Summer of Joy



This week we were thrilled to learn that Melbourne academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert was finally released from jail in Iran.
I’d interviewed quite a few people about her plight, including Peter Greste, the Australian journalist who spent months in an Egyptian jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
Kylie, an acclaimed young academic, had gone to Iran with a study group in September 2018. When she went to the airport to fly home, she was arrested, accused of being a spy, put on trial in secret, and sentenced to ten years jail.  A living nightmare followed, in which she was held in two of the worst prisons on earth, Evin and Qarchak, often in solitary confinement.
 Both Peter Greste and a young UK woman, Ana Diamond, who has also served time behind bars in Iran, have told me when you come out of an experience like that, you’re never the same person. London-based Ana still suffers in numerous ways but has now become a human rights activist.
So when I woke to a text from Nicky Briger, the editor of Marie Claire early on Thursday morning, telling me Kylie had been freed,  I must admit, I shed a year of joy at the news. Other journalists and pals who knew that this story had really got under my skin also got in touch that day. Even though I’ve never met Kylie, I felt a burden had been lifted, just knowing that she’s safe at last.
Wishing Kylie Moore-Gilbert and her family the very best for what lies ahead. Welcome home, Kylie!
Kylie arrives back in Canberra
Can you believe the Perth Film Festival is back upon us? That chance to see quality films from around the globe under the stars on balmy summer nights for the next 17 weeks or so.
The first film, The Furnace, is at Somerville on Monday night. We at The Starfish were lucky enough to see a preview, where we met the film’s 33-year-old director Roderick MacKay and associate producer Gary Bonney.
Director Roderick MacKay
Gary told us the film was the only Australian film showing at the Venice Film Fest this year; how flying over to Italy, unsurprisingly, they had most of the plane to themselves. Despite the current health risks, it was an enjoyable time to be in crowd-free Venice, spruiking this fascinating new film.
This time last year, Pete and I had just returned from crowded Rome, after a fantastic month, which sadly culminated in being robbed, which is increasingly par for the course in the Eternal City. Hopefully the pandemic has meant that the Latin Bill Sykes type and his cronies are also missing out on their hitherto fruitful spoils from fleecing the hordes of unsuspecting tourists.
Back to The Furnace. It’s a powerful Australian film, starring a virtually unrecognisable David Wenham in what to our mind is his best role to date, and Egyptian actor Ahmed Malek.  See our review from Margot in this issue.
Author Fiona McIntosh
Also in The Starfish, we interview author Fiona McIntosh about her new book, The Champagne War, Pete enthuses over WASO’s Beethoven and Brahms show, Ros reviews new French flick In The Name Of The Land, and we bring you a delicious recipe from Alice Zaslavsky’s new cookbook, In Praise Of Veg.