Daily Archives: January 13, 2016

Swanning around

I headed down to the caravan at West Rosebud for a lovely day by the seaside.  My family has gone down there for the past fifty-six years.  Unfortunately Mr Judge is not a beach person, which saddens me, because I’d love to spend a week or two down there, especially once the crowds go.

But what’s with all the black swans? There’s often one or two swans doing swanny things, but I’ve never before seen quite this many.


As I am the fount of all wisdom about conical sand-snails, I felt duty-bound to investigate the presence of so many black swans, so up to the Rangers’ Office I went. Apparently they are attracted to the sea-grass beds which have grown particularly well this year.  The mild weather leading up to Christmas has also encouraged them.


I didn’t realize that there were so many swans in Port Phillip.  However, I’ve since learned Swan Bay is across the bay on the Bellarine Peninsula opposite, so named by Matthew Flinders for the huge number of black swans he found there. Apparently they continue to frequent the place in their thousands.

I’m quietly amused at the title of David Mitchell’s book Black Swan Green, and the excitement with which something is acclaimed as a “black swan event”.  There’s nothing unusual about a black swan in Australia.



A fillum about the fillums (I): Tehran Taxi

A movie shot almost completely inside a tax from a dashboard mounted camera? Ah, but this is not any ordinary taxi, and the driver is no ordinary taxi-driver (indeed, he’s not a taxi-driver at all).  Instead, he is the Iranian film maker Jafar Panahi, who in 2010 was placed under house arrest and banned from making films for twenty years by the Iranian authorities.

He drives his car as a taxi, people get in and people get out. One is his niece (who actually accepted the award for this film at the Berlin International Film Festival on her uncle’s behalf) but the others are unnamed, amateur actors.  The car door opens and shuts, as people enter and leave the taxi. A petty thief, an undercover video seller, a teacher, a lawyer, two women with goldfish, a couple injured in a motorcycle accident all share the taxi, sometimes interacting with each other, other times staring out the window. I stared out the window too, fascinated by glimpses of Tehran through the windows- such a European city, with sealed roads, traffic lights, tunnels- all the infrastructure of a modern city.

But gradually things are not as they seem.  I won’t say more.  If there’s any chance of catching it- do.  (It’s on at ACMI in Melbourne at the moment.) Very, very good-  4.5 stars