Australian film

Mystery Road & Exposed

October 19, 2013
Mystery-Road-39

Before Mel Gibson got a real American accent, the film Mad Max (1979) was dubbed to make it acceptable to a United States audience. Is that Australian twang still a barrier to international success? Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road should answer this question. The accents could hardly be more Australian but the film is pitched firmly … More


Paul Kelly: Stories of Me

November 3, 2012
Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 2.50.07 PM

Archie Roach reckons Paul Kelly is Australia’s “bard”. It’s what people used to say about Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson back in the days when poetry was a popular art. But for every man-in the-street who could recite parts of The Man from Snowy River in the 1890s, there must be thousands today who can … More


The Sapphires

August 11, 2012
Screen shot 2012-09-02 at 11.43.07 AM

It has been a long time since the Australian film industry has produced anything so uplifting, so irresistible, as The Sapphires. After an extended run of murder, mayhem, bad dialogue, and simple embarrassment, we have produced a feel-good film that actually makes one feel good – as opposed to feeling as if one is drowning … More


I Am Eleven, The Curse of the Gothic Symphony

July 21, 2012
Screen shot 2012-08-18 at 4.38.21 PM

Screening opportunities are limited for Australian filmmakers, let alone documentary makers who may only expect to recoup their costs through TV and DVD sales. Two new efforts, I Am Eleven and The Curse of the Gothic Symphony, are currently enjoying the novelty of limited releases in cinemas around Australia. I Am Eleven by rookie film-maker, … More


Decadence

December 10, 2011
Film Still, Decadence

‘Decadence’ is the kind of topic favoured by high school debating societies. Is western civilisation making progress towards a golden future, or are we in irreversible decline? It’s an issue that neatly divides us into optimists and pessimists. Pria Viswalingam may have debated this topic himself when he was a pupil at Aldenham, a British public … More


X

December 3, 2011
Film still, X

For some unknown reason Australian cinema has become mired in crime, violence, sadism and horror. This can’t be explained by the popularity of TV series such as Underbelly or the success of an earlier movie such as Wolf Creek. All of a sudden, this sunny, complacent, economically-successful country has gone over to the dark side. … More


Peter Crayford

November 30, 2011
Cressida Campbell, Portrait of Peter Crawford, Woodblock print

For 26 years Peter Crayford wrote the weekly film column for the Australian Financial Revew, an appointment he missed on only a handful of occasions. His consistency and the quality of his work become even more remarkable when one understands the circumstances of his life. When early on Sunday morning, Peter gave up his long, … More


The Eye of the Storm

September 17, 2011
The Eye of the Storm

There is a powerful nostalgia for the 1970s in Fred Schepisi’s film adaptation of The Eye of the Storm. The novel appeared in 1973, the same year that Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. I read it when I was a teenager, but still remember the impressively awful Elizabeth Hunter – an … More


Sleeping Beauty

June 29, 2011
SleepingBeauty

True to its title, Sleeping Beauty is a fairy tale, as bleak and perverse as something by the Brothers Grimm – if you can imagine the Grimms writing about suburban Melbourne. Lucy (Emily Browning) is a university student studying mathematics. She supports herself with part-time jobs, as a waitress and a filing clerk. In the … More


Blame

June 25, 2011
Blame

Australian cinema has been in the doldrums for years, but with the recent success of Animal Kingdom, and two acclaimed features by new directors released within the past month, it seems we are experiencing a crime-led recovery. First there was Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown, and now Michael Henry’s Blame, which has already been screened in film … More