My Life in Books and Film as embedded in Agnes’s Broken Dreams...

  1. Earliest Memory

    THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL: Hans Christian Anderson - identified by a young Agnes
    “Agnes wonders if she has died like the little match girl in the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, who, after freezing to death on earth, finds a warm fire in heaven.”

  2. Childhood companion

    ¨Agnes made a twig bridge and lined the floor with gum leaves. She imagined a line of bull ants crossing it like she had seen illustrated in ‘The Adventures of Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie.¨

  3. At School

    GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Charles Dickens
    ¨Yet, regardless of her deteriorating ability to read, Agnes still loves to hear a story. The one book she can’t forgive the old teacher for desecrating with snores is ‘Great Expectations’...

  4. Inspiring an imaginary character

    REBECCA: Daphne du Maurier
    ¨I’ll call myself Katherine De Winter, Katherine Lea De Winter…
    Agnes, experiencing huge relief beyond her dreams, now relishes the fact of becoming a “Rebecca” character. And this Mildura ranch cover story is an absolute god-send¨

  5. A first poem

    WILLIAM BLAKE: Songs of Innocence
    ¨To Dear Agnes,
    Well done. Go on being yourself.
    To see the world in a grain of sand
    And heaven in a wildflower. Love Dora Chadwick¨

  6. A treasured gift

    ANNE FRANK: The Diary of a young girl
    ¨Here, Jacqueline will kiss Agnes and hand her a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. But Madge’s proximity will cause Agnes to pull away from Jacqueline’s proffered embrace, for she will not want her mother to see the affection between them. ¨

  7. When I regained the ability to read fluently again as an adult I rediscovered the comfort and joy of books

    I fell in love with the journals of ANAIS NIN. DH LAWRENCE’s Women in love and J.D SALINGER’s The Catcher in the Rye were two memorable works that reignited my lost passion for reading.

  8. In Recent years

    ARUNDHATI ROY’s The God of Small Things: a masterful, compassionate, heart-breaking story to which I am regularly drawn back. SEBASTIAN BARRY’s The Secret Scripture has burrowed into my soul.

  9. The discovery of new masterpieces

    HANYA YANAGIHARA’s A Little Life. A stand-out character-driven novel, both touching and unpredictable, and whose sizeable length is dwarfed by its profound content and power to absorb. GAIL HONEYMAN’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: a delight from start to finish.

  10. Favourite grown up poem that evokes the devastating effect that the death of a loved one has on those left behind.

    W.H AUDEN’s Funeral Blues

  11. A lifetime love of theatre

    I have always delighted in the buzz of a theatre foyer as it fills up with people and watching the audience take their seats in anticipation. All this building up to the glorious moment when the lights go down and the curtain goes up.

    Favourite plays:
    SHELAGH DELANEY: A Taste of Honey
    ANTON CHEKHOV: Uncle Vanya
    ARTHUR MILLER: Death of a Salesman

  12. A romantic teenage obsession

    GONE WITH THE WIND: Romance in the American South during and after the Civil War.

    "Natasha knows exactly what happened in the bedroom after Rhett Butler carried Scarlet O’Hara up the stairs, whereas Agnes still doesn’t have a clue. She wants to ask Natasha about sex but doesn’t know how."

  13. Determination and Courage

    REACH FOR THE SKY: The true story of WWII fighter pilot ace who lost both legs in a flying accident, but learnt to walk again.

    "She wants to be a hero like Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky. It strikes her that, instead of serving in the leper colony, she could give up her legs for her country."

  14. Domination and Manipulation

    THE SERVANT: Servant and master redefine each man's understanding of fear, desire and class. 

    "…during which time she would continually watch a film DVD of The Servant – Pinter’s 60s masterpiece about a manipulative reversal of roles which, on some level, she knew without doubt reflected her toxic relationship with the psychologist."

  15. A single minded fight for the truth

    TWELVE ANGRY MEN: a dissenting juror´s determination to get to the truth in a murder trial. 

    "She believes Grandma is sincere in her belief and convictions, but she is no Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men. She will have no reservations in pronouncing Agnes ‘GUILTY’ along with the rest."

  16. A Rebel

    THE WILD ONE: a young and angry Marlon Brando lights up the screen in a 50s cult classic.

    "They combine with the cap to make him resemble Marlon Brando in The Wild One. She wonders if he is an actor ‘between jobs’ but decides not to ask."

  17. The Inescapable bond of the family

    THE GODFATHER II:  The unavoidable fate of a Mafia son who becomes head of the family. 

    "As Agnes put the phone down, Al Pacino’s lament in The Godfather vibrated in her ear: Just when I thought I was out – They Pull Me Back In."

  18. Finding stability through analysis to learn to read again and educate myself late in life

    I identified with the illiterate shepherd boy in PADRE PADRONE: who breaks free from paternal oppressions, learns to read and emerges as a brilliant scholar.

  19. The pain of parental abuse to a mental breakdown and the emergence of a legend. 

    SHINE: a compelling, inspirational story devoid of sentimentality.

  20. Incest, Racism, men, woman, violence, suffering and self-discovery.

    THE COLOUR PURPLE: a touching and lovingly-made film from Steven Spielberg that captures the life of Southern black women in the years 1909 through 1949.

  21. A beautiful woman is catapulted back to teenage sexual abuse.

    THE NIGHT PORTER: A concentration camp survivor rekindles her sadomasochistic relationship with her lover, a former SS officer - now working as a night porter at a Vienna hotel.

  22. The Triumph Of The Human Heart

    SUITE FRANCAISE: A note perfect glimpse of life in occupied France during the Second World War: the horrors, desperation and love that grows from a shared passion of music.      

    MOONLIGHT: A gay man's journey from a deprived childhood through rage and towards self-realisation is a moving, mysterious dance to the music of time.

    LION: Saroo gets separated from his family at the age of five and ends up being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty five years later, he searches for and finds his birth mother in India.

    THE SHAPE OF WATER: Elisa, a lonely janitor, stumbles upon an amphibious creature that is held captive in a secret research facility. She develops a unique relationship with the creature.