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Contemporary Australia: Women in Film

Contemporary Australia: Women in Film

21 April – 18 July  2012

The program coincides with the Gallery’s ‘Contemporary Australia: Women’ exhibition and continues the exhibition’s exploration of the rich and complex contribution of women practitioners, specifically in the field of filmmaking.

Margaret Pomeranz is guest curator for a free film program exploring representations of women in Australian cinema. Contemporary Australia: Women in Film focuses on the characters and gender relationships that populate our national cinema, while also acknowledging the growing representation of women behind the scenes in such key production roles as scriptwriters, cinematographers and producers.
 
Margaret Pomeranz considers both representations of women by women and of women by men. Showcasing some of our strongest filmmaking and acting talent, this collection of films explores a range of gender power dynamics including parental relationships and the part family plays in shaping notions of womanhood, coming of age and the bold as well as the quieter stories of love and loss.

Audi GOMA Bar 

A stylish space to enjoy a drink and a light bite to eat. During our 'Contemporary Australia: Women in Film' program, meet friends at the Audi GOMA Bar on Friday nights from 5:30pm until 13 July 2012

Women in Australian Film with Margaret Pomeranz and Guests

Sat 21 Apr 5.00pm

Margaret Pomeranz from ABC TV’s ‘At the Movies will join three distinguished directors Gillian Armstrong, Ana Kokkinos and Louise Alston to discuss representations of women in contemporary Australian cinema through different perspectives.
Free. No bookings required, however, seating is strictly limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Look Both Ways 2005 M

Look Both Ways 2005 M

Sat 21 Apr 6.30pm and Fri 4 May 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 100 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: SARAH WATT / PRODUCER: BRIDGET IKIN / CINEMATOGRAPHER: RAY ARGALL / CAST: JUSTINE CLARKE, WILLIAM MCINNES, DANIELA FARINACCI / EDITOR: DENISE HARATZIS / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  HIBISCUS FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ICON FILMS

Sarah Watt’s debut film combined her background in animation with her compassionate emotional intelligence.  Death hovers over this film.  A man is killed by a freight train, a young woman’s father has just died, a news photographer discovers he has cancer.  The fear of random catastrophe permeates.  The women are in trouble, one is pregnant to a man who doesn’t want to be involved, one is grieving and the heroine, so beautifully portrayed by Justine Clarke, is living timidly in a world she regards as alien, full of threat.  It’s the sensitivity behind this film that distinguishes it.

Radiance 1998 M

Radiance 1998 M

Sun 22 Apr 1.00pm and Sat 28 Apr 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 83 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: RACHEL PERKINS / PRODUCERS: ANDREW MYER, NED LANDER / SCRIPT: LOUIS NOWRA / CINEMATOGRAPHER: WARWICK THORNTON / CAST: RACHEL MAZA, DEBORAH MAILMAN, TRISHA MORTON-THOMAS / EDITOR: JAMES BRADLEY / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  ECLIPSE FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE, AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: ECLIPSE FILMS

Three aboriginal sisters are reunited at the family home in North Queensland after the death of their mother.  Cressy (Rachel Maza), a successful opera singer, was handed over to nuns when she was just a child. Mae (Trisha Morton-Thomas) was left to care for a woman who made life hell because of her senility. Only Nona (Deborah Mailman) seems to have any semblance of affection for their mother, although she has always wanted to meet up with her long-gone father.  Based on a stage play by Louis Nowra, who adapted his work to the screen, directed by Rachel Perkins and with Warwick Thornton’s stunning cinematography, this sometimes exuberant, sometimes bitter and angry but ultimately very moving story has heartfelt performances from three fine actors.

Lantana 2001 M

Lantana 2001 M

Sun 22 Apr 3.00pm and Fri 4 May 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 121 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: RAY LAWRENCE / PRODUCER: JAN CHAPMAN / SCRIPT:  ANDREW BOVELL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MANDY WALKER / CAST:  ANTHONY LAPAGLIA, GEOFFREY RUSH, KERRY ARMSTRONG / EDITOR:  KARL SODERSTEN / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  JAN CHAPMAN FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/ RIGHTS: PALACE FILMS

This award-winning film was written by Andrew Bovell, adapted from his stage play Speaking in Tongues and directed by Ray Lawrence whose previous film was Bliss 1985, with one of Australia’s most creative producers, Jan Chapman. Women yearn for connection with their husbands, husbands yearn for connection with their wives - but often take dangerous sidesteps to allay their pain.  And then one of those wives goes missing.  The interconnectedness of lives is dealt with compassionately for the most part but what distinguishes this film is not only the direction but the performances from an ensemble cast that includes Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Kerry Armstrong, Barbara Hershey, Rachael Blake, Daniela Farinacci and Vince Colosimo.  Making use of natural light, Mandy Walker’s cinematography is a standout.

Shame 1988 M

Shame 1988 M

Wed 25 Apr 6.00pm and Fri 11 May 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 94 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: STEVE JODRELL / PRODUCERS: IAIN CANNING, EMILE SHERMAN / SCRIPT: BEVERLEY BLANKENSHIP, MICHAEL BRINDLEY / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JOSEPH PICKERING / CAST: DEBORRA-LEE FURNESS, TONY BARRY, BILL MCCLUSKEY / EDITOR: KERRY REGAN / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: BARRON ENTERTAINMENT, UAA FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE, AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: UMBRELLA ENTERTINAMENT

This West Australian production features a fine performance from Deborra-Lee Furness as a bike-riding barrister who arrives in a country town where the hidden subtext is the community acceptance of rape by a group of young feral men.  Similarities to Wake in Fright 1971 are obvious.  The male agenda permeates this isolated town where everyone is afraid to disturb the status quo.  Written by Beverly Blankenship and Michael Brindley, directed by Steve Jodrell, this is a feminist film in a genre setting, a western with a great female character as the lone rider into town.  Furness’ performance is subtle and yet forceful.  Her character is driven by a sense of entitlement, to walk the streets at night without fear.  When she meets a young woman Lizzie (Simone Buchanen) who has been a victim, she’s constrained to stay and fight for justice.

The Boys 1998 MA15+

The Boys 1998 MA15+

Fri 27 Apr 6.00pm and Sun 6 May 3.30pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY, 86 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: ROWAN WOODS / PRODUCERS: ROBERT CONNOLLY, JOHN MAYNARD / SCRIPT: STEPHEN SEWELL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: TRISTAN MILANI / CAST: DAVID WENHAM, TONI COLLETTE, LYNETTE CURRAN / EDITOR: NICK MEYERS / PRODUCTION COMPANY: ARENAFILM / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE, AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: FOOTPRINT FILMS

The women in this disturbing film adaptation of Gordon Graham’s stage play are both victims and catalysts.  A sense of menace hangs over the Sprague family as soon as Brett (David Wenham) gets out of gaol.  His brothers Glenn (John Polson) and Stevie (Anthony Hayes) are pawns in the hands of this psychopath.  Their women, Glenn’s partner (Jeanette Cronin), Stevie’s pregnant girlfriend (Anna Lise) and Brett’s girlfriend (Toni Collette) are all intimidated in one way or another and at various stages they leave.  The mother (Lynette Curran), aware that she has reared a pack of mongrels, is scared and defeated.  A seething resentment festers which will have devastating repercussions for, no surprise here, a woman.

Animal Kingdom 2010 MA15+

Animal Kingdom 2010 MA15+

Fri 27 Apr 8.00pm and Fri 11 May 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 108 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: DAVID MICHÔD / PRODUCER: LIBBY SHARPE / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ADAM ARKAPAW / CAST: JAMES FRENCHEVILLE, GUY PEARCE, JOEL EDGERTON / EDITOR: LUKE DOOLAN / PRODUCTION COMPANY: PORCHLIGHT FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT

Animal Kingdom portrays motherhood as a complex mix of need and dominance.  It demonstrates the lioness’ scary devotion to her cubs.  No wonder Jacki Weaver got an Oscar nomination for her role in this film - she towers over the whole despite the fact that the major roles are male.  Her sons are aware that this woman, who demands constant affection, would do anything to protect them.  The steeliness of her confrontations when her children are at risk is powerful, contrasting cleverly with the earth-mother persona she at first conveys.  This debut film from writer/director David Michôd has a place amongst the best films produced in this country.  It’s Shakespearean in concept, beautifully performed and expertly realised by a major talent.

Road to Nhill 1997 PG

Road to Nhill 1997 PG

Sun 29 Apr 1.00pm and Sun 13 May 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 94 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: SUE BROOKS / PRODUCER: SUE MASLIN / SCRIPT: ALISON TILSON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: NICOLETTE FREEMAN / CAST: VIKKI BLANCHE, LYNETTE CURRAN, PAUL CHUBB, TONY BARRY / EDITOR: TONY STEVENS / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  GECKO FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: RONIN FILMS

This film strikes a lovely balance between Australian country town and French farce.  When four lady bowlers have a car accident returning from a match in a neighbouring town it seems everything goes against them.  The local police officer is otherwise occupied, the ambulance heads in the wrong direction, the fire brigade is in attendance but manned by locals who may aim for competence but fall a bit short.  Partly a dig at male incompetence and insensibility, partly a comment on the role of these women in their men’s lives, it nevertheless celebrates something intrinsically Australian in the stoic nature of the female sex.  Brimming with performances by some of our most beloved and seasoned performers the Road to Nhill is a way worth travelling.

Griff the Invisible 2010 M

Griff the Invisible 2010 M

Wed 25 April 3.00pm and Sun 29 Apr 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 90 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: LEON FORD / PRODUCER: NICOLE O’DONOHUE / CINEMATOGRAPHER: SIMON CHAPMAN / CAST: RYAN KWANTEN, MAEVE DERMODY, MARSHALL NAPIER / EDITOR: KAREN JOHNSON / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: GREEN PARK PICTURES, SCREEN AUSTRALIA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

This oddball romance between two misfits has a beautiful compassion at its heart.  Griff (Ryan Kwantan), a reclusive, shy young man has been bullied all his life and the persecution continues into his working life as an adult.  He takes refuge in an imaginary world in which he is a superhero, defending the city from crime.  His brother Tim (Patrick Brammell) has moved from Adelaide to keep an eye on him but it’s Tim’s new girlfriend Melody (Maeve Dermody) who, living in an alternative universe of her own, understands Griff.  Writer/director Leon Ford has created a beautiful character in Melody, a young woman who can’t communicate with the normal world but fits into Griff’s perfectly.  Quirky and sad and funny, ultimately generous and romantic, Griff the Invisible is the product of a singular imagination.

Innocence 2000 M

Innocence 2000 M

Sun 13 May 3.00pm and Sat 2 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 91 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, ENGLISH, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PAUL COX / PRODUCER: PATRICK SOBELMAN / CINEMATOGRAPHER: TONY CLARK / CAST: JULIA BLAKE, CHARLES 'BUD' TINGWELL AND KRISTINE VAN PELLICOM / EDITOR: SIMON WHITINGTON / PRODUCTION COMPANY: ILLUMINATION FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: SHARMILL FILMS

Paul Cox’s moving film about the significance of love in one’s life brings together two stalwarts of Australian screen, Julia Blake and Charles Tingwell.  As young things in Europe they had been desperately, beautifully in love but their lives had gone in different directions. Now, nearly half a century later with both of them approaching seventy, he gets in touch and the fires of romance are rekindled. This brings problems into her marriage of many years, a marriage in which her husband (Terry Norris) has basically accepted her as part of the furniture.  With reminders of mortality, the frailty of our lifespan, this meditation on what the filmmaker sees as the only really important thing in life has been beautifully brought to the screen.

Suburban Mayhem 2006 MA15+

Suburban Mayhem 2006 MA15+

Mon 7 May 3.00pm and Fri 18 May 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 95 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: PAUL GOLDMAN / PRODUCER: LEAH CHURCHILL-BROWN / SCRIPT: ALICE BELL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ROBERT HUMPHREYS / CAST: EMILY BARCLAY, STEVE BASTONI, LAURENCE BREULS / EDITOR: STEPHEN EVANS / PRODUCTION COMPANY: SUBURBAN MAYHEM / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ICON FILMS

You couldn’t get a more dystopian view of contemporary Australian womanhood than is represented by Katrina (Emily Barclay), a pathological monster whose overweening passion for herself and for her murderous brother, overwhelms any sense of social responsibility.  She’s a neglectful single mother, father unknown, but one does suspect the brother, a father  (Robert Morgan) that she sponges off mercilessly so that she can indulge her craving for being pampered with manicurist Lilya (Mia Wasikowska in a career-defining role). Kat uses her sexuality to manipulate the men in her life, like devoted boyfriend Rusty (Michael Dorman) and the emotionally challenged Kenny (Anthony Hayes) but she doesn’t fool Detective Andretti (Steve Bastoni) or her father’s girlfriend (Genevieve Lemon).  Directed by Paul Goldman and written by Alice Bell, this film is brilliantly achieved but, at the same time, discomforting and confronting.

Sweetie 1989 M

Sweetie 1989 M

Fri 18 May 6.00pm and Sun 27 May 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 104 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: JANE CAMPION / PRODUCER: JOHN MAYNARD / SCRIPT: JANE CAMPION, GERARD LEE / CINEMATOGRAPHER: SALLY BONGERS / CAST: GENEVIÈVE LEMON, KAREN COLSTON, TOM LYCOS / EDITOR: VERONIKA JENET / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  ARENAFILM / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: FOOTPRINT FILMS

 This first feature of Jane Campion is an extraordinary and brave film.  At first we’re thrown into the idiosyncratic but dreary universe of Kay (Karen Colston), a loner at work who seduces the fiancé (Tom Lycos) of a workmate not for any other reason than she feels he is her destiny.  Their unsatisfactory life together is thrown into chaos by the arrival of Kay’s sister Dawn (Genevieve Lemon), who has been called Sweetie all her life by her doting father (Jon Darling).  There are intimations of mental instability in Sweetie, intimations that undercut Sweetie’s willful charm.  But Campion is less concerned about narrative here than she is about the terrain of family life, glimpsed at oblique angles, with specific reference to textures and upheavals – the uprooted Hills’ hoist, the chewing of ceramic horses, the hidden sapling, the cruel subterfuge that is needed to abandon Sweetie.  

Beautiful Kate 2009 MA15+

Beautiful Kate 2009 MA15+

Sun 20 May 1.00pm and Fri 25 May 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 90 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: RACHEL WARD / PRODUCERS: BRYAN BROWN, LEAH CHURCHILL-BROWN  / SCRIPT: RACHEL WARD BASED ON THE NOVEL BY NEWTON THORNBURG / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ANDREW COMMIS / CAST: BEN MENDELSOHN, MAEVE DERMODY, RACHEL GRIFFITHS / EDITOR: VERONIKA JENET / PRODUCTION COMPANY: NEWTOWN FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT

The return home to a dying parent is a theme that necessarily revisits the past. This splendid and moving adaptation of Newton Thornburg’s 1982 novel by director and screenwriter Rachel Ward features her husband Bryan Brown in top form as an old curmudgeon who is in his last days on a remote country property.  When son Ned (Ben Mendelsohn) arrives with girlfriend Toni (Maeve Dermody) the events leading up to the death of his twin sister Kate (Sophie Lowe) and the suicide of his older brother haunt him.  It is at times very funny, at others quietly moving, with a bedrock of wonderful performances from the entire cast, which includes Rachel Griffiths as Ned’s younger sister.

Love Serenade 1996 M

Love Serenade 1996 M

Sun 20 May 3.00pm and Fri 1 Jun 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 101 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: SHIRLEY BARRETT / PRODUCER: JAN CHAPMAN / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MANDY WALKER / CAST: MIRANDA OTTO, REBECCA FRITH, GEORGE SHEVTSOV / EDITOR: DENISE HARATZIS / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  JAN CHAPMAN FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: JAN CHAPMAN PRODUCTIONS

Sibling rivalry is on display in this idiosyncratic take on life in a small country town where sisters Dimity (Miranda Otto) and Vick-Ann (Rebecca Frith) are embroiled in a relationship with newly arrived local DJ Ken Sherry (George Shevetsov). This is disturbing material, and yet it’s funny and touching. Shirley Barrett, writer/director, is a filmmaker with a singular vision of women and their priorities, whether it be betrayal, loyalty or a seemingly naïve but self-serving view of life. Her view of men, in terms of the portrayal of Ken, is scathing. Distinguished by bravura performances from the two leads and by Mandy Walker’s sublime cinematography Love Serenade is a film that resonates way beyond first viewing.

The Home Song Stories 2007 M

The Home Song Stories 2007 M

Fri 25 May 6.00pm and Sat 9 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 99 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, SINGAPORE, ENGLISH, CANTONESE, MANDARIN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: TONY AYRES / PRODUCERS: MICHAEL MCMAHON, LIZ WATTS / CINEMATOGRAPHER: NIGEL BLUCK / CAST: JOAN CHEN, YUWU QI, JOEL LOK / EDITOR: DENISE HARATZIS / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: BIG AND LITTLE FILMS, PORCHLIGHT FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ICON FILMS

This is a very personal memoir by director/writer Tony Ayres of his youth with his much-troubled mother Rose, played beautifully by Joan Chen.  Emigrating from Hong Kong in the mid 1960’s, Rose struggles to find stability, after she marries an Australian sailor whom she leaves after a week. The children, Tom (Joel Lok) and his sister May (Irene Chen), endure a peripatetic life with various ‘uncles’.  This is a film filled with pain, resentment, hatred and love, about a woman who is fragile emotionally and who sees her destiny only in terms of her ability to attract men.

The Last Days of Chez Nous 1992 PG

The Last Days of Chez Nous 1992 PG

Sun 27 May 1.00pm and Sun 3 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY, 93 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: GILLIAN ARMSTRONG / PRODUCER: JAN CHAPMAN / SCRIPT: HELEN GARNER / CINEMATOGRAPHER: / CAST: LISA HARROW, BRUNO GANZ, KERRY FOX / EDITOR: NICHOLAS BEAUMAN / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  JAN CHAPMAN PRODUCTIONS, AUSTRALIAN FILM FINANCE CORPORATION / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: UMBRELLA ENTERTAINMENT

Beth (Lisa Harrow) is aware that her relationship with immigrant husband J.P. (Bruno Ganz) is less than satisfactory.  With the arrival of her wild and irresponsible sister Vicki (Kerry Fox) into the household, J.P. seems more than usually irritable.  When Beth takes her father (Bill Hunter) away on an outback holiday to try to improve her bond with him, shifts in relationships happen at home with both her daughter (Miranda Otto) and with Vicki and J.P.  Written by Helen Garner, directed by Gillian Armstrong and produced by Jan Chapman, Chez Nous explores the tenuous nature of love and need, loyalty and fidelity.

Somersault 2004 MA15+

Somersault 2004 MA15+

Fri 1 Jun 8.00pm and Sun 10 Jun 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 106 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CATE SHORTLAND / PRODUCER: ANTHONY ANDERSON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ROBERT HUMPHREYS / CAST: ABBIE CORNISH, SAM WORTHINGTON, LYNETTE CURRAN / EDITOR: SCOTT GRAY / PRODUCTION COMPANY: RED CARPET PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: HOPSCOTCH FILMS

Writer/director Cate Shortland has created a cold, elusive and cruel universe for her central character Heidi (Abbie Cornish) in this story of a young woman running from an unforgiveable act of sexual betrayal in her home. She seeks comfort, love, a bed, whatever, by bestowing her sexual favours on whoever seems to be in focus of her alcohol-hazed vision.  Heidi is possibly the wrong person for Joe (Sam Worthington) to meet.  The son of a local grazier, he is also troubled both sexually and emotionally.  Abbie Cornish’s quiet, internalized performance is mesmerizing, you literally cannot take your eyes off her and Sam Worthington brings a similar quiet intensity to his role.  Framed by Robert Humphries’ cool atmospheric cinematography, Shortland’s take on alienated youth is as beautiful as it is remote.

My Year Without Sex 2009 M

My Year Without Sex 2009 M

Mon 7 May 3.00pm and Sun 3 Jun 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 100 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: SARAH WATT / PRODUCER: BRIDGET IKIN / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GRAEME WOOD / CAST: SACHA HORLER, MATT DAY, PORTIA BRADLEY, JONATHAN SEGAT / EDITOR: DENISE HARATZIS / PRODUCTION COMPANY: HIBISCUS FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: FOOTPRINT FILMS

This second feature from the late Sarah Watt might begin dramatically with mother of two Natalie (Sasha Horler) suffering a brain aneurism which will, according to the doctor, disrupt her sex life with husband Ross (Matt Day) for one year. This puts pressure on the relationship, but it is the minutiae of ordinary suburban life that is explored here in a comic but often painful way.  Ross is concerned about redundancy, daughter Ruby (Portia Bradley) is worried about the arrival of the tooth fairy, son Louis is in despair about the fate of his football team and Natalie is in agony about her vulnerability and about her relationship with Ross.  As with Watt’s previous feature Look Both Ways 2005 the ordinary fears of ordinary people are examined idiosyncratically and with compassion.

Praise 1998 R18+

Praise 1998 R18+

Wed 6 Jun 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 98 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: JOHN CURRAN / PRODUCER: MARTHA COLEMAN / SCRIPT: ANDREW MCGAHAN BASED ON THE NOVEL OF THE SAME NAME / CINEMATOGRAPHER: DION BEEBE / CAST: PETER FENTON, SACHA HORLER AND MARTA DUSSELDORP / EDITOR: ALEXANDRE DE FRANCESCHI / PRODUCTION COMPANY: EMCEE FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MARTHA COLEMAN

This challenging film features a bravura performance from Sacha Horler as an eczema-plagued young woman who falls in with an asthmatic young man (Peter Fenton) who is lackluster in his approach to life. She needs sex day and night but their physical life is plagued by his proclivity for premature ejaculation and then, after an unfortunate event, by his complete disinterest.   There is no joy in their coupling.  Andrew McGahan adapted his own novel to the screen and his view of the male/female relationship is not in the least romantic, although there is the subtext of a yearning here, from both parties.  Director John Curran brings great skill to this paring down of a relationship that is mired in beer and bed.

Muriel’s Wedding 1994 M

Muriel’s Wedding 1994 M

Fri 8 Jun 6.00pm and Wed 11 Jul 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 106 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PJ HOGAN / PRODUCER: LYNDA HOUSE, JOCELYN MOORHOUSE / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MARTIN MCGRATH / CAST: TONI COLLETTE, RACHEL GRIFFITHS, BILL HUNTER / EDITOR: JILL BILCOCK / PRODUCTION COMPANY: HOUSE & MOORHOUSE FILMS PTY LTD / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE, AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: HOUSE AND MOORHOUSE FILMS PTY LTD

At the core of this film is a celebration of female friendship between two outcasts while surrounding them are very dubious female characters.  Set in the mythical town of Porpoise Spit, the Mayor’s wife (Jeannie Drynan), betrayed by both her children and her husband, is ultimately defeated.  The troupe of ‘popular’ girls, which our eponymous heroine (Toni Collette) aspires to join, are spiteful and superficial, and one in particular betrays her best friend on her wedding day.  And speaking of the lure of wedding days, Muriel betrays her best friend Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths) for the sake of a white dress.  Ostensibly a comedy, this film gains traction from its darkness and from the way writer/director P.J. Hogan counterpoints moments of hilarity with tragedy.  The film launched successful international careers not only for its director but for its two stars Collette and Griffiths.

Better Than Sex 2000 MA15+

Better Than Sex 2000 MA15+

Fri 8 Jun 8.00pm and Sun 24 Jun 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 95 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: JONATHAN TEPLITZKY / PRODUCERS: FRANK COX, BRUNA PAPANDREA / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GARRY PHILIPS / CAST: DAVID WENHAM, SUSIE PORTER, CATHERINE MCCLEMENTS / EDITOR: SHAWN SEET / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: BETTER THAN, FIREWORKS PICTURES, FRANCE TÉLÈVISION DISTRIBUTION, MEERCAT FILMS, NEW SOUTH WALES FILM & TELEVISION OFFICE, NEW VISION FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: HOPSCOTCH FILMS

In contemporary times where sex has become a sensual gratifier, where does that leave real intimacy?  Jonathan Teplitzky’s debut film aims at deconstructing male/female relationships with his bold approach to a sexual encounter between Cyn (Susie Porter) and Josh (David Wenham).  This intended one-night-stand is punctuated by on-screen comments by both parties and by their friends in which various sexual predilections are discussed – to swallow or not to swallow!  Cyn and Josh reveal their hesitations, their insecurities, and their reluctance to expose emotion, even though they are quite free with their bodies. It’s almost as if connecting on any level other than a sexual one is an embarrassment.  Porter gives a brave performance as a woman who is, on the surface, confident and sexually experienced; Teplitzky’s approach reveals the insecurities, the tentativeness with which both parties engage in both the sexual and the intimate. Garry Phillips’ gliding camerawork adds to the sensual feel of the film and David Hirschfelder’s score reflects the emotional state of the parties.

Looking for Alibrandi 2000 M

Looking for Alibrandi 2000 M

Sun 10 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 99 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: KATE WOODS / PRODUCER: ROBYN KERSHAW / SCRIPT: MELINA MARCHETTA, BASED ON HER NOVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: TOBY OLIVER / CAST: PIA MIRANDA, GRETA SCACCHI, ANTHONY LAPAGLIA / EDITOR: MARTIN CONNOR / PRODUCTION COMPANY: ROBYN KERSHAW PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ROADSHOW FILMS, AUSTRALIA

The search for identity is at the heart of Melina Marchetta’s adaptation of her novel, which was directed by Kate Woods.  Three generations of Italian/Australian women have less than harmonious relationships, largely because 17 year old Josie (Pia Miranda) is the product of a single unmarried mother (Greta Scaacchi) and Nonna (Elena Cotta) regards the shame as a curse on the family.  Josie is aware that being a scholarship girl from a working class family at an exclusive private school automatically puts her on the outer, but it doesn’t stop her dreaming about the well-connected captain of the boy’s school (Matthew Newton).  When her father (Anthony LaPaglia) unexpectedly appears on the scene, Josie has an even harder time working out where she belongs.  The agonies of youth are well-explored here.

2:37 2006 R18+

2:37 2006 R18+

Wed 13 Jun 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, 95 MINUTES, BLACK AND WHITE, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MURALI K. THALLURI / PRODUCERS: NICK MATTHEWS, KENT SMITH, MUALI K. THALLURI / CINEMATOGRAPHER: NICK MATTHEWS / CAST: TERESA PALMER, FRANK SWEET, SAM HARRIS / EDITOR: NICK MATTHEWS, DALE ROBERTS / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: KOJO PICTURES, M2 ENTERTAINMENT / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT

This bold film which, obviously from its post-script, aims to address the causes of youth suicide, is set in a high school where we witness the individual private hells a group of students carry around in the course of a day.  The young women in this film are depicted as powerless, either to combat sexual abuse, or to deal with invisibility, or to accept their trophy role in the school’s testosterone stakes. This is writer/director Murali K. Thalluri’s debut film and, while trawling the stairways and corridors of the school, very much in the style of Gus van Sant’s Elephant 2003, he inserts monochrome interviews with each of the participants.  A fine ensemble cast brings credibility to the secret lives of young people.

Jucy 2010 M

Jucy 2010 M

Fri 15 Jun 6.00pm and Sat 23 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 81 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: LOUISE ALSTON / PRODUCERS: KELLY CHAPMAN / SCRIPT: LOUISE ALSTON, STEPHEN VAGG / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JAN REICHLE / CAST: CINDY NELSON, FRANCESCA GASTEEN, RYAN JOHNSON, ANDREW RYAN / EDITOR: ANDREW SOO / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: KCDC, BUNKER PRODUCTIONS INTERNATIONAL / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ODIN'S EYE ENTERTAINMENT

Best friends Jackie (Cindy Nelson) and Lucy (Francesca Gasteen) form the duo Jucy, best friends who are joined at the hip, sharing nonsense and girl stuff.  When both feel they have to enhance their individual status, Jackie decides to get a hot boyfriend and Lucy a career, which happens to be acting.  They join a local amateur dramatic group for a production of Jane Eyre where Alex (Ryan Johnson) is the self-absorbed star. Jackie has her sights set firmly on Alex and Lucy on gaining acclaim in the title role.  This delightful insight into ‘womance’ has top performances from the two young women who were instrumental in creating their characters, subsequently developed into a screenplay by director Louise Alston (All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane 2007) and co-writer Stephen Vagg. Alston adeptly handles this infectiously entertaining story.

Love and Other Catastrophes 1996 M

Love and Other Catastrophes 1996 M

Fri 15 Jun 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 79 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: EMMA-KATE CROGHAN / PRODUCER: STAVROS  KAZANTZIDIS (CREDIT AS EFTHYMIOU) / SCRIPT: STAVROS KAZANTZIDIS, YAEL BERGMAN, EMMA-KATE CROGHAN WITH HELEN BANDIS  / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JUSTIN BRICKLE / CAST: FRANCES O'CONNOR, ALICE GARNER, RADHA MITCHELL, MATT DAY / EDITOR: KEN SALLOWS / PRODUCTION COMPANY: BEYOND FILMS, NEW VISION FILMS, SCREWBALL FIVE PTY LTD / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: COCKATOO FILMS

This exuberant depiction of Melbourne University love life is one of the first Australian films to depict a same-sex relationship naturally.  Mia (Frances O’Connor in a career-defining role) uses her girlfriend Danni (Radha Mitchell in another one) disgracefully, borrowing money to pay a library fine so she can change courses to study under the Melbourne academic and critic Adrian Martin who has a cameo in the film.   This film-referential film is a philosophical take on the romantic comedy, a deconstruction of everything that makes man seek woman, woman seek woman, woman seek man, woman seek film course.  It was co-written by the director Emma-Kate Croghan whose sensibility towards the women in this film, and towards the men for that matter, towards the whole crazy search to belong, is beautifully captured in this ground-breaking, cheeky, intelligent film.

Alexandra’s Project 2003 MA15+

Alexandra’s Project 2003 MA15+

Sat 16 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 101 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: ROLF DE HEER / PRODUCER: ROLD DE HEER / CINEMATOGRAPHER: IAN JONES / CAST: GARY SWEET, HELEN BUDAY, BOGDAN KOCA / EDITOR: TANIA NEHME / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: FANDANGO AUSTRALIA, VERTIGO PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PALACE FILMS

This intriguing, cruel and provocative film from Rolf de Heer depicts a woman in clever, sadistic revenge mode.  Gary Sweet plays a loving father and perhaps a not so loving husband.  His wife, played by Helen Buday, claims that it was only her body he wanted, that he slowly destroyed her by the manner of his sexual approaches.  However it is the manner of her revenge that will raise questions for viewers.  Is she justified in the actions she takes?   Brave performances, including a particularly exposing one for Buday, beautiful gliding camerawork from Ian Jones and a tantalizing scenario from de Heer make this portrait of a woman in crisis teeter between sympathy and horror.

Beneath Clouds 2002 M

Beneath Clouds 2002 M

Sun 17 Jun 3.30pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 90 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: IVAN SEN / PRODUCER: TERESA-JAYNE HANLON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ALLAN COLLINS CAST: DANIELLE HALL, DAMIAN PITT / EDITOR: KAREN JOHNSON / PRODUCTION COMPANY: AUTUMN FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ICON FILMS

Two figures in a landscape.  She, Lena (Danielle Hall) has abandoned her schooling, her aboriginal mother and the hopelessness of life for a young woman in a country town to seek out her Irish father in Sydney.  He, Vaughn (Damian Pitt) escapes from a prison farm in north-west New South Wales when he learns that his mother is seriously ill and dying.  They meet up and begin to travel together in a desultory fashion, thumbing rides, meeting a variety of folk while trying to avoid the police.  This is the first feature from writer, director Ivan Sen and it looks beautiful.  His vision of Lena is of a determined young woman with aspirations who won’t take shit from anyone.  She is a delight.  The film is heartbreaking and yet has a great compassion for these two youngsters struggling for their place in the world.

Japanese Story 2003 M

Japanese Story 2003 M

Wed 27 Jun 6.00 pm and Sun 15 Jul 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 106 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH, JAPANESE (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: SUE BROOKS / PRODUCER: SUE MASLIN / SCRIPT: ALISON TILSON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: IAN BAKER / CAST: TONI COLLETTE, GOTARO TSUNASHIMA, LYNETTE CURRAN / EDITOR: JILL BILCOCK / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  GECKO FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PALACE FILMS

Another mismatched couple take to the road in this film by the filmmaking triumvirate of screenwriter Alison Tilson, director Sue Brooks and producer Sue Maslin.  Toni Collette plays a geologist who grudgingly agrees to chauffeur a potential investor from Japan around various iron ore sites in the Pilbara.  Cultural differences make for a rocky start but it’s amazing how getting bogged in the outback can bring two people together.  Toni Collette’s performance as a woman who is career-driven, irritable and loud, who then softens in the face of intimacy is revelatory.  The generosity of the women in this story is terribly moving.   The harsh beauty of our outback landscape is stunningly captured by cinematographer Ian Baker.

Sleeping Beauty 2011 MA15+

Sleeping Beauty 2011 MA15+

Wed 20 Jun 6.00pm and Sat 30 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 104 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: JULIA LEIGH / PRODUCER: JESSICA BRENTNALL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GEOFFREY SIMPSON / CAST: EMILY BROWNING, RACHAEL BLAKE, EWEN LESLIE / EDITOR: NICK MEYERS / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  SCREEN AUSTRALIA, MAGIC FILMS, SCREEN NSW, DELUXE AUSTRALIA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Julia Leigh’s film follows a young woman who lends herself to be used, but not abused, by men in an erotic situation while she is asleep. Selected for Competition in Cannes 2011,  it is a mysterious film. Protagonist Lucy (Emily Browning) remains elusive, her motivations unclear, her reactions to situations when she is awake muted. Although her emotional engagement is enigmatic, that she seeks damage is clear. While all this sounds esoteric, the journey with Lucy is fascinating, her lack of personal connection painful and the catharsis open to interpretation.  Sleeping Beauty is a film that provokes passionate, often heated discussion.

Wasted on the Young 2010 MA15+

Wasted on the Young 2010 MA15+

Fri 22 Jun 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 97 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: BEN C. LUCAS / PRODUCER: JANELLE LANDERS, AIDAN O'BRYAN / CINEMATOGRAPHER: DAN FREENE / CAST: OLIVER ACKLAND, ADELAIDE CLEMENS, ALEX RUSSELL / EDITOR: LEANNE COLE / PRODUCTION COMPANY: WBMC / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

This extraordinarily talented debut film from Ben C. Lucas is centred on a ‘boy’s’ culture of social dominance, bullying and, ultimately, criminal behaviour.  Set in a rich private school where hierarchy dominates, particularly if you’re a member of their champion swim club, the film’s victim is a young woman, beautifully portrayed by Adelaide Clemens.  While the boys are predatory, women do not get off lightly in this film because female peers in the school are complicit in the victim’s betrayal.  Highlighted by visionary direction, a compelling narrative and bold approach, Wasted on the Young is a too-little seen film in this country.  Alex Russell’s performance as the smooth and arrogant arch villain is impressive.

X 2011 MA15+

X 2011 MA15+

Fri 22 Jun 8.00pm and Fri 13 Jul 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 97 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: JON HEWITT / PRODUCER: LIZZETTE ATKINS / SCRIPT: JON HEWITT, BELINDA MCCLORY / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MARK PUGH / CAST: VIVA BIANCA, HANNA MANGAN LAWRENCE / EDITOR: CINDY CLARKSON / PRODUCTION COMPANY: CIRCLE FILMS, ROUGH BEAST / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: POTENTIAL FILMS

There is a dynamic sense of place in this thriller which was shot on the run in the streets of Kings Cross in Sydney.  High class call girl Holly (Viva Bianca) is about to quit the game and head to Paris for a new life after one last assignation.  She connects with new arrival in town, fledgling hooker Shay (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) to help out. During the night the two witness a murder and find themselves on the run from the killer, becoming embroiled in a world of violence, close shaves and corrupt cops.  The two women, one very sure of where she wants to be, the other floundering, form a tentative bond.  Jon Hewitt’s dynamic direction elicits excellent performances fuelled by  an exciting screenplay co-written by Hewitt and Belinda McClory.

Burning Man 2011 MA15+

Burning Man 2011 MA15+

Sun 24 Jun 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 110 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: JONATHAN TEPLITZKY / PRODUCER: ANTONIA BARNARD / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GARRY PHILLIPS / CAST: MATTHEW GOODE, BOJANA NOVAKOVIC, ESSIE DAVIS / EDITOR: MARTIN CONNOR / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: ARCHER STREET PRODUCTIONS, LATITUDE MEDIA, MEERCAT FILMS, SCREEN AUSTRALIA, SCREEN NSW / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Although the focus of this film is really a man (Matthew Goode) who, when we first meet him, is behaving badly, at the heart of the film is a beautiful portrayal of a woman (Bojana Novakovic) who seems to have it all - a good marriage, a lovely relationship with her son - when suddenly everything goes pear-shaped.  Standing by, witnessing the disaster and supporting the aftermath is another solid woman (Essie Davis).  This moving, transcendent film is from writer/director Jonathan Teplitzky who juggles varying time frames to bring about a finely balanced film about grief.  Bojana Novakovic has worked consistently in film and television for many years but this is the film that will make audiences sit up and take notice.

Blessed 2009 MA15+

Blessed 2009 MA15+

Fri 29 Jun 6.00pm and Sun 8 Jul 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 100 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: ANA KOKKINOS / PRODUCER: AL CLARK / SCRIPT: ANDREW BOVELL, CHRISTOS TSIOLKAS / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GEOFF BURTON / CAST: FRANCES O'CONNOR, MIRANDA OTTO, DEBORRA-LEE FURNESS / EDITOR: JILL BILCOCK / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  BLESSED FILM PRODUCTIONS, FILM VICTORIA, HEAD GEAR FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ICON FILMS

This excoriating portrait of relationships between mothers and their children is based on a play by the combined talents of Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves and Christos Tsiolkas. Blessed explores the terrain of alienation for a variety of reasons, most recognizably by the end, by the absence of care, or at the very least, misdirected love.  Director Ana Kokkinos sheds a compassionate light on these lost children, aided by Cesary Skubiszewski’s sublime score and Geoff Burton’s empathetic cinematography.  The ensemble cast is universally fine but it is Frances O’Connor’s AFI Award-winning performance which is the standout.

High Tide 1987 M

High Tide 1987 M

Fri 29 Jun 8.00pm and Sun 1 Jul 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 100 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: GILLIAN ARMSTRONG / PRODUCER: SANDRA LEVY / SCRIPT:  LAURA JONES / CINEMATOGRAPHER: RUSSELL BOYD / CAST: JUDY DAVIS, JAN ADELE, CLAUDIA KARVAN / EDITOR: NICHOLAS BEAUMAN / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  SJL PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: ANTONY I. GINNANE

Judy Davis reunites with director Gillian Armstrong for this story of Lilli who, many years ago, abandoned her child to the care of her mother-in-law Bet (Jan Adele) after the death of the child’s father.  Now in her teens, the daughter Ally (Claudia Karvan), is living in a caravan park with Bet in Eden, where Lilli ends up after losing her job as an itinerant back-up singer.  Judy Davis brings such intense authenticity to the character of Lilli, she’s breathtakingly excellent as the down-and-out woman who is entranced by - and yet terrified of – the idea of connecting with her daughter.  Jan Adele is solid as Bet but the standout is young Claudia Karvan who is mesmerizing as Ally. Karvan has a quietness and intelligence to her performance that is astonishingly powerful.  The film is based on an original screenplay by Laura Jones, one of our most significant writers.

Fran 1985 M

Fran 1985 M

Sun 1 Jul 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 94 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: GLENDA HAMBLY / PRODUCER: DAVID RAPSEY / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JAN KENNY / CAST: NONI HAZLEHURST, ANNIE BYRON, ALAN FLETCHER / EDITOR: TAI TANG THIEN / PRODUCTION COMPANY: BARRON FILMS PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: UMBELLA ENTERTAINMENT

This Western Australian-based film from writer/director Glenda Hambly has stayed in my memory because of its affecting and realistic portrayal of a woman so needy of a man in her life and so damaged by life itself that she neglects her children.  Noni Hazelhurst deservedly won the AFI Best Actress award for her performance as the emotionally fragile Fran who, having herself been a ward of the state, is suspicious of and defiant towards any authority.  Hambly’s screenplay creates marvellously believable characters and under her direction they are brought beautifully to life by the young performers playing Fran’s children and by Annie Byron, her neighbour, while Alan Fletcher brings authenticity to the unsympathetic role of Jeff.  It’s a tough journey, a despairing one, but ultimately a very rewarding one.

Waiting 1991 M

Waiting 1991 M

Wed 4 Jul 6.00pm and Sat 14 Jul 3.30pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 94 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: JACKIE MCKIMMIE / PRODUCER: ROSS MATTHEWS / CINEMATOGRAPHER: STEVE MASON / CAST: NONI HAZLEHURST, DEBORRA-LEE FURNESS, RAY BARRETT / EDITOR: MICHAEL HONEY / PRODUCTION COMPANY: AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: UMBRELLA ENTERTAINMENT

The opening sight of Noni Hazelhurst rising out of the water stark naked, nine months pregnant is a beautiful thing.  Her character is acting as a surrogate for a close friend Sandy (Helen Jones) who is unable to conceive.  As the birth approaches, friends and families arrive at the isolated farmhouse where Noni’s character Clare, an artist, has been living and working.  Written and directed by Jackie McKimmie Waiting addresses the highs and lows of friendship, the roles women choose – mother, lover, feminist, artist, a career - as well as the issue of surrogacy.  Lovely performances from Deborra-Lee Furness, Fiona Press, Frank Whitten and Ray Barrett round out this ensemble piece.

Samson and Delilah 2009 MA15+

Samson and Delilah 2009 MA15+

Fri 6 Jul 6.00pm and Sun 15 Jul 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 100 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH, WALPIRI (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: WARWICK THORNTON / PRODUCER: KATH SHELPER / CINEMATOGRAPHER: WARWICK THORNTON / CAST: ROWAN MCNAMARA, MARISSA GIBSON, MITJILI NAPANANGKA/ EDITOR: ROLAND GALLOIS / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: CAAMA PRODUCTIONS, SCARLETT PICTURES / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: FOOTPRINT FILMS

Two aboriginal kids travel in dark places in their bid for survival in this astoundingly affecting story from writer/director/cinematographer Warwick Thornton. In 2009, the film deservedly won the Cannes Film Festival Camera d’Or award for best first feature.  Interestingly, Thornton gives young Delilah (Melissa Gibson) the hero’s role.  Petrol-sniffing Samson (Rowan McNamara) is the lost soul who needs to be saved.  Delilah is seen as the nurturer of her Nana (Mitjili Gibson) and of Samson.  She endures beating, humiliation, abduction and physical harm but that smile on her face at the end of the film surmounts all that has gone before.  Delilah is a survivor.  This is one of the great Australian films, a beautiful love story that gives us insight into a hidden world.

The Jammed 2007 MA15+

The Jammed 2007 MA15+

Fri 6 Jul 8.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 89 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: DEE MCLACHLAN / PRODUCERS: DEE MCHLACLAN, ANDREA BUCK / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PETER FALK / CAST: EMMA LUNG, VERONICA SYWAK, SASKIA BURMEISTER / EDITOR: ANNE CARTER, MARYJEANNE WATT / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  ARCLIGHT FILMS, JAMMED FILMS, THE PICTURE TANK / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: THE PICTURE TANK

The exploitation of women is at the heart of this extremely powerful expose of the sex slave trade in Melbourne.  An ordinary young Australian woman (Veronica Sywak) accidentally becomes involved with a woman from China who is searching for her daughter.  An account given by a young prostitute (Emma Lung) held in police custody uncovers a back story of young immigrant women who are sold and forced into brothels.  Part thriller, part social document, this dynamic debut film from writer/director/producer Dee McLachlan highlights the solidarity of women in even the most dire circumstances.

Martha's New Coat 2003 MA15+

Martha's New Coat 2003 MA15+

Sat 7 Jul 1.00pm (with Only the Brave) / Cinema A

DIGITAL BETACAM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 52 MINUTESS, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: RACHEL WARD / PRODUCER: LIZ WATTS / SCRIPT: ELIZABETH J. MARS / CINEMATOGRAPHER: CORDELIA BERESFORD / CAST: ROD ANSELL, ADRIAN AULD, MATILDA BROWN / EDITOR: MARK PERRY / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  PORCHLIGHT FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: NEWTOWN FILMS

Rachel Ward explores the yawning gaps in relationships in contemporary family structures as Martha (the director’s daughter Matilda Brown) runs away from her rural home with her younger sister Elsie (an extraordinarily confident Alycia Debnam Carey) to find her father who left 8 years ago.  Disenchantment with her mother (Lisa Hensley) and mother’s boyfriend (Daniel Wylie) coupled with disappointment about  promised birthday treats not eventuating and the alienation that so often accompanies teenage years send Martha on her quest to find a meaningful connection.  Beautifully performed, this poignant story was a significant step in the career of director Rachel Ward.

Only the Brave 1994 MA15+

Only the Brave 1994 MA15+

Sat 7 Jul 1.00pm (with Martha’s New Coat) / Cinema A

16MM, COLOUR, MONO, 59 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: ANA KOKKINOS / PRODUCER: FIONA EAGGER / SCRIPT: ANA KOKKINOS, MIRA ROBERTSON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JAEMS GRANT / CAST: ELENA MANDALIS, DORA KASKANIS, MAUD DAVEY / EDITOR: MARK ATKIN / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  PICKPOCKET PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: EVERY CLOUD PRODUCTIONS

Images of fire permeate this film about working class high school student Alex (Elena Mandalis) whose world is a mix of feral play with her girl gang, a love of literature which leads to a relationship with her English teacher (Maud Davey) and anguish because her Greek mother abandoned her and her father some years ago.  This first short feature from Ana Kokkinos (Head On 1998, The Book of Revelation 2006, Blessed 2009) is a powerful insight into sexuality, longing, abuse and tribalism amongst young teens from migrant communities.

Nice Coloured Girls 1987

Nice Coloured Girls 1987

Sat 7 Jul 3.00pm (with Heaven + Night Cries) / Cinema A

DIGITAL BETACAM, COLOUR, STEREO, 17 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/SCRIPT/CINEMATOGRAPHER: TRACEY MOFFATT CAST: GAIL MABO, ANTHONY BOURKE, GABRIELLA ROY, MONICA STEPHENS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY

Heaven 1997 M

Heaven 1997 M

Sat 7 Jul 3.00pm (with Nice Coloured Girls + Night Cries) / Cinema A

DIGITAL BETACAM, COLOUR, STEREO, 28 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/SCRIPT: TRACEY MOFFATT / CINEMATOGRAPHER: CHRISTINA NEHM ET. AL. / EDITOR: JANE COLE / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY

Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy 1989 M

Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy 1989 M

Sat 7 Jul 3.00pm (with Heaven + Nice Coloured Girls) / Cinema A

35mm, COLOUR, STEREO, 17 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: TRACEY MOFFATT / PRODUCER: PENNY MCDONALD / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JOHN WHITTERON / EDITOR: PHILIPPA HARVEY / CAST: MARCIA LANGTON, AGNES HARDWICK, JIMMY LITTLE / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY

Tracey Moffatt’s juxtaposition of image, sound and seemingly incompatible elements is unsettling. These three short films force a response, there is no sitting back and letting the images wash over you.  In Nice Coloured Girls the soundscape of a Kings Cross bar, where three aboriginal girls have gone for a night out at the expense of a drunken white guy, is overlayed with voiceover accounts from diaries of early colonists about their encounters with young beautiful aboriginal women.  The subtitled conversations between the contemporary young women is a provocative counter to the often admiring tales from the past.  In her much acclaimed Night Cries an aboriginal daughter tends her aged white mother. The film is both a comment on the stolen generation and a scream of frustration as familial duty wars with past scars.  Is the white Christian God a comfort?  The cheekiest of the films is Heaven, a collection of images of surfers undressing, modestly for the most part but occasionally not, after their adventures in the ocean. The filmmaker and cinema viewer share the point of view of the voyeur, an experience both exhilarating and unsettling. The soundscape in all these films is a key element as Moffatt weaves images and sound, not dialogue. These are films that linger - the ideas at work are so imaginatively and powerfully presented.

Spider and Rose 1994 M

Spider and Rose 1994 M

Sun 8 Jul 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY, 94 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: BILL BENNETT / PRODUCERS: LYN MCCARTHY, GRAEME TUBBENHAUER / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ANDREW LESNIE / CAST: RUTH CRACKNELL, SIMON BOSSELL, MAX CULLEN / EDITOR: HENRY DANGAR / PRODUCTION COMPANY: DENDY FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: B:J FILMS

The ill-matched couple of a crabby old woman (Ruth Cracknell) and a cocky, irreverent ambulance driver (Simon Bossell) on a road trip to Coonabarabran forms the basis of this delightful film from writer/director Bill Bennett.  It not only delves into the vulnerabilities of a woman aging  in a completely unsentimental way, it brings the whole age difference conundrum into perspective.  It’s attitude that counts!  Beautifully shot by future Oscar-winner Andrew Lesnie, the film contains a particularly brave performance by one of this country’s most beloved actresses, Ruth Cracknell, and a super one from Bossell, with great support from Max Cullen.  Original music by The Cruel Sea is just fabulous.

Kiss or Kill 1997 MA15+

Kiss or Kill 1997 MA15+

Fri 13 Jul 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 93 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT:  BILL BENNETT / PRODUCER:  JENNIFER CLUFF, BILL BENNETT / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MALCOLM MCCULLOCH / CAST:  MATT DAY, FRANCES O'CONNOR, TIFFANY PETERS / EDITOR: HENRY DANGAR / PRODUCTION COMPANY: BILL BENNETT PRODUCTIONS  / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: HOPSCOTCH FILMS

Frances O’Connor confirmed the talent she displayed in Love and Other Catastrophes with her performance in this thriller by writer/director Bill Bennett who seems, in both films represented in this program (Spider and Rose) to have a distinct compassion for his female characters.  O’Connor’s Nikki is a con artist, working with and loving Alan (Matt Day).  When a scam goes horribly wrong they take off across the Nullarbor heading for Perth pursued by the police and by a famous footballer for reasons of his own.  But it’s Nikki’s sleepwalking and the fear of what she’s done in her comatose state that dogs the couple.  Murders seem to follow them everywhere.  The two cops on their trail, played by Chris Haywood and Andrew S. Gilbert, are particularly delicious creations.

Small Treasures 1995

Small Treasures 1995

Sat 14 July 1.00pm (with Living with Happiness + The Way of the Birds) / Cinema A

DIGITAL BETACAM, COLOUR, STEREO, 15 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT/ANIMATOR: SARAH WATT / PRODUCER: FIONA EAGGER, SARAH WATT / CAST: MARYROSE CUSKELLY, RACHEL GRIFFITHS, LEON TEAGUE / EDITOR: RAY ARGALL / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  SARAH WATT PRODUCTIONS, AUSTRALIAN FILM COMMISSION / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: HIBISCUS FILMS/SARAH WATT PRODUCTIONS

Living With Happiness 2002

Living With Happiness 2002

Sat 14 July 1.00pm (with Small Treasures + The Way of the Birds) / Cinema A

DIGITAL BETACAM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 6 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/SCRIPT: SARAH WATT / ANIMATORS: SARAH WATT, EMMA KELLY / CAST: SIGRID THORNTON, JAMES LEGGETT, WILLIAM MCINNES / EDITOR: RAY ARGALL / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  SARAH WATT PRODUCTIONS, SBSi / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: HIBISCUS FILMS/SARAH WATT PRODUCTIONS

The Way of the Birds 1999

The Way of the Birds 1999

Sat 14 July 1.00pm (with Living with Happiness + Small Treasures) / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 24 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: SARAH WATT / PRODUCER: FIONA EAGGER / ANIMATORS: SARAH WATT, BILL MEZZETTI / CAST: JULIE NIHILL, WILLIAM MCINNES / EDITOR: MARYJEANNE WATT / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  SARAH WATT PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: EVERY CLOUD PRODUCTIONS

Sarah Watt established her reputation as a filmmaker with her sublime short animations.  Sarah, sadly no longer with us, lives on in her very personal, very insightful, very poignant films. She has an uncanny ability with her honesty, her clarity and insight, to translate the personal into stories that have a powerful connection with her audiences. Small Treasures retells a tragedy in Sarah’s life.  A young woman becomes pregnant, becomes hormonally hysterical about being pregnant, swims with seals, and then the moment arrives.  The Way of the Birds is an adaptation of a children’s story by Meme McDonald about a mute young girl who dreams of being a bird.  When she gets the chance to live the life of a bird her perspective changes.  In Living With Happiness a woman cannot stop imagining potential disasters around her until finally she’s involved in one for real.  In all these films, more so in the two very personal ones, the sea is a constant and, for the most part, a reassuring presence.  They are all beautifully animated and emotionally powerful. 

Feeling Sexy 1998 M

Feeling Sexy 1998 M

Sat 14 July 2.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 47 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH
DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: DAVIDA ALLEN / PRODUCERS: GLENYS ROWE, TRACEY ROBERTSON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GARRY PHILLIPS / CAST: SUSIE PORTER, TAMBLYN LORD / EDITOR: HEIDI KENNESSEY / PRODUCTION COMPANY: BINNABURRA FILM COMPANY / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: BINNABURRA FILM COMPANY

Davida Allen is a visual artist who has made one feature film.  Feeling Sexy explores the stress and anguish experienced by a passionate young woman as she becomes a wife and mother.  Intimate moments are shattered by babies’ cries, her days are lonely as her husband works to establish himself as a doctor, the catastrophes are daily.  The temptation to grasp life and passion bubbles to the surface.  Susie Porter gives a bravura performance in this searingly honest insight into a creative person’s search for survival.  Davida Allen’s visual acuity is on display here, enriching the film immeasurably.

Join Director Davida Allen in-conversation discussing her first feature film project Feeling Sexy following the screening. 

The Waiting City 2009 M

The Waiting City 2009 M

Wed 18 Jul 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL,108 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CLAIRE MCCARTHY / PRODUCER: JAMIE HILTON, CLAIRE MCCARTHY / CINEMATOGRAPHER: DENSON BAKER / CAST: RADHA MITCHELL, JOEL EDGERTON, SAMRAT CHAKRABARTI / EDITOR: VERONIKA JENET / PRODUCTION COMPANY:  SEE PICTURES, SOL FILMS, SPEAKING TREE FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: HOPSCOTCH FILMS

Against the background of inter-country adoption this is the story of a woman who is at a crisis point in her life.  Fiona (Radha Mitchell) is a lawyer, a controlling person who is aware that cracks are appearing in her marriage to laid-back musician Ben (Joel Edgerton).  The film opens as they arrive in Kolkata to meet, bond with and take custody of their adopted daughter.  With bureaucratic delays the stresses prove almost too much.  The yearning by both for parenthood is however strong and Fiona’s brittleness begins to fray at the edges as she immerses herself in the culture of her child.  Written and directed by Clare McCarthy, beautifully shot on the streets of India by cinematographer Denson Baker, the journey of this woman is ultimately very moving.