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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

The Sessions

Latest News

Youth suicide?

ABC News reporting on youth suicide in remote communities at an alarming rate? The Elders are using Aussie Rules...

Other News

New Australian Marbles Champion

After a five-year hiatus the battle for the title of Australian Marbles Champion again took place as part of the Old & Gold Festival held in Brunswick Heads last Saturday.

Ballina Council join study to understand water use

Ballina Council has joined Bathurst, Dubbo and the Murray River Council areas to participate in a cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology that aims to identify how people use water across regional NSW. 

Brad’s Butchery: Byron’s new organic butcher at 130 Jonson St Byron

Brad’s Butchery Byron Bay is a brand-new organic, family-owned-and-operated butcher in Byron with a great range of quality products and a dry-aged beef display room that is equal to the best in the country.

Bringing the ‘Funky Bus’ to town

Louey Howell and the Funkatu Collective are an original psychedelic, bush funk band who combine an eclectic fusion of reggae, soul, ska and hip-hop into a delightfully delicious explosion of funky goodness guaranteed to get your booty shakin’.

AI’s invisible bystanders

In her Echo column last week, Mandy Nolan recommended literature for her daughter, including classics like Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird. 

Editorial – Should Mullum’s water remain locally sourced?

The push by members of Council’s Water and Sewer Advisory Committee (WSAC) to retain Mullum’s local water supply is heating up...

Film review by John Campbell

By chance, I happened to hear Julia Gillard introduce legislation for the new Disability Insurance Scheme into the House of Reps on the morning that I saw this upbeat but touching movie.

As a society, we feel pity when seeing those whose physiology has been attacked by the ‘sharks of fate’, but in general we only take notice of them when they are striving for gold at the Paralympics. It’s a sad reflection of our obsession with air-brushed beauty.

Based on the memoir of one such unfortunate, the eponymous sessions refer to the encounters that Mark (John Hawkes), paralysed since childhood by a severe bout of polio, had with sex therapist Cheryl (Helen Hunt). The 38-year-old poet spends most of his time in an iron lung – he can survive for only a few hours outside of it. Mortified by his uncontrollable carnal functions and driven by a primal need for erotic gratification, he decides to undergo the therapy that he has so long spurned. But first he seeks out the blessing of Father Brendan, his local priest (William H Macy).

That Mark so urgently desires what, by vocation, the able-bodied priest is forbidden is a sardonic juxtaposition – when Mark tells him that ‘she took my penis in her hand’, Brendan’s stony non-reaction is ripe with masochistic humour.

Mark is not wracked by self-pity or seething anger; Cheryl, a married mother, is pragmatic and detached. But the heart takes no account of the body in which it is encased, and veteran Australian director Ben Lewin’s softly-softly approach wades imperceptibly into deep emotional waters as the relationship between client and provider moves beyond their business agreement.

Hawkes (he was Teardrop, the hillbilly meth-cooker in Winter’s Bone) displays no overweening actor’s ego in an insightful and multi-faceted portrayal that frequently appears to be channelling Stephen Hawking, while Hunt, coping calmly with a number of nude scenes, is great as a woman who is belatedly made aware of her own vulnerability.

A lovely film – and, for cat people, the last shot speaks volumes.

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