Romulus, My Father

We often see stories about how mental problems affect the rich and successful. Imagine how much worse mental illness must be for the poor. That's the subtext of this film, even though it is ostensibly about a father-son relationship. The story is about real people, as recounted in a prize-winning memoir. The late Romulus Gaita was an industrious German emigrant who ended up around the world in Victoria, where he struggled to build a good rural life in the 1950s and 60s with his German wife, Christina. His story was related, as implied by the title, by his own child, Raimond Gaita, who is a philosopher and a respected professor in England.

The great tragedy of Romulus's life was not his struggle to survive a hardscrabble existence, which he faced with unswerving determination, but that fact that the effort was made so much more difficult by a deeply troubled wife.  As the film begins, Christina has tired of the rural life and has run off with a family friend to live in Melbourne. She comes back for frequent visits, during which she sleeps with Romulus, leaving both father and son hopeful that she will eventually decide to return for good. These hopes are dashed when she announces that she is pregnant again with the other man's child.

The story portrays the impact of Christina's mental illness on all of the people around her, not just her husband and son, but her lover and their daughter as well. In a sense it demonstrates the way in which mental illness can be contagious, because her unpredictable behavior and her inability to see beyond her own immediate desires leads those who love her to their own breaking points. Romulus was a survivor, but just barely, and only after having spent some of his own life in a mental health facility.

This is an Aussie arthouse film with genuine and fully dimensional characters drawn from life, and acted with great sensitivity. I have greatly underestimated Eric Bana. Because his first international appearances were in films that focused on his pecs, and because one of his later films was ungodly awful, I have kind of a knee-jerk reaction to his name which is similar to the one I have for (let's say) Brigitte Nielsen. That's obviously not fair, as demonstrated by his recent performances as Henry VIII and as Romulus, but I wonder how long it will be before I stop reacting that way. Bana did a great job in this film, and his performance was matched by the other adult males, as well as by Franka Potente and the child who plays Raimond, who turned in about the deepest performance from a boy since The Sixth Sense. Six different members of the cast were nominated for Aussie Oscars by the AFI, and the film received a total of 16 AFI nominations, winning four. The photography is so outstanding that I don't know how it could have lost for Best Cinematography. I haven't seen the winner (The Home Song Stories), but I assume it must make Days of Heaven look like an Ed Wood film.

Romulus is an excellent film in many respects, but you should be forewarned that the story is totally downbeat. Although we know that Rai grew up to be successful and that Romulus lived to a ripe old age and eventually remarried, the portion of their lives portrayed in the film has far more despair than hope. Every time something in the story seems to get better, it soon makes a 180 and gets even worse than it was. After you watch this film, you could put on some Leonard Cohen songs to lighten the mood. But that, after all, is what really happened and represents the true impact of mental illness.

7.5 at IMDb

44% positive reviews

Franka Potente film clip (samples right)


  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








Forbidden Lust


Forbidden Lust has an archeologist receiving a package with a fetish inside. He suspects it has something to do with a pre-Mayan civilization he is trying to prove the existence of, but when he reads the bottom, he falls asleep and is transported to a sex ritual. We then meet his college friend, pretty Jennifer Roy, who will figure into the ending. Then we have several sex scenes/dreams before Ander Paige, the ancient goddess, shows up in his office to seduce him. Fortunately, Jennifer Roy shows up to rescue him.

This unheralded masterpiece (not listed at IMDb) features the worst music track I have yet heard, and lots of boring simulated sex on dark sets. I can't imagine anyone enjoying this film.

Jennifer Roy


Paige Richards


Ander Paige









Termination Man


Today we have a not so good movie, Termination Man, but we get lucky and Athena Massey saves the day with some very nice T & A. This woman can throw her shoes under my bed anytime.

Caps and five clips.







Notes and collages

The Mexican


Julia Roberts


Mimi Rogers returns tomorrow.







Dita von Teese

Here is the final of 7 installments from the film Pin-Ups2, in which Dita does all sorts of naughty, explicit lesbian and solo activities.



Sarah Alexander

I could Never be Your Woman (first one) and various episodes of "Armstrong and Miller" (others)

Penelope Cruz in The Good Night
Helen Mirren. An angle from Age of Consent which as been inexplicably cut from some versions.
Tara Reid: back in shape
Sophie Monk braless

Nekkid on Stage

Performance artist Tine Van Den Wyngaert in Tinseltown



Clips: New flicks


Three women from Histoire de Richard O (2007): Ludmila Ruoso, Alexandra Sollogoub, Lucie Borleteau.



Clips: Classics and Vintage

Lysette Anthony in Save Me

Sylvia Kristel in Lady Chatterley's Lover

Susanne Sacchsse in Raspberry Reich

Ruth Gabriel in Dias Contados

Penelope Cruz in Open Your Eyes

Madeleine Stowe in her prime in Unlawful Entry