The Asia Society on Park Avenue last night hosted the annual review of Australian Short Films. Curated by Susan Talbot, it is always a popular event and while the selection of films were not all new ( and some brilliant but hard to watch again – like The Kiss ), there were a couple of gems. I particularly enjoyed The Maker, an animated short with clever visuals and beautiful music. But there was another film called The Fence which seemed all the more poignant after seeing a current exhibition at the Asia Society. The Fence was about Cambodian refugees at the time the Villawood refugee hostel became a detention center, and the exhibition, Bomb Ponds, is a series of photographs by Vandy Rattana capturing the lush countryside of Cambodia. What appear to be natural landscapes are actually craters formed by the bombing of Cambodia by the US during the Vietnam war. With the ongoing debate about immigration and refugees all over the world, it was timely to reflect on the bigger picture.
Speaking of which, the unstoppable Jackie Chan (who’s parents were refugees from China who finished up living in Australia) will be appearing at the Asia Society next month. Tickets for the Q & A event sold out in 20 minutes. If Australia had a cultural center in New York, I wonder which of our heros would inspire a sell out crowd…?