpretation and presentation of their segment. This means that the central Lang Family characters — Vic, Gail, Bob and Carol — are played by different actors in each of the stories in which they appear. This can be confusing — sometimes they can be aboriginal — but will be less of a problem if your glossy programme sets you right….Also varied are the directorial styles — from dialogue-filled naturalism to voice over memories and part-dreams. There’s even a mute, studio dance segment, quite a challenge at the 150-minute mark. Crucially, there are many marvellous locations — vast plains, dripping swampland, impenetrable ranges, pounding oceans — the background to Winton’s acclaimed fiction over the years.

Of the internationally known actors on show, Rose Byrne shines in a ‘trailer trash’ portrait (in Claire McCarthy’s The Turning) very different from her usual work; Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh play Gail and Vic dealing with his difficult mother on Christmas Day (Reunion, written by Blanchett’s husband Andrew Upton and loosely directed by fast-rising theatre man Simon Stone); Hugo Weaving is Bob tracked down by his son after many years isolated in a remote tin shack (Commission, written and debut directed by actor David Wenham)…. It deserves to be seen, with all its challenges and bold complexities, on a cinema screen."


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