Cinema Papers No.93 May 1993

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australian film s

The Australian Film Commission congratulates the Australian films in the Official Selection at Cannes and is delighted to be associated with their presentation at the festival. Contact the Australian Film Commission at Cannes Carlton Hotel, Ground Floor, Desk PB 08 or Australian Sales office 8th Floor, Residence du Festival, 52 La Croisette Telephone: Contact us for complete screening schedules, catalogues and checklists on new Australian films, information on international co-productions and Australian financing mechanisms and to preview the latest Australian features.
















Debra Sharp TE C H N I C A L I T I E S







Raffaele Caputo MTV






Chris Stewart [Acting Chairman], Patricia Amad, Ross Dimsey, Natalie Miller, LEGAL



Dan Pearce Holding Redlich, Solicitors






Debra Sharp



Raffaele Caputo



Peter Beilby, Scott Murray, Philippe Mora






Jenkin Buxton Pty. Ltd.

74 ri

B u T 10 N




Network Distribution


van h u t c h in s o n


P R( N Tl N G

DI s T


lan Robertson


KEN BERRYMAN is the Melbourne Office Manager of the National ism & Sound Archive; MIRO BILBOROUGH is published widely in New Zealand as a freelance writer and poet; SUSAN CHARLTON is a freelance writer on film who works for the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney;

© COPYRIGHT 1993 MTV PUBLISHING LIMITED A.C.N. 006 258 699 Signed articles represent the views of the authors and not necessarily that of the editor and publisher. While every care is taken with manuscripts and materials supplied to the magazine, neither the editor nor the publisher can accept liability for any loss or damage which may arise; This magazine may not be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of thé copyright owners. Cinéma Papers is published (approximately) every two months by MTV Publishing Limited, AS'Charles Street, Abbotsford. Victoria, Australia 30671 Telephone (03) 429 5511. Fax (03) 4 27 9255. Reference. ME ME.230.

JOHN CONOMOS lectures at the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, Sydney||fc JOHAN FINGAL is a Swedish freelance writer on film presently living in Sydney; ANNA DZENIS is a tutor in Cinema Studies at LaTrobe University, Melbourne; JAN EPSTEIN is the film reviewer for The Melbourne Report; LANI HANNAH is a freelance writer on film arid a camera assistant to Geoffrey Burton; IVAN HUTCHINSON is is the film reviewer for the Herald-Sun, Melbourne; CARTER LEWIS is a freelance writer on film; CHRIS LONG is a Melbourne film historian; BRIAN McFARLANE is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Monash University, Melbourne; KARL QUINN is a freelance writer on film; VIKKI RILEY is a freelance w/iter on film; JOHN WOJDYLO is a translator of Polish plays and novels into English.


LETTER Dear Editor

Here are two ‘critic’s corrections’ to the last issue:

Andrée-Anne Jackel ends her article on The Lover with the implication that the late Serge Daney, surveying the rotten state of French cinema, chose to publish his “last English-language article” on the film in Sight & Sound. Daney never wrote an Englishlanguage article to my knowledge. The ‘translator’s introduction’ to the Daney piece on The Lover clearly states that it first ap­ peared in Libération, which somewhat obvi­ ates Jackel’s point. Mick Broderick faults the book Science Fiction for lacking female contributors. How­ ever, one very major contributor to that book, whom Broderick refers to as ‘he’ throughout, is a woman. Kim Newman in her book Nightmare Movies makes a humorous point of this oft-occurring mistake. As I re­ call, Raffaele Caputo has also made this mistake a few times in print. Thanks, by the way, for the rave review of my Continuum. Only one other review has so far appeared anywhere. Adrian Martin Raffaele Caputo replies: What’s Your Sexual Persuasion?

Kim Newman’s humorous point about the

Film Festival Preview

tele-m ovie Crime Broker, which also sports eight

Film festival time is closing in and both the Sydney

producers (John Sexton, Andrew Warren, Kazuo

and Melbourne festivals are shaping up into a

Nakamura, Susumu Kondo, Hiroyuki Ikeda, Chris

smorgasbord of cinematic delights. It is customary

Brown, Victor Glynn, Alan Bateman). What can

around this time to start speculating on festival

eight producers actually find to do on a tele-movie?

guests. Strongest rumour to date has veteran

The mind boggles.

Hollywood screenw riter-director Billy W ilder as

Of other recent films, Rolf de Heer’s Bubby

top contender. W ilder has had some renewed

chalks up a low-key six, Jim Kaufm an’s Red Rain a

critical interest in Germany recently. If a Wilder

neat ten (what was that again? ten?), Kevin Lucas’

appearance happens, you can die happy!

Black River a miserly six, etc. Given all these

A more likely prospect, however, is Hong Kong

people have to be paid, one wonders what the

film m aker Clara Law, who is looking to settle in

above-the-line costs total on these films. That very

Melbourne. Her latest film, Autumn Moon, which

cost may also partially explain why so many Aus­

took the Gold Leopard prize for Best Film at last

tralian mid-budget features actually finish up look­

year’s Locarno Festival, has a confirmed slate in

ing like low- or no-budget features.

the festival line-up. A tribute is planned (and likely to happen) on Australian-born Hollywood director John Farrow with new prints of Where Danger Lives'(1950) and His Kind of Woman (1951), two of the most idiosyn­

Fifth Screenwriters Conference JAN


cratic films noir ever made. This tribute came about on the strength of Scott Murray’s article on

Screenwriters en masse display a rowdy, friendly

Farrow ( Cinema Papers, No. 77, January 1990),

esprit de corps, stemming no doubt in part from the

and a subsequent tribute to Farrow featured within

collaborative nature of their work, but also from

Le Cinéma Australien exhibition at the Centre

their shared experience of always seeing their

Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1991.

place in the sun overshadowed by directors and

Also in the stakes fo r a trib u te is John

successful actors.

Cassavetes, which will undoubtedly bring in the

In March this year, more than 250 of them

crowds for it highlights Cassavetes’ two unreleased

gathered at the Cumberland resort in the Victorian

features in Australia, The Killing of a Chinese

coastal town of Lom e for the Fifth N ational

Bookie (1976), and his first film as director, Shad­

Screenwriters’ Conference. Young hopefuls with

ows (1960).

scripts in their suitcases and brand new business cards rubbed shoulders with seasoned profes­

oft-occurring mistake made in Nightmare

The Melbourne Film Festival is internationally

Movies is an acknowledgement of assist­

recognized for its commitment to short films and

sionals from all branches of the Australian film and

ance to “the staff of the BFI Library ( ‘Miss

documentaries. Blue is a fiction short by Canadian

television industry, while a clutch of international

Newman? Oh, I’m sorry ...’ )” . Given Kim is

film maker Bruce McDonald, who directed the low-

guests gave the conference added value and gloss.

also a name for women, this humorous

budget road movie Highway 61 (1991). Blue fea­

acknowledgement can be read both ways.

tures David Cronenberg in a very humorous lead

ume, 1990), initially forbidding with his bare legs,

However, to dispel all speculation on

rôle. Hopefully, Pale Blackby local filmmaker Marie

shaven skull and black sarong, proved warm, mod­

Newman’s sex, some years ago film maker

Craven will be in fo rth e running. The film has been

est and approachable. Sim ilarly accessible was

and critic Philip Brophy, on his trip to the UK

described as recalling the period of the lyrical

William Link, self-styled liberal w riter and a master

to edit Salt, Saliva, Sperm and Sweat for

avant-garde epitomized by Maya Deren’s Meshes

of the crime genre, who with his late partner Richard

London television, actually met Newman,

of the Afternoon (1943).

Levinson created the long-running Columbo and

and from where he was standing Kim is

T h e re

is a ls o a d o c u m e n ta ry on Sam

W riter-director Allan Moyle (Pump Up the Vol­

Murder, She Wrote series for American television.

“definitely a man” . Maybe something has

Peckinpah’s character-actor buddy Warren Oates.

Present also were Charles B. Griffith, long-time

changed in that time?

The film is not only a personal portrait of the man,

collaborator of Roger Corman whose numerous

Adrian M artin’s point (also made else­

but a look at Oates as someone who exemplified a

writing credits include the cult classics A Bucket of

where by Tom Ryan, I am told), although

particular period of American cinema. It features

Blood (1959) and The Little Shop of Horrors (1960);

mistaken, at least highlights the possibility

people like film critic David Thomson, and O ates’

Michael Wearing, the head of drama serials at the

of error when unconsciously basing one’s

film making buddies Monte Heilman and Peter

BBC (Edge of Darkness, House of Cards)', and the

comments on cultural assumptions about


wise-cracking, American warm-up man-cum-game-

gender. That is, I had autom atically as­ sumed Kim Newman is male essentially

These few so far previewed, though not con­ firmed, signal a rich selection to be expected.

Raffaele Caputo


The four days were loaded with lectures, sem i­ nars, workshops and film screenings which stim u­

because the genres Newman writes about are stereotypically of male interest.

show creator Mark Maxwell-Smith.

lated discussion and argument far into the night.

Producer Plethora

The conference was a mixture of information,

If there has been any significant trend in the Aus­

entertainm ent and a hardnosed attempt to come to

tralian film industry over the past few years, it has

grips with perennial problems: the nature of writing

been the mushrooming in the number of producers

itself; how the Australian film culture can maintain

In the interview with Giorgio Mangiamele,

on what are, by world standards, low-budget films.

its particularity while succeeding as both art and

Cinema Papers, No. 90, October 1992, pp.

At the higher end of the money scale is Stephen

product in com petitive world markets; and the

16-22, there was an error in the dates con­

W allace’s Blood Oath, which checks in with eight

moral responsibilities of writers in depicting the

cerning M angiam ele’s work in New Guinea.

producers (Charles W aterstreet, Denis W hitburn,

world they seek to mirror, as they practise their

Mangiamele travelled there in 1979, not

Brian A. W illiams, Annie Bleakley, Graham Burke,


1969, and came back in 1982 (not 1972).

Greg Coote, John Tarnoff and Richard Brennan). At the lower money end, there is the recent
















Ja n C h

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Ja n e C a m

P ia

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p io n


Peter Thompson • Joanne Court Level 20, 135 King Street SYDNEY NSW 2000 AUSTRALIA Tel: (612)221-2744 • Fax: (612)221-4988

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93 • 3

Jane C a m p io n ’s T h e P ia n o is the story of A da (H olly Hunter), a w om an w ho arrives on colonial N ew Zealand shores to w ed S tew art (Sam Neill), a m an she has never met. A da brings to the m arriage an obsessive a ttachm ent to her piano, a young d aughter and an enigm atic silence. W hen A d a ’s piano falls into the hands of her neighbour, Baines (H arvey Keitel), he uses it as a m eans of batering A d a ’s erotic com pliance. In the ensuing triangle, it is long before love rears its head — a jo u rn e y through A d a ’s libido,

J a n e Cam pion: ‘T h e Piano’

The Piano's story unravels against a backdrop of Maori ancestral lands at the time they were being diverted into settler hands. Campion, who directed and wrote the story, consulted M aori writer Wassie Shortland on the creation of a Maori backstory whose presence resonates ironically against the main action. The film was shot over thirteen weeks in the studio and on location in New Zealand in what actor Holly Hunter dubbed an “athletic shoot”. Produced by Jan Chapman, T he Piano is a French-financed, New Zealand-Australia co-production. It is Campion’s first film since her award-winning An Angel at My Table. *I

What was the genesis of the script? The script was written over a long period, almost five years, with gaps because I was working on other projects. Writing the script is almost a fairytale in itself. There were three distinct stages, and about three or four original inspirations. The first stage, quite simply, was getting the idea together. I had just finished film school [Australian Film Television & Radio School] and I wanted to write a feature I thought would be made. That was a very practical consideration. I also wanted to write a story which was very different to my ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT: film school short films, which are very episodic in STEWART (SAM NEILL); ADA WITH FLORA; AND BAINES (HARVEY KEITEL). quality. JANE CAMPION'S THE PIANO. I had become intrigued over the years with the photographic section of the Turnbull Library in New very wild beaches, especially the black sands of the west coast Zealand which documents, from the earliest days of photography, beaches around Auckland and New Plymouth, and the very private, the ways in which New Zealand became colonized. I was particu­ secretive and extraordinary world of the bush, is a kind of coloniaL larly taken by how the Maori people adapted to European clothes, equivalent to Emily Bronte’s moors. in combination wife. their own dress, which became such a graphic Other things seemed to click for me, too. For instance, the early metaphor for their understanding of Europeanism - and vice versa, and major colonization of New Zealand happened at about the in a way. There they were sitting in these photographs with great same time as the Bronte sisters were writing. In fact, Mary Taylor, dignity, with such a fierce look at the camera. Their sense of who ran one of the first shops in Wellington, was a good friend of themselves was so powerful that it transcended anything that might Charlotte Bronte and Charlotte sent her W uthering H eights at the. seem ridiculous with the misappropriation of clothes. time, saying it was a very weird, strange book. In fact, there was a From here, the actual storyline came about through a compli­ lot of critical rebuke of W uthering H eights for Emily. She was so cated fashion. The end result was I wanted to tell a story around an taken aback it really stopped her from ever writing again. object, that object being a piano, which would bring all the characters together and which would become the central mecha­ nism from which the story evolves. I wanted the piano to be important enough to carry a lot of meaning for the characters. Even though I have never seen it, I was struck by descriptions of Polanski’s early short film about some men carrying a wardrobe around [Dwaj ludzie z szasa (2 Men and a W ardrobe), 1958], I thought, “Maybe I’ll see where I can get to with this piano.” The last of the powerful influences, which has been a very long­ term influence, is my love of 19th-Century literature - in particular Emily Bronte’s W uthering Heights. It is such a powerful poem about the romance of the soul and seems to strike a basic and strong chord in so many people. She was relating to the stark landscape of the moors, which I visited quite a few years ago. I took the walk she would have done over to what she used to call Wuthering Heights. For me, and for many New Zealanders, the relationship with 6 • C I NE M A PAPERS


Did this give you a sense there must have been an underground stream of consciousness which you could open up in another part of the world? Yes. I felt very excited about the kind of passion and romantic sensibility writers like Emily were talking about. I thought it would transpose effortlessly to the situation where I was setting my story, in 1850s New Zealand. I feel I owe a great debt to the spirit of Emily Bronte. And perhaps not only her, but also Emily Dickinson for other reasons. In a way, Dickinson led such a secret life, and my main character, Ada, does as well. She is secretive not because she closeted herself in a room, but because she won’t speak. I found reading Emily Dickinson’s poems incredibly moving, and I’m not someone who reads poetry a lot. There’s one poem which

“ T h e re is [...] a great deal of co urage required in the passionate path, and you can have a tough ‘rites of p a ssa g e ’. But you can be very lucky and gain e xtra o rd in ary insights w hich last yo ur lifetim e. Passion is about taking risks, and th a t’s ve ry im po rtan t in any life.”

Much Sense - the starkest Madness’Tis the majority In this, as All, prevailAssert you are saneDemur - you’re straightway dangerousAnd handled with a Chain-1 She’s so bold, feminine and yet demure, and I was very excited about the admission of femininity. Ada is an extraordinary heroine as well. In another Emily Dickinson poem, the narrator meets a snake and the last line is a description of how that makes her feel, “And Zero at the bone-”2. Ada is in one way “Zero at the bone”. Yes, and another quote which really affected me was “Big my Secret but it’s b an d ag ed -”3. I admire Dickinson and Bronte, the sensibility they bring to their work and to the world. Both were recluses and they held their sensibility at some cost to themselves. In some way, I feel I am a kind of charlatan who can live in the world quite happily because I’m quite sociable. I use and put their labour into a more popular and acceptable form, and sometimes I feel guilty as I think it’s a corrupted use of their pure wisdom. In Ada you have created this phenomenally rebellious, secretive female character in a world unto itself, but who has to make a choice

about living in the outer world. There is a huge wall between her desire to be totally beyond the social order and almost beyond life, and her desire to be in the world. Ada is slightly different for me than both the Emilys. There are lots of different ways of seeing her. I always saw her as someone who had very powerfully removed herself from life. She chose not to speak. It’s never quite made clear why, and it appears even she can’t remember the reason. There is no sense of her as a handicapped person, however. It’s almost as though she treats the world as if it were handicapped. At the same time, there is a great deal of suffering from this position. It is a retreat from a lot of what the world offers, which I imagine for women at that time would have been very mundane and boring - insufferable, in fact. There is advantage in her retreat, but there’s a great disadvantage in it as well. I saw in Ada and her daughter, Flora, the way women may have dramatized their lives. In a fashion, Ada and Flora are dramatic about themselves. Their identity and sense of honour about that dramatization is so extreme they would die for it, particularly Ada. Ada is such a perfectionist that when her piano is hit with an axe, or has lost a key, it is rendered an imperfect object. She loses a finger and can’t play the piano the way she would have wanted to. She C I N E M A PAPERS

93 • 7

Ja n e Cam pion: ‘T h e Piano’

To have your cake and eat it, too? Yes. It was just a little romantic cake and an “eat it, too” gesture.

finds it very hard to imagine herself continuing to live in these conditions, and also to have experienced the brutality that she did. It is a really hard decision for her to know if she wants to continue at all. One thinks of other strong, self-willed, female characters, like those in Thelma & Louise [Ridley Scott, 1992], who drive off the cliff. In their decision to place themselves outside patriarchy and death there is a sort of insane joy. It is a great ending to that film. But there is a real desire in your film to have a meeting place. I think there is a strong need for redemption as well. Ada didn’t and doesn’t have the companionship Thelma and Louise had with each other. But, in respect of their suicide bid or bid for freedom, it could have been Ada who drowned down there.

There is a great deal of scepticism about passionate or romantic love. It’s generally considered to be illusory, whereas in this film you’re saying that’s not necessarily the case. It’s a very different sort of thing for me to want to say, because one of my opinions is that you do have to do some solid, hard work for a good relationship. There is also a great deal of courage required in the passionate path, and you can have a tough ‘rites of passage . But you can be very lucky and gain extraordinary insights which last your lifetime. Passion is about taking risks, and that’s very impor­ tant in any life. Do you feel you have brought a 20th-Century feel to this period in your attitude to these aspects? If I didn’t bring a 20th-Century perspective to it, I wouldn’t be bringing anything. I would just be riding on the backs of great women. It’s absolutely essential to try to understand the freedoms of today - not only the freedoms, but the questions that are real for us now; to try to create new insights for people today when we see others in a situation set in the 1850s. The thing that initially fascinated me was how people, without any education of the nature of romance and attraction, react to the raw situation. What really is the nature of attraction? How does it grow? How does it develop? How does it become eroticized? How does it become sexual? How does it transcend us and become something more spiritual? Also, because we have a trian­ gle situation in this story, there are powerful notions of jealousy for men - and for the woman, perhaps. It’s unusual to have a woman exploring her libido without any kind of romantic attachment or sentimental quality, albeit briefly, as it is in this film. Holly Hunter has emerged as an incredibly potent force in this film. How was your collaboration with her?


Was it always clear to you whether Ada would live or die? No. I didn’t know what was going to happen to her. It was quite undetermined. I didn’t even know as I got towards the last draft of the film, which was done shortly before I went to Venice for An Angel at My Table [in 1990]. Probably the last thing I wrote is the sequence in the canoe. I wrote it in one night at two o’clock in the morning. I just thought, “Well, what the hell, let’s see what happens. ” Sometimes when you have a writing spurt at two in the morning, you get up next day and think, “Oh my God, why did I bother?” With this, I didn’t feel that way. I rang Jan [Chapman] and asked what she thought. She said she felt it was a good idea to have the piano falling over and Ada following into the ocean. I thought the scene had a sort of poetic justice to it, and I couldn’t think of a better way to finish it. But more came later? Yes, while we were making the film. There was always a postscript to the film anyway, an epilogue. But I decided to make it more romantic, to have it clear that it’s quite possible to go through a diff­ icult initiation in romance and not to then necessarily drift into a totally mundane life. You can still have passion in your romance. 8 ■ CINEMA



Holly was not my image of Ada at all. But, in fact, I was very much saved from myself by Holly. Originally, I had an almost cliched, romantic view of this tall, statuesque, black-haired, black-eyed beauty. In many ways, she wasn’t a very real human being, and when meeting Holly I was not very willing to see her as Ada. Holly was completely the opposite to my understanding of how Ada should be. However, I liked Holly very much and I started to open up to the idea of using her because she was so interested and willing to do an audition. It’s a hard thing to audition when the character does not speak. But Holly read the opening prologue and I started to tape her. I immediately realized she was doing something for me that I wasn’t expecting. I was very excited, and very pleased I had left myself open enough to engage in this idea. Holly Hunter is an extraordinary actor. She brings a tenderness and a strength to Ada. I found her totally believable. When I took the tapes back to Jan in Australia, I said, “You’re not going to believe this. I really think one of our strongest contenders is Holly Hunter.” Jan went, “Well, okay, let’s have a look at it.” When looking at the tape, it struck me even more powerfully that, for someone who was not going to be speaking, the eyes were going to be such an important element. Holly has these dark-brown, burning eyes and an intense gaze. I found in her eyes something you could hold onto. You could be with her, identify closely with her, you could trust her. They are very eloquent eyes. The whole thing for me about casting is that you are always making these big decisions at a stage in the film when you know it



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Ja n e Cam pion: ‘T h e Piano’

admire greatly. I did feel a little precarious in the sense of, What have I to offer these three?” Then I thought they must feel the same thing, which made me anxious and nervous. So, I practised with my husband Colin [Engleret], talking to people in an unbossy way in order to gain their co-operation and also the best of their ideas. If I’d been threatened by them and j ust given them a completely open hand to do whatever they liked, I don’t think it would have worked. They still have to be in the same film together. I came to some particular agreements with Harvey about what he liked, for instance. I remember ringing him up and saying, “One of my concerns, Harvey, is that you’ve had so much more experience than me. It’s a great thing and I’m really thrilled about it, but the only thing that scares me is that, even though you’ve had all this experience, I still want to be able to direct you. What do you think? ” And he said, “Well, Jane, let me tell you something. All actors are very scared, very anxious. All we want to really do is please the director. So why don’t we do this: you allow me to do a thing the way I want to do it first of all, and then I’ll promise you I will try anything you ask me.” I wrote it down! I thought that sounded absolutely fine and a really good thing because that way the film would get the best of both of us. I’d get to see what he was going to create without any prompting from me. So a lot was happening on the set?


least well. They’re probably the most important decisions you’re going to make and that makes you nervous. Fate just colludes to create someone as the person. In the end, it is not very hard if you can just shut up and take notice. We just finally noticed she was the person we felt we’d most like to work with as Ada. Holly is a really smart woman and the type of personality that I can understand really well. The two of us were able to work very closely, very intelligently, in sorting out how to cope with this creature. Neither of us have personalities very close to Ada, but we are both very attracted to some of her mysterious qualities. Basi­ cally, neither of us feels very mysterious at all. Holly was such an enthusiastic and intelligent collaborator, it’s hard to praise her enough. Yet, at the same time, we had to earn our relationship. You don’t just jump in there and trust each other to such a huge degree. It’s a complex business, and the main thing for me is having an instinct that we can be friends and that we can work well together. Even though Holly is talented, I just had this feeling that, if the two of us were able to work together, it would be that much stronger. It’s not that I was going to do anything for her really; it was more that I would know she was going to be there. You have said elsewhere that you really wanted to be thrown into a different arena with these actors. What became your role as a director with such actors as Harvey Keitel, Holly Hunter and Sam Neill? I really did have to re-invent my practice as a director to work with these three successfully. I understood this from the beginning. Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel and Holly Hunter are all very experienced actors who have done a lot of work in the industry and whom I 10 • C I N E M A

P A P E R S 93

Sometimes yes. Harvey always gave you the idea that something wild was going to happen that you couldn’t possibly contain on camera. But I think that was a kind of fabrication of his own. He just tried to give himself room. Harvey also had some notion that he wasn’t able to repeat things, which didn’t actually appear to be true. He was able to recreate and repeat with new and interesting nuances quite easily. But I can understand actors feeling, “I really want this captured because it may not come again.” All the actors have very different personalities and I did my hardest to work with them in the way that suited them best. I think Holly and I were like sisters in the end. That was the way we collaborated. We’d just chat about the scenes, what we thought we could get out of it, whether we thought a hand gesture w asappropriate or whether we should use face grimaces, how dignified Ada’s signature would be, her walk, everything. We keep discussing things through the entire filming. Sam, who comes from a different background in acting to Harvey and Holly - he hasn’t had the same formal training - has his own private methods that work extremely well for him. What seemed to work best for us is to just have friendly conversations. If he got stuck, which wasn’t very often, he would say, “What do you think we could try here?” The actors did take a big responsibility for their own perform­ ances. I encouraged them to do that and I think it’s great. I would just be there in the way that Jan is for me. Do you feel that as a producer-director team, you and Jan Chapman have an unusually close collaboration? Yes, we are very special, good friends. Jan Chapman and I have known each other for many years and we like each other immensely. The stresses and the challenges of the shoot brought a new dimen­ sion into the friendship which made it even stronger. We became very direct with each other about what we needed and how we were

I don’t think T he P ian o will necessarily lead me down more romantic pathways. In fact, it feels like I’ve put it to rest for the tim e being. W hat it has opened, though, is a desire to w ork on more sophisticated m aterial.” going to get it. We both came to like that even more. There was nothing wrong with the friendship before; we just hadn’t gone through those challenges. One of the things I really enjoyed about the shoot is how challenging it was and how well people rose to the occasion on every single front: the production designer, the costumer designer, cin­ ematographer, producer and my Maori collaborator. I think for anyone present, there was a really great atmosphere for wanting things to be as good as they could possibly be. I’ve always had my doubts about collaboration until this project, thinking it was a kind of game you pretend to play. But I have never felt so much support. One of the biggest supports for me was Mark Turnbull, who was my first assistant. And Colin gave me continual and essential feedback as well as doing second unit and the film’s trailer. Now I totally believe in collaboration because there is no way I could possibly have created this work on my own. The film really is the combination of everybody’s efforts. I didn’t even see me in it when I looked at the work; I saw the film. How do you feel about the film when you look at it now? That’s a difficult question for me. I never have a very easy relation­ ship with my finished work. I have a kind of natural rejection. Maybe it is a way of moving on. I love it when I’m working on it, and, even though there are some problems, I always think things can be improved, and I still enjoy it. But once I start to look at it as a finished thing, I have a sense of revulsion to do with everything about myself. By the time I get to be revolted by a film, it’s about time it finished. Then in a few months’ time I really look forward to a screening with people, to soak in the atmosphere and their freshness towards the film in order to re-enjoy it. I remember when I first came into the cutting room after working on the set, I loved every image. This is unusual for me. Usually, there’s a stage where you wish you weren’t there. But I never felt that about The Piano. I just love the work we did. Instinctively, I know it’s my best piece of work, but I don’t actually feel that. What I feel is a whole lot of stuff about myself and

the need to move on. I felt that about Angel, I felt that about Sweetie, and I felt that about my short films as well. Do you feel changed by the experience of The Piano? You have moved into a more international arena. One positive change is that I’m not as intimidated by experienced actors; I’m excited by them. In terms of material as a writer, I don’t think The Piano will necessarily lead me down more romantic pathways. In fact, it feels like I’ve put it to rest for the time being. What it has opened, though, is a desire to work on more sophisticated material. Dialogue in this story is quite basic, because of the nature of the piece. I’d quite like to deal with more subtle dialogue. The Piano is also the first time I’ve had the opportunity to use a lot of the filmmaking enhancing equipment. This has made me feel a lot more confident with my ability to use cinema language. I can be as cinematic as I want, and be playful with my own style when I want to be. That is fun. The particular challenge of this film was to try a way to photograph a story that has epic qualities without seeming like a clone of David Lean - to still have my identity, but also have a feminine epic quality and to recreate it so that the epicness, didn’t feel like it relates back to other big-look movies. A slightly different language was used for the film than your normal epic movie. And you achieve this through sly, quite grounding humour? Humour is for me something instinctive, anyway. I don’t even think about humour really. Perhaps it’s just opportunities that emerge at the most serious moments. The humour is sly perhaps because it was added when I felt dissatisfied with the serious stillness of the first draft of the story. I’m really pleased I made those changes; I felt like I reclaimed the story to my personality. Things like the dog licking Stuart’s hand when he is peeping at Ada undressing, just appealed to me. I can’t really explain it. The best thing is that the characters seem to understand it and enjoy it, too. Why have you dedic/ated this film to your mother? For a long time she has been a very strong advocate for this type of story. She always held up to my sister and myself the role of the martyr. She believes in love and its redemptive power. She is extremely romantic, which is something that both of us re­ coiled against, but her flame is still there. I also think she has had a powerful struggle with life and death all through her later life and the courage with which she has encountered this, and the depth it has drawn from me and the rest of the family, I am grateful for. It is not always comfort­ able, but that depth has been expanding and I guess I love her very much and I’m proud to dedicate the film to her. ■ Notes 1

Quoted in T h e C o m p l e t e P o e m s o f E m ily Dickinson,Thomas H. Johnson (Ed.), faber and faber, London, 1970, p. 209. 2 Ibid., pp. 459-60. 3 Ibid., pp. 704-5.



93 • 11


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B r o k e n H i g h w a y is the story of Angel •!:>'^>l3i....■ I!*■:'m ■— - I ■

(Aden Young), a young merchant seaman, and his journey to/the small Queensland town of Honeyfield. Angel travels there after the death of his old sea friend, M a x (Dennis Miller). Through Max’s reminiscences, Angel has a vision of Honeyfield as being a gentle, blissful place. He discovers instead a dark t o w n full of secrets and people trapped in both the t o w n and its past. It is a strange, lonely and almost surreal place. For one of the town’s people, Catherine (Claudia Karvan), Angel’s arrti^ti t^n^eseiltS tbs chance of escape - from past and Wilson (Bill Hunter). » ¡M


Laurie M cln n e s’: ‘Broken Highway*

B roken H ighway is Laurie Mclnnes’ first feature and comes five years after her first film as writer-director, Palisade, which won her the Palme d’Or for short films at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989. The film is shot completely in black and white by director of photography Steve Mason, whose credits include the enormously successful Strictly B allroom [Baz Luhrmann, 1992]. The sound­ track is dark, menacing and surreal with music by David Faulkner of Hoodoo Gurus fame.*I What is your background and how did you get involved in the film industry? I went to art school in Queensland and then went overseas to a fashion studio in London. When I came back, I went through film school [Australia Film Television & Radio School], sort of follow­ ing the trade. I did camera and direction, though direction wasn’t much developed at that point in the course, so I came out a cinematographer. I never really had much intention of becoming a director. I was just trying to find the sorts of films I wanted to work on as a cinematographer. This led me to lots of different people and gradually I found filmmakers who actually articulated for me the sorts of films I personally wanted to do, and from these connections I began to do my own. Is cinematography something you would like to go back to and pursue further? If I did, I’m not quite sure in what form it would be. I was talking to Kim Lewis recently and he was describing his film - it’s called A Thousand Parking Lights, or something like that. The idea of getting $100,000 and just shooting a film with a camera is maybe something I could do. 14 • C I N E M A P A P E R S


A lot of people still ask me if I’d shoot films, but at this moment, I really don’t think so. Cinematography is such a hard task. Because you do not have as much control as you would like? It’s not control. It’s because I think my mind wanders now. You have to be very disciplined to do cinematography well. You have to be really very intense about the details, because you’re responsible for the negative that goes to the lab, and for everybody’s work on that negative. You can’t really afford to have your mind wander. I’m much more interested now in the processes of actors, story­ telling and generating atmospheres, which has to do with bringing. a whole lot of people together. This is where I’ve ended up. Does your background in cinematography affect the way you work as a director? I think it’s much more obsessive than an effect. I think who I am affected who I was as a cinematographer. As a director, choosing a cinematographer for B roken Highway was a nightmare. I knew lots of people’s work but what I had to find was someone whom I could trust, although trust is such a meagre word - rather, someone whom I could pass the job on to without being haunted. I’ve worked with Steve [Mason] before. I was his camera operator on R edheads [Danny Vendramini, 1992], so we had already sorted ourselves out personality-wise. We get on really well and I think it’s because he hits a pitch the same as I do. This is the point where we have exactly the same temperament, and it is volatile, intense, but focused on details the whole time. Cinematography really doesn’t influence me because part of me is still a cinematographer and part of me is still a writer. The whole film was storyboarded, which a whole lot of cinematographers I know would get a bit daunted by. But I’d bring storyboards to Steve

“As a director, choosing a c in e m a to g ra p h e r fo r Broken Highway w as a nightm are. I knew lots of p e o p le ’s w ork but w hat I had to find w as som eone w hom I could trust [...] som eone w hom I could pass the job on to w ith ou t being h au nted .”

and he’d use them as a platform to then take off from there. What storyboarding did was actually take care of all the hardware. The designing of the stuff was done, so what Steve could then do was take it up and really work with it. The budget was $1.4 million, so you can see what a gifted man he is. How did you come to the decision to shoot Broken Highway in black and white? It is a way of bypassing the real world in order to tell the story without the usual inhibitions. I think the idea had been hovering around because all my original research was done with black and white photographs. I kept hearing the same thing over and over again from people I showed these photographs to: “It looks really good,” or “Black and white photographs always look really good.” And yet, I’d written all this stuff about colour and intensity to the AFC [Australian Film Commission] in order to get the money. It was Steve who actually said the words, “Why don’t we shoot it in black and white?” After that, it was like there was no real decision. Suddenly it was as though I had always thought I was going to shoot in black and white. But Steve was the one who actually said it. I can’t even conceive of the film being in colour. I j ust don’t think it was ever going to be in colour. The things I was describing as colour in the script were really tensions and atmospheres and characters. In what sense is Broken Highway personal? How did it evolve? It’s filmed around a lot of places where I grew up. I’m a fairly badly educated person because I had some problems at school. I didn’t actually have a process of structural writing, a rational way of writing, so my work has always been fairly obscure. The script evolved partly out of trying to write about the places where I grew up. But the main reason I started writing the film was because I won this Palme d’Or award for Palisade, and everybody kept asking “What are you


going to do next?” It sounds weird, but I don’t think in that way. You felt pressured by other people? It wasn’t pressure; other people just articulated what I had known - that I wasn’t going to be a cinematographer, that I was going to make another, bigger, film. I certainly didn’t make Palisade so that I could make a feature. What then happened was I started writing about the landscapes, about the atmospherics of the land. I had some development money from the AFC, but at that stage I didn’t know I was going to make a feature. I didn’t even know if it was going to be a short film or a documentary, or even how it was going to turn out. But when I was writing, this landscape became a character, and out of the different locations the ‘real’ characters started coming together. Then came the story. What are your views on the writer directing a film? Do you think there are any dangers in that? Yes, I think there are actually. I don’t want to do it again in a hurry. Writing for me is the most harrowing thing to do. I’ve done it and I j ust feel that writers are slaves. They are the ones who have to do all the hard work. They get buried in the system and are the ones who dig the bloody mine. I went down to the screenwriters’ conference in Mel­ bourne and it’s the first time I’ve ever sat with a whole lot of writers. I went there to explain how I’d used the storyboards, C I N EMA PAPE RS


Laurie M cln n e s’: ‘Broken H ig h w a y’

and how they had taken the place of the script when I was shooting. I never referred to the actual dialogue; it was really drawings I referred to. My first script was like a map from myself, a way to express my pursuit of the world. At the end of it, I didn’t think I would ever go on that journey again. If you do the script straight enough and honest enough, you only need to do it once to recognize that what you have is a map, because on the first day of shooting a film you can’t change anything. There is no time. The director becomes the navigator of this thing and has to take a whole mob of people along. There is no time to re-write. What a director really does is take the script as a map, and that is why so much is riding on how well that map is written for all the actors, art director and cinematographer to follow. Because the cost of shooting a film is so high, you have to have as good a map as you can get. This is what makes you a most efficient filmmaker. So, it’s difficult being the writer and director because you are tempted to want to change things, and it’s too late? During the shoot of B roken H ighway, I actually forgot I was the writer. I didn’t even look at the dialogue. I just took the script as a comic book: pictures with bits of dialogue. I was really directing these pictures. I didn’t use the dialogue. I never referred to it again. I also cut a lot of dialogue out in the editing. I should have cut a lot more, probably.

As a female director, do you see yourself being especially responsible for the female characters in the film? I feel just as responsible for the men. Women are braver at different things than men and I think it is just as important for women to help men work better as it is for men to help women. I get very distressed at the idea that women should only help women. I think that’s crazy. One gets a sense of that in the film: the men are there to help the women escape from their situations, but the women seem to be more insightful and able to spell things out to the men. I think all the men are shipwreck victims and it’s the honesty of the female characters which gets everything together. The film is about the capacity of people to love and their inability to make it happen, and how desire grows in its place and becomes really destructive. The women characters run on instinct and emotional logic, probably because that part of them hasn’t been interfered with. Men are struggling so hard these days, the ones I know at least, and women seem to have got much more pragmatic, and the stakes are much simpler. The cost of being stupid can be the happiness of your life. Ultimately, I think women are much more capable of civilizing us because they run from the heart. In the past couple of years, I began to understand that coming from a really strong family with proud, ferocious love is unusual in Australia. How do people survive if they were never loved when they were children? It’s amazing that they can do it. I’m in awe of people who actually make it! Everybody wants to love and be loved. I’m generalizing, but I think what most men seem to be dealing with today is that they don’t quite grow up from being children. Men still want to be loved like children and they actually don’t understand how to experience this love for themselves. Is the character of Angel different in this respect? The Angel character is male and female; he’s a cipher for my bewilderment, really. I went through a very strange process while writing: I was making it up as I went along. And throughout the script there were trigger words that were bigger than others, words that contained icons or secrets to the characters. I began to look at what the actual words were, at why one character was saying a line in a particular way, what the trigger word was in each piece of dialogue. These words contained almost the token of the character. I then began to think about the ‘creatures’ of the characters. Eventually, I wasn’t looking for actors to play certain types, but human beings who had ‘creatures’ in them. It didn’t really matter what the actors looked like. Claudia [Karvan] and Aden [Young] were chosen because they had a connection in their hearts and instincts for their character. David [Field], Norman [Kaye], Dennis [Miller] and Bill [Hunter] were all chosen because of who they are as human beings. It’s not that I used them and their personalities, but their capacity as human beings with many facets. You were extending what was already there, who they are. Yes. I was asking them to call on one part of themselves and explore it, and make it into a whole human character.

16 • C I N E M A



“T he film is a b o u t the c a p a city of people to love and th e ir inability to m ake it happen, and how d esire grow s in its place and becom es really d e s tru c tiv e .”

I’ve shot a lot of films and what I believe happens over the years is that you actually learn about the human being who is the actor you’re watching through this intense lens. You are watching their faces, watching them struggle to say things. And that struggle is always in their eyes. I think most cinematographers and camera operators have a connection, a direct line, between them and the actors, because they have to watch another hu­ man being so closely. It’s like wildlife: if you watch a creature closely for a long time, you begin to understand things without having to articulate them.

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Is it difficult being a female director in an industry which is still male-dominated? I don’t have any problems in this indus­ try. The only problem I ever had was when I was a camera assistant. There was only one other female clapper-loader in Australia when I was beginning and it was the only time I ever felt bullshitted to. You basically ignore it and ultimately the difficulty of being a female director is not there. The idea that women are lesser creatures is a myth because you have to run a film crew. It’s so capital intensive and all that matters is whether you can do the job or not. This is the case from technicians right through to actors. There is the big joke about the casting couch, but who would risk a film by putting an incompetent person in charge. It’s really nonsense. There are a lot of people who have a different perception. Maybe these people are more vulnerable in themselves. If a woman is feeling overwhelmed by it all, it’s not because she is a woman who wants to be director and can’t be, it’s rather an insecurity in herself. I know plenty of men who can’t handle it. They’re overwhelmed, and it has nothing to do with being male or female. Turning to the film itself, Broken Highway is difficult to describe because it has fairly unconventional, recurring visual motifs. There is a malevolent feel to the film. It’s about the loss or inability of love. I actually have to put some distance between me and the film because I am so close to it. I could tell you what the story is and the themes, but it will be a while before I can actually assess the journey I went through. The film deals with people’s desires as a way of coping with the dissatisfaction and disillusionment of their lives. Would you agree with that? Because the characters are so shackled, their desires can’t be granted. There is the terror of this with all the characters. This is where the malevolence is felt throughout the film. Everyone’s dreams seem to be ridiculed by other people. People seem to constrain or dampen each other’s dreams. Angel, at one stage, even says they are like cannibals feeding off people’s fears.


Constraint is a better word than dampen because humans are social creatures. As well as being physically involved with each other, we are also spiritually interlocked. You can’t live intimately with someone without being aware of a spiritual pact that is going on. These characters are really riding each other to make sure they are all safe. If one goes out of whack, the lot will fall. This is basically what human beings do with each other - for good and for bad, sometimes. Often, it seems to be for bad in this film. Does it? I don’t think it is for bad. There is no way out of this place unless they break it. To destroy the trap isn’t bad because it’s not a good place to be. It seems a lot of character motivation is based on jealousy. I guess this goes back to what I said before about keeping the pact together and heading off any disruption to the pact. But it seems no one is able to get out of the pact and be themselves. Well, the film ends up with the trap broken and business now to be done. That’s the reality of life, isn’t it? Nothing ends, it’s always ongoing, it’s a process. Are the characters “lost souls” because they are searching for themselves? Yes. But by “lost souls” I don’t mean they have gone from this place. It just means they are not linked yet to where they should be, or to their destiny. A lot of the material objects seem to represent the constraints of people and the past, and a way of escaping is by getting rid of the actual things. CONTINUES






93 • 17





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S U R V I VAL WAS E V E R Y T H I N G 18 • C I N E M A





a n d



P A P E R S 9 3 • 19



Helen, his wife. He took a revolver from a

Anthony Buckley Productions. Director: Tracey Moffatt. Producer: Anthony Buck-

The Custodian Film Company. Director: John Dingwall. Producers: Adrienne Read,

shelf in the dressingroom, packed clothes in

ley. Co-producer: Carol Hughes. Script­

John Dingwall. Co-producer: DemitraMe-


writer: Tracey M offatt. D irector of photography: Geoff Burton. Production

leti. Executive producers: Mikael Borglund, Gary H am ilton. Scriptw riter: John


designer: Stephen Curtis. Editor: Wayne Le

Dingwall. Director of photography: Steve

(aka Blackfellas)

Clos. Sound recordist: David Lee. Com­ poser: Carl Vine.

Mason. Production designer: Philip Warner. Editor: Michael Honey. Sound recordist:

Barron Films. Director: James Ricketson. Producer: David Rapsey. Executive pro­

Cast: Diana Davidson (Shelley), Jack Char­

Ben Osmo.

ducers: PaulD. Barron. Scriptwriter: James

les (Rick), Tracey Moffatt (Ruby, 25 years), Pauline McLeod (Jack), Auriel Andrew

Cast: Anthony LaPaglia (Quinlan), Hugo

Ricketson. Based on the novel Day o f the Dog by Archie Weller. Director of photog­

(Older Ruby), Cecil Parkee (Bob Malley), Les Foxcroft (Old Micky), Lex Marinos (Dimitri), Dina Panozza (Voula), Luke Roberts (The Artist). Synopsis: A trilogy of ghost stories (“Mis­ ter Chuck”, “Choo Choo Choo Choo”, and “Lovin’ the Spin I’m In”).

BROKEN HIGHWAY Black Ray Films. Director: Laurie Mclnnes. Producer: Richard Mason. Line pro­ ducer: Julie Forster. Scriptwriter: Laurie Mclnnes. Director of photography: Steve M ason. Production designer: Lesley Crawford. Editor: Garry Hillberg. Sound recordist: Paul Brincat. Composer: David Faulkner. Cast: Aden Young (Angel), Dennis Miller (Max), Claudia Karvan (Catherine), Bill Hunter (Wilson), Norman Kaye (Elias Kidd), David Field (Tatts), William Mcln­ nes (Roger), Stephen Davies (Jack), Peter Settle (Night Manager), Kris McQuade (Woman). Synopsis: A young merchant seaman, in fulfilling a dying wish of an old sea friend, finds himself drawn into the unknown ter­ ritory of the old man’s life and embroiled in the dark history of the town. A mystery set in a decaying Coastal Queensland. 20 • C I N E M A P A P E R S


Weaving (Church), Kelly Dingwall (Rey­ nolds), Barry Otto (Ferguson), Essie Davis (Jilly), Skye Wansey (Claire), Wayne Pigram (Massey), GosiaDobrowolska (Josie), Tim McKenzie (Beetson), Richard Hill (Hanrahan). Synopsis: Quinlan, although not aware of the fact, was in a clinical state of depression.

a carry-all, walked out and never came

raphy: Jeff Malouf. Production designer: Bob Ricketson. Editor: Christopher Cordeaux. Sound recordist: Kim Lord. Composer: Merv Graham. Cast: John Moore (Doug Dooligan), David Ngoombujarra (Pretty Boy Floyd), Jaylene

It was 2 o’clock in the morning and the

Riley (Polly Yarrup), John Hargreaves (De­ tective Maxwell), Ernie Dingo (Percy), Julie

woman on the sofa was spread-eagled with her head over the edge, the back of her hand

Hudspeth (Mrs Dooligan), Jack Charles (Carey), Judith Margaret Wilkes (Nanna),

resting on the floor. She looked murdered. She was, as usual, dead drunk. She was

Michael Watson (Hughie), Attila Ozsdolay. (Silver).

Synopsis: A young Aboriginal ex-convict is tom between the bad influence of old friends, the love of a young woman and the threat of gaol if he returns to his old ways.

EXCHANGE LIFEGUARDS Tovefelt-Avalon Films. Director: Maurice Murphy. Producer: Phil Avalon. Associate producer: Dennis Kiely. Scriptwriter: Phil Avalon. Director of photography: Martin McGrath. Production designer: Richard Hobbs. Costume designer: Jenny Campbell. Editor: Allan Trout. Sound recordist: Bob Clayton. Composer: John Capek. Cast: Elliott Gould, Julian McMahon, Christopher Atkins, Ric Carter, Mark Hembrow, Christopher Pate, Lois Larimore, Brian Logan, Vanessa Steele, Amanda Newman-Phillips, Elizabeth Mclvor. Synopsis: Bobby McCain, the environmentally-conscious son of an American devel­ oper, finds himself on an Exchange Lifeguard programme. Not knowing what to expect, he arrives via a two-day cab ride


at an isolated Australian coastal fishing village called Mullet Beach. The local surf club, fighting for survival, hopes that Bobby will help rescue them from the imminent takeover by the nearby and wealthy rival Red Beach club, which is assisted by an International consortium.

FRAUDS Latent Image. Director: Stephan Elliott. Producers: Andrena Finlay, Stuart Quin. Executive producer: Rebel Penfold-Russell. Scriptwriter: Stephan Elliott. Director of photography: Geoff Burton. Production designer: Brian Thomson. Editor: Frans Vandenberg. Sound recordist: Ross Linton. Composer: Guy Gross. Cast: Phil Collins (Roland Copping), Hugo Weaving (Jonathan Wheats), Josephine Byrnes (Beth Wheats). Synopsis: A surrealistic black comedy of an insurance investigation that goes haywire. A seemingly defenceless couple are ensnared in a nightmare game of fraud and blackmail

by an insurance investigator extraordinaire. The only chance they have to retain their sanity is to fight back, thus beginning a chilling, hair-raising adventure.

GROSS MISCONDUCT PRO Films (No. 1). Director: George Miller. Producers: David Hannay, Richard Sheffield-MacClure. Executive producer: Richard Becker. Associate producer: Rocky Bester. Scriptwriters: Lance Peters, Gerard Maguire. Based on the play ¡Assault with a Deadly Weapon, by Lance Peters. Director


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of photography: David Connell. Produc­ tion designer: Jon Dowding. Editor: Henry Dangar. Sound recordist: Andrew Ramage. Cast: Jimmy Smits (Justin Thome), Naomi Watts (Jennifer Carter), Sarah Chadwick (Laura Thome), Adrian Wright (Kenneth Carter), Leverne McDonnell (Miriam McMahon), Alan Fletcher (Henry Landers), Beverley Dunn (Judge Barlow), Paul Sonkkila (Rowland Curtis), Ross Williams (Guildeman), Nicholas Bell (Detective Mat­ thews). Synopsis: University professor Justin Thome is adored by his students and is the envy of his peers. But a young girl’s fantasy turns to obsession and threatens to destroy everything he holds dear: his freedom, his family, his career.

HAMMERS OVER THE ANVIL SAFC-Harvey-Wright Enterprises. Direc­ tor: Ann Turner. Producers: Ben Gannon, Peter Harvey-Wright. Executive produc­ ers: Janet Worth, Gus Howard, Peter Gawler. Scriptwriters: Peter Hepworth, Ann Turner. Based on the stories, H am m ers O ver the Anvil, by Alan Marshall. Director of photography: James Barties. Production designer: Ross Major. Costume designer: Ross Major. Editor: Ken Sallows. Sound recordist: Phil Tipene. Composer: Alan John. Cast: Charlotte Rampling (Grace McAlis­ ter), Russell Crowe (East Driscoll), Alexan­ der Outhred (Alan Marshall), Frankie J. Holden (Alan’s father), Frank Gallacher (Mr Thomas), Jake Frost (Joe Carmichael). Synopsis: A funny, moving, inspirational loss-of-innocence story set in the early days

HERCULES RETURNS Director: David Parker. Producer: Philip Jaroslav. Scriptwriter: Des Mangan. Direc­ tor of photography: David Connell. Pro­ duction designer: Jon Dowding. Editor: Peter Carrodus. Composer: Philip Judd. Cast: David Argue (McBain), Mary Coustas (Lisa), Bruce Spence (Sprocket), Michael Carmen (Kent), Brendon Suhr (King), Nick Polites (Phone Executive), Lance Anderson (Wolf Whistler). Synopsis: Frustrated by the uncaring style of his megalith employer, the Kent Corpo­ ration, film buff Brad McBain decides to take on the big boys by opening his own old-style cinema. But the Kent boss sabo­ tages McBain’s opening night by ensuring the print of the all-Italian Hercules, Sam ­ son, M achism o an d Ursus are Invincible is delivered without sub-titles. McBain and friends have no choice but to improvize all the dialogue and effects themselves.

LOVE IN LIMBO (formerly The G reat Pretender) Director: David Elfick. Producer: David Elfick. Co-producers: John Winter, Nina Stevenson. Scriptwriter: John Cundill. Di­ rector of photography: Steve Windon. Pro­

Murray (Maisie), Maya Strange (Ivy Rid­ dle), Bill Young (Herbert Bollinger), Jill Perryman (Dorry), Vincent Ball (Cyril Williams). Synopsis: A romantic comedy about an artistic 16-year-old with a rampant libido and a passionate interest in the female form. Set in Perth and Kalgoorlie in the 1950s.

THE NOSTRADAMUS KID Simpson Le Mesurier Films. Director: Bob Ellis. Producer: Terry Jennings. Executive producers: Roger le Mesurier, Roger Simpson. Scriptwriter: Bob Ellis. Director of photography: Geoff Burton. Production designer: Roger Ford. Wardrobe supervi­ sor: Laurie Faen. Editor: Henry Dangar. Sound recordist: David Lee. Composer: Chris Neal Cast: Noah Taylor (Ken Elkin), Miranda Otto (Jennie O’Brien), Jack Campbell (McAlister), Erick Mitsak (Wayland), Alice Gamer (Esther), Lucy Bell (Sarai), Arthur


duction designer: David McKay. Costume de­ signer: Clarrissa Patt­ erson. Editor: Stuart Armstrong. Sound re­ cordist: Guntis Sachs. Music supervisor: John Hopkins. Cast: Craig Adams (Ken

of this century. Twelve-years-old and crip­

Riddle), Rhonda Findleton (Gwen Riddle),

pled with polio, Alan dreams of becoming a great horseman. He must learn that life is

M artin Sacks (M ax Wiseman), Aden Young

not necessarily what he wants it to be, but

(Barry), Russell Crowe

it is worth living anyway.

(A rthur),

Sam antha CINEMA


93 • 23

Dryburgh. Production de­

Chambers. Editor: Peter Burgess. Sound

signer: Andrew McAlp-

recordist: John Wilkinson. Composer:

ine. Editor: Veronika

Tassos Ioannides. Cast: Caroline Goodall (Elyne Mitchell),

Janet. Sound designer: Lee

M i Ml!!» p is


rfr ■■ :; A 'ÎÎÉ ^ %

Smith. Sound recordist: Tony Johnson. Com ­

Russell Crowe (The Man), Ami Daemiori

poser: Michael Nyman.

Johnny Raaen (Jock).

Cast: Holly Hunter (Ada), Harvey Keitel (Baines), Sam Neill (Stewart), Anna

Synopsis: This is the story of the great wild

Paquin (Flora), Kerry

compelling beauty of Australia’s high coun­

Walker (Aunt Morag), Genevieve Lemon (Nessie), Tungia Baker (Hira),

try. It is the legend of. the silver brumby

silver stallion, Thowra. It is a legend both savage and tender, set in the strange and

whose strength and prowess no man can outwit.

Ian Mune (Reverend). Synopsis: A mute wom­

Dignam (Pastor Anderson), Loene Carmen (Meryl), Jeanette Cronin (Christy), Peter

(Indi Mitchell), Buddy Tyson (Darcy),

an’s love for her piano and another man

THIS W O N T HURT A BIT! (formerly Le Dentiste) Oilrag Productions. Director: Chris Ken­

Gwynne (Shepherds Rod), Hec McMillan

provokes the jealousy of her husband. Set in Victorian times on a remote part of New

(Pastor Dibley).

Zealand’s coastline.

Synopsis: A gentle romantic comedy about the end of the world. The religious and sexual coming-of-age of a 1960s Seventh

Scriptwriter: Chris Kennedy. Director of photography: Marc Spicer. Editor: Peter


Butt. Sound recordist: David Glasser. Com­

Flying Films. Director: Richard Lowenstein. Producer: Carol Hughes. Scriptwriter: Richard Lowenstein. Director of photogra­ phy: Graeme Wood. Production designer:

poser: Mario Grigov. Cast: Greig Pickhaver (Gordon Fair-

Day Adventist boy, who acquires a taste for drink, women and philosophy, and be­ lieves the end is nigh during the Cuban Missile Crisis, even though the much longedfor apocalypse seems to keep getting post­ poned.

N O WORRIES Palm Beach Pictures-Initial Film & Televi­ sion. Director: David Elfick. Producers: David Elfick, Eric Fellner. Line producer: John Winter. Executive producer: Kim Williams. Associate producer: Nina Ste­ venson. Scriptwriter: David Holman. Di­ rector of photography: Steve Windon. Production designer: Michael Bridges. Edi­ tor: Louise Innes. Sound recordist: Guntis Sachs. Cast: Amy Terelinck (Matilda), Geoff Mor­

Chris Kennedy. Editor: Jill Bilcock. Sound recordist: Lloyd Carrick.

nedy. Producer: Patrick Fitzgerald.

weather), Alwyn Kurts (Psychiatrist), Gordon Chater (Professor), Dennis Miller (Riley), Jacquie McKenzie (Vanessa), Patrick Blackwell (Mr Prescott), Maggie

Cast: Fiona Ruttelle (Angie), Sudi de Win­ ter (Seymour), Lynn Murphy (Thelma), Mickey Camilleri (Seymour’s Mum),

King (Mrs Prescott), Adam Stone (Farrow), Brian Bird (Technician), Gandhi McIntyre

Rebecca Smart (Lynne), Jill Forster (Mrs Easterbrook), Roger Neave (Mr East-

Synopsis: The story of an Australian den­

erbrook), Phyll Bartlett (Op Shop Lady).

atric hospital sets up a practice in Portsmouth, England. Here he wreaks havoc on the public and health service before

Synopsis: A skinny, introverted 11-yearold meets the young, effervescent but drugaddicted Angie and enters her fantasy world. It is a relationship that offers strength to each other, and, through the highs and lows of a long hot summer, they both gradually learn to face the truth about each other and themselves.

(Indian), Colleen Clifford (Lady Smith). tist, who after being released from a psychi­


rell (Ben Bell), Susan Lyons (Ellen Bell), Geraldine James (Ann Marie O’Dwyer), John Hargreaves (Clive Ryan), Steven Vidler (Gary Hay), Bob Baines (Mr Drew), Ray Barrett (Old Burkey), Harold Hopkins (John Burke), Judy McIntosh (Mrs Gregg). Synopsis: In the midst of the drought and recession of 1 9 9 2 ,10-year-old Matilda and her family are forced off their property in Western New South Wales, and move to Sydney. There they are ‘foreigners’.

THE SILVER BRUMBY Media World Features. Director: John Tatoulis. Producers: Colin South, John Tatoulis. Line pro­ ducer: Brian Burgess. Ex­ ecutive producer: William T. Marshall. Associate producer: Judy Malmgren. Scriptwriters: John

THE PIANO Jan Chapman Productions. Director: Jane

Tatoulis, Jon Stephens, Elyne Mitchell. Based on

Campion. Producer: Jan Chapman. Execu­ tive producer: Alain Depardieu. Associate

the novel by Elyne Mitch­

producer: Mark Turnbull. Scriptwriter: Jane

phy: M ark Gilfedder.

Campion. Director of photography: Stuart

Production designer: Phil

24 • C I N E M A



ell. Director of photogra­




s J & 'i

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93 . 25

y M offatt

Interview ed by Jo h n C o n o m o s and Raffaele Caputo

T r a c e y M o f f a t t 's N ig h t Cries: A R u ra l T ra g e d y (199 0) is o n e of t h e fin e s t s h o r t f ilm s re c e n t ly m a d e in A u s t r a lia . V is u a l l y a n d a u r a lly b o ld , it is a c o n f r o n t i n g lo o k at t h e s t o r y of a b la c k girl ra is e d b y a w h i t e w o m a n . R e je c tin g t h e s o c ia lre alist a p p r o a c h t h a t has t i n c t u r e d (a n d i n h i b ­ ite d ) m a n y f ilm s o n A b o r i g i n a l issue s, M o f f a t t 's film t r i u m p h a n t l y fin d s its o w n d is tin c tiv e v o ic e — h y p e r -r e a l i s m t i n g e d w i t h s u rr e a lis m S h o t e n t ir e ly in a s t u d io , it has a s t r ik in g ly s p a rs e n a rra tiv e a n d % o h 3 c io jis n e g le c t of ' A • It t d ia l o g u e , i ^ t e lc^onfeern f <brw^ *

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T ra c e y Moffat’s ‘B edevil’

Bedevil is made up of three stories in three different settings. What is the inspiration for them?

said, “There aren’t many directors who are given so few restrictions. You’re very lucky.”

The stories are inspired by family ghost stories I heard as a child, stories which come from both sides of my background - my white relatives as well as my black relatives. In the second story, for example, I play my mother who actually lived out west in a ramshackle house like the one you see in the film. My family were gangers on the railway and at night they would hear this ghost train coming up the track, but never see it. I just took that story and elaborated on it, which was an interesting thing to do.

Is Australian painting a source of inspiration for the mise en scène, the construction of the image?

Was hearing these stories as a child one reason why the film leans toward the Japanese genre of ghost films?

I would say Russell Drysdale is a big influence, especially for the first two stories. The third story would be more Geoffrey Smart: the urban-scape with a tentative feeling of urban alienation and estrange­ ment. There’s the sky and the long shots and the intense claustro­ phobia of spaces. Do you compare the different domestic spaces of your Koori background and your white background?

Very much. I was always thinking about how I would put the stories across, because I wanted to do the film in a very stylized way. Then I realized how inspired I was by Japanese directors of the early 1960s, like [Yasujiro] Ozu and [Masaki] Kobayashi. With their visual stylistics, and with sound style as well, they were way ahead of their time. The sound is really half the movie in their case, and it’s half the movie in Bedevil.

Yes, I look at spaces differently because I have a background in both cultures. But I don’t think you can call the stories particularly white or Aboriginal. You have to remember, I also have an array of characters with very interesting faces. I have Chinese characters, Italian, Greek and so on. I merely reflect what I see in Australian society. For me, Australian society is now a very mixed society, very multi-cultural - a hybrid society.

The use of the studio set for outdoor locations is also reminiscent of Japanese films, especially of panning shots across misty, ghost­ like locations staged in a studio.

Taking an interest in the human face recalls the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini. How important is the human face?

You can create a complete atmosphere if you have total control over lighting, colour and the camera movement. However, we were restricted in the shooting because the studio wasn’t big enough. Unfortunately, Sydney does not have very big studios. I had restrictions where I had to shoot either against ‘this’ wall or ‘that’ wall and nothing else. But then, as someone on the set 28 • C I N E M A P A P E R S


Like Fellini, I think I cast for faces. Most of the people in B edevil art not actors. When I looked through books at actors, there wasn’t anyone I particularly wanted. A lot of the time I had to go out into the street and look for people. What is the advantage of selecting from the street? It is a visual concern and I can get away with it because I don’t have

“T he sto ries are inspired by fa m ily gho st stories I heard as a child, stories w hich com e from both sides of m y b ackground — m y w hite relatives as w ell as m y black rela tives.”


a lot of dialogue in my work. It is particularly advantageous dealing with the kids. In fact, kids are much easier to direct than adults because they are used to being told what to do. They are bossed around at school all day. Is intuition important in formulating the script? I work completely intuitively, and it’s a way of trying to create something new. I know this may sound pompous, but I do try to be inventive. You j ust have to be. I don’t think many people really want to try to create something new in this country. Because they are not rewarded for it? Because Australian cinema has too big a background in realism. Realist drama is what you think of when you think of Australian cinema. How were you able to get Bedevil up in so far as it isn’t a realist drama? In the script stage, you have to be completely clear in what you are doing. Sure the stories are non-linear, but they have their own internal logic. You also have to make the script very readable, and then make it accessible to the extent that what’s on the screen will be quite easy to follow. So you believe in a popular, accessible cinema? Yes, of course. I certainly hope Bedevil can appeal to a wide-ranging audience and that people will appreciate my play with the form. Non-linear cinema has been around for a long time and, because we .are à very visual culture, I think audiences are now quite open to it.

Do you believe the infrastructure of the industry is cognizant of these kinds of debates and wants to open things up? Mainstream producers in this country? I don’t think so. From what I can tell, they are not going after this kind of movie. I was interested in working with Tony Buckley because I liked a lot of the 1970s movies he worked on, [Patrick W hite’s] The Night The Prowler [Jim Sharman, 1978] in particular. What was the time span from the conception of the script to the moment you got the finance? About two years, with six drafts of the script in that time. When I wrote the first draft, it was almost unreadable because I was writing for myself. I think you have to at that initial stage. You are not thinking of the audience. It is further down the track that you start to think of the audience. Is that compromise or change for the better? Change for the better. Even in the editing, I am coming up with other ideas and changes. And when I lay the soundtrack, it will change again. On set the same thing happens. For example, I found that I was seeing wonderful angles in the sets that my production designer, Stephen Curtis, created. I would just want to go for it, whereas in the storyboarding those angles were not there. You can’t tell until you are on the set and then you have to be very open to change. It may have driven some of the crew nuts because I would change my line all of a sudden, but you end up with a dead film if you don’t work in an intuitive way. In working with a non-linear filmmaking style, how important is landscape? CINEMA


93 . 29

T ra c e y Moffat’s ‘Bedevil’

Intuition is literally going with something that feels completely right at a particular point in time, and hopefully not being afraid of it. You can’t make a movie by putting A with B and then getting C. That is not how movies are successful, and it’s dangerous to think you can. There is no chemical formula; there is no answer. Do you leave yourself open to any improvisory possibility on the set? Is this central to your role as a filmmaker? It is. But it can be pretty scary because there is not the money to work in that way. I was trying to get away with it by pushing the crew toward an improvisory path. But I think a lot of Australian mainstream film crews are not used to working in this way. It’s safer not to go down an improvisational avenue. It seems your cinema is like a surreal juxtaposition of classical continuity. Even on paper there is a notion of the surreal.


My background is Queensland and I come from the north, so all the stories have a hot northern feel. But all three stories have quite familiar Australian settings. The first story is on an island. The characters are in a mangrovey, swampy, mosquito-infested island in south-east Queensland. The second story is in a desert with location stuff shot out in Charlesville. The third story might be a place like Townsville with a decaying dockland area. It was interesting creating the tactile attributes of the rural landscape - like heat, light and the look of the sky - in relation to tactile feelings. When I started to write the script, I went home to Brisbane with a lot of memories of when I was growing up. I think you must go back to where the memories are strongest. I couldn’t sit here in Sydney and come up with the feelings I could associate with heat. I had to go back and feel it again. In Bedevil, there is an open, firey sky, but with living in Sydney you don’t see the sky. It’s not a sky city. You go to Brisbane and the first thing you notice is the sky. Is Bedevil trying to awaken one to the fact that there is more to life than urban spaces and concrete buildings ? It is also about the mystical Australian landscape of my imagination. There is a hyper-real, hyper-imaginary, surreal construction of landscape from childhood memories in perhaps a similar way to how Terence Davies works. In his recent films, he talks about an exaggerated version of what his childhood was like. And, of course, memory is always exaggerated. Is memory a part of the intuitive process you were talking about earlier? 30 • C I N E M A



That is to be expected because you are going with what you feel at the moment, and continuity does become a problem. I drove continuity crazy because [actor] Lex Marinos kept coming up with all this different dialogue and I wanted to go with it. When I think of the directors who have influenced me the most, I would have to say Nicolas Roeg. I saw W alkabou t [1971] when I was thirteen and the visuals have always stuck with me. I love that movie. I think I am the only Aborigine in Australia that will admit to loving this film, and it’s because of its open texture, the juxtapo­ sition of images you are talking about, and its play with time. As those two kids journey across the landscape, they are in a desert one minute and walking through a forest the next. When I was writing the script to Bedevil, I thought of looking at more of Roeg’s films. I saw Perform ance [co-directed with Donald Cammed, 1970] again, which I think is just brilliant. You like a cinema that ruptures the continuity of time and space? But not that the film come across as a mish-mash. I think that is laziness. There must be some thread for the audience. The story or stories have to appear to be going somewhere. Are the three stories of Bedevil interconnected? No. They are completely different. Each is self-contained. Because you are a highly visual filmmaker, how does story-telling figure in the narrative sense? These are stories not told through traditional plot. Clever plots with twists and turns are never what I go for. Bedevil is like this: we are with these characters, we are going to hang out with them for a while and we see what they get up to. So you follow their gestures with all the unpredictability of their actions? The key word is unpredictability - never let the audience know what is coming next. I’ll even watch a movie I don’t like if I don’t know what is coming next, if I am not ahead of the story. There seems to be a tendency here to grab at various, identifiable styles, which is very collagist. That is a good description. But it is not enough to just lift something and plonk it into a movie. Rather, you lift something and make it completely yours so that it doesn’t; resemble the original' thing, or you trade in the original source of the medium. And when Irsay

P h o to g ra p h y is m y o th e r ca re e r, a n d I e x h ib it a s a p h o to g ra p h e r. I fin d I n e e d to be a ro u n d th e a rt w o rld . It is w h e re all th e b e s t id e a s a re d is c u s s e d , a n d it’s lig h t y e a rs a h e a d o f w h a t is h a p p e n in g in th e film s c e n e .”

“ make it yours ”, I mean that whatever you lift feels completely right in the context of the film. When we were going through the publication on Blue Note jazz record covers from the 1950s and ’60s in consideration of the title design for Bedevil, their use is not meant to make the film stand out in reference to some “jazzy” notion. If people pick up on a reference, it is not so that they say, “Well, she is referring to that”, or whatever, and then that’s the end of it. When we see the opening images of the first story, what immediately comes to mind is your photographic practice. I carry the look across to the cinematic form, and it is a distinctive series of images, a way of signposting, but it goes above appropria­ tion because you transform the source. It is not all appropriation. At times, the production designer took inspiration from real landscape or “real” photographs. Stephen had gone to national parks and wildlife reserves and brought back lots of posters of the landscape. He found this fabulous one of termite mounds standing in long grass out in Queensland. He took some reality and came up with something completely unreal. How closely did you work with the production designer? Very closely. A year before the cameras began to roll, we were talking about what should be the colour of the termite mounds, what sort of surface would we use for the floor, should we lay down dirt for the desert or should it be a shiny surface like in N ight Cries. But then I have to let him go and do his work. There is only a certain point you can go to when discussing things. For example, in the script I describe the opening island setting of the story as being this lush, tropical setting with vines curling around the trees, a brilliant blue sky peeping through the background and waves crashing on a white sandy beach. But Stephen came up with this very spooky, swampy landscape with thin melaleuca trees standing like skeletons with what I call a pukey-green, Linda Blair sky. I almost died of shock, but that was the way Stephen had interpreted it and I had to go with it. He wasn’t a slave to the script.

What are the cross-overs between your work as a photographer and as a filmmaker on a day-to-day basis ? Photography is my other career, and I exhibit as a photographer. I find I need to be around the art world. It is where all the best ideas are discussed, and it’s light years ahead of what is happening in the film scene. This carries over into my film work. I am constantly thinking composition in a photographic sense, and framing and photographic textures are very important in my movies. Are your films more comfortable within the art world than with the film scene? Well, I hope my films are not seen as inaccessible. I think Bedevil blurs the demarcation somewhat, between the art gallery as a source of inspiration and the film industry. It is important to create a bridge. There really isn’t any demarcation between my two careers. What I do in both fields is part of my work. They are what I do: I make photographs and I make movies. The difference is that when you make photographs you are working by yourself; movie making is completely collaborative. With a crew of about sixty people, it’s about communication. You have to make clear to people what you want. Of course, you don’t always get exactly what you want; you have to compromise a little.

To say something like a “pukey-green, Linda Blair sky” is a shorthand way of graphically communicating your vision to your collaborators. Yes, I don’t think I am only a bricoleur or collagist, because using this kind of description is an immediate way of signposting what you want from your own collaborators. And it is good that you can refer to other movies. I think The Exorcist [William Friedkin (1973)], which is where that description comes from, is the greatest horror film ever made. I look at my movie and I believe there is a bit of influence there. The Exorcist has been dismissed and it has been sent-up on almost every comedy show, but it is a very, very scary movie with a brilliant soundtrack. There is incredible atmosphere in that bedroom with the possessed child. Have you used Super 8 footage in Bedevil? Yes, there is a little bit of Super 8. It is just a few moments to take away from the pristine feel of 35mm. Working with grainy, hand­ held Super 8 footage in some sections is inspired by the news, and it’s used forishock value. When watching some news stories at night where some amateur photographer shot a disaster scene or some­ thing on Super 8 or home video, you find you always sit forward because it is imperfect. CINEMA


93 . 31

T ra c e y Moffat’s ’B edevil’

I did. But I found the .crew got very restless after a while. They were not used to working for a long period in a studio situation. In the last week of shoot, we went out on location to Queensland and the crew immediately got happier. They wanted to get out into the fresh air. The studio created a claustrophobic feel in the making of the film. But it is important that cinema take risks, that it be experimental and popular at the same time. I want to promote the movie in a very light way so that it is not off-putting to an audience. That is why I’ve sent postcards that say, “Bedevil - scary, funny and terribly arty.” I think you have to promote the film in this way and not take yourself too seriously. It seems there is a lot of humour in the film? Yes, especially in the third story. The film gets funnier as it progresses. The first story is quite hard, the second rather funny, but the third is actually comedy with slapstick. I like that kind of progression because I think it is very important from an audience point of view. The audience is likely to be more open to the movie at the beginning and they’ll sit for a while. I don’t think I could get away with putting the first story last, for instance. The stories actually get better; they really do. Why three separate stories? Because I come from the short films area. I have only made shorts and I don’t believe I was ready to milk one story for ninety minutes with the same characters. It also has to do with the way I think. I don’t have a long attention span. It’s nice to swap the characters over, making the film much more playful and multi-layered. Maybe the next film will be completely different, but I am much more relaxed with a trilogy for a first feature film. As a feature-length directorial debut, is Bedevil a form of appren­ ticeship? I learned a lot, especially with [director of photography] Geoff [Burton]. He has shot a lot of films and, for my first feature, I wanted to work with someone who has had a lot of experience. Even though Bedevil is a low-budget film, I wanted the best in the business. Maybe I should have employed a lot of younger technicians, but I actually went for a lot of older ones. I am glad I did, because they don’t seem to get into too much of a tizz over things. They have done it all before, and it is nice to have thatiexperience. I worked on a one-to-one basis with Geoff, where we’d con­ stantly check the frame. He would set something up and I’d be constantly looking through the camera or on the video split. The video split is very good. I don’t know how I could have made

32 • C I N E M A



the film without it, especially since I was in the movie and I could check my performance. I don’t know how people make films without it. Did you know Jerry Lewis invented the idea of the video split? Did he? I love Jerry Lewis - The Nutty P rofessor [1963] and the movie where he looks after all these school girls, The L adies Man [1961]. I grew up with these movies. I have a formative visual background in 1960s television, Jerry Lewis movies and Looney Tunes. Daffy Duck, very loony! Nicolas Roeg says an interesting thing in his book. He talks about a generation of people, and of himself, growing up on these mad cartoons, watching them at the cinema or on television. So many artists of this generation have ideas that are far more playful and non-conventional, whereas the generation that grew up in the 1970s, when television was much more monitored, produces a different sort of art, more controlled. We grew up on crap. It was never monitored; it just washed over us. What about the use of colour in your films? Is it a vehicle for emotions ? Absolutely, in the way the abstract expressionists worked with colour in the 1950s. I am thinking of painters like Paul Rothko. His paintings are just complete colour fields. In relation to Australian directors, you can tell George Miller thinks of colour just by thinking of the last two Mad M ax films. Do you think being colour conscious is a rare thing in the Australian film industry? I suppose there was the real “chocolate box” look of the 1970s with films like Picnic at Hanging R ock [Peter Weir, 1975], which is very elegant. I actually like a lot of Australian 1970s films. I completely bypass the 1980s; nothing really stood out for me. I love “W ake in Fright” [Ted Kotcheff, 1971] and early Peter Weir like The Cars that Ate Paris [1974] - Jim Sharman’s films as well, but he doesn’t get any attention. I was an adolescent when the whole New Australian Cinema thing was happening, so I was reading about it in the press all the time. It was very inspirational with people like Gillian Armstrong, a woman, directing. It was a great thing. I have only got to know Gillian Armstrong recently. We had a little chat before I started Bedevil. She gave me some tips on how to handle a crew. But I have to admit I am not a purist. I want to go to Hollywood and make a “feel good” movie for money. Then perhaps I want to come back to my art movies. ^

ENTRIES In v it e d WORLDWIDE in the categories of

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Australia’s First Films: Part Three: Local Production T

Chris Long continues his exploration into the myths and fictions surrounding the introduction o f the moving picture to Australia.






F ar

We have traced Australian cinema from its birth in November 1894 to the rapid spread of film exhibition late in 1896. The lasting value of these events to modern Australians began with the making of the first local films in October 1896. These only had novelty value when they were new, but today they are a vivid window on our colonial past. The unprecedented access given t<§ these films through domestic video cassette releases has greatly enhanced their historical value. Lacking titles, identifying marks or other documentation, thl few surviving films of the 1890s urgently require research t<| determine where, when, how and why they were made. This articlf marks the commencement of a complete list of early Australian films, a necessary first step in identifying the surviving artifacts in our public and private archives. The author is strongly of the opinion that this research should have been done b efo re the National Film and Sound Archive initiated their collection manage­ ment project, “COM AT”, with its accompanying “de-accessioning” of films. The low priority placed on research has endangered the integrity of the many unidentified and potentially valuable films iji the collection. That research is being done, but its support has mostly come from sources other than Canberra.







The accepted account of Australia’s first film production was published by the photographer Jack Cato in 1955. In brief, he states that the Lumière Company cameraman “Maurice” (sic) Sestier? failed to make competent films in India, met the Australian photog­ rapher Walter Barnett in Bombay and later joined him in Australia to shoot our first local films, principally the 1896 M elbourne Cup} However, in 1986 the National Gallery’s Gael Newton showed me an unpublished manuscript written in response to Cato’s account by the elderly Frenchman, A. J. Perier (1871-1964). Perier was an early sales manager for the Sydney photographic firm of Baker & Rouse, who bought Sestier’s equipment. His manuscript is marked “not to be published until the death of Jack Cato” and begins as follows: [...] so many names have been omitted and a few have been ‘limelighted’ [...] Cato includes a very generous survey of Walter Barnett, but the statements are somewhat wide of the facts [...J2 A lengthy, detailed and confirmable account of Sestier’s work with Barnett follows this introduction. This set me on the research trail which uncovered the truth beneath the Sestier myth - as well as several “new” Sestier films.




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1896 Following initial Australian demonstrations of film projection, The Bulletin (Sydney) was quick to suggest a suitable local event for film coverage:

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pictures himself, with the intention of using it to record the finish of the Melbourne Cup, to be afterwards shown in England”.4 Hertz didn’t receive a camera in time for the Cup, and even by March 1897 his production plans were in difficulties: Any views photographed by Mr. Hertz are sent to [Robert W.] Paul’s establishment [in London] to be developed, and so very delicate are the materials employed that it frequently happens that of ten views sent Home, the greater proportion become damaged in transit.5 Another aspirant to filming the 1896 Melbourne Cup was James MacMahon, who landed a 60mm Demeny camera-projector in Sydney on 24 October 1896. He stated that he had “the necessary [raw] films to photograph the finish of the Melbourne Cup, and [he] has arranged to reproduce the effect in London and Paris at Christmas”.6 Both Hertz and MacMahon used film processing facilities abroad, so that any films they took in 1896 would probably be recorded in European reports, none of which have been traced. An advertisement for Edison Vitascope projector exhibi­ tions in Melbourne on 31 October 18967, probably given by the MacMahons, includes “fourteen replicas of Australasian scenes and people ” on its programme. This doesn’t conclusively prove that Australian films were produced before Sestier’s, but it is a possibil­ ity. Sestier’s advantage in producing local films lay in the sophistica­ tion of his Lumière cinématographe, and in his link with the Sydney photographer Walter Barnett. The processing and printing of the films were the most complex parts of the production process. Photographers exclusively had the knowledge of exposure times, processing chemistry and darkroom practice necessary to initiate economical production. During the 1890s, there were numerous Australian exhibitors of imported films, but the few local film producers were usually associated with photographers or photo­ graphic studios.

T Above: Auguste and Louis Lumière, French photographic manufacturers of Lyon. Louis devised the Lumière cinématographe late in 1894, gave the first private demonstrations of it in March 1895, and commenced screening to a paying audience at a Paris café on 28 December 1895 Facing page: The Lumière cinématographe. This tiny device, barely a seven-inch cube, could serve as a camera, film printer or projector. It was first used in Australia by Lumière agent Marius Sestier (1865-1928), who arrived in Sydney in September 1896 and shot the earliest known Australian films in October 1896. Photo by courtesy of Mark Whitmore, Queensland Museum.

What is badly wanted now is some device whereby the machine can be connected with the telegraph and made to represent events while they happen, so that the public can sit in the theatre on Cup Day, and see the race in spectral guises on a white background as it progresses. This improvement is bound to come along, sooner or later, and when it does the ’graphe will have a great future before it.3 Before the advent of radio, television or film, the Melbourne Cup was a prime event on the Melbourne social calendar. People were drawn from the bush and the suburbs to view it, to spend their money at it, and to be seen there. Each year, the first Tuesday in November saw every Australian’s attention focused on Australia’s richest horse race, invariably run at Flemington. Anybody who could re-present the race in a theatre obviously stood to reap financial rewards. On 12 October 1896, the magician Carl Hertz was the first to announce his idea of “importing a machine for taking the [moving]


L um ière C

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Marius Sestier’s employers were the Lumière brothers, Auguste (1862-1954) and Louis (1864-1948), who ran Europe’s leading photographic works at Lyon in France, employing 300 workers. Louis Lumière devised a machine at the end of 1894 which elegantly combined the functions of a motion picture camera, printer and projector in a case smaller than many ‘still’ cameras of the period. Its comprehensive nature meant that its operator could become a completely independent working unit in a foreign locale - giving showings, shooting local films and exhibiting them. The Lumière cinématographe’s portability contrasted strongly with the massive immobility of Edison’s earlier kinetograph camera in the “ Black Maria ” studio. Handcranked, the Lumière machine was not dependent on electricity. Follow ing the com m ercial prem iere of the Lumière cinématographe in a Paris café on 28 December 1895, the Lumières decided to exploit their invention’s portability by dispatching cameramen to every part of the world. During the first year of the machine’s exhibition, the Lumière operators were the only people permitted to operate the machine.8 Only after April 1897 was the Lumière cinématographe offered for public sale to independent exhibitors. The Lumière operators assembled a library of international film coverage unrivalled in quality by any other firm, many of their films being the first movie records of the countries they visited. Trewey CINEMA


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Left: Lumière cinématographe as a projector. The back could be removed from the machine to allow light from the lamphouse to pass through the back of the film, as shown. To shoot film, the back could be replaced on the cinématographe mechanism, and the device could be unbolted from the projector stand and set up on a tripod. ; Above right: Special Lumière film perforations, two round sprocket holes per frame, made Lumière film non-standard even though the film was the standard 35mm width. The perfs were specifically designed for the Lumière machine’s claw pull-down system. The Lumière film “gauge” was obsolete by 1901. The film shown, 'Watering The Gardener (1895), was exhibited in Marius Sestier’s very first Australian screening in Sydney on 28 September 1896 - one of the earliest “situation comedies”. It was produced in France. Above right: Lumière machine configured as a camera, preparatory to mounting the take-up canister on the gate, clearly shows the peculiar perforations on the Lumière film stock. There are similarities to double-perf 16mm film of a later period. Many 16mm projectors still use this type of claw pull-down, Bell Sc Howell being a strikingly similar example.

took the machine to England; Delorme and Mesguisch to America; Promio shot film in Spain, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland and America; Porta and Tax took the Lumière machine to Latin America; Doublier to Russia.9The operator who came to Australia, via India, was Marius Sestier (1 865-1928), the earliest confirmable producer of motion pictures in Australia.


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Biographical records of the Lumière operators are mostly found in books published in Prance, written in the Prench language, with only limited distribution in English-speaking countries. During a recent sojourn in Paris, Jane Crisp of the University of Queensland located biographical details of Sestier’s life in Paul Vigne’s book, L a Vie L aboreu se et Feconde d ’Auguste Lum iere. Sestier was “a Lyonnais chemist” who “after running a local [Lumière] agency for some years was employed by the Lumières to present the cinématographe in India and Australia ”. Crisp suggests that Vigne’s book hints at Sestier’s lack of skill - not in any sense a lack of technical skill as suggested by Cato, but a lack of entrepreneurial skill outlined by Vigne: Intelligent, methodical and organized, Marius Sestier possessed the undoubtable qualities of a man of business, unfortunately paralysed by an early deformation of spirit. Prom his hardworking and difficult youth he had retained a natural aversion for large initiatives, so necessary in industry and commerce. Like the fellow conspirators of Hernani [operatic allusion] he dreamed of great enterprises realized at little cost [...] He could never resign himself, unless actually forced, to make an outlay on publicity commensurate with the importance of whatever piece of business he was in charge of, even when sure of satisfactory results.10 A. J. Perier, in his essay criticizing Cato’s story of Sestier’s “incompetent” efforts at filming in India, confirmed Vigne’s ac­ count: “Sestier had been well trained by the Lumière brothers for his job, and being a professional chemist, he knew all about develop­ ing.”11 36 . C I N E M A P A P E R S


Surviving pictures of Sestier reveal him as a rather short, slightly balding man in his early thirties, with a beard and jaunty waxed moustache. He departed Marseille with his 24-year-old wife aboard a Messageries Maritimes steamer bound for India with the Lumière cinématographe in June 1896. On 7 July 1896, Sestier gave the first movie show in India at Watson’s hotel in Bombay.12Purther shows were given by Sestier at the Bombay Novelty Theatre from 14July 1896, and concluding on 15 August.13 Only his original stock of Lumière films shot in Prance were shown in India, about six films of sixty seconds’ duration being exhibited at each show for a door price of one rupee. At this point in Sestier’s tour, Cato suggests that the Sydney photographer H. Walter Barnett (1863-1934) met a disconsolate Sestier in the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay, offering to finance the Lrenchman on his trip to Australia.14 A far more likely account is that given by Sestier’s contemporary, A. J. Perier, who says that Barnett met Sestier on the outward-bound steamer from Marseille to Bombay: [Barnett’s] connection with the introduction of the Lumière motion picture to Australia was purely accidental. Monsieur Sestier and his wife were fellow passengers with Barnett on a Messageries Maritimes steamer, Sestier having been appointed sole concessionaire for the intro­ duction of the instrument to Australia. Walter Barnett, who was well in with ‘the Pirm’ Q. C.Williamson] introduced Mr. Sestier to Messrs. Goodman [manager of the Sydney Lyceum Theatre] and C. B. Westmacott who greatly assisted him in the fitting up of the Salon Lumière in

Pitt Street, opposite the Lyceum Theatre, besides making available that theatre when the first public demonstration of the instrument took place.15 Most of Perier’s account is confirmable. Sestier and his wife left Colombo in Ceylon aboard the Messageries Maritimes steamer “Polynésien” on 30 August 1896. On the way to Sydney via Albany, Adelaide and Melbourne, Sestier gave exhibitions of motion pic­ tures to his delighted fellow passengers, arriving at Sydney on 16 September 1896.16





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Wasting no time in exhibiting the Lumière machine, Sestier ar­ ranged a private screening at Goodman’s Lyceum Theatre on 18 September 189617, which A. J. Perier attended and recalled almost sixty years later in an oral history interview: At a private screening at the Lyceum Theatre, one afternoon in September [1896], the Lumière cinématographe was exhibited to the crowd. Amongst them was the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Frederick Darley and Suite, and various members of Parliament, several people in the Diplomatic Corps. And scientific people. During the afternoon we were informed that Mr. Sestier would open what was known then as a ‘Salon Cinématographe’ or ‘Salon Lumière’, which was duly opened a few days after in Pitt Street, nearly opposite the old Lyceum Theatre - somewhere about where Small &£ Co.’s shop is now. From the day that place opened it was a roaring success. They held seances [screenings] throughout the days. They charged a shilling admission, and you saw about six or seven pictures, if I remember rightly.18 Sestier’s Salon Lumière opened at 237 Pitt Street under the business management of Walter Barnett and C. B. Westmacott on 28 September 1 8 9 6 .19Westmacott recalled many of the details in a memoir published in 1929: The original machine [was] a Lumière [...] There were twelve pictures, each running about 100 feet. J. C. Williamson had secured the outfit with a view to showing it in his forthcoming Melbourne panto, Matsa [sic; actually Djin-djin]. The opening, however, was six weeks away, and J. C. W., always anxious to turn an honest penny, invited myself and Barnett, founder of Falk Studios, to come in with him in a preliminary Sydney season. The ‘big boss’ hadn’t a vacant place of his own to show in [...] Barnett and I rented a shop somewhere about where the Film House now stands. We put in Austrian chairs and engaged a small band with music specially arranged by Hazon, leading conductor of the day. We projected from what was really the shop window, and the admission charge was a bob. Williamson as machine holder took half the profits, and at the end of a hectic, flickering month, Barnett and I emerged with £100 apiece for our chop [...]20 The Salon Lumière was Aus­ tralia’s first all-film venue - ex­ cluding kinetoscope peep-shows. Carl Hertz’s earlier demonstrations had only been an interlude in a

Far left: Marius Sestier (1865-1928), sole representative for Lumière’s cinématographe in Australia from September 1896 to May 1897. Australia’s earliest confirmed film producer. From The Bulletin, 10 October 1896, p. 8. Courtesy Meg Labrum, National Film and Sound Archive. Left: Henry Walter Barnett (1863-1934) co­ producer with the Lumière operator Sestier of Australia’s first local films. A Sydney society photographer, he directed Sestier’s shooting of the 1896 Melbourne Cup and provided processing facilities for the films. Photo from Photographic Review o f Reviews (Austalian Edition), July 1894.

vaudeville programme. Sestier’s initial “seances” exhibited a dozen films selected from his “library” of 150 subjects which steadily grew with each delivery from France.21 By March 1897, with new imports and Sestier’s own productions, his library had grown to a staggering 270 items shot in every part of the world.22 His programmes of film were more varied and interesting than any of his rivals, and the Lumière machine presented them brighter, steadier and clearer than the contemporary Vitascope shows of M acM ahon or the Theatrograph shows of Hertz. With cash flowing from the Salon Lumière’s exhibitions of imported films, Sestier and Barnett were induced to attempt local film production, using the technical resources of Barnett’s “Falk” photographic studio in Sydney. In these earliest Australian film production efforts, Barnett provided exactly the promotional, technical and social contacts which Sestier needed. The first Australian films were the product of this joint effort, Barnett’s background being a crucial factor in their success.

H. W

alter B a r n ett SO C IETY PH O TOGRAPHER

Born in Melbourne in 1863, and apprenticed to that city’s “Stewart” photo studio in his early teens, Barnett established his own studio in Hobart in 1880. Ruthlessly ambitious in his pursuit of the good life, dignified and humourless, he rapidly rose in fortune as he left Australia to work in San Francisco and Chicago studios en route to his social goals in London. There he joined forces with the high society photographers, W. & D. Downey of Belgravia, where his snobbish charm and good looks made him popular with their clientele of Royalty and theatrical celebrities.23 Returning to Sydney in 1885, Barnett bought the Falk photo­ graphic studio there and assumed a place at the acme of colonial wealth and social standing. “Falk” soon built up a reputation for fine society portraiture, while its proprietor travelled back and forth to Europe maintaining his social contacts and keeping abreast of the latest photographic developments. On 16 March 1895, a Mel­ bourne branch studio of Falk was set up by Barnett’s brother, Charles, and their colonial fortunes were firmly established.24 Walter rubbed shoulders with the intellectual and social élite of Australia. Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton were among his closest friends.2^ However, Barnett had his detractors. Baker &c Rouse’s sales manager, A. J. Perier, recalled that “Barnett had two personalities, shall we say; in business he could almost be classed as a pig; but in the salons of Darlinghurst or St.Kilda he was most charming”.26 Jack Cato, who worked in Barnett’s London studio for nine months in 1909, recalled taking portrait studies for him and presenting the negatives for approval. Barnett smashed the shots he didn’t like while Cato stood in humiliating silence “hating his guts”.2/ Apart from being one of the greatest operators of the camera who ever lived, he knew nothing about photography at all [...] He gathered around himself a group of highly skilled craftsmen, paid them extravagant salaries, and inspired them to make the most of his splendid [camera] operating.28 This appears to have also been the basis of Barnett’s movie work with Sestier. Sestier handled the camera itself, and Barnett’s dark­ room manager Arthur Peters constructed and operated the “squir­ rel cage” film-developing rack in Sydney from October 1896 onwards.29 Barnett’s role was that of a “director” or stage-manager for the films, his input manifest in the unexpectedly sophisticated composition and choice of subject in the examples surviving today.




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At the Salon Lumière in Pitt Street, Sydney, film exhibition contin­ ued with great success right through October 18 96. On the final day CINEMA


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of their Sydney season, 27 October 1896, just before their departure for Melbourne, Sestier and Barnett exhibited their first local film: After the day’s work was ended M. Sestier exhibited the first tableau from a local subject yet made in Australia. Mr. H. W. Barnett [of Falk’s] hadjoinedM. Sestier in preparing the films, and a fine picture of the crowd disembarking from a Manly boat at Manly was the result. Afterwards the health of Messrs. Sestier and Barnett was toasted in acknowledgment of their artistic work, when the latter announced that a whole series of Australian scenes was in prepara­ tion, and that both at the Paris and London halls M. Lumière would exhibit the pictures, and would thus put Sydney and Melbourne in touch with the great capitals named in a manner which could never have been approached but for the invention of this marvellous machine.30 Later reports of this Manly ferry film refer to it being taken “on a Sunday afternoon”31 - probably the Sunday prior to the above report, the 25th October 1896 - the birthday of Australian film production. It featured the largest of the Sydney ferries, the paddle steamer “Brighton” (417 tons), and was soon to have an unex­ pected impact: There is one Sydney man who curses long and loudly the cinématographe. In his amiable, husbandly way he took his wife to see the new cin. [new abbreviation], and in the Sunday afternoon disembarkation scene at Manly, his better half saw what she believed to be her husband coming ashore with another lady. To be the more convinced, she saw the tableau fully half-a-dozen times with the aid of opera-glasses. The accused male indignantly denies everything, but, as he cannot prove a complete alibi for that particular Sunday afternoon, and his wife won’t entertain the idea of an ‘extraordinary likeness’, there is a big storm in the once happy ’ome. The possibilities of the cin. as a worker of mischief to supposedly upright people are great.32 The successful completion of this test film concluded Sestier and Barnett’s preparations to film Melbourne’s Spring racing season events, which coincided with their arrival in the Southern capital. They left Sydney on 28 October 1896, opening at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre in conjunction with the J. C. Williamson panto, Djin-Dji,i, on 31 October. Sydney’s Salon Lumière was briefly taken over by Goodman and Westmacott for the week following 2 November 1896.33 They installed a British projector and exhibited British films there for a few days, but they couldn’t maintain the technical standard set by their Lumière predecessor. Barnett published a disclaimer dissoci­ ating himself with the venue on its opening day34, and it closed at the end of the week. On 7 November, the 237 Pitt Street shop was again taken over, this time by the MacMahon brothers with their Demeny 38 • C I N E M A



Marius Sestier and Walter Barnett filming the 1896 Melbourne Cup. The oldest surviving pictorial representation of Australian filmmakers at work, from The Bulletin, 14 November 1896, p. 15.

60mm “chronophotographe” projector.3^ This was far more suc­ cessful, and continued under the name of the Salon Cinématographe for the next year, but no further Australian films are known to have been shown there.


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Only hours before giving their first Melbourne show at the Princess Theatre, Sestier and Barnett were at Flemington racecourse shoot­ ing selected scenes of the VRC Derby on 31 October 1896: 1. Derby Day: The Betting Ring. 2. The Running of the VRC Derby. 3. Lady Brassey Presenting Blue Ribbon to Derby Winner “Newha­ ven”. These have often been confused with the 1896 Melbourne Cup coverage as the films were all shown together and the same horse, Newhaven, won both races. The Derby coverage appears to have been shot as a rehearsal for the more important Cup coverage three days later. Lady Brassey’s three attempts to place the blue ribbon on the nervous Newhaven attracted numerous press comments after the Derby race, and further comments from reviewers of the resulting film as the horse reared out of camera range. A reel of unidentified Lumière negative matching that description was held by A. J. Perier. An 8mm print was struck from it in 1951 by W. J. Foster-Stubbs, and a 35mm copy was printed by Alf Harbrow for Film Australia in the early 1960s. Former Film Australia staff member Ron West recalls that the emulsion had almost completely separated from its nitrate base at that time. The various copies have been included on the NFSA video Federation Films and in Robert Francis’ compila­ tion Celluloid H eroes. Although there’s a slight chance that it is 1897 coverage, the close fit to the 1896 film description, and the fact that Perier bought Sestier’s gear for Baker & Rouse suggest that it may be Australia’s oldest surviving film. None of the Derby films were returned to France for inclusion in the Lumière catalogue, and the fact that we know they stayed here lends credence to our attribution. Every evening from 31 October to 20 November 1896, Sestier presented his Lumière cinématographe at the Princess Theatre, incidental to the third act of the Japanese fantasy panto, Djin-Djin. Although the films were no longer being presented at an all-film venue, the theatrical fantasy setting of the panto was an appropriate accompaniment for the magic of the cinématographe, and it cap­

tured the lion’s share of subsequent press reviews. Sestier and Barnett had most of their days free of theatrical commitments, and thus had the freedom to take the Lumière machine to the Melbourne Cup on the afternoon of 3 November 1896. A. J. Perier recalled: Arrangements were made to take pictures of the Melbourne Cup as an added attraction. Barnett was useful there, too; through his Falk studio he had a wide knowledge of ‘who was who’ [...] On Cup Day, Barnett stage-managed Sestier as he filmed the events at Flemington; he took care to be well in the picture with his grey hat and frock coat, displayed himself in front of the camera like an amateur actor.36 We know exactly what Barnett and Sestier looked like shooting the Cup, as a sketch artist for The Bulletin caught them in the act.37 Sestier with his camera, tripod and equipment case stands on an elevated platform with Barnett behind him in the long coat and homburg described by Perier. And Barnett appears in three of the six surviving Cup films, obviously directing the proceedings while on camera. He glances furtively into the lens as he steers several attractive women past Sestier in the scene on the lawns. One of those women appears to be the prominent actress Mrs Brough, whose presence in the Lumière coverage was noted in several press reviews. A young girl, possibly Barnett’s daughter, appears with him in the saddling paddock sequence, in which he points at the camera and obstructs the horses. The most obvious of Barnett’s attempts at directing the oncamera bystanders occurs in the scene of the finish of the Cup race. Dissatisfied with the animation of the spectators lined up along the fence at the finishing post, Barnett runs out from behind the camera in a very indecorous way, coat-tails flying, as he encourages them to wave their hats aloft. About ten films were shot by Sestier and Barnett on Cup Day, collectively providing an unexpectedly comprehensive and artistic coverage of the event. Each of the surviving shots is superbly composed, concentrating on the people present rather than on the race itself:1 1. Arrival o f Train at Hill Platform, Flemington (Lumière Cat.No.652) 2. Arrival o f Governor Brassey and Suite (Lumière Cat. No.419) 3. Crowds Near the Grand Stand (Lumière Cat. No. 418) 4. Afternoon Tea Under the Awning, Flemington (Not catalogued) 5. Finish o f the Flurdle Race, Cup Day (Not catalogued) 6. Weighing Out For The Cup (Lumière Cat. No. 420) 7. The Saddling Paddock: Bringing Out The Horses (Lumière Cat. No. 421); 8. Start o f the Melbourne Cup Race (Not catalogued) 9. Finish o f the Melbourne Cup Race (Lumière Cat. No. 422) 10. Cup Winner “N ewhaven” Trainer Hickenbotham, Jockey Gardiner. (Lumière Cat. No. 423)

Each of these was shot from a fixed viewpoint on a single film reel of about a minute’s duration, at around 12 to 14 pictures per second. There were no cuts, pans or tilts. There is no indication of a viewfinder on Sestier’s early camera, so that each shot probably had to be set up by looking through the back of the film gate before loading with unexposed film. This was a carry-over from ‘still’ photography, where the picture was focused and composed on a ground-glass screen before the negative plate was inserted. The Lumière system didn’t lend itself to spontaneity in shooting, and the camera was rigidly fixed on the tripod as the “pan head” hadn’t yet been introduced to follow action. Barnett took the exposed films back to Sydney after the Cup for processing and printing, while Sestier stayed in Melbourne screen­ ing imported film at the Princess Theatre.38 As there were no breaks in the Melbourne exhibitions, a second Lumière machine must have been set up as a step-printer in Barnett’s Sydney darkroom, near the squirrel-cage racks and tanks necessary for processing the negatives and the print stock. It allowed Barnett to complete a few films which Sestier showed in Melbourne on 19 November 1896. The New Zealand film historian Clive Sowry suggests that the excellent image steadiness of most Lumière films is due to their step­ printing system. The claw pull-down would automatically bring the negative and positive perfs into register. In the continuous contact printer used by Edison and R. W. Paul (see photo), slippage between neg and pos caused blurring and jumpiness. After three weeks of screening imported film at the Princess Theatre, Sestier was invited to arrange a screening at a “Grand Combined Theatrical Matinee” organized by Lady Brassey, the Victorian Governor’s wife. This charity performance - ironically in aid of the Blind Asylum - was held at the Princess Theatre on 19 November 1896.39 As Lord Brassey was to attend, Sestier had the film of the Governor’s arrival rushed down from Sydney for the Below left: Cinematographic elegance: the front and rear of the machine could be swung open to permit access to all moving parts. The intermittent film advancing movement used a claw pull-down, rather like a modern 16 mm Bell & Howell movement. This machine could also be set up for shooting film, with a light-tight film magazine fitted above, and the light-tight take-up canister below' the gate. Daylight loading of film was therefore possible, but reel lengths were strictly limited to a maximum of about 100 feet, or 90 seconds, as there was no feed sprocket in the machine. The back of the gate could also be swung down to admit the film. The window through to the lens “f” often had a cover glass fitted, so that the Lumière films may often be identified by a stationary pattern of spots on their image, the result of dust on the cover glass. Below right: Lumière machine set up as film printer. The steady image of the Lumière system was partly attributable to this system of step printing. Developed neg and raw pos film was loaded in the magazine at top. Light would be admitted to the gate, exposing the pos through the neg by contact. The claw pull-down would automatically bring the neg and pos perfs into register, providing the required precise image spacing. Exposed pos was wound up into the light-tight take-up canister, and the neg would fall out of the machine into a basket.


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Above left: Continuous contact film printer used by R. W. Paul and Edison simply exposed the pos through the neg at the drive sprocket (on the hand crank shown). Any dimensional difference between the sprockets in the neg and pos film would cause slippage, blurred bands on the film, and unsteady images on the screen. The step-print system used by the Lumières did not have these problems. Above right: Sectional views of Lumière cinématographe (from Hopwood’s Living Pictures, 1899): the machine used a claw mechanism to advance the film, actuated by an eccentric cam and sliding-frame arrangement. A second cam operated to remove the claw from the film on each return stroke. In the projector configuration shown above, there was no feed sprocket, the inertia of the small 60-ft film rolls being insufficient to retard the mechanism of the intermittent.

occasion. This, and the film of crowds on the Flemington lawns, stole the show: It was a wonderfully clear and faithful photograph, the scene being reproduced with the most perfect fidelity, and all the bustle and animation of the racecourse being brought before the audience with the same vividness as if they were looking upon the actual moving figures. When the orchestra, in imitation of the invariable custom of the band at Flemington at the moment of the arrival of the Viceregal party, struck up the National Anthem, the audience in the theatre rose to their feet and cheered heartily, just as the crowd on the racecourse cheered on the occasion represented, thus completing the reproduction in the vocal detail to which the cinématographe has not yet been educated. The takings at the doors amounted to £176.19s [...]40 After only one more night’s showing at the Princess, Sestier rejoined Barnett in Sydney to exhibit the complete set of race films and shoot further views of the harbour city.


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R eturn




Displaced from their old Pitt Street venue on return to Sydney, Sestier and Barnett took a fortnight’s lease on the Criterion Theatre to give the complete set of their Australian films a public view. The opening on 24 November 1896 was the first all-Australian film programme ever presented, inspired perhaps by the success of Sestier’s charity exhibition in Melbourne. Apart from the Derby and Melbourne Cup scenes, there were new Sydney scenes on the programme indicating new production initiatives: Two views of the New South Wales Horse Artillery at Drill [Victoria Barracks] were framed, of which the second, wherein the guns and gunners flew past the spectators at a gallop, was first-rate [...] Now that the local film problem has been solved, it may be hoped that Mr. Barnett will not delay sending some of these fine specimens of a difficult art to the London music-halls, where the exhibition of popular subjects - such as the stream of people crossing from Hyde Park past St. Mary’s into the Domain on Sunday afternoon interrupted by the passing cable trams would give Londoners a better idea of an antipodean city than they could possibly obtain in any other way [...]41 40 • C I N E M A



The Bulletin’s reviews were more critical, but still enthusiastic: Artistically, it is a big success in some places and a moderate one in others. Some of the pictures are painfully jumpy and others hazy, but, on the whole, they are a respectable collection. One or two of the Cup-scenes are, pictorially, the worst features in it. They represent a stream of people drifting by, and consist mainly of hats and umbrellas. Still, there are alleviations. The arrival of a train is beautifully realistic [...] The Cup itself, however, is far off and shadowy and indistinct [...]42 On 5 December 1896, one of the last Lumière exhibitions at the Sydney Criterion was attended by New South Wales Governor Hampden and Suite43, who came to see themselves in the film of their arrival with the Brasseys at Flemington. The Criterion’s excellent attendances induced Sestier and Barnett to re-open a shopfront film venue at 478 George Street from 9 December 18 96.44 It was run on a daily basis by Barnett under Sestier’s authorization until 6 March 1897. Few new local films were shown at the George Street premises, the surviving literature only mentioning Sydney Post O ffice from G eorge Street and E m ployees Leaving the N.S. W. G overnm ent Printing O ffice before Sestier’s film production ceased in mid-December 1896.4:> Sestier’s Melbourne Cup films were returned to the Lumière’s home base in Lyon for international sales and distribution, eventu­ ally surviving - purely by luck - in the care of the Cinémathèque Française. The six surviving films were returned to Australia in 1969 and are available on the NFSA video Living M elbourne. Just before Christmas 1896, Sestier left the Sydney venue in Barnett’s care, moving to Adelaide to establish a new series of Lumière cinématographe shows.


estier a n d



R eeve



d elaid e

Two months prior to Sestier’s Adelaide arrival on 23 December 1896, crude exhibitions of projection via Edison’s Vitascope were given at Adelaide’s Theatre Royal.46 The lessee of that prestigious venue was the former actor Wybert Reeve (1831-1906), who subsequently heard of the Lumière machine’s excellent reputation and made arrangements to introduce it locally. Sestier arrived in Adelaide by train, carrying 81 of his best films for the initial exhibitions.47 A new Lumière cinématographe addi­ tional to the two already in Sydney was specifically imported for the Adelaide shows48, and Sestier formed an informal partnership with Reeve similar to the earlier arrangement with Barnett. Adelaide’s Lumière cinématographe exhibitions began with a Theatre Royal preview on Christmas Eve of 189649, public exhibi­ tions commencing on Boxing Day.50As usual, the press commended the film exhibitions for their technical quality and diversity, espe-









David Williamson, Ray Harryhausen, Peter Weir, Antony Ginnane, Gillian Armstrong, Ken G. Hall, The Cars that Ate Paris.

Ken Cameron, Claude Lelouch, Jim Sharman, French film, My Brilliant Career.

Igor Auzins, Paul Schrader, Peter Tammer, Liliana Cavani, Colin Higgins, Year O f Living Dangerously.


NUMBER 42 (MARCH 1983)

NUMBER 2 (APRIL 1974):

Bruce Petty, Luciana Arrighi, Albie Thoms, Stax, Alison’s Birthday

Mel Gibson, John Waters, Ian Pringle, Agnes Varda, copyright, Strikebound, The Man From Snowy River.

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John Lamond, Sonia Borg, Alain Tanner, Indian cinema, Dimboola, Cathy’s Child. NUMBER 19 (JAN/FEB 1979)

Antony Ginnane, Stanley Hawes, Jeremy Thomas, Andrew Sarris, sponsored documentaries, Blue Fin.

NUMBER 24 (DEC/JAN 1980)

Brian Trenchard-Smith, Ian Holmes, Arthur Hiller, Jerzy Toeplitz, Brazilian cinema, Harlequin. NUMBER 25 (FEB/MARCH 1980)

David Puttnam, Janet Strickland, Everett de Roche, Peter Faiman, Chain Reaction, Stir. NUMBER 26 (APRIL/MAY 1980)

Charles H. Joffe, Jerome Heilman, Malcolm Smith, Australian nationalism, Japanese cinema, Peter Weir, Water Under The Bridge. NUMBER 27 (JUNE-JULY 1980)

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James Stewart, Debbie Byrne, Brian Thompson, Paul Verhoeven, Derek Meddings, The Right-Hand Man, Birdsville. NUMBER 56 (MARCH 1986)

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NUMBER 58 (JULY 1986)

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NUMBER 46 (JULY 1984)

Paul Cox, Russell Mulcahy, Alan J. Pakula, Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irons, Eureka Stockade, Waterfront, The Boy In The Bush,A Woman Suffers, Street Hero. NUMBER 47 (AUGUST 1984)

Richard Lowenstein, Wim Wenders, David Bradbury, Sophia Turkiewicz, Hugh Hudson, Robbery Under Arms. NUMBER 48 (OCT/NOV 1984)

Ken Cameron, Michael Pattinson, Jan Sardi, Yoram Gross, Bodyline, The Slim Dusty Movie. NUMBER 49 (DECEMBER 1984)

Alain Resnais, Brian McKenzie, Angela Punch McGregor, Ennio Morricone, Jane Campion, horror films, Niel Lynne. NUMBER 50 (FEB/MARCH 1985)

Stephen Wallace, Ian Pringle, Walerian Borowczyk, Peter Schreck, Bill Conti, Brian May, The Last Bastion, Bliss. NUMBER 51 (MAY 1985)

Lino Brocka, Harrison Ford, Noni Hazlehurst, Dusan Makavejev, Emoh Ruo, Winners, The N aked Country, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Robbery Under Arms. NUMBER 52 (JULY 1985)

John Schlesinger, Gillian Armstrong, Alan Parker, soap operas, TV News, film advertising, D on’t Call Me Girlie, For Love Alone, Double Sculls. NUMBER 53 (SEPTEMBER 1985)

Bryan Brown, Nicolas Roeg, Vincent Ward, Hector Crawford, Emir Kusturica, N.Z. film and TV, Return To Eden. NUMBER 54 (NOVEMBER 1985)

Graeme Clifford, Bob Weis, John Boorman, Menahem Golan, rock videos, Wills And Burke, The Great


Robert Altman, Paul Cox, Lino Brocka, Agnes Varda, The AFI Awards, The Movers. NUMBER 60 (NOVEMBER 1986)

Australian Television, Franco Zeffirelli, Nadia Tass, Bill Bennett, Dutch Cinema, Movies By Microchip, Otello. NUMBER 61 (JANUARY 1987)

Alex Cox, Roman Polanski, Philippe Mora, Martin Armiger, film in South Australia, Dogs In Space, Howling III. NUMBER 62 (MARCH 1987)

Screen Violence, David Lynch, Cary Grant, ASSA conference, production barometer, film finance, The Story Of The Kelly Gang. NUMBER 63 (MAY 1987)

Gillian Armstrong, Antony Ginnane, Chris Haywood, Elmore Leonard, Troy Kennedy Martin, The Sacrifice, Land­ slides, Pee W ee’s Big Adventure, Jilted. NUMBER 64 (JULY 1987)

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Angela Carter, Wim Wenders, JeanPierre Gorin, Derek Jarman, Gerald L’Ecuyer, Gustav Hasford, AFI Awards, Poor Man’s Orange. NUMBER 66 (NOVEMBER 1987)

Australian Screenwriters, Cinema and China, James Bond, James Clayden, Video, De Laurentiis, New World, The Navigator, W ho’s That Girl. NUMBER 67 (JANUARY 1988)

John Duigan, George Miller, Jim Jarmusch, Soviet cinema- Part I, women in film, shooting in 70mm, filmmaking


Cannes report, Fred Schepisi career interview, Peter Weir and Greencard, Pauline Chan, Gus Van Sant and Drugstore Cowboy, German Stories. NUMBER 81 (DECEMBER 1990)

Ian Pringle Isabelle Eberhardt, Jane Campion An Angel At My Table, Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, Alan J. Pakula Presumed Innocent NUMBER 82 (MARCH 1991)

Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather Part III, Barbet Schroeder Reversal o f Fortune, Bruce Beresford’s Black Robe, Ramond Hollis Longford, Backsliding, Bill Bennetts, Sergio Corbucci obituary.


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dally praising the Melbourne horse race scenes. So great was Sestier’s impact that Carl Hertz’s supporting magic act - by then without the projector of Melbourne Opera House fame - was barely noticed No film productions ensued from the Sestier-Reeve partnership, probably because neither had any association with local photo­ graphic facilities. However, their shows made a notable break with previous exhibition patterns by progressing into a series of wideranging country tours. Adelaide’s Theatre Royal exhibitions con­ cluded on 29 January 189 751, the machine being subsequently sent on a tour through rural South Australia culminating in Broken Hill exhibitions from 16 to 22 February 1897 inclusive.52 Reeve’s shows returned to suburban Adelaide halls on 27 February 1897.53 At this point, Sestier left for Western Australia54, presumably organizing Lumière cinématographe exhibitions in Perth which I have not been able to research from my Melbourne base. Reeve’s Lumière exhibitions continued after Sestier’s departure, first with a “farewell season” at Adelaide’s Victoria Hall in Gawler Place from 5 March to 3 April 18 975i, then with a tour of Western iVictorian towns including a Ballarat season from 17 April to 1 May, returning subsequently to Adelaide via Ararat.56 His projectionists on this tour were E. F. Gallaugher, “Professor” Alfred Silvester and Messrs. Le Petit and Hall57, all of whom later had an association with film exhibition enterprises. A


Until May 1897, all of the three known Lumière cinématographes in Australia remained the property of the Lumière Company, under the control of their agent Marius Sestier. A letter published in the Amateur P hotographer (London) on 20 November 1896 reveals that the ambassadorial rôle of the Lumière agents was pre-arranged to terminate in May 1897: Sir, - It may interest you to know that we, being sole agents for Lumière’s ‘Cinematograph’ [sic] for Great Britain, the colonies, and the U.S. of America, are in a position to take orders for the complete apparatus for producing animated pictures. All applications will be considered in rotation as they are received, and deliveries of said apparatus will be effected accordingly in May next. All those who are interested should communicate with us promptly. - Yours truly, Fuerst Brothers, 17 Philpot Lane, London, E.C/8 The announcement was reprinted in the Australian P hoto­ graphic Jou rn al on 20 January 189759, as Sestier’s exclusive exhibi­ tion rôle was prepared for the Lumière company’s policy to change. Below: Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, where Sestier first exhibited his coverage of the Melbourne Cup of 1 8 9 6 , during a charity performance to benefit Melbourne’s Blind Asylum, 19 November 1896.

From May 1897, Lumière cinématographes would be sold outright to independent exhibitors. Sestier’s three machines were sold, one directly to Wybert Reeve, the others being handled by the Sydney photographic dealers Baker & Rouse. A. J. Perier of Baker & Rouse recalled that “one was sold to Mr. Bell of Delroy and Bell, and one to Antoine and Boivin.”60 Contemporary newspaper references confirm these changes of ownership. The Australian Register o i 4 IsAay 1897 states that “Mr. Wybert Reeve has purchased this very fine and beautiful exhibition of M. Marius Sestier, with whom he has hitherto been in partnership, M.Sestier returning to Europe.”61 Reeve’s tours continued with a Ballarat “return season” from 5 to 9 October 189762and a New Zealand tour from 29 October 1897 to 8 January 1898.63 His screenings of Sestier’s 1896 Melbourne Cup coverage in New Zealand must have been one of the first foreign exhibitions of an Australian film. This tour produced only “medium results”64, so Reeve advertised his machine and 63 films for sale from his Adelaide base in the Sydney and Melbourne papers from 26 January 1898.65 It was probably sold in Adelaide as advertisements for open-air cinématographe showings at Glenelg beach commence on 14 February 1898.66 Lumière cinématographe serial number 91 is presently held in an Adelaide collection. It is too late to be one of Sestier’s Sydney machines as a report in The Bulletin on 10 October 1896 refers to a “world’s total of 23 machines”, but as Lumière machine number 296 (in Brisbane) was manufactured late in 1890, it is probably the one imported by Sestier for Adelaide in December 1896. It was bought at auction in Adelaide about twenty years back, so that it was located in the right place to have been the Sestier-Reeve machine. Unfortunately, none of the films are known to have been found with it. Well-worn, it has the unusual modification of a wrought-iron feed spool bracket to facilitate easy film loading for projection. No earlier film projector is known to survive in Aus­ tralia, and it provides a unique opportunity to examine some of Sestier’s original gear (see photo). Sestier’s two Sydney machines are traceable to screenings in Queensland. Ada Delroy and James Bell, heading a touring provin­ cial variety troupe, gave showings of one in Townsville from 24 May 189767, which was pronounced “a vast improvement upon the one that Carl Hertz introduced ” .68The tour travelled South through Brisbane in June where it was hailed as “the N o.l original Lumière cinématographe”69and thence to Newcastle (July 189770) and rural Victoria (August-September 189771). Delroy and Bell shot no new local films. Sestier’s other machine was acquired by G. Boivin, who screened Lumière films in a converted shop in Queen Street, Brisbane, from 3 May to 26 June 1897.72 There he exhibited two previously unrecorded Sydney films: 1. Sea and Breakers, C oogee Bay, Sydney (shown 5 June 1897). 2. Elizabeth Street, Sydney (shown 26 June 1897). These were almost certainly films made by Baker & Rouse during April or May 1897, while one of their operators, probably A. J. Perier, had experimented with the two machines of Sestier’s they were handling for sale. Raw movie film stock was available from Baker & Rouse from March 189773, but it was not until 20 May 1897 that their journal reported successful production: Cinématographe Films - It is pleasant to be able to record a straightout success in the first attempt at the development of these films at the Sydney warehouse of Baker and Rouse. Three films, each 75 ft. long, were exposed on Thursday, developed on Friday and printed on Saturday, to the entire satisfaction of Mons. Sestier, representa­ tive of Lumière et Cie, of Paris/4 CONTINUES




C I N E M A P A P E R S 93 • 41








paint him as a w itting advocate of genocide (a view w hich th e film appears to s u p p o rt), it seem s


42 • C I N E M A P A P E R S 9 3


there are voices w ithin the film w hich seek to

here is a tension at play in S teve T h o m a s ’

much m ore likely that R obinson did in fa ct act

do cu m e n ta ry w hich som e of the people a p p ­

out of m otives entirely co n siste n t w ith those

earing in the film a ppear to be aw are of, even if

recorded in the diary w hich provides co n s id e r­

the film m a ke r a p p a re n tly is not. That tension is

able historical inform ation in the film .

betw een the desire to lend su p p o rt to an un ­

In the first qua rte r of the 19th C entury, the

d o u b te d ly ju st fig h t fo r recognition of an all but

w hite se ttlers of T a sm a n ia w aged a protracted

e ra dicated heritage, and a te n d e n cy to revert to

and bloody w ar against the natives, w ho w ere

the esse n tia list notions of race w hich provided

view ed w ith as little regard as the indigenous

the ju s tific a tio n fo r th a t era d ica tio n in the first

w ild life (that is, e sse n tia lly as an im p e d im e n t to


e ffe ctive use of the land). It is one of the m ost

Black M an’s Houses is the sto ry of a group of

im p o rta n t and convincing a rgum ents proposed

A boriginal people w ho lay claim to a sm all patch

by th e film th a t the d ecision by the A b o rig in e s to

of land w ithin a segregated graveyard on Flinders

m ove fro m gue rilla w arfa re to negotiation w ith

Island. The site is know n as W ybalenna, an

the w h ite colonial a d m in istra tio n sig n a lle d not

A b o rig in a l w ord m eaning “ black m an’s h ouses” .

th e a cq u iescence so beloved of p o p u la r m yth

Those houses no lo nger exist, but w ere part of

and h isto ry books alike, but a change in ta ctics.

an e xp e rim e n t in re p a tria tio n and re -cu ltu ra tio n

A c o n te m p o ra ry painting to w hich the cam era

e m barked upon by 19 th -C e n tu ry ‘p h ila n th ro p is t’

re tu rn s tim e and again d e p icts R obinson s h a k ­

G eorge A u g u stu s R obinson. A s T h o m a s ’ voice-­

ing hands w ith an A boriginal leader; th is is used

o ve r points out, it is d iffic u lt to be lie ve th a t by the

as illu stra tio n o f the a rgum ent th a t a tre a ty a l­

s ta n d a rd s of his day R obinson w a s an e n lig h t­

m o st c e rta in ly existed betw een th e tw o p arties.

ened th in k e r - d ifficu lt, but im p o rta n t. W hile

T h e g re a t m istake o f the A b o rig in a l people o f

T a sm a n ia (as on m ainland A u stra lia ), it seem s,

w h ite s on F linders Island (who, in the interview s


is th a t th e y to o k the w hite a d m in istra tio n at its

show n in the film , u niform ly fit into the “ I’m not


w ord rather than requesting th e w ritten v e rific a ­

ra cist b u t ...” un d e rsta n d in g of bla ck-w h ite rela­

tion w hich the B ritish legal system dem anded.

tions) w ould be enough to induce anyone to find

It seem s cle a r from R obin so n ’s d iaries th a t

a w ay of fo rg in g an id e n tity capable of providing

the peace w ith the A b o rig in e s and th e ir re lo c a ­

both know ledge and pride. The tro u b le w ith the

tion to F linders Island w ould serve the dual

w ay the film d etails this desire, how ever, is in its

p urpose of a llow ing w hite d e ve lo p m e n t of the

insistence th a t there is a co n tin u ity w hich stem s

T a sm anian m ainland, and the co n ve rsio n of a

from som e source o th e rth a n a sense of outrage,

size a ble num ber o f noble savages from th e ir

and in spite of the obvious cultural disco n tin u ity.

ig norant, heathen w ays to a C hristian existence.

As an e xplanation of racial identity, it is m ystify­

U n fo rtunately, of the 300 natives w ho agreed to

ing and esse n tia list, and d isa p p o in tin g in a film

re p a triation, only 200 m ade it to the island. A

w hich has so m uch else going fo r it.

fu rth e r 150 died in the next few years, before the

One of T h o m a s ’ final lines of narration su g ­

re m aining 47 w ere dispersed to V icto ria , T a s ­

gests that, “Som e people still th in k th a t identity

m ania and C ape B arren Island, R o b in so n ’s e x ­

is a m atter of the heart, not of lo g ic” , as if to hold

pe rim ent fin a lly having been declared a fa ilu re -

such a view flew in the face of the evidence held

but not such a fa ilu re as to prevent him being

up by his film . Y et by fa r the m ost articulate

a p p o inted C hief P rotector of the A b o rig in e s in

expression of the sou rce of “ racial” identity shared

V ictoria.

by the activists of W ybalenna com es from a

T rug a n in i w as am ongst th o se relocated after

w om an w ho argues that, if w hite society insists

the closure of W ybalenna, and w ith her death in

on m arginalizing and d e nigrating them , then of

1876 the T a sm anian A borig in e s had officia lly

course th e y are going to look elsew here fo r a

becom e an e xtin ct race. H ow ever, descendants

sense of identity. W hat Black M an’s Houses

o f th e a b d u c te d d a u g h te rs o f one o f th e

m akes clear, in spite of T h o m a s ’ som ew hat

W yb a le n n a A borigines, C hief M annalargenna,

co n tra d icto ry u nderstanding of events, is that

had been living in a com m u n ity of sealers on

the m ajor ba rrie r to the e radication of the culture

C ape B arren Island since the 1830s. O ut of the

of T asm anian A b o rigines w as not som e innate

reach of o fficialdom , A borig in a l kinship s tru c ­

genetic c o n tin u ity -s o m e th in g like “race m em ory”

tu re s survive d alongside m ore w estern aspects

- but the ignorant cultural racism of the w hites of

of culture, until the policy o f disp e rsio n and

Flinders Island.

a ssim ilation m ade one final atte m p t to erase

Directed by Steve Thomas. Producers: John Moore, Steve Thomas. Executive producer: Elizabeth McRae. Scriptwriter: Steve Thomas. Director of photography: Philip Bull. Sound recordist: MarkTarpey. Composer: Elizabeth Drake. Editor: Uri Mizrahi. Cast: Aunty Girlie Purdon, Aunty Ida West, Jimmy Everett, and the community of Wybalenna, Flinders Island. An Open Channel-Steve Thomas Production. Australian distributor: Roniru 16mm. 58 mins. Australia. 1993.

th e se last ve stig e s of T asm anian A boriginal cu ltu re in the 1950s. T he fa m ilie s w ere broken up, the children sent to fo ste r hom es from w here th e y w ere placed w ith w hite fa m ilie s to be raised as w hite children (though alw ays aw are of a ce rta in d issim ila rity to other w hite children). It is from this history of cultural denial th a t Black M an’s Houses draw s its undeniable p o liti­ cal and em otional strength. By focu sin g on the




t seem s u n likely th a t P eter Jackson w ill ever m ake a n o th e r sp la tte r film . Even if w e d is ­

count his claim in an interview w ith Time m aga­ zine th a t he is “sick of all the blo o d ” , Braindead is ju s t too co m plete a synthesis of the elem ents of the genre to m ake any return to it w orthw hile. In fact, it is so much the definitive sp la tte r m ovie th a t one w onders if it signals the com plete re­ d u n d a n cy of any fu rth e r efforts at the genre. Braindead is set in W ellington, New Z ealand, in 1957. The sp e cificity of the tim e fram e is a little puzzling, given th a t history has, on the surface at least, no m ore than design s ig n ifi­ cance in the film . Lionel (T im othy Balm e) is a d aggy young man w hose fe e b le life is com ­ pletely dom inated by his Mum (Elizabeth Moody), w ho enjoys playing m onarchic m atriarch from her w e a th e rb o a rd m ansion overlooking the city. The fu rth e s t L ionel’s leash extends is to the co rn e r store at the fo o t of the m ansion, and it is here th a t he m eets P aquita (D iana P enalver), the S panish shop a ssistant w ith w hom he begins an e xtre m e ly circum spect relationship. Ever afraid th at Mum w ill d iscover th a t she is not the only w om an in his life and be prom pted to w reak a horrible revenge, Lionel sneaks off to the zoo w ith P aquita for a first date full of ro­ m ance, jo y and screeching anim als. Mum, of course, suspects th a t Lionel is up to som ething and sneaks along behind in order to spy on her little boy and the “ta rt” w ho is leading him astray. She does so in disguise, w earing a large hat and a pair of o u trageous sunglasses m ore than a little redolent of Dame Edna, w hose p e rso n a th is version of the dom ineering, class-conscious mum so stro n g ly echoes. PAQUITA (DIANA PENALVER) AND LIONEL (TIM BALME) IN PETER JACKSON'S BRAINDEAD.

attem pts of a people w ho have been so rem oved from th e ir ancestry both cu ltu ra lly and g e n e ti­ cally - the m ost salient fe a tu re in the m arketing of the film is th a t som e of these la tte r-d a y A b o ­ rigines have blonde hair and blue eyes - to re d iscover th a t heritage, the film opens up the p o ssib ility of exploring the relative im portance of “c u ltu re ” versus “colour” to notions of race. But, perhaps out of a desire to m aintain com plete s o lid a rity w ith the cause of th e se people, it baulks at the largest gate, pre fe rrin g to leave racial identity in the hands of innate, in te rio r blood links ra th e rth a n m oving to an u n d e rsta n d ­ ing o f race - particu la rly w hen gen e tic e x p la n a ­ tio n s are so b la ta n tly problem atized - as a social construct. M any of those appearing in the film detail the w ay in w hich co n tra d icto ry exp la n a tio n s of th e ir a n cestry have led to hurt, confusion and a g e n ­ eral sense of a lienation from the d o m in a n t w hite cu ltu re on the island. One man exp la in s that, w hen q uestions arose about his race, he was advised by his m other to say he w as a M aori. A w om an details how she w as aw arded an A b o ­ riginal scholarship at the sam e tim e as she was being ta u g h t th a tth e T asm an ia n A b o rig in e s had died out w ith T ruganini. T hese co n fu sio n s co u ­ pled w ith the racist slurs handed out by the



93 . 43

Soon enough, Mum has burst forth from the

up, is both the com ic apotheosis of this them e,

cage of a fierce creature w hich we have m o­

grave and sw elled the ranks of zom bies by fo u r

and the elaborate realization of an unstated gag

m ents before w itnessed ripping the arm off a

rockers and a reverend. W hen L io n e l’s sleazy

w hich has Mum as the M other of all Z om bies.

m onkey in a neighbouring cage. It is the Sumatran

Uncle Les (Ian W atkin) arrives on the scene to

But the obvious A ID S m etaphor (including

W hile at the zoo, Mum stum bles a gainst the

Rat M onkey, the product, so a k e e p e rte lls us, of

blackm ail Lionel into handing over his in h e ri­

the jib e at m onkey-linked e xplanations of the

the rape of native S um atran m onkeys by m a­

tance (discovering the sedated zom bies in the

origin of the virus), unrelated Nazi references

rauding rats from Dutch ships. As M other falls

basem ent, he concludes th a t Lionel is a serial

and a host of other throw aw ay lines, like the rape

against the cage, the Rat M onkey leaps at her

killer), the scene is set fo r a rock ’n’ roll s h o w ­

joke, are less easily redeem ed by notions of

and tears a chunk of flesh from her arm before

down betw een the zom bies and the e v e r-d im in ­

“parody” . S platter aside, Braindead shares much

Mum is able to bring first her um brella and then

ishing ranks of hum ans. O nly one thing can save

w ith Les Patterson Saves the World (G eorge

her heel dow n upon the head of the vile creature.

th e d a y fo r L io n e l:

his tr u s ty tw o -s tro k e

M iller, 1987), m ost notably an uninhibited w ill­

The m o n k e y -w h ic h is as rare and invaluable as

law nm ow er. S trapping it on to his shoulder,

ingness to transcend notions of political c o rre c t­

it is vile - is reduced to a bloody pulp, w hile

Lionel w ades into the th ick of the zom bie horde

ness and good taste w hen dealing w ith som e

Lionel is reduced to the role of dutiful son,

(sw elled by Le s’ party guests to several score)

u n d eniably delicate issues. W he th e r we are to

leaving P aquita to find her own w ay home as he

and lets rip in a scene of b loodletting th a t may

laud or loathe Jackson and M iller fo r boldly

takes care of Mum.

set som ething of a record in term s of tim e,

going w here no one has gone before rem ains

num ber of corpses and sheer volum e of liquid

one of the unresolved questions of the 20th

spilt. The film m ight well have been called “W e l­

C entury.

The bandage Lionel slaps on his m o th e r’s arm seem s quite sufficie n t to the ta sk of healing her w ound, until it suddenly begins to sq u irt jets of pus around her sick-room . A larm ed, Lionel sends fo r Nurse M cTavish (B renda Kendall) who advises Lionel th a t his m other ju st needs to rest in bed. T hat she ste a d fa stly refuses to do, as she is having Mrs M atheson (G lenis Levestam ) - the head of the W ellington La d ie s’ W e l­ fare League - fo r lunch. But w hen Mum starts w eeping pus and dropping ears into the custard, it becom es clear th a t Mrs M atheson and her husband (Lew is Rowe) are having h e rfo r lunch. W hen the rapidly decom posing but decidedly undead Mum attacks N urse M cTavish, even the dim -w itted Lionel cottons on to the realization th a t his m other has tra n sfo rm e d into a zom bie, and has the pow er to infect all those with whom she exchanges bodily fluids. O nly a pow erful liquid tra n q u illise r w hich Lionel purchases from an ex-N azi chem ist seem s to have any e fficacy in stem m ing M other’s th irst fo r blood, and Lionel

W h a te ve r d ifficu ltie s P eter Jackson and his

lin g to n L a w n m o w e r M a s s a c re ” ra th e r th a n Braindead.

film m ight pose fo r an A ustralian critic or a u d i­

From the above it sh o u ld be c le a r th a t

ence, how ever, are as nothing com pared to the

Braindead is above all a com edy. It also o p e r­

unease w ith w hich the New Z ealand film co m ­

ates very much in the te rrain of parody of other

m u n ity

people’s cinem a (Psycho, R om ero’s Zom bie film s

g orem eister. Jackson has repeatedly been ca t­

a p p a r e n tly

v ie w s

th is

m a v e r ic k

and Arsenic and Old Lace1 are ju s t a few points

egorized as a film m a ke r w ith little connection or

of satirical reference th a t com e to m ind), as well

relevance to his country. S till, the New Z ealand

as serving as an app a re n t e n dpoint to J a c k s o n ’s

Film C om m ission (N ZFC ) has refused to pay too

own e xplorations of the m edium to date. If Meet

much attention to such criticism s, providing fi­

the Feebles w as to som e extent a departure

nancial support to all J a c k s o n ’s fe a tu re s to date.

from the te rrito ry Jackson had begun to traverse

Indeed, it is hard to understand w hy Jackson

with his first feature, Bad Taste, Braindead is a

should be seen as being d isinterested in New

return to form and fo rm a t par excellence.

Zealand w hen Bad Taste and Braindead seem

But w hile Braindead is an enjoyable - on

so indebted to a vision of the country as trapped

occasion, hilarious - romp (or w ade) through

in a 1950s tim e w arp (w hether overtly stated, as

tides of blood and fields of gore, there is so m e ­

in Braindead, or m erely im plicit as in Meet the

thing quite unsettling about it at a sub-textual

Feebles and Bad Taste), inhabited by the ch a r­

level. The O edipal co n flict betw een Lionel and

acters from one of those a nti-N ew Zealand jokes

his grasping m other is the m ost a pparent e xa m ­

th a t A u stralians enjoy so m uch. It m ay not be a

ple of this, and perhaps the m ost easily dealt

vision th a t m any New Z ealanders w ish to perpe­

uses it to knock his m other and the nurse out for

w ith; because it is so conscious, one might

trate, but it is no less a legitim ate and specific

long enough to lock them in the basem ent. Of

suggest, it m ust be parody. It w ould seem th a t

vision of the country than B arry H u m p h rie s’ is a

course, M other escapes, and com es looking for

Jackson is not sim ply passing around the sam e

legitim ate and specific understanding of A u s tra ­

Lionel in the site of his first betrayal of her: the

old fe a r-o f-m o th e r scenario, he is de lib e ra te ly

lia. W e can quibble w ith the politics of those

corner store w here Paquita w orks. On her wicked

exploiting it fo r its innate com ic potential. The

visions, w ith th e ir se lf-loathing and w ith th e ir

w ay she is hit by a tram , and w ithin m inutes

finale, in w hich Mum appears as a giant latex

reductionism ; but to suggest th a t they are un­

buried. But not dead.

zom bie with w om b agape ready to gobble Lionel

connected w ith the country w hich s u p p o rtsth e m (w hich in the case of H um phries is now only


m arginally A ustralia) is ludicrous. L et’s hope the NZFC continues its good sense in backing J a c k s o n ’s film s of bad taste and faith; and I’m sure that, w ith one eye firm ly on the successful export of A u stra lia ’s only tru ly fa m o u s person (in C live J a m e s ’ view , at least), it will.


(Alfred Hitchcock, 1960); A r s e n ic a n d O ld (Frank Capra, 1944). BRAINDEAD Directed by Peter Jackson. Producer: Jim Booth. A ssociate producer: Jam ie Selkirk. Scriptwriters: Peter Jackson, Stephen Sinclair, Frances Walsh. Director of photography: Murray Milne. Pro­ duction designer: Kenneth Leonard-Jones. Prosthet­ ics designer: Bob McCarron. Sound recordists: Mike Hedges, Sam Negri. Editor: Jamie Selkirk. Cast: Timo­ thy Balme (Lionel), Diana Penalver (Paquita), Eliza­ beth Moody (Mum), Ian Watkin (Uncle Les), Brenda Kendall (Nurse McTavish), Stuart Devenie (Father McGruder), Jed Brophy (Void), Elizabeth Brimilcombe (Zombie Mum), Stuart Devenie (Zombie McGruder), Murray Keane (Scroat). WingNut Films in association with the NZ Film Commission & Avalon-NFU Studios. Australian distributor: Valkyrie Films. 35mm. 101 mins. New Zealand. 1992. Psycho




t is a very long tim e since one could say that


am ong the m ost interesting /a ttra ctive /d istu rb -

ing film s released here in the past few m onths have been half a dozen of B ritish origin. For a couple of decades there has seem ed to be no sub stantial entity one m ight label “ British c in ­ em a” ; ju st the odd success like Gandhi or Chari­ ots of Fire or, in a diffe re n t vein and on a sm a lle r scale, My Beautiful Laundrette, or an elegant piece of Ivory. The recent batch are w ide -ra n g in g in subject and treatm ent. They include Terence D avies’ elegiac evocation of his childhood, The Long Day Closes; the beguiling study of an unlikely but durable friendship, Antonia & Jane (Beeban K idron); the sm art and nasty th rille r, Under Sus­ picion (Sim on M oore); the w itty and popular Enchanted April (M ike N ew ell); Riff-raff, the lat­ est of Ken Loach’s realist accounts of the u n d e r­ side of British life; the harshly affecting amour

ema, but th e y also e xhibit an interest in the


fou, Louis M alle’s Damage; and several others

nature of passion w hich was not a com m on


of m ore than passing interest, the latest of which

com ponent of those e arlier film s. In the case of

is S tephen P oliakoff’s Close My Eyes.

Close My Eyes, the particular passion involved

larly close” , they have described th e ir relation­

W ide-ran ging as they are, they have in co m ­

happens to be incestuous, but even w ithout this

ship) becom e lovers and about the differential

mon th e fa c tth a tth e y are all sm a ll-s c a le film s , in

variation the quality of feeling, of s e xu a /fe e lin g ,

nature of the effect of this on each of them .

several cases m ade in collaboration with C h a n ­

is very fa r from w hat was offered by those gentle

For N atalie, com fortably but not passionately

nel Four and, in a couple, as international c o ­

com edies, costum e m elodram as and w ar film s.

m arried to a sophisticated older man, it is the

productions. In neither budget nor tre a tm e n t do

Despite the more rigid censorship of those days,

affaire you have when yo u ’re not having an

th e y strain tow ards the epic; they are essentially

H ollywood still understood, as B ritain did not,

affaire. “ I’d hate to have a real affaire - deceit

concerned w ith the close observation of people

how film might render passion. Close My Eyes,

and lies and all th a t” , she says with ill-consid­

in relationship w ith each oth e r and/or w ith th e ir

like Damage and Under Suspicion, is certainly

ered com placency, w arning Richard not to be­

social w orld. T hey are film s in which it is people

equal to this project, and part of its distinction is

come addicted to th e ir love-m aking. He, on the

who m atter, not special effects. W hen th e y are

to dram atize the grow th of an incestuous pas­

other hand, having eschew ed his e a rlie rp ro m is-

shocking, as several of them are (e.g., as Dam­

sion, betw een w illing adults, and to render It

cuous habits, is soon utterly lost in th e ir incestu­

age is), it is not a m atter of slim y creatures

erotic, exultant, painful and at the sam e tim e

ous passion, even as he realizes that w hat

exploding from a cto rs’ chests, but of pent-up

curiously natural.

th e y’re doing is “S om ething illegal, a m ajor ta ­

em otions startling by th e ir sudden eruption.

W rite r-d ire cto r Poliakoff, best known here for

boo - we could go to gaol.”

These are generally cha m b e r w orks, d ra w ­

his television film s, She’s Gone Away {shown in

This bruising affaire is treated w ithout p ru ri­

ing on a rich vein of w riting and acting talents,

cinem as in A ustralia) and Caught on a Train,

ence though it undeniably carries the erotic

w hich have alw ays been strengths of British

sets his story in a w orld of tra n sie n t sexual

charge it needs if we are to take it seriously. Its

cinem a, even though som etim es those strengths

relationships. N atalie (S askia Reeves, also the

very unEnglish rendering of passion, unusual at

have been exercised in w ays too literary and/or

sta r of Antonia & Jane) is still grieving when the

least in most prestigious British cinem a, is played

too theatrical fo rth e w idest critical and co m m e r­

film begins fo r the break-up with her previous

out against and in interaction with the 1990s

cial success. W hat is em erging is an arthouse

lover, and she is com forted by her brother,

sexual clim ate, in which a colleague of R ichard’s

cinem a fo r those who do n ’t w ant to read s u b ti­

R ichard (Clive Owen). Two years later, she

is dying of AIDS and in w hich the once-indis-

tles. None of the film s referred to above has had

telephones him w hen he is nude w ith his latest

crim inately randy R ichard has all but given him ­

m ainstream distribution, though some have been

girlfriend: she is unhappy in an ill-paid job while

self over to celibacy. Incest, how ever much a

very successful in the peripheral houses w here

he is hedonistically at ease in his w orld of pleas­

fe ve r in the blood, begins to seem alm ost a sort

th e y have screened.

ure and profit. A fu rth e r tw o years later, they are

of safe sex, once you get past the guilt. And yet

in d ia m etrically opposite corners. P oliakoff and

it is also a very moral film , for all that its lovers

days of the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s, when

his d ire cto r of photography, W itold Stok, crisply

and N a talie’s finally undeceived husband are

B ritish cinem a com m anded a substantial m inor­

and flu e n tly establish tw o very diffe re n t m ilieus:

not in the end destroyed by it. As they w alk by the

ity audience in, say, M elbourne, w hen there

N atalie is now m arried to the eccentric, se e m ­

river in the autum n dusk, all they can be sure of

w ere indeed three city cinem as w hich, fo r a

ingly indolent S inclair (Alan R ickm an) and living

is th a t it is, like the sum m er, finished, but as for

T his is a different situation from the palm y

num ber of years, show ed nothing but British

a life of bourgeois luxury in the Tham es valley,

“W h a t’s going to happen?” , as Richard asks, the

film s . By c o m p a riso n w ith th e ir H o llyw o o d

w hile R ichard appears to have forsaken his

only answ er given is S in cla ir’s “ I haven’t a clue.”

co unterparts, th e y often seem ed quieter, more

previous lifestyle fo r a m ore e nvironm entally

The verdant loveliness of the Home C ounties

decorous, slow er and more literary, but they

conscious job of keeping w atch on big business

in high sum m er, the rituals of a tea dance, an

w ere not arthouse film s as Close My Eyes and

developers in Lond o n ’s East End docklands.

alfresco party at w hich guests ignore a violent

its contem poraries are. T hey w ere ju s t a g entler

T heir tw o changed selves com e into co nflict

quarrel, the elegance of a London apartm ent:

version of the sw irling m ainstream of the H olly­

at a lunch party at N atalie and S in cla ir’s house,

the film very in te lligently uses and w orks against

w here her hostessy behaviour prom pts R ichard

the appurtenances and am biences of a more

The n e w film s are also, fo rth e m ost part, very

to ask, “W hen did you start to ta lk like th is ? ” ,

decorous kind of British cinem a, perhaps that

d iffe re n t in feeling from those once -p o p u la r B rit­

drawing attention to that inevitable British signifier

encapsulated in the M erchant Ivory film s. In

w ood output.

ish film s. Not only do they explore areas of social

of class and region: the accent of the spoken

Close My Eyes, one is aware of these lush and

B ritain largely neglected in the days w hen B rit­

word. The film is very tense and persuasive

rarefied beauties of place being used contra-

ain had som ething approaching a national c in ­

about how the b rother and siste r (“ Not p a rticu ­

puntally, as if at any m om ent the hum an exCINEMA


93 • 45

cesses m ight sh a tte r the exquisite surfaces and

country; nevertheless, som ebody w itnessed it,

been e nchanted by a d is ta n t beauty, and have

expose som ething much more dangerous.

and now it links dire ctly into o n e ’s m ind as vivid ly

died fo r it, she has no know ledge of the w orld so does not feel its pain.

P oliakoff d elicate ly and co n fid e n tly balances

as if one had been there oneself. O n e ’s sense of

the personal and the social, and, assisted by the

déjà vu is confirm ed by the te stim o n y of ancient

W e ronika perform s the song at a concert

fu lly realized perform ances of his three stars,

w itnesses. On the oth e r hand, if there had been

w ith o u t know ing th a t it had been “lost fo r 200

m akes this a persiste n tly absorbing parable of

no w itn e sse s then nobody w ould have known

ye a rs” . But her kindred sp irit know s it. For the

life and sexuality in the 1990s. Like those other

about it and there would have been no history:

first tim e, W eronika has to direct her beauty

new B ritish film s m entioned above, Close My

the blank spot in o n e ’s mind is filled by w h a te ve r

outw ard into the void th a t devours everything.

Eyes is a long w ay from , say, Genevieve (H enry

takes o ne’s fancy. W hich fancies w ould one

W ith no ego to defend her, at the crescendo of

C ornelius, 1953) or Brief Encounter(David Lean,

choose to fill the space fo r to d a y ’s w orld, if one

beauty, she dies feeling a tired joy. To the

1945), and in a v e ry d iffe re n t direction, but along

sud d e n ly becam e oblivious to it?

kindred spirit w ho is m ore in touch w ith the

w ith those others it offers heartening evidence

T hat one w ould feel d isplaced from o n e ’s

of a new lease of life fo r w hat had seem ed a

im m ediate w orld is an understatem ent. W ith

break. W hat kind of w orld is it, after all, that

m oribund cinem a.

ir ra tio n a l g u ilt an d fu lfille d

p re m o n itio n s

fo rg e ts a piece like th a t fo r 200 years? It seem s

Directed by Stephen Poliakoff. Producer: Therese Pickard. Scriptwriter: Stephen Poliakoff. Director of photography: Witold Stok. Pro­ duction designer: Luciana Arrighi. Sound recordist: Peter Edwards. Composer: Michael Gibbs. Editor: Michael Parkinson. Cast: Alan Rickman (Sinclair), Clive Owen (Richard Gillespie), Saskia R eeves (Natalie), Karl Johnson (Colin), Lesley Sharp (Jessica), Kate Gartside (Paula), Karen Knight (Philippa), Niall Buggy (Gael), Helen FitzGerald (Girl). Beambright. Australian distributor: Premium. 35mm. 105 mins. U .K .1991.

unabating, the façade of o n e ’s constructed no­

W ero n ika w ished she could touch every heart,

tions of free will and individual liberty w ould at

but instead died of loneliness.


w orld, how ever, it m ay as w ell have been h e a rt­

least trem ble. The w aking w orld appears as a

The dream cuts to V éronique m aking love.

void into w hich o n e ’s identity va nishes - and

She feels the coexistence of som ebody w ho is

returns in a distant w orld of fa m ilia r events. More

more innocent than her, and has fla sh e s of

and m ore one feels th a t o n e ’s closest friend is

know ledge of pure innocence w hich cause her

not a parent or lover at all, but a w itness in

grief. She invokes the façade of life w ith non ch a ­

ano th e r so cie ty who lives a parallel life and

lance to the point of thinking nothing of agreeing

about w hose existence one can only speculate

to lie in a court of law, to saying she has slept

- a fine w itness indeed, w ho cannot change a

w ith som e stra n g e r over a dozen tim es, for the

thing in o n e ’s favour.

sake of his liberty. W hile she is m aking love, a

But life m ust go on, so one leads a “double

spear of grief distracts her and her lover stops.


life” , the life of the im m ediate w orld, and of the

He d o e sn ’t feel w ith her and she asks him to


dista n t beauty. Inevitably one is co nscious of

leave. T h e ir m utual façade of control avoids an


only one of these at a tim e, although both can

em barrassing situation; but she does not yet


t som etim es happens th a t a person c o n te m p ­ lating th e ir life w akes to a peculiar e xp e ri­

ence. R e-em erging into the w orld, they e n co u n ­ te r a situation over w hich th e y have no control that appears to have com e straight from th e ir dream . To th in k even fo r a second th a t an unrelated event could have “know ledge” of o ne’s own m ind brings a deep sense of m ystery, w hether or not one later decides it is m erely a mad fantasy. Im agine the perso n ’s grow ing consternation w hen everyw here th e y turn, even in books w rit­ ten centuries ago, they find scenes they are positive they know, in som e kind of ongoing déjà vu. The event may have occurred in a foreign

em erge in the nether w orld of a dream . K rz y s z to f K ie s lo w s k i’s V é ro n iq u e (Irè n e

understand w hy she feels grief. They are lovers, but th e y are alone. To K ieslow ski and the E ast­

Jacob), th erefore, dream s of her tw o spiritual

ern European literary tradition, aw areness of the

halves: W eronika (also Jacob), who is enchanted

w orld begins w ith grief, and personal liberty can

by a vast beauty and lives apart from the w orld,

only be gained by surm ounting it, th e re b y co m ­

and Véronique, w ho revels in the te xtu re of

ing to know o neself and all others.

things and has learned to present a façade of

V éronique is now im bued w ith a sense of

being “in co n tro l” of her life, the façade which

destiny. One day, she observes a puppeteer

m odern W estern society dem ands. W eronika

te lling a story of resurrection and she is draw n to

lives in Poland and V éronique in France.

him. The w ishfully-dream ing V éronique w ants to

W eronika lives enchanted by a beautiful song,

bring her spiritual fragm ents together, but the

oblivious to the w orld. (Her notebook is knocked

m ysterious thread that begins the process ends

from her arm s by a stranger, but she does not

up in the garbage bin. A fte r a playful act that

notice th a t he is fleeing from riot police during a

would be terrifying in a waking reality, the dream ’s

political dem onstration into w hich she has a cci­

V éronique shakes off her egotistical W estern

d entally w alked.) She realizes th a t she is alone

façade, retrieves the thread and analyzes the


and feels the presence of a m ysterious kindred

clues th at bring her closer to the puppeteer and


spirit. Unlike others before her w ho have also

W eronika. O bjectivity and deep intuition ought


to w ork together. W hen they eventually meet, she asks him w hy he did it, and he gives the answ er w hich sense, but not sensibility, dem ands: “To see if it could be d one” . His answ er evokes a gulf be­ tw een them : th a t he could make no difference to her search. It exudes the void of the rest of society. If she is not sw ayed by her inkling that he ’d m eant m ore, if she does not fo rg ive him, then her connection w ill be lost. K ieslow ski, a fte r D ostoevsky and others, m akes the observation th a t in a w orld w hich adores surface, com fort and convenience, a d isplay of inner com plexity is not only d isco n ­ certing, it is unforgiveable. The tra g e d y o f the co nsum ptive Ip p o lit’s condition in D o sto e vsky’s Idiot could not even have been told if his tra n s ­ gre ssio ns in fine com pany had no£,hp.enr .forgiven. If such a condition cannot b e p n d e rsfo p d , th e p how can w e know if w e are not pajrt ofJt, and th a t it is not ou r fu tu re tc> q?JsJppqlit~ or.P rjnee M yshkin - better understood n o^tjhan, 1.Q0Ky p a |s

ago? P erhaps the current a ffluence of W estern so ciety allow s an illusion of freedom to p re d o m i­ nate, and A sian com m en ta to rs such as Lee Kuan Y ew have a valid case. T he lives of W eronika and V éronique run in parallel, evoking a sense of déjà vu w ith the vie w e r as the film progresses, w hich is the m ystery fe lt by the dream ing V éronique. The dream of her “double life” is K ie slo w ski’s device to d e m onstrate the “ unity of events and beliefs w hich all of m ankind share s” . If such a unity ca n not exist, then people like V éronique m ust be judged mad and there is no hope fo r them . But th e y burn at the stake at a price: the view er w ho feels w ith V éronique m ust be jud g e d mad as w ell. W here does the w itch h u n t end? K ieslow ski says his jo b as an artist is to d isco ve r unity. V éronique finds unity from a contem plation of m ain curre n ts in distin ct s o cie ­ ties. V é ro n iq u e ’s society is se cu la r and divided, fo llo w in g the catastrophe of the French R evolu­ tion 200 years ago. Intrinsic truths, of m usic and em otions, have becom e disjointed and u nreach­ able from the extrinsic truths, the surface. (The Schlegel sisters in E.M. F o rste r’s Howards End saw a sim ilar distinction betw een “the ‘outer w o rld ’ and personal relations” , “prose and pas­ sio n ” : “ If th e y w ould only co n n e ct!”) The thread th a t links the tw o is lost w hen the p re -theoretic state - the form less sea of intuition and irra tio n ­ ality - is objectified too hastily and im portant im pressions are forgotten. Irène J a co b ’s perform ance of the leading roles is intense and strikin g ly beautiful. The co ntrast betw een W eronika and V éronique is m anifested subtly, the w ork of a m aster director. A consistent feature of K ie slo w ski’s film s is th a t they get to the centre of deep ideas with sparing use of w ords. His inspired direction alw ays seeks interesting realizations of even sim ple scenes. The constant am ber colour, rem i­ niscent of Polish paintings of the 1800s, evokes a feeling of loss, and a difference of w orld view. T his com pelling film , w ith its poignant score by Z bigniew P reisner, is K ie slo w ski’s best w ork to date.

1 In Cannes in 1992, the official English title was T h e D o u b le L ife o f W e ro n ik a .


Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Pro­ ducer: Leonardo de la Fuente. Executive producers: Bernard P. Guiremand, Ryszard Chutkowski. Co-pro­ ducer: Ryszard Straszewski. Scriptwriters: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz. Director of photog­ raphy: Slawomir Idziak. Production designers: Patrice Mercier, Halina Dobrowolska. Costume designers: L auren ce B rignon, C laudy F ellous, E lzbieta Towarnicka. Sound recordists: William Flageollet, Jean-Pierre Lelong, Mario Melchiori, Jack Julian. Com­ poser: Zbigniew Preisner. Editor: Jacqués Witta. Cast: Irène Ja c o b (W eronika/V éronique), H alina G ryglaszew ska (Aunt), Kalina Jedrusik (Gaudy Woman), Aleksander Bardini (Orchestra Conductor), W ladyslaw Kowalski (W eronika’s Father), Jerzy Gudejko (Antek), Philippe Volter (Alexandre Fabbri), Sandrine Dum as (Catherine), C laude Duneton (Véronique’s Father), Jan Sternisnski (Lawyer). Sidéral Productions in association with Le Studio Canal PlusTOR Production-Norsk Film. Australian distributor: Palace. 35mm. 98 mins. France. 1992. of Véronique]





aradoxically, the biopic epic has a te n d e n c y

contem porary A fro-A m erican activists and com ­

to produce insignificant film s about s ig n ific ­

m entators p rio rto the film ’s release, the pre su p ­

ant figures. In fact, the w hole w ay in which they

position being that the character and the real


are seen, prom oted and elaborated upon into

man have m etaphorically converged, w hich, un-

debates outside of film appreciation has changed

coincidentally, is also the precondition fo r w atch­

the function of the genre into a m edia and com ­

ing Lee’s film .

m ercial enterprise. It is as if the biopic now has

Malcolm X begins and ends w ith a series of

a connection to real-life events, via a virtual

footnotes which play on this confusion betw een

tyranny of references to the su b je ct’s represen­

the m etaphorical and the real (read truth). The

tation outside of the cinem a, which can be talked

video of the King beating, blown up to full-screen

about in the sam e context as the rôle of the

cinem a ‘m om ent’, brings hom e to the v ie w e rth e

m edia w ithin current social and political issues

im portance of w hat m ust surely evolve during

in continual circulation.

the course of the film : th a t is, a docum ent on

So, Gandhi (R ichard A ttenborough, 1982) is

social ju stice w hich will change the em phasis

speculated upon in the same breath as the poor

aw ay from a w hite perspective to an A fro -A m e ri­

of India, J F K (O liver Stone, 1991) in relation to

can one. In short, it is a call to revision.

both the conspiracy theories surrounding the

The title sequence w hich im m ediately fo l­

assassination, and aw akening D em ocrat m oves

lows reaffirm s this m otive and also alludes to a

and societal longing. Malcolm X opens with the

suppressed A fro-Am erican history which extends

R odney King beating and ends with Nelson

fu rth e r back in tim e. An A m erican flag fills the


screen, a sensational image in all respects stand­

This notion of the cinem a as com m entator,

ing in fo r not only the entire w hite suprem acist

adjudicator, as ersatz journalism even, com ­

Fascist history of the nation but also the history

pounds several m yths th a t do not necessarily

of a like-m inded H ollyw ood system w hich up

arise from the alchem y of cinem a itself, but from

until this point has excluded A fro-A m erican

the production of cultural m yths outside the

film m akers such as Lee. Hence, the flag im age

realm of cinem a, the greatest one being the rôle

represents a W hite élite (in particular, we can

of one man, one leader, in the tum ultuous up­

assum e, the bom bastic patriotism of O liver

heaval of history and his indelible m a rko n w hole

S tone’s im aging of Am erican history) w hich must

societies, a kind of tra n sfo rm a tio n from o b scu ­

be infiltrated and subverted. Lee’s flag then

rity to om nipresence. In this scenario, the biopic becom es a co n ­

burns down to form an X, and a subtitle appears, “The auto b io g raphy of M alcolm X as told to A lex

du it to reality, a ‘p ro o f of history w hich enables

H aley” , announcing another set of revisionist

it to be prom oted w ith o u t reference to its m echa­

agendae by d irectly quoting both the history of

nism s of sim ulacra. The A B C ’s Lateline can run

m ilitant activism as protest (d efacing/destruct-

a debate about Malcolm X featuring various

ing flags as icons of oppression) and a tth e same



93 • 47

tim e the reaffirm ation of those anti-histories which

élite undead precisely because he has been


have also im pacted on m ass audiences at large.



It is not the fa ct th a t Lee has ‘brought to the

In this sense, Malcolm X is not a political

scre e n ’ H aley’s book th a t becom es a gesture of

m ovie (it w ill not change the representation of

advocacy (as in the prom otion of A fro-A m erican

A fro -A m e rica n s w ithin the m edia from victim to

w riters w ithin H ollyw ood), but the quotation of

participant, w ill n o te n g e n d e rc in e m a a u d ie n c e s

H aley as inte rm e d ia to r fo r a voice, M alcolm X ’s

to undertake th e ir own personal revolution, be

life and m essage being the e m bodim ent of that

th e y w hite or A fro -A m e rica n ), but part of a whole

voice w hich Lee rightly so identifies w ith and

series of m echanism s w hich w ill e m pow er M al­

undertakes to re-enunciate, ju s t as the te le v i­

colm X, the cultural icon, and propel him into

sion series Roots did fo r a generation of w hite

ce le b rity status. As Clive J a m e s ’ book and te le ­

and A fro-A m erican audiences tw o decades ago.

vision series, Fame in the20h Century, cleverly

(The assum ption here is th a t audiences are now

sum m izes, heroes, even political or instructional

alm ost exclusively MTV literate.) As a film m a ke r,

ones, are p o sthum ously rem em bered not by

though, Lee d o e sn ’t stop there: his revisionist

th e ir deeds but by th e ir g la m ourization and re ­

cinephilic im pulses m eans that even D. W. Griffith

corded perform ances, and, by and large, the

is subjected to the tre a tm e n t in more or less

hero and the celebration of his a chievem ents is

spoof dim ensions: the Ku Klux Klan, having

the exclusive dom ain of men and male n a rcis­

burned down the X fa m ily home, ride off into a full moon early into the film , as a lready the blurring of H ollyw ood history and an oral history (the ‘as told to ’ elem ent in the title) becom es interchangeable. Herein lies the dilem m a of the film ’s m es­ sage, or, more im portant, the dilem m a of a political film m aker like Lee: how to make a political biography w ith all its atte n d a n t calls to action, im passioned conviction and fid e lity to w hat are e ssentially so cia lly radical ideas (right throughout the film Public E nem y’s chant “No sell o ut” ran in my m ind’s jukebox) w ithin a genre w hich inherently m ust exist inside a historical vacuum in o rd e rfo r its m essiah to be fig u ra tive ly reborn into the present? One w ay out is to supplant the historical hero (in this case X) into a living, breathing co n te m ­ porary one. The final pre-credit sequence which leads up to the point w here one leaves the

sism. If there is any doubt as to S pike L ee’s c o n tri­


I’m more interested in people on the perim eter, the circum ference, than people in the middle [...] Vincent W ard.1 [...] to ‘locate’ a spot on the earth, to ‘fix’ it cartographically, it is only necessary to know two things: its latitude and longitude, two lines which intersect at the desired spot, and lo and behold, it is done. But right here simplicity breaks down and com plications begin to set in [...] T h e S t o r y o f M a p s . 2 ap of the Human Heart is the third fe ature


i from the deserved ly-a cco la d e d cinem atic

artist, V incent W ard. W hile it m ay not be c u r­ rently fa shionable to dw ell on auteurs, it is im ­ possible not to recognize this as a V in ce n t W ard film . As w ith Vigil and The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey, Map of the Human Heart is also im ­ bued w ith m etaphysical and visual questions

bution to this hagiography, O ssie Davis spells it

about relationships betw een people, places,

out in the funeral scene: “He w as our shining

cu ltu re s and th e ir artifacts. It is a narrative th a t

black prince, our m a nhood” , injecting a fu rth e r

refuses to provide easy answ ers or te m p o ra ry

hom oerotic dim ension to the h e ro -m essiah-ce-

solutions. R ather, it is an inquiry, a reflexive and

lebrity the film has already m ore than capitalized

reflective m editation, a poetic d iscourse - and

on. A giant step fo r m ankind m aybe, but several

herein lies the unm istakeable pow er and p re s­

steps backw ards fo r his fem ale co unterparts, as

ence of a V incent W ard film .

yet again Lee m anages to keep his w om en at

The focus and fram e of the story is a love

hom e and protected from tem p ta tio n , a fa m ilia r

affaire betw een A vik (Jason S cott-Lee), an Inuit

position w hich prevails in so m any Left-liberal

E skim o, and A lbertine (Anne P arillaud), a M esit

m ale narratives irrespective of racial b o u n d a ­

Indian. It is a love story th a t transcends tim e and


space, spanning th irty years and alm ost in su r­

U ltim ately, Lee know s too well the pow er of

m ountable distances and w orld events. The co u ­

the H ollyw ood system has in o rd e r to reinforce

ple are childhood sw eethearts, w ho form an

and create cultural icons th a t will reach m assive

eternal bond w hen they m eet as patients in a

consum ers - Malcolm X m erchandizing and the

M ontréal hospital. It is a love of outsid e rs for

rap cu ltu re ’s dire ct channelling of his ideas has

th e y are both ‘half b re e d s’ - w hich rem ains a

been around fo r som e tim e now - so th a t the

point of conflict as much as of com m onality. It is

m ost effective w ay of prom oting A fro-A m erican

a ‘mad lo ve ’ - Tamour fou - th e ir feistiness,

culture and presence is by exploiting th a t myth.

daring and craziness the basis and reason of

th re a t as in Do the Right Thing) follow s a frankly

The objective the politically-conscious film m aker

th e ir m utual attraction. T hough m any of these

bizarre m om ent w hereby the film literally sheds

takes is to e ffe ctive ly take a punt; it d o e s n ’t

elem ents m ight belong in a conventional ro­

its skin and enters the w orld stage. Nelson

m atter if the film is, finally, id e o lo g ica lly u nfo­

m ance, the w ay this story is told, its poetics,

M andela, in the flesh, appears on screen as a

cused and selective (the w hole B lack Panthers

elevates it fa r beyond any ordinary rom antic

teacher to a class of children who respond to his

story, fo r exam ple, is bypassed and replaced by


lesson on equality and hum an rights by standing

X ’s visit to M ecca). W hat m atters is th a t it is not,

confines of the cinem a w ith a call to action (the rap group A rrested D evelopm ent belting out “ R evolution” - no deco n stru ctive Public Enem y

up to proclaim that each and every one of them

finally, ju s t a film .

ows, from darkness to light, skim m ing surface

is (read: can be) M alcolm X, intercut w ith som e footage, right out of context w ith the rest of the film , of Sow eto riots and m arches. M andela’s presence at first seem s utterly unexpected. It com es after a long finale of flu ­ idly-cut footage of the real M alcolm X, w here the sim ulation of the film ’s auth e n ticity is fu lly real­ ized, for, up until then, we have been w itnessing the gradual assim iliation of the ch a ra cte r-a cto r into the actual person w hose screen death could also be real at tha t em otive m om ent. Lee’s a p p ro p ria tio n of ne w sre e l and, p a rtic u la rly , photo-journalism form ats is uncritical and p e r­ functory; in no sense is it quotational as they serve to increase the sense of realism the ch a r­ acter m ust be e nforced w ith. It is not enough th a t Denzel W ashington look and behave like X, he m ust be X, and the film m ust provide irrefutable evidence to make us believe so, attaining an im m ortality that will transform him from a hero to cultural icon. Like Elvis, he jo in s the ranks of the 48 • C I N E M A



In the opening credit sequence, a searching cam era traces a jo u rn e y through ice and sh a d ­

Directed by Spike Lee. Producers: Marvin Worth, Spike Lee, Ahmed Murad (Saudi Ara­ bia). Co-producers: Monty Ross, John Kilik, Preston Holmes. Associate producer: Fernando Sulichin. Scriptwriters: Arnold Perl, Spike Lee. Based on the book T h e A u to b io g r a p h y o f M a lc o lm X as told to Alex Haley. Directors of photography: Ernest Dickerson, David Golia. Production designer: Wynn Thomas. Costume designer: Ruth E. Carter. Sound recordists: Rolf Pardula, (mus.) Jam es Nichols, Major Little, Doug­ las T. McLean, Sandy Palmer, (ADR) David Boulton, (Foley) Dominick Tavella. C om poser: T erence Blanchard. Music supervisor: Alex Steyermark. Edi­ tor: Barry Alexander Brown. Cast: Denzel Washington (Malcolm X), Angela Bassett (Betty Shabazz), Albert Hall (Baines), Al Freeman Jnr (Alijah Muhammad), Delroy Lindo (West Indian Archie), Spike Lee (Shorty), T heresa Randle (Laura), Kate Vernon (Sophia), Lonette McKee (Louise Little), Tommy Hollis (Earl Little). 40 Acres and a Mule, Filmworks, For Largo International, A Spike Lee Joint. Australian distribu­ tor: Hoyts. 35mm. 201 mins. U.S. 1992. MALCOLM X

lines and th e ir trajectories. A helico p te r (w hose point of view this may have been) appears through thick cloud, before being enveloped, lost once m ore. Just as we have com e to know an im age, it eludes us, in the m ovem ent b e ­ tw een w hat is present and w hat is absent, b e ­ tw een w hat can be held onto and w hat escapes our grasp, betw een th a t w hich can be know n and the rest, w hich rem ains e ssentially m yste ri­ ous. The im ages in this film are arranged in p at­ terns of sharp contrasts and visual ironies, ju x ­ tapositions which map out the com plex em otional landscape of the dram a. The first title tells us this is the A rctic in 1965, placing it in som e notional present. A vik, the E skim o, w ho has been w atching the arrival of a h elicopter, ta ke s sh e lte r com plaining b itterly of the cold. He is an odd figure, not quite com ic and ye t not w hat we w ould expect from som eone at

people, his culture, his o ri­

transcend the facts of m ilitary m atters, to be­

gins, and yet bringing him

com e invitations, proposals, im aginings; facts of

together with Albertine. He

a lover’s heart. Nowhere is this more resound­

is the fa th e r/m e n to r who

ingly true than w ith the X -ray of A lb e rtin e ’s

will betray the son. He Is

healing heart and lungs, stolen by A vik and kept

the m essenger th a t d e liv ­

in his possession as a m em ory of her spirit, her

ers the precious X -ray of

soul, her sm ell; th e ir union. W hat fo r a doctor

the g irl’s heart, the tre a s ­

was m erely a progress report detailing a pa­

ured m em ento of a ch ild ­

tie n t’s recovery, fo r A vik becom es his heart’s

hood bonding, only to take

desire - o b jectivity com ing to the service of

the girl fo r him self, o ffe r­


ing her w hite status and

Much of the film ’s terrain is seen from an

‘re sp e cta b ility’. He has a

aerial perspective, from the point of view of

map to both w orlds, but,

planes, birds, tow ers and air balloons. But such

w ithout a p o e t’s heart, he

a view from above can never provide the whole

belongs in none. R a th e rth e poetic heart

picture, fo r the whole elusively rem ains more than the sum of its parts. W hat A vik sees from

is to be found in the in­

his plane, the “ Holy B oy” in the bom bing raids, is

tense, brave, passionate

the frig h te n in gly m agical, alm ost surreal theatre

and surprisingly u nsenti­

of war, quite the opposite of w hat he w itnesses

mental attachm ent of A vik

when he is forced to parachute into the firestorm s

and Albertine: their discov­

of Dresden. A fter Dresden he believes all w hite

ery of love in the sterile,

people are cannibals, and he cannot live am ongst

re g im e n te d

them . This know ledge com pels him to return to

h o s p ita l in

M ontréal, th e irfe e lin g s fo r

his hom eland, and to be tragically separated

each other that survive the

from A lbertine for m any years.

years of most violent sepa­

W hen the telling of this m em ory fin a lly ends,

ra tio n , A lb e rtin e ’s m a r­

the past rem ains ever present. A vik w alks into a

riage to W alter and the way

hotel to m eet the daughter that until now has

they manage to find a place

never been m entioned. Just like the young

fo r th e ir p a s s io n even

A lbertine looking for the fa th e r she w ould never

am idst the brutal theatre

know - the photograph of the man on the horse

of war. The very tra n sce n ­

- so this young w om an, his daughter, about to

dence and longevity of this

be m arried, also seeks to know her father, her


relationship is w hat rem ains so rem arkable, its

origins, his land. A vik takes her to the vast


heart, and w hich rem ains the poetic w isdom of

sparse glacial location of his childhood games,

home in this environm ent, these conditions. He

this film .

never acknow ledging his paternity, but her un­

sits down w ith the cartographer, C lark (John

The film s of V incent W ard take a long tim e to

Cusack), to look a tth e maps he is studying, only

make. The Map of the Human Heart is no excep­

reconciliation there is also separation, but the

to d iscover they are the sam e maps he helped

tion. It Is a fo u r country co-production (involving

separation contains the reconciliation. In a fa n ­

chart thirty years earlier. For both men, the maps

V incent W ard P roductions from Australia, S un­

tasy ending, tw o synchronous yet m utually ex­

mean very d iffe re n tth in g s . A vik prom ises Clark,

rise Film s from C anada, A riane Film s from

c lu s iv e c o n c lu sio n s are o ffe re d . A vik both sm ashes his vehicle and is drow ned, and he

derstanding of it lingers everyw here. In such a

“I’ll tell you the true story of those maps and how

France, and W orking T itle from the UK) and the

they changed my life ” . And so the lines of the

logistics of a story spanning the A rctic, M ontréal,

goes to his d a u g h te r’s w edding. R eunited with

maps m otivate the retelling of a life rem em ­

w artim e London and Dresden should not be

A lbertine, they take to the skies, to the heavens,

bered, and the fa b ric of the narrative, its s tru c­

underestim ated. W a rd ’s background in painting

in a hot-air balloon. But w hat is true, w hat is real,

is often invoked to account fo r his close attention

w hat is only w ished for or dream t about in this

ture, becom es this m em ory. In a film w here repetitions, recurrences and

to historical details. H owever, w hat is m ost co m ­

last sequence rem ains a question - enchantingly

returns are part of an organizing principle of

pelling about his vision is not its truth or reality,

so. The pow er and m eaning of this tale rem ains

coincidence and inevitability, the A rctic 1931 is

but the suggestiveness of its m etaphors.

in the telling.

really, m om entarily, a pre-history, the tim e be­

Maps are alw ays central to the film ’s investi­

fore w hich everything changed. A tw elve-year-

gation into theories of know ledge and the co n d i­

old E skim o boy is being th ro w n up on an

tions of know ing. The mise en scène is littered

anim al-skin tram poline in an exhilarating m o ve ­

with m aps. The m ost am azing map lines the wall

ment of flig h t and descent, passing through the

of a room, and a sculpture of a fem ale form Is

more fixed fram e of our vision every so often.

curiously plastered with even more maps. Many

But just as before - the sam e but diffe re n t - a

of the characters are m apm akers, journeym en

recognizably older plane lands and out steps

into the unknown. A vik him self, in his w ork for

W alter R ussell (P atrick Bergin) into this w orld,

the R.A.F., takes aerial photographs of m ilitary

this life.

m ovem ents and installations, which are then

W alter arrives in the m anner of an im perialist

in te rp re te d in p h o to -re c o n n a is s a n c e by A l­

invader, w ho speaks the language yet is aloof

bertine. Though these im ages w ere m ade fo r

from the indigenous people. He m aps te rritories

specific reasons, m ilitary intelligence, they also

to understand the w orld. He is scientific, e m p iri­

com e to serve a n o th e r’s purpose. As A vik ille­

cal, rational, literal. His soul is one we are not

gally re-routes his plane to photograph other

privy to apart from som e se t-piece confessions.

sites, sites fo r rom antic assignations, so the

He is the colonial se ttle r w ho will take the Inuit

m eaning assigned to such em pirical data also

boy (Avik) to the w hite m an’s hospital to be

begins to shift. Its significance, fin a lly residing

cured of TB, separating him fo re ve r from his

w ithin the intent of its perceiver, now begins to

1 C in e m a P a p e r s , No. 53, Septem ber 1985, p. 34. 2 Lloyd Brown, T h e S to ry o f M a p s , Dover Publica­ tions, 1979, p. 10. MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART Directed by Vincent Ward. Producers: Tim Bevan, Vincent Ward. Execu­ tive producer: Graham Bradstreet. Co-producer: Timo­ thy White. Associate producer: Redmond Morris. Scriptwriters: Vincent Ward, Louis Nowra. Director of photography: Eduardo Serra. Production designer: John Beard. Costume designer: Renee April. Sound recordists: Pierre Camus, Andrew Plain. Composer: Gabriel Yared. Editor: John Scott. Cast: Patrick Bergin (Walter Russell), Anne Parillaud (Albertine), Jason Scott Lee (Avik), John Cusack (Clark), Jeanne Moreau (Sister Banville), Robert Joamie (Young Avik), Annie Galipeau (Young Albertine), Clotilde Courau (Rainee), Jerry Snell (Boleslaw), Ben Mendelsohn (Farmboy). Vincent Ward Productions, Sunrise Films, Ariane Films & Working Title. Australian distributor: Hoyts. 35mm. 109 mins. Australia-Canada-France-U.K. co-production. 1993. CINEMA


93 • 49


actually going to be about men.


eservoir Dogs is a neo-noir getaw ay car


bursting straight out of Los A n g e le s’ sinister

sunshine in a blaze of pure testo ste ro n e fury. Its s p e e d in g

a c to r - w r it e r - d ir e c to r ,

Q u e n tin

T arantino, says his film is set in the 1990s, feels like the ’50s, w ith sound from the ’70s. Reservoir Dogs is an exem plary product of its tim es. It quotes from and recalls the w ork of other w riters, directors and actors w ithout em ­ ploying ironic distance or self-conscious hom ­ age. It is fu llo f guys with sharp suits, bad mouths and tender stom achs th a t haem orrhage unco n ­ tro lla b ly all o v e rth e screen. It is a cinem atic tour de force. R ightfrom its opening scene, Reservoir Dogs w arns that it intends to take this genre to some unexpected rest stops. S traight aw ay its au d i­ MR ORANGE (TIM ROTH) AND MR WHITE (HARVEY KEITEL) IN QUENTIN TARANTINO'S RESERVOIR DOGS.

barbed-w ire outskirts of the m ain story. T here is

S ix black-suited guys are recruited to pull off

a lot of Lee M arvin, D ennis H opper, John

a big-tim e je w e lle ry heist. A lthough each of them

C assavetes and Joe Pesci in these guys, as well

is known by th e ir recruiters - professional th ie f

as M artin S corsese, Don Siegel, Jam es T oback

Joe C abot (played by veteran noir actor Law ­

and Je a n -P ierre M elville. T a rantino has said

rence T ierney) and his son Nice Guy Eddie

that, in a nother place and age, the film m ight

(C hristopher Penn) - they are m eant to rem ain

have starred Jean-P aul Belm ondo as K eitel’s Mr

anonym ous to each other fo r the duration of the

W hite and A lain Delon as M adsen’s Mr Blonde.

job. To this end, they are given code nam es: Mr

Reservoir Dogs takes the ch a ra cte r actor

W hite (H arvey Keitel), M rO ra n g e (Tim Roth), Mr

and lets him pace up and dow n at the s to ry ’s

Pink (S teve B u scem i), Mr B londe (M ichael

centre. A ctors fell all over each oth e r to be in this

M adsen), Mr Blue (Eddie B unker) and Mr Brown

film , and we are seeing som e of them at th e ir


best. H arvey Keitel is this p ro je ct’s guardian

But guys a re n ’t m e a n tto be blank s c re e n s fo r

angel. A p art from his perform ance as Mr W hite,

others to w rite into existence, or em pty vessels

w hose bleeding heart sells him dow n the river,

to be filled and refined. From the hilarious nam ­

Keitel also co-produced the film , nurturing it

ing cerem ony onw ards, these guys play up,

from a feral 16mm idea to a $U S 1.2 m illion

squabbling about th e ir pseudonym s and b re a k­


ing out beyond the confines of th e ir given id e n ­

C h ristopher Penn has found his calling as

tities. T heir assertion of difference drives the

heavy Nice G uy Eddie in his best film since At

narrative, but also leads to th e ir eventual d e ­

Close Range (Jam es Foley, 1986). Tim Roth is

mise. They trade nam es, reveal th e ir psycho­

intelligence incarnate as Mr O range, w hose bleeding w ound provides continuity for the film ’s m ovem ents backw ards and fo rw ards in tim e. And Steve B uscem i is the original w iseguy. It’s a surprise to everyone that he ends up staying alive. P residing over this unruly pack is Law ­ rence T ierney as the ageing crim w hose tu sks have been rem oved and m ounted on his desk. Reservoir Dogs’ stunning p e rfo rm ­ ances owe a great deal to T a ra n tin o ’s script and direction. He has created an ensem ble of extrem e male identities in a series of viscous, poignant, cerebral and fa rcical scenes. A nother of the film ’s m ost talked of m om ents involves the m utilation of a stray cop who ends up at the m ercy of perverse Mr B londe. E cho­ ing aspects of David Lynch’s Blue Vel­ vety 986), minus the baroque, this scene sets a new standard in cinem atic te rro r by w hat it chooses to leave out as much as w hat it adds in. T arantino is no one-hit w onder. Four of his earlie r scripts, w ith evocative nam es like “ Pulp F iction” , “T rue R o­ m ance” , “Natural Born K illers” and “ Dusk ’Til D aw n” are heading fo r production by other directors. Expect to hear m ore

ence is prepared to take the ride. In a classic

ses, locate them selves historically, confess their

good w ord of m outh about him very soon.

w iseguys-in-a-diner prologue, the film ’s ch a ra c­

true intentions, com b th e ir p a rtn e r’s hair and

ters are introduced as they expound upon their

shoot each other dead.

Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Producer: Lawrence Bender. Executive producers: Richard N. Gladstein, Ronna B. Wallace, Monte Hellman. Co-producer: Harvey Keitel. Scriptwriter: Quentin Tarantino. Director of photography: Andrzej Sekula. Production designer: David Wasco. Costume designer: Betsy Heimann. Sound recordists: Ken Segal, Dave Moreno, Matthew C. Belville, Mark Coffey. Music supervisors: Karyn Rachtman, Kathy Nelson. Editor: Sally Menks. Cast: Harvey Keitel (Mr. White [Larry]), Tim Roth (Mr. Orange [Freddy]), Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde [Vic]), Christopher Penn (Nice Guy Eddie), Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink), Lawrence Tierney (Joe Cabot), Randy Brooks (Holdaway), Kirk Baltz (Marvin Nash), Eddie Bunker (Mr. Blue), Quentin Tarantino (Mr. Brown). Live America Inc. & A Dog Eat Dog Production. Australian distributor: Dendy. 35mm. 105 mins. U.S. 1991.

close analysis of the lyrics to M adonna’s “ Like a

In a critique fo r Artforum, M anohla Dargis

V irgin” . This segues into a d issertation upon the

has show n how the film “posits a m ale identity

role of tip p in g and th e A m e rica n w a itre s s

that m ust tell itself stories to exist [...] Through

(w aitressing is “the num ber one job fo r non­

stories, the men in Reservoir Dogs teach each

college g raduates”).

other to be men. W hen these lessons are learnt,

There are any num ber of pleasures to be had

th e y kill each o th e r.” To this thesis, I w ould add

from this idiosyncratic beginning, which has

that the film ’s stories are perform ed stories.

becom e one of the film ’s m ost docum ented

Reservoir Dogs is also about acting. The m ost

m om ents in its European and Am erican reviews.

beautifully crafted story in the film is a rem ark­

But w hy it w orks has not alw ays been spelt out.

able flashback, constructed like a prism , that

T hat the sce n e ’s first punchline, delivered by its

details the m ethod acting involved in setting up

upstart director, T arantino, in his soon-to-die

a double cross.

role as Mr Brown, is of interest. But w hat this

In fact, the “reservoir d ogs” in question are

scene really delivers is an extended dialogue

th a t savage collection of actors, known as c h a r­

about w om en, w hich signals th a t the film is

a c te r a cto rs, h a b itu a lly fo u n d p ro w lin g the

50 • C I N E M A









- Screen International .











Based on the book by V IRG IN IA W O O LF





IN CANBERRA: PO Box 1005, Civic Square ACT 2608


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C O N T A C T DEBRA SHARP O N (0 3 ) 429 5511





93 . 51



C o le m a n ’s study of Bruce B eresford records m ost of the trials and trib u la tio n s the A ussie d ire cto r has faced, from his earliest u n d e rg ra d u ­ ate shorts to his m ost recently com pleted Rich in Love, y e tto be released in this country. C olem an is no slouch as a w rite r either, but Bruce Ber­ esford: Instincts of the Heart is hardly an o b je c­ tive stu d y of the d ire c to r’s w ork. C olem an has had a long association w ith B eresford and his regard fo r the man is obvious from the opening ch a p te r - a w ide-eyed, on-location account of the m aking of Rich in Love, the lengthiest c o v e r­ age afforded any of B e re sfo rd ’s film s. C olem an m akes m uch of B e re sfo rd ’s ‘u n e rrin g ’ choice of good stories and his strict storyboarding of every scene - them es w hich are to recur th ro u g h o u t the text. “A bove all, B eresford is an a rtist” , the author tells us, as if defying fu rth e r analysis. From this point, C olem an returns to the I960s and takes the reader fo r the m ost part c h ro n o ­ logically through B e re sfo rd ’s film output. But by also choosing to group the feature film s under banner section headings - “A M an’s W o rld ” , “W om en W ithout M en” , “The Instincts of the


papers and jo u rn a ls including Nation/Nation

H eart” , etc. - C olem an is obliged to lift such titles

Review, Theatre Australia, The National Times,

as The Getting of Wisdom and Puberty Blues out


The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian

of production sequence, w hich m akes fo r som e

Peter Coleman, Angus & Robertson, Sydney,

and, more recently, Encore.

‘c o n tin u ity’ confusion. The book has no in d e x fo r

1992, 158 pp., pb, rrp $16.95

The w riting is alw ays lively, even w here the subject m atter appears dated. R epetitions o c ­

THE INESSENTIAL ELLIS Bob Ellis, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1992, 160 pp., pb, rrp $14.95

ready title referencing, no film ography, no b ib li­ ography, but does include som e illustrations.

cur, inevitable perhaps in an a nthology of this

A separate ch a p te r is devoted to m ost of the

kind. It reinforces our perceptions of Ellis as

fe a tu re s and typ ica lly consists of production

obsessive, avow edly socialist, conte m p tu o u s of

backg ro u nd/details, plot tra n scrip tio n and c riti­

petty bureaucrats, cultural cringers and ill-in ­

cal response. Robin W ood, P auline Kael, et al,

form ed knockers alike, but generous in his praise

are quoted extensively. S om e film s are d is ­

The m odest paperback releases late last year of

of those w ho have endeavoured to contribute to

cussed at length. O thers get very short shrift:

old and new essays by Bob Ellis and the first

A ustralian cultural life. His evocation of place

Her Alibi, Money Movers. David Williamson’s

m ajor study of Bruce B eresford have more in

and tim e, the perm anence of one, the transience

The Club is ‘co ve re d ’ in less than a page (P eter

com m on than the pub lish e r’s series title, Im print { Lives.

of the other, is quite m oving and m ore p ro ­

C olem an is a S ydney-based w riter).



Even w ith the m ore c o n tro v e rs ia l film s,

nounced as his w riting m atures.

Ellis is, am ong oth e r things, a scrip tw rite r

His 1988 piece on Palm Beach is especially

C olem an is re lu c ta n tto leave anything u n d e rth e

w ho is “currently a film d ire cto r” ; B eresford is a

poignant, in the light of news of the recent fire

m icroscope too long, preferring to end such

film dire cto r w ho often w rites scripts. The tw o

w hich co m pletely gutted his fa m ily hom e and its

chapters w ith a throw aw ay line, rather than

w ere u n d e rg ra d u a te c o lle a g u e s in S ydney.

contents (“ here w as m em ory, lobotom ized aw ay

som ething m ore probing. It’s th a t sort of book:

B e re sfo rd ’s first m ajor film effort, The Devil to

in fla m e ”). The irony of this disa ste r occurring on

b ite-size chunks of inform ation, nothing too

Pay (1961), w as covered on location by Ellis in

the sam e day as the launch of his Hewson Tapes

heavy. Colem an describes the tensions betw een

the u niversity press. Both w ere able to tap the

publication was not lost on the w rite r - but the

B eresford and R obert Duvall on the set of Ten­

“new m ood of rage, ridicule and ra d ica lism ” in

media, as he m ight have expected, was more

der Mercies, fo r exam ple, and concludes the

the early 1970s and establish form idable reputa­

interested in the fire than the book.

ch a p te r w ith reference to D uva ll’s New Y ork

tions in the ensuing years. Both are now in th e ir

The m ost interesting parts of the Inessential

party, throw n w hen the film w as released, fo r a

early fifties: Ellis still the enfant terrible of A u s ­

Ellis are those w hich had not p reviously been

group of artists and friends. “Bruce B eresford

tralian letters, B eresford still a rguably A u s tra ­

p u b lis h e d -in particular, his “S peech on Turning

w as not am ong th e m ” , adds the author.

lia’s best-know n journeym an director.

F ifty” , “How to B luff Y our W ay Through the

Sim ilarly, in recounting the various trib u te s at

For all th e ir conte m p o ra n e ity, how ever, ref­

E ighties” (“W hen A le xa n d e r the G reat w as my

the end of the ‘Breaker’ Morant ch a p te r C o le ­

erences to each othe r in the tw o p ublications are

age he’d been dead e ight years. It sounded

man notes, “Bruce B eresford received $A 25,000

scant. T his is surprising in E llis’ case, since his

better w hen it w as e ight m onths but y o u ’ve got to

fo r m aking the film .” (p. 88)

w ork refers sh am elessly to alm ost every notable

keep up w ith the tim e s” , p. 139) -

and the

A gain, to conclude a nother chapter, we are

political, a rtistic and cultural identity of the past

plaintive “A W rite r’s Lot” , the vo lu m e ’s longest

told: “The Fringe Dwellers continues to be p opu­

three decades. The book contains 33 essays,

and m ost hea rtfe lt piece. As a ca u tio n a ry tale, it

lar in A boriginal ce n tre s.” (p. 122)

m any of w hich w ill be fa m ilia r to those who have

a lm ost w arrants pre re q uisite reading status fo r

If the general th ru s t of such com m ents is to

enjoyed the w rite r’s acerbic style cultivated v a ri­

anyone co ntem plating a w riting ca re e r in this

d epict B eresford as m isunderstood, u n d e rva l­

ously over the years as film /te le visio n /th e a tre

country, or at least fo r those w ith m ortgages!

ued, underappreciated or w hatever, it needs a

critic, diarist, colum nist, etc., fo r a range of 52 • C I N E M A



D irecting a film is no picnic either, and P eter

m ore sustained argum ent than is generated

here. Keith C o n n olly’s m onograph on B eresford,

the best of the biblical m ovies” . There is a sim ilar

M cKenna, and the other w ith film ’s p ro d u ce ra n d

p u b lished in Cinema Papers fo llo w in g the re­

sug g e stio n th a t B e re sfo rd ’s fa ilu re to pick up an

co -w rite r M ichael Relph. T aken together, the

lease of ‘Breaker’ Morant in one of a (very)

O sca r fo r Driving Miss Daisy, “the film th a t d i­

interview s enhance the w ider context of the

occasional series on A ustra lia n dire cto rs, p ro ­

rected itse lf” , derived from the app a re n t ease,

film ’s production.

vides a b e tte r feel fo r the th e m e s/p re o ccu p a -

the anonym ity, the seam lessness of the finished

One other good example is the discussions on

tions in his film s and, in so doing, m ounts a

w ork. To other critics, B e re sfo rd ’s film s are “p re ­

the making of A Tale of Two Cities (1958). Pro­

b e tte r case fo r taking his w o rk seriously.

d ig e ste d ” or “p o n d e ro u s” . The argum ent, says

ducer Betty Box wanted this film shot in colour for

In relying e xte n sive ly on in te rvie w s w ith

C olem an, is unending. W hat he has given us in

added comm ercial prospects. McFarlane is quite

B eresford, it is possible th a t C olem an has s im ­

this affectionate, if le ss-th a n -d e fin itive , portrait

astute in this case because he pursues the ques­

ply been too close to his subject. B e re sfo rd ’s

of the a rtist is perhaps a co n ve n ie n t point at

tion of colour in the subsequent interview with the

own jud g e m e n ts are not w ith o u t blind spots. The

w hich to sta rt the a rgum ent anew.

film ’s director, Ralph Thomas, who admits to shoot­

Adventures of Barry McKenzie, fo r exam ple, he

ing in black and white because of the emerging

now regards as a celebrated fiasco, responsible


fo r alm ost destroying his care e r as a film d ire cto r


vague. It is a revealing instance of aesthetic rea­

before it had hardly begun. Yet he d efended the


sons grating against comm ercial hopes.

film vig o ro u sly in print at the tim e of the film ’s

influence of the French cinem a of the nouvelle

Edited by Brian McFarlane. Foreword by Googie

In o th e r instances, M cF arlane’s questions

release, and m ost A ustralia n film w riters now,

Withers. BFI Publishing with the assistance of

d isplay a vast know ledge of the period, w hich

rightly, regard it as a pivotal film in the revival of

Monash University, London and Melbourne,

lead his ‘su b je cts’ through a m aze of cinem atic

th e lo ca l in d u s try d u rin g th e e a rly 1970s.

1992, 260 pp., hb, rrp $40.

w ork th a t often elicit fascinating behind-the-

T u rnaw ay crow ds at its tw e n tie th a n n ive rsa ry screening at the S tate Film T heatre in M el­


scenes stories.


Furthermore, the reader may im mediately think

bourne last ye a r indicated that, fo r all its c ru d i­

T here is not anything much to say of Brian

of notable absences in this collection of voices:

ties, Barry McKenzie is still no m useum piece.

M cF arla n e ’s Sixty Y o /ce so th e rth a n praise. This

that is, major players who have passed away -

O th e r le ss-publicized aspects of B e re sfo rd ’s

book grew out of a project M cFarlane had fo r

Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger and James

c a re e r are glossed over. B eresford, it m ight be

ano th e r book w hich w as to explore the parallels

Mason for example. However, unwittingly, their

recalled, w as the first officia l a d vise r to the

betw een A ustralian cinem a of the 1970s and

role during this period of British cinema is actually

E xperim ental Film and T e le visio n Fund after

’80s and British cinem a of the 1940s and ’50s.

covered at some length. In so many of the topics

returning from B ritain in the early 1970s. C o le ­

He too k the parallel periods as exam ples of

and films brought up for discussion the inter­

man, in his ca p a city at the tim e as C hairm an of

E nglish-speaking co untries seeking to establish

viewees talk of their collaborations with such fig­

the Film and T elevision C o m m ittee of the then

cultural identity of th e ir own in the face of A m e ri­

ures. In short, although figureheads like Powell are

A u stralian C ouncil fo rth e A rts, w ould have been

can dom inance of th e ir screens. This project is

absent, their enduring influence is still felt. In quite

w ell placed to com m ent on B e re sfo rd ’s key role

co-authored w ith G eoff M ayer and published as

a fe w interviews, Powell is discussed at length, and

in relation to the fledgling Film Fund but d o e s n ’t

New Australian Cinema: Sources and Parallels

the stories give a well-rounded portrait of this

acknow ledge it at all. From the sam e period,

in American and British Film.

director’s approach to the everyday side of film

reference is m ade to a B eresford do cu m e n ta ry

Sixty Voices is a collection of interview s co n ­


on the S ydney O pera H ouse, w hich appears in

ducted by M cFarlane of sixty perso n a litie s -

M cF a rla n e ’s know ledge and com m itm ent to

no o th e r listing of the film m a k e r’s w ork, w hile the

actors, directors, producers, s c rip tw rite rs -w h o

the w ork brings alive a period of British cinem a

in te resting Wreck of the Batavia (1974) is d is ­

w ere m ajor players in the B ritish cinem a during

all but forgotten, and rarely addressed these

m issed in a paragraph.

the ’40s and ’50s period. The approach of Sixty

days. In m any ways, M cF arlane’s terrain here is

By contrast, the much m aligned King David,

Voices, as d e lineated by M cFarlane in the in tro ­

relatively uncharted. Thus, Sixty Voices w ill sit

C olem an contends, “m ay yet com e to be seen as

duction, carries the forbidding sense of a w eighty

co m fo rta b ly w ith the to o-few existing volum es

sch o la rly study. Yet even a quick glance

w hich look at B ritish cinem a, w orks such as

th rough the pages of interview s and this

R aym ond D u rg n a t’s A Mirror for England, Roy

im pression is im m ediately dispelled. It is all

A rm e s’ A Critical History of British Cinema and

too easy to get lost in this book as the

A le xa n d e r W a lke r’s Hollywood, England. M ore­

reader becom es fu rth e r and fu rth e r en­

over, the book m akes a w elcom e supplem ent to

grossed w ith each p a rticu la r view of the

a num ber of studies of individual personnel or

British cinem a as gleaned from the w ords

auto b io g ra p h ical w orks; M ichael P ow ell’s A Life

of each interview ee.

in the Movies and Million Dollar Movies are tw o

A lthough not as academ ic as the first

recent exam ples.

im pression gives, this book is nonetheless

The strength of Sixty Voices lies in the s e le c­

a useful reference tool fo r sch o la rly re­

tion of interview ees. Here we m eet a diverse

search, not to fo rg e t anyone w ith a passing

range of people, som e fam iliar, som e not so, and

interest in British cinem a. The fo rm a t a l­

som e very fam ous.

lows the reader to cro ss-re fe re n ce on a

Overall, M cFarlane’s editing of this gallery of

num ber of given film s, subjects and per­

people reveals just how much the process of

sonnel. For exam ple, if the reader needed

cinema is a collaborative and complex art. It is

an idea of the production history of The

clear from Sixty Voices that, although the British

Ship That Died of Shame (1955), d irected

cinem a of the 1940s and ’50s may never have

by Basil D earden, the film is given c o v e r­

been a threat to its Am erican counterpart, there is

age th rough th re e interview s. Tw o of the

no question the galaxy of studios, entrepreneurs

interview s fe a tu re the principal actors, Sir

and movie personnel were responsible for some

R ic h a rd

enduring and very British cinem atic productions.

A tte n b o r o u g h


V ir g in ia



93 - 5 3


Film Classics


CAMERA TERMS A N D CONCEPTS David Elkins, Focal Press, Boston-London, 1993, 137pp., pb, rrp $39.95 A very useful “A to Z” of technical term s and concepts for cam era equipment, with explanatory diagram s and illustrations. Abook for beginning practitioners

A new series o f books prov iding concise, cutting-edge reassessment o f the classic works o f the cinem a.

The Films of Alfred Hitchcock This book examines the influences and the themes that run through many of Hitchcock's films, from the 'transference of guilt', to the connection between knowledge and danger, the overlooked impor­ tance of his presence within his films, and the question of viewing him and his work through the auteur theory. Films examined in depth include Blackmail, Shadow of a Doubt, The Wrong Man, Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds. 160 pp

16 half-tones 0 521 39814 2

The Films of Woody Allen The first full-length study ofWoody Allen the artist as opposed to the celebrity and personality. Sam Girgus argues that Allen is a major artistic force on the cutting edge ofcontemporary critical and cultural consciousness who challenges our notions of authorship, narrative, perspective, character, theme, ideology, gender and sexuality. Paperback 228x152 mm

ELECTRONIC MEDIA RATINGS Karen Buzzard, Focal Press, Boston-London, 1992, 119 pp., pb, rrp $27

M AKING M ONEY IN FILM A N D VIDEO A FREELANCER’S HANDBOOK Raul daSilva, Focal Press, Boston-London, 1992, 177 pp., pb, rrp $55 As is clear from their respective titles, these two books are worlds apart. But both have one central thrust in common: how to make a buck. The first is steeped in the social sciences. It deals in statistical data of audience monitoring and market trends, and how to read this data. Ratings, for example, are a consum er guide to which one tailors product, and which looks to understand the gap between audience taste and the entertainm ent media.



confounding jargon term s such as “cross hairs” , “mag jam ” or “wigwag light” .



$25.00 Paperback 228x152 mm

and students of film, especially useful for those eager to figure out som e of the

192 pp 4 half-tones 0 521 38999 2

The second book is a ‘how to ’ guide designed for film school graduates who are without experience In the practical field. This book is concerned with bridging the gap between the graduate’s schooling and the day-to-day reality of selling one’s product and/or skills in the media industry.

INSIDE SPINAL TAP Peter Occhiogrosso, Abacus, London, 1992, 113 pp., pb, rrp $24.95 One of the funniest movies of 1984 was This is Spinal Tap, a parody of the rock

The Films of Roberto Rossellini

docum entary directed by Rob Reiner. This is Spinal Tap rescued an ageing


rock group from oblivion. The film chronicled the band’s last infamous American

This book traces Rossellini's career through close analysis of the seven films that mark important turning points in his evolution: The Man with a Cross, Open City, Paisan, TheMachine toKillBadPeople, Voyage in Italy, General della Rovere and The Rise to Power of Louis XIV. Beginning with his work within the fascist cinema, it discusses Rossellini's invention of neo-realism, films made with Ingrid Bergman in the 1950's and the return, late in his career, to non-realist cinema.

tour .Inside Spinal Tap is a postscript to that tour and an exposé of the


Paperback 228x152 mm

256 pp

51 half-tones

phenomenon that is Spinal Tap. The book is “the story the movie didn’t dare tell”, and is itself a parody of rock publications, littered with interviews, expertlystaged colour photographs of the band on tour, and reprints of personal items and correspondences. Like the film, Inside Spinal Tap is very, very humorous.


a n a r r a t iv e o f


James Fenimore Cooper, Penguin Books, London, 1992, 430pp., pb, rrp $12.95

0 521 39866 5

This is a film tie-in edition of the classic tale by James Fenimore Cooper, who

The Films of Wim Wenders

was born in 1789. Cooper is considered in major and minor studies of Am erican


literature and the film W estern to have pioneered the Leatherstocking tale, the

The authors trace the development of one of the most well-known directors of the New German Cinema that flourished in the 1970's and early 1980's. Examining Wim Wenders' career from his early film school productions through his mature works of the 1970's, this book also analyses the most recent works, as well as the themes and preoccupations that unite his oeuvre.

most im portant 19th-Century developm ent in the genre of the West. The Last


Paperback 228x152 mm

192 pp

60 half-tones

0 521 38976 3

Motion Studies

The past thirty years have seen the proliferation of forms of independent cinema that challenge the conventions of mass-market commercial movies form within the movie theatre. Scott MacDonald discusses fifteen of the most suggestive and useful films of the avantgarde tradition, providing an accessible, jargon-free critical apparatus for viewing such works. 192 pp 64 half-tones

seriesare The Pioneers {1823), The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Deerslayer (1841). The Lastof the Mohicans was written in 1826 and is the most renowned of the Natty Bumppo adventures.



Paperback 228x152 mm

archetypal frontiersman and scout, Natty Bumppo. The other novels In the


Avant-Garde Film


of the Mohicans, in particular, is singled out as a major contribution to the conventions of the Western. The novel is one of a series featuring the

0 521 38821 X

Commonwealth of Australia, 1992, 72 pp., pb, rrp $9.95 This is the first research study undertaken by the Office of Film and Literature Classification into comm unity attitudes regarding the depiction of violence, sex, nudity and coarse language in the m explores a num berof issues relating to: concern over children having access to M- and R-rated material; the need for consum er advice to com plem ent the various classifications; the question of whether screen violence Is likened to real life violence; and how the viewing environm ent determines acceptance (or otherwise) of various types of m ate­ rial. The study also recom mends further research into issues of: how people


form their attitudes to television, film and video; the classification of Pay TV; and the role of such factors as narrative context, quality of production and the influence of the viewing environm ent on view er perception.

10 Stamford Road (PO Box 85), Oaklcigh, Victoria 3166

The release of this study invites com m ent from other research projects which may supplem ent this study.

54 • C I N E M A




‘the best literary magazine now publishing in English south of the equator, and one of the three or four best. . . anywhere in the world Robert Hughes


One of Australia’s most innovative and prestigious journals, Scripsi enjoys an established position in Australian literary circles and has been acclaimed overseas. As well as publishing Australia’s leading writers, Scripsi has attracted a number of distinguished overseas contributors, including Germaine Greer, Harold Bloom, Michel Toumier, Susan Sontag, Raymond Carver and John Ashbery.

Vol. 8

Highlights of this issue ■ Volume 8 Number 3

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★ Dying Dragon: Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven by Peter Schjeldahl

~k Coppola’s Dracula:

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MELBOURNE Thurs April 29, from 7pm State Film Theatre, East Melbourne Fri April 30, from 7pm State Film Theatre, East Melbourne





Sun May 2, from 7pm State Cinema, North Hobart Mon May 3, from 7pm State Cinema, North . Hobart

Wed May 12, from 7pm Classic Cinema, East Brisbane Thurs May 13, from 7pm Classic Cinema, East Brisbane

Thurs May 20, from 7pm Academy Cinemas, Hindmaish Square

Sun June 6, from 2pm and 7pm Museum of Arts and Sciences


ALICE SPRINGS Tue June 8, from 7pm Araluen Centre



Wed May 26, from 7pm Griffith Duncan Theatre, University of Newcastle

Fri May 7, from 7pm National Library

Mon May 17, from 7pm Lumiere Cinema Tue May 18, from 7pm Lumiere Cinema

TOWNSVILLE Wed June 23, from 7pm Warrina Cineplex



93 - 55



he nine new CDs of film m usic review ed

m elting pot, som e of w hich are effective, som e

the N ewton tracks, w hile vocalists S hirley Horn,

hereunder com e from recent m ajor m ov­

derivative. “V am pire H unters” (Track 2) sounds

G eorgie Fame (a great “ Easy S tre e t”) and Al

ies, and, at the very least, each disc is e x c e l­

like a less exciting version of “ M ars” from H o lst’s

Jarreau are heard on others. The sensuous sax

lently recorded and sp le n d id ly played by m usi­

Planet Suite, and the m a jo rth e m e pays hom age

by David S anborn on T rack 9 (“D ay D ream ”) is

cians of the highest calibre.

to P rokofiev.

positively orgasm ic.


W ith the exception of Sneakers, a film w hich

C lusters of sharp brass chords, pounding

Sister Act (H ollyw ood H R -61334-2) is no

I have yet to catch, all the scores w orked equally

piano and drum s, and voices make “The S torm ”

great movie, but the use of m usic th ro u g h o u t is

well in the cinem a; on disc, how ever, to p a ra ­

(Track 6) interesting, and “ Love R em em bered”

cle ve r and often w itty. M arc S haem an gets the

phrase Mr O rwell, som e are more equal than

(T rack 7) has som e lovely flute work.

w e ll-d e se rved credit fo r providing the a rra n g e ­

Throughout, the m elodic elem ents are not

m ents fo r D elores and the S isters and such new

Unforgiven, E astw ood’s pow erful, moody,

strong, being based on the first three notes of

slants on “ My G uy” as the My God parody.

m elancholy W estern, has a spare score by Lennie

various m inor scales, but K ila r’s score overall

C om edy in m usic is rare enough to be w elcom e

N iehaus (Varese S arabande V S D 5380). The

m akes interesting listening w ith o u t ever quite

w hen it appears.

m ajority of the 24 tracks on the disc run about

convincing you th a t yo u ’re in the hands of a


Home Alone II (Fox 11002-2) as a film was more of the sam e ladled out in

the m inute-or-less mark, g iv­ ing little o pportunity fo r an y­

Home Alone. John W illiam s p ro ­

thing to develop.

vided a surprisingly rich score fo r

E astw ood’s own co m p o si­

the first and does the sam e here.

tion, titled “C laudia’s T hem e” ,

Of all the discs under review, this

turns up a num ber of tim es.

stands up best as a sa tisfa cto ry

First heard on solo guitar, cour­

m usical experience.

tesy Laurim edo Alm eida, it is

T here are som e beautiful carol

given to the strings and horns

arrangem ents, much w it, a nice

on T rack 9, to guitar again (with

C hristm as song (lyrics by Leslie

orchestral backing) on T racks

B ricusse), and superb orchestral

15 and 18. There is a minor-

playing. If it all sounds a bit like a

key v a ria n to n T ra c k 2 1 and (by

program m e from the Boston Pops,

far the longest track on the disc)

it’s only to be expected since th a t’s

a 5’4 1 ” extension on T rack 24,

the orchestra W illiam s conducts

beginning and ending w ith solo

these days w hen he isn ’t earning

guitar, but building in betw een

m illions w riting a score fo r a m ovie. Jam es

to a big, lush string o rch e stra ­

H o r n e r ’ s s c o re

fo r

tion. V ery pretty and m elan­

Sneakers (C olum bia C K 5 3 1 146) is

choly, but not a score w orth

the CD from this batch which seem s

recording in its entirety.

the m ost original in sound and style

The Last of the Mohicans

overall. H orner’s them es are a l­

(M organ C reek2959-2 0 0 1 5 -2 )

w ays interesting, cleverly scored,

is a return in style to the old

and stand up w ell aw ay from the

H ollyw ood epic w ith a score by


R andy

Using the beautiful soprano sax

E delm an, w hich leans heavily

of Bradford Marsalis, floating above

T re v o r J o n e s


on G aelic them es, acceptable in context since this is set in A m e rica ’s colonial days w ith the British of the “colo n ia ls” fighting the French.

m aster m usician. M onotony sets in after a co u ­

Philip G lass-like rhythm s and „chord patterns

ple of hearings.

(plus voices), he creates an hypnotic, charm ing

T hom as N ewm an has w ritten an attractive

and d elicate series of - well, sneaky - sound

Just how the tw o gents collaborated on the

score fo r Scent of a Woman (M CSD 10759), one

music. If “The Sneakers Them e” T rack (3) doesn’t

score is hard to say, but on the disc it’s sim ple:

g e n e ra lly fre e of the sentim ent and phony “u plift”

d e light you, I’ll be surprised. It’s a beautifully

T racks 1 to 9 are by Jones; T racks 10 to 15 by

w hich dam ages the movie (although T ra ck 16

recorded and played disc, by the way.

Edelm an. The m usic is both m elodic and rh yth ­

backs up the young h e ro ’s “sa lva tio n ” in no

m ically propulsive. The main them e is e la b o ­

uncertain m anner).

Last, but not least, is P atrick D oyle’s score fo r Indochine (W EA 9031-7738-2), w hich w as

rately w orked into the score a num ber of tim es

Sam ple T rack 1 (“ Main T itle ”) both fo r its

recorded in London by a very big sym phonic

(“ Fort B attle” , T rack 5, and “ M a ssa cre /C a no e s” ,

m elodic charm and the delicate quality of the

com bination with the em phasis on strings. There

T rack 8, fo r exam ple) and, though overall there

orchestration and, if you like it, you w o n ’t be

are 21 tracks on the disc and plenty of variety.

d isappointed w ith the rest.

W hile the score lacks a m em orable them e, there

is a sam eness in tone, there is also enough

T ra ck 3 (“T ra ct H ouse G inch”) introduces

is no shortage of atm ospheric back-up w ith tracks

another, m ore jagged them e, first heard in the

e ntitled “ Le bateau en fe u ” , “ L’Tle du d ragon” and

The final track, perform ed by C lannard and

film as Pacino hits New York, w hich provides

“ N aissance et revolution” .

called “ I W ill Find Y ou” , is too vague to be

fu rth e r variety. T here are also tw o tango tracks


as well, but a little of th a t goes a long way.

ingenuity in the orchestration to keep one in te r­ ested.

A special credit to Law rence A shm ore fo r his splendid orchestrations, w hich are in m any w ays

The score fo r Bram Stoker’s Dracula (C olum ­

The CD from Glengarry Glen Ross (E lek’t ra

m ore in teresting than D oyle’s m usical ideas. Try

bia C K 53165) com es com plete w ith an Annie

961384-2) should d elight lovers of ja zz of the

T ra ck 18 (“G enerique du film ”) w hich runs 4 ’28”

Lennox ditty called “ Love Song For A V a m p ire ” ,

big-band variety. Jam es N ewton H oward p ro ­

and com bines som e of the m usic h e a rd ’ e lse ­

a fo rg e tta b le effort w hich even d ie d -in-the-w ool

vides the original m usic (six o fth e sixteen tracks),

w here on the disc. If you enjoy this, you: cap

Lennox fans will find hard to get excited about.

the rest com es from a w ide va rie ty of sources, all

sa fe ly add the score of Indochine to y o u rc o lle c -

of them first-cla ss.


The score (by W ojciech Kilar) is a bit like C oppola’s film : it throw s diverse ideas into the 56 • C I N E M A



W ayne S h o rte r’s sax playing is fe a tu re d on


F; R O M



about ourselves that we regard as precious if we

gins of some of their characters, while Australian

want to make films that overseas audiences will

critic Brian McFarlane conducted a session on

watch. “Changing ‘doona’ to ‘eiderdown’ or ‘m ate’

melodrama in Australian, American and British

The conference proper began with the pre­

to ‘friend’ doesn’t matter a hoot. W e’re too defen­

films. Laurie Mclnnes (Broken Highway, 1993) and

miere screening of conference icon Bob Ellis’ long-

sive about being Australian; we need to put that

playwright Daniel Keene talked about the “war

awaited The Nostradamus Kid. This proved a pro­


tracted ordeal for many, and not sim ply because

between words and im ages” , and John Flaus,

This interchange prompts the reflection that

actor/writer and film -buff extraordinaire explained

the hour was late or the head befuddled by cock­

The Nostradamus Kid was too narrow in its appeal

the actor’s task of characterization and how writers

tails. Ellis’ rambling, intensely personal film, which

even within A ustraliato justify the public resources

can help.

he wrote and directed, lacks both the dramatic

allocated to it, especially as Ellis’ inability to dis­

Particularly interesting was the sem inar on

structure and artistic objectivity that enables Brit­

tance himself from the film leaves the viewer long­

reality drama conducted by writer Ian David (Joh’s

ish w riter-director Terence Davies, for instance, to

ing for some good editing and restructuring, addi­

Jury), producer Tristram Miall (Cane Toads, 1987,

distance him self from his ego and make from the

tional writing and stronger direction.

circum stances of his life a work of art.

and Strictly Ballroom, 1992) and lawyer John Howie,

While there is obviously a real danger that we

who stimulated debate on the many intriguing

Interestingly, the keynote address given by

can become internationalized and lose our identity

questions associated with the making of docu-

w riter-director John Dingwall (Sunday Too Far

in a scramble for markets, it is hard to find evi­

dramas and historical reconstructions generally:

Away, 1975) plunged im mediately into some of the

dence that this has occurred so far. In a troubled

What is reality? To what extent is the truth of an

issues raised by the failure of The Nostradamus

economy with a small population, com plementary

historical event compromised when it is translated

Kid. Dingwall’s address concentrated on his latest

film financing is contingent on commercial viabil­

to the screen? In what way does the entertainment

film , The Custodian, starring Hugo W eaving,

ity. This was made clear to conference delegates

imperative impact on the truth of reality dramas?

Anthony LaPaglia and Barry Otto, which was still in

by representatives of the Australian Film Finance

Some of the answers opened doors to further

post-production though already sold and promoted

Corporation who emphasized that even its invest­

questions, others were pithy and satisfying. Ian

overseas. He predicted that the next five years

ments, which depend on government subsidy and

David’s reason for writing Joh’s Jury was particu­

would see a world-wide shift in interest to A ustral­

shrink each year, are only going to be forthcoming

larly appealing, “I wanted to get to the emotional

ian film s as film m akers recovered their energy,

if the film maker can demonstrate good prospects

truth of the story even if individual lines or charac­

and returned to making quality films after losing

of distribution and profits.

ters may be blurred” , as was his opinion of those

their way in the 1980s. To facilitate this, the thrust

Television w riter and script editor Graeme

of Dingwall’s argum ent was the importance of the

Farmer was also concerned with the effect on

script and the need for writers to dispose of their

scripts and culture of attempts to fund domestic

ego and listen to criticism if their stories are to be

projects with overseas money.

brought successfully to the screen.

In a seminar with Roger Simpson and Juliet

who wanted to sue him: “ Ethics is the last resort of those who want to coerce you to their opinion.” Added highlights were talks by Charles B. Griffith, who regaled his audience with hilarious tales about Hollywood in the good old days, and

Dingwall told his audience that Australians have

Grimm entitled “Cautionary Tales From the Level

Louis Nowra, co-writer of The Map of the Human

a talent for im provisation and ‘making do’, but

Playing Field”, Farmer painted a colourful and

Heart, Vincent W ard’s new film set in the Arctic

argues that this shouldn't apply to screenplays.

astute picture of the difficulties associated with

Circle, who supplied further daunting insights into

Dingwall wrote a ninety-page treatm ent of The

international co-productions, specifically French

the perils of co-productions.

Custodian which he showed people, asking them

and German. “They wanted wall-to-wall wombats

to comment on what they found boring. Most peo­

and koalas, while we wanted castles, wolves, Black

and William Link both painted a gloomy portrait of

ple he discovered became bored in the same

Forests and snow. We all wanted picture post-card

American culture. Moyle’s concern centres on the

places. He admits that listening to criticism takes

travelogues for the investors.”

Among the Americans present, Allan Moyle

unacknowledged despair at the heart of youth

courage, but claims that it is not the director’s or

Also enlightening was his account of culture

culture and how this manifests itself in self-m utila­

producer’s role to fix the story - it’s the w riter’s job.

clash between the pragmatic Australians and the

tion and passivity. He wrote Pump Up the Volume

Determined to maintain creative control of the

theory-driven French and Germans who talked

as a call to arms, and was disappointed that it

film, Dingwall wrote seventeen drafts of The Cus­

endlessly about “peripeteia” , “vectors of action”

failed to do as well in the U.S. as it did in Europe.

todian to test overseas, asking Americans to make

and “dram aturgy” . “Australian scriptwriters learn

Link’s chief concern is that commercial pres­

a list of words they didn’t understand, and chang­

by doing,” Farmer said. “They get thrown in the

sures impel the networks to show violence on

ing words like ‘doona’, ‘Inspector’ and even ‘mate’,

deep end and start by writing soap operas. Like

television because they are in the business of

to the more universally acceptable ‘eiderdown’,

gypsy violinists, we can’t tell you how to do it. We

selling advertising. He emphasized that attempts

‘S uperintendent’ and ‘friend’. Only when he was

play by ear. This approach alarms the Europeans.

by writers to bring quality drama to American

confident the script was right could he approach

But you have to join in and let them know that you

television are doomed to failure because content

investors and propose, “If you like the story, will

can speakthe language. Our anti-intellectualism is

is determined by ratings, and violence sells. For

you give us the money?” And it was because

carried too far, perhaps.”

this he blames Am erica’s puritan moral codes, in

LaPaglia liked the story so much that Dingwall was

As a measure of the different sensibilities that

able to lure him away from a seven-year contract

Australians and Europeans bring to film, Farmer

with Disney. LaPaglia, an Australian with a talent

cited the pedantry of a German producer who

Despite the best intentions of other writers and

for accents, went to America eight years ago,

always worried about where the characters were

his own input creating what he calls ‘cerebral

where he performed in theatre and on television

when they weren’t in a scene. English speakers

television dram a’, Link believes that television

before making his mark on film as a member of the

find this strange, he said, because we are more

reinforces negative values rather than the posi­

mob in Betsy’s Wedding (Alan Alda, 1990).

‘structure literate’ and have greater tolerance of

tive. He warned that the introduction of cable in


Australia will see a sharp increase in violence.

Dingwall contends that A ustralia’s physical dis­

particular the Hayes code of 1934, which allowed violence to supplant nudity.

tance from the rest of the world brings with it

He believes that English has no rival as a

“Cable has just as many adverts as free televi­

cultural differences that many in the U.S. and

screen language. Our narratives are analytical

sion” , he said. “The only difference is that we pay

Europe find alienating. He maintains that modify­

and forensic. We are concerned with the whys and

for it. The networks and cables are bordellos -

ing language and market-testing screenplays does

wherefores of motivation, while for the French lofty

they’re catering to the johns.” In the debate which

not necessarily compromise artistic integrity: “ I

themes are enough.

followed, censorship was thought powerless in the

want to write a screenplay on my terms that can be understood throughout the w orld.”

Othersessions were similarly illuminating. Allan Moyle spoke about the appeal of ‘ghost doctoring’

face of commercial pressure, and probably not desirable.

These propositions spurred Bob Ellis to retort

(rewriting scripts for lots of money but no screen

The conference.peaked on Saturday night dur­

that this path led to “Hollywood jackaroos” and the

credit), his difficulty in finding endings for stories,

ing the dinner and Trivia Quiz which was marked

Am ericanization of Australia. “We are in danger of

and his reluctance to shoulderthe burden of direct­

(as usual I am told) by infectious camaraderie and

inventing an Australia that isn’t there [...] the loss

ing. Madga Szubanski, Brendan Luno and Doug

riotous good humour. Memories are guaranteed to

o fo u ro w n culture is a sad, real thing” , but Dingwall

Macleod, creators of some of the funniest charac­

burn brightly until screenwriters from all over the

replied that it was necessary to discard concepts

ters in Australian television, spoke about the ori­

country meet again in two years time. CINEMA


■ 93 . 57

Laurie Mclnnes: Broken Highway CONTI NUED




Often that’s the case. You have to rid yourself of the actual hardware of the past in order to escape it. Do you see any similarities between Palisade and Broken Highway ? Oh, yeah, in the relentless journeying, of one foot in front of another. This is how you finally come to survive and it is one of the things Catherine says at the end of the film. I don’t actually have much sight of what’s up ahead. For example, all I know right now is that I have to get a better print from the lab, and after that I’ll find out whether the film will go to Cannes. It’s really one step in front of the other. I can’t anticipate anything. Who knows what’s going to happen? Broken Highway looks very barren, cold, black and surreal. Is this the way you see our society? I’ve got a funny brain, that’s for sure! I don’t know. I can’t really answer that question. That is how I pictured the film and it’s exactly what it should be. There are no strange elements anywhere in the whole thing. It’s a bit battered here and there, but it’s exactly what I wanted. We hear of Honeyfield through M ax, who describes it as idyllic and his dream place. Do you think Honeyfield ever was the way M ax describes it? I think Honeyfield is fantastic. Obviously we conjured it up. It is a fantastic, atmospheric place. The light is wonderful in the forest and the smells would be fantastic. I think M ax just forgot to include particular aspects of the place when he was talking about it. The people who five there don’t seem to be able to see Honeyfield in the way M ax sees it. Yeah, but I don’t think they are telling the truth, because if they left Honeyfield they would always be miserable. But it’s interesting that the character we mostly follow is Angel, and he seems to be a vehicle for us to learn about the other characters. He is basically male, too. I said before he is a cipher. He is male and female, but his character is in a male body, so he is culturally male. I think he represents what men are doing now, which is that a man shouldn’t actually battle too hard to understand. At some point, men have to start to absorb and just let the world happen to them, instead of trying to do the world. This is the stage Angel is at. There was a time when he would have been going out doing things but now he is a character growing up. The world has started to do it back to him and he’s letting it happen. In this sense, he is male, but, in allowing the world to affect him, there is something in there that’s female too. There are a few references in dialogue to the physical and sexual vulnerability of women in the film, and both the men and women are constantly aware of that. It is a real undercurrent of the film.

about the men wanting to be felt, loved, touched and honoured. If it were just sexual, these men would seize these women. The idea of these men wanting to possess these women could be done if it were just a sexual body thing. Each of these men is aware that they all want to be loved. This is the big mystery that seems to be facing men at the moment. They want to be loved and they are on the verge of it, and, every time one of them makes it, it’s great to see. I can see it in men’s films now, and in women’s films as well. There is a new union forming and it’s very fragile. So much of the film deals with memory because of the unresolved pasts of the characters, and also in the references to the old cars and other 1950s elements. These are metaphors for the baggage of unresolved life. One of the first lines that really jumps out is, “Why did the stakes have to get so high?” It sets a tone for the film in which people are dangerously playing against each other. Yes. Why does it have to get this hard before a deal is done? You avoid making a deal until the stakes get so high. There is no other way. A few times Angel seems genuinely incredulous of the fact that M ax never mentioned the women in his fife. Yes, he is. It is always a shock for men to find women have been important in other men’s lives. I think it’s true men believe that to own up to the fact they have loved women means that part of them is soft. They can’t bear to believe it. M ax is one of the more ‘together’ characters. He is more under­ standing and accepting of his past fife, yet he can’t come to terms or admit what is happening now. No, he can’t. But then we all see what happens to M ax. He could be different if he were going to be around longer. The two characters that seem most significant in the film are dead characters. They are the ones who link everyone together and motivate them. They are the parents. What we inherit from our parents, which determines who we are, are not just material things, but things in ourselves. These interior things come directly from parents, who are friends, who nurture us. Can you talk about the violence in the film? For me, the violence that takes place is appalling in the end. When I go into video shops, I’m in despair at all these shelves and shelves of men standing with guns. What can it give men to watch this garbage? It’s not going to solve anything for them. It’s a big bluff, a power trip. What do you think the role of film is in general?

Yes, it is. I might get to honour men for what they try to do for themselves. By the same token, there is a lot of disturbing stuff in this world. There is a lot of anger between men and women, but also a lot of attempts to help each other. We are certainly not there yet. On the other side of the coin, then, it’s because of the desirability of the women that they have a great deal of power. A lot of the conflict is based on the men desiring the women, who are very aware of it. Although it is not a sexual desire, because there is the wholeYhiiTg 58 • C I N E M A

P A P E R S 93

I actually can’t take the word or idea of role into my vocabulary very well. I don’t know if anyone has a role. No one has to obey what is laid out for them. The same goes for film. This film doesn’t have to do what other filins have done. I don’t think there is a grand message in Broken Highway. If there is, I don’t know what it is. There is a story and there is a message, but it’s not an overtly political message. Every^film is,, paying something, but Think it’s now muchjnore interesting for me to see _■

There is some very interesting and unusual editing in the film. How did you find your collaboration with Garry Hillberg?

You were saying before that everybody has the power to make their lives into what they want.

He has to be one of the best editors in Australia. He is a marvellous editor who has the gift of instant recall of an image. We had a ratio of 10 to 1, which is very little, and we had to manipulate the material. We got away with murder in some cases. I’d sit there every day with Garry and a lot of people said to me, “Why don’t you just leave him alone?” But we had such good fun, and I’ve been friends with Garry since film school. This is how we’ve always worked and it had never occurred to us he wouldn’t want me to be there.

I wish that were so. There are real political, cultural, economic and health reasons why some people can’t come to grips with their lives, and who are going to be cheated out of life. It’s where the die is cast. Even with the idea that everybody has the capacity of love, I really don’t know how many of us will make it. That’s the bottom line. Is there a moral to Broken Highway ? Moral means there is a lesson in the film, doesn’t it? There is no lesson to be learnt. What I am going to say is something I’ve understood for myself: you may get hurt but so what! It doesn’t matter if you say whatever you feel to people because it’s the people who really know you who matter. Other people might assume things, but it actually doesn’t matter because they don’t know you. People cannot actually hurt you much. I think this is the case with film and with the way you live. Again, I’m talking from a particular position. I’m not in an economic or culturally vulnerable situation at the moment. I am talking for myself and to other filmmakers. I’m not talking to people who can’t fend for themselves.

Was it difficult to make the kind of film you wanted for only S1.4 million?

It was hard work, but knowing you have $1.4 million you design the film for $1.4 million. It was really very hard. I’m not whingeing or saying, “I wish I had $17 million”, because $17 million would be just as hard. For a film with a very particular look, it is hard no matter the amount of money. Making a film needs a huge amount of work whether you have millions or $50,000. The amount of labour is exactly the same. The only reason I got away with it is because I had extremely gifted people. Steve Mason, the actors, the art director - all of these people were spot on. It’s the only way you can do it and it’s very cruel to ask inexperienced people.

Are you saying it’s not necessary to seek defence or revenge or to explain yourself?

Yes. With a lot of recent films, the film industry in general seems more buoyant of late. The era of tele-movie mentality has gone. There seems to be a market for idiosyncratic films, and I think this is because we have matured as a population as well.

No, I’m much more human than that. I seek all those things. I seek revenge, absolutely. There is always a balance, and this is really important because if you are someone who is educated to the point where you can be a filmmaker, who has the trust of the money people from the government and is entrusted with experience, then you have no right to lie about your own feelings. If you make actors lie, then you should be exiled. If you are not honest in your filmmaking, you actually inhibit the filmmaking process.

Do you have any future projects planned?

So you believe filmmakers should only speak their own truths?

Do you think there is new hope for slightly more unconventional films to be successful?

I’ve just started working on the next one now. It’s the next station on, the next part of the journey. Where I had got to with Broken Highway is what is carrying me now to this next one. But it’s not a sequel as such? N o. But the same thing I’m bewildered by in Broken Highway, which is the gender disturbance between man and woman, is there. And the unfulfilled aspect of childhood experiences you were talking about before?

The only reason I seem to be paying much attention to this is because I had such a good ‘heart and soul’ childhood. It sounds silly, but I’ve suddenly discovered this big secret: there are people who were not loved as children. It’s awful and terrible and very common.

Not necessarily their own truths, but they should connect with the earnestness of the process. Actors put themselves on the line, so you shouldn’t use human beings to just mouth things. For example, you can’t ask a woman to be a rape victim just because it suits the story. You cannot lie about who this person is. This is a woman with a heart and feelings, whose whole being and body is a result of these things. You can’t just ask her to lay down and have the baddy come in and beat her up. To ask a human being to go through that, or a man to be a rapist, is immoral. I don’t believe you can get away with this anymore. Filmmakers who believe they are doing this for commercial or aesthetic reasons are worthless as people. |

★ T O A D V E R T IS E In c in e m a p a p e r s C O N T A C T DEBRA SHARP O N (0 3 ) 4 2 9 5511



93 • 59

A u s t r a l i s F ir s t F il m s CONTI NUED




In the classified advertisement section of the same magazine, Sestier’s departure from Australia is confirmed: A competent member of our [Baker & Rouse] staff having received full instructions for the manipulation of the films from Mons. Sestier, Lumière’s late representative; we are now prepared to undertake the development, printing and colouring of cinématographe films to order.75 Marius Sestier probably left Australia in late April or early May 1897. I have not been able to determine the date or point of departure. It may have been Perth, and certainly his exhibition activities there demand further investigation through Western Australia’s regional newspapers. Sestier’s impact on the history of motion pictures in Australia should not be underestimated. He produced the first significant corpus of Australian film, systematically introduced motion picture technology as something more than a flash-in-the-pan novelty, and trained sufficient technical personnel in film production and exhi­ bition to continue his work in Australia after his departure. Hopwood’s pioneering text book, Living Pictures (London, 1899), admirably sùmmarizes the contribution of the Lumières and their regional agents: To them must be attributed the credit of stimulating public interest to such a pitch as to lay a firm foundation for the commercial future of cinematographic projecting apparatus.76 E

n v o i

• Marius Sestier returned to France, possibly via Indo-China and Japan where he may have shot film with another operator named Veyre.77 Qn his return home, he assumed directorship of the Lumière Patents Company up to the time of his death in 1928.78 • Henry Walter Barnett, after shooting a few films of the Sydney cricket tests in December 189779, ceased movie production. He sold his “Falk” studio to J. Brooks Thornley in Sydney late in 1898 and moved permanently to London.80 He spent the rest of his life in wealth in comfort, and was the sole Australian member of the “Linked Ring” brotherhood of photog­ raphers. In 1916, he moved to Dieppe in France81 and on 16 January 1934 he passed away quietly in Nice on the French Riviera.82 In our next instalment, we examine the work of the forgotten Australian film production pioneers of the 1890s: Thwaites and Harvie (Melbourne); Mark Blow (Sydney); Alfred Haddon, G. Boivin and Fred Wills (Queensland); and Stephen Bond (Mel­ bourne). After Sestier’s initial trials, these were the men who established documentary production in Australia, which culmi­ nated in the later “corporate” work of the Salvation Army. A C K N O W LED G EM EN TS

My sincere thanks, above all other acknowledgements, must go to Pat Laughren of Griffith University (Brisbane) for his moral, academic and financial assistance. The systematic research financed by Griffith University on their “Queensland Vintage Film Project” has spun off through these Cinema Papers articles into a complete re-write early of Australian film history as a whole. Clive Sowry in Wellington, New Zealand, gave valuable aid in scrutinizing my research and adding missing pieces from his own 60 • C I N E M A



meticulous work. In Brisbane, Richard Fotheringham and Dr. Jane Crisp were able to add elements of the story surviving only in France. Gael Newton’s initial “push” was responsible for starting this project, and the newspaper staff of the state libraries of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania helped me to follow it through. W. J. F. Stubbs of Sydney, RonWest ofPomona (Queensland), Graham Shirley of Sydney and the Perier family of Sydney all added crucial parts to the Sestier saga. John Barnes of St. Ives, England, provided access to some extremely obscure French texts on the work of the Lumières. Phil Grace was especially helpful by assisting me with information on cinema apparatus. While I have been critical of the National Film & Sound Archive’s “COMAT” project, I cannot sufficiently thank several individuals within NFS A for their valued aid. Ken Berryman and the staff of the NFSA Melbourne office were endlessly helpful, as were Meg Labrum, Marilyn Dooley, Helen Ludellen and James McCarthy.*1 FO O TN O TES

1 Jack Cato, The Story o f the Camera in Australia, Institute of Australian Photographers, Melbourne, 1977, pp. 116-17. 2 A. J. Perier, “Some Comments on Jack Cato’s Professional Photographic Story o f the Camera in Australia”, unpublished manuscript c. 1956 in the Keast Burke papers held by Gael Newton, National Gallery, Canberra. 3 The Bulletin, Sydney, 3 October 1896, p. 8. 4 The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 October 1896, p. 3. 5 New Zealand Times, Wellington, 31 March 1897, p. 3. 6 South Australian Register, Adelaide, 19 October 1896, p. 3: “AnimetographDenimy” (sic). 7 Argus, Melbourne, 31 October 1896, p. 8. 8 Erik Barnouw, Documentary, Oxford University Press, London, 1974, p. 11


9 Jacques Rittaud-Hutinet, Le Cinéma des Origines: Les Frères Lumière et Leurs Operateurs, Champ Vallon, Lyon, Lrance, 1985, pp. 236-38. 10 Paul Vigne, La Vie Laboreuse et Feconde d’Auguste Lumière, DurandGirard, Lyon, France, 1942, pp. 111-15. Quotes translated by Crisp. 11 A. J. Perier, loc. cit. 12 Times of India, Bombay, 7 July 1896. 13 E. Barnouw and S. Krishnaswamy, Indian Film, Oxford University Press, New York, 1980, pp. 3-5. 14 Jack Cato, loc. cit. 15 A. J. Perier, loc. cit. 16 The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 September 1896, p. 6: “Arrival of the Polynésien”. 17 Ibid, 22 September 1896, p. 6. The stated date of the preview varies. This reference gives 18 September; same paper, 28 September 1896, p. 3, states that the preview was on Saturday 26 September 1896. 18 A. J. Perier: Oral history interview, probably done by Keast Burke c.1954, on open reel tape held by the Perier family of Mosman. 19 The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 1896 p. 2. 20 Smith’s Weekly, Sydney, 6 April 1929: “C. B. Westmacott- his Apologia” (Pt. 11). 21 The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 1896, p. 2. 22 Ibid, 6 March 1897, p. 2. 23 Photographic Review o f Reviews (Australian Edition), Sydney, July 1894, p. 9. 24 Argus, Melbourne, 18 March 1895. 25 Jack Cato, op. cit., p. 89. 26 A. J. Perier, Comments on The Story o f the Camera in Australia, loc. cit. 27 Jack Cato, “My Tutors”, unpublished manuscript in Jack Cato papers, La Trobe Library, Melbourne. 28 Jack Cato, op. cit., p. 90. 29 Ibid, p. 116. ' 30 The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 October 1896, p. 8.: “The French Cinématographe ”.

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

Ibid, 24 November 1896, p. 2. The Bulletin, Sydney, 19 December 1896, p. 8. The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 October 1896 p.2; 2 November 1896, p. 3. Ibid. Ibid, 6 November 1896, p. 2. A. J. Perier, loc. cit. The Bulletin, Sydney, 14 November 1896, p. 15. Sestier’s name is constantly mentioned in connection with the Princess Theatre shows, but Barnett doesn’t rate a mention after Cup Day. 39 The Age, Melbourne, 18 November 1896, p. 8. 40 Ibid., 20 November 1896, p. 6; Leader, Melbourne, 21 November 1896, p. 22.

41 The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 November 1896, p. 8. 42 The Bulletin, Sydney, 5 December 1896, p. 8. 43 The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 1896, p. 2; p. 10. 44 Ibid, 9 December 1896 p.2; p. 12. 45 Diane Collins, Hollywood Down Under, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1987, p. 40. Everyone’s, Sydney, 9 January 1924, p. 8. 46 South Australian Register, Adelaide, 20 October 1896, p. 6. 47 Ibid, 23 December 1896, p. 3; 28 December 1896, p. 3. 48 Ibid, 23 December 1896, p. 3. 49 Ibid, 25 December 1896, p. 6. 50 Ibid, 28 December 1896, p. 3. 51 Ibid, 29 January 1897, p. 3. 52 Ibid, 6 February 1897. 53 Ibid, 27 February 1897, p. 8. 54 The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 March 1897, p. 2, gives Sestier’s forwarding address as “c/- GPO., Perth, W.A.” 55 South Australian Register, Adelaide, 6 March 1897, p. 3; 3 April 1897. 56 Ibid, 5 April 1897, p. 3. 57 Ballarat Courier, 19 April 1897. 58 The Amateur Photographer, London, Vol. 24, No. 633; 20 November 1896, p. 409.

59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82

Sydney, 20 January 1897, p. 20. Sydney, October 1951, p. 646. Adelaide, 4 May 1897, p. 6. The article also refers to Reeve’s acquiring “over fifty” films from Sestier. Ballarat Star, 5 October 1897, p. 3. Clive Sowry (Wellington, New Zealand): personal communication to the author, 19 February 1993. The tour started in Invercargill and concluded in Auckland. The Bulletin, Sydney, 29 January 1898, p. 8. The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 January 1898, p. 2. South Australian Register, Adelaide, 14 February 1898, p. 8; 15 February 1898, p. 6. The Mining Standard, Charters Towers, 26 May 1897, p. 3. Ibid. Brisbane Courier, 28 June 1897, p. 2. Newcastle Herald, 16 July 1897, p. 1. Some dates on this tour are Warrnambool: 2-3 September 1897; Bendigo: 23 September 1897 et seq. Brisbane Courier, 3 May 1897 p. 2; 26 June 1897, p. 2. Australasian Photographic Review, Sydney, 20 March 1897, p. 20. Ibid, 20 May 1897, p. 27. Ibid, p. xii. Flenry W. Hopwood, Living Pictures, Optician & Photographic Trades Review, London, 1899, p. 93. Jacques Rittaud-Hutinet, loc. cit. Paul Vigne, loc. cit. There were four films taken at the S.C.G., later copyrighted in Kew (London) and retailed in England by the Warwick Trading Company. One, Ranjitsinhji at the Nets, probably survives at the British Film Institute. Australian Photographic Journal, Sydney, 20 October 1898, p. 245. Gael Newton, Shades o f Light, Australian National Gallery-Collins, Syd­ ney, 1988, p. 75. British Journal o f Photography, 26 January 1934, p. 55. h

The Australian Photographic Journal, The Australasian Photo-Review, South Australian Register,




93 • 61


A n d the W inner is— er I N T R O D U C T I O N

t’s nice to pick up a sto ry and find that it leads so

W hen m aking y o u r facilities e n q u iry, ask ab o ut the

clearly in a different direction to that planned. It has

hardw are differences, but ask also h o w well the people

so m e th in g to do with being objective, w here the s to ry has

w h o run the facility can d rive it or ho w well th e y can teach

its ow n integrity.

yo u to use it (th a t’s the exciting and liberating bit).

T h is one had been talked up as a contest, the cla ssic

T o me, the m ost im portant issue that cam e out of the

“ In tro d u cin g in the M A C co rne r, the U .S . he avyw eight

interview s w as that people m ake m o vie s and m o vie s are

ch a m p io n A V ID , and in the c lo n e d -b y -a n y o n e co rne r, the

m ade on film. T ry in g to elim inate rush es entirely is at w o rst

upstart P o m m y co ntender, L ig h tw o rk s .” Stir it all up a bit

a gam ble and certainly d e m o ra lizin g to all the people

like the Encore Post issue, and pretend that it is n ’t just

in vo lve d , not ju st to the o b v io u s cre w like the cin e m a to g ­

“ and the w in n e r of to n ig h t’s contest is .... the ad ve rtisin g

rapher and the editor. A t this stage, w e d o n ’t have a te ch n o lo g ica l fix to the

m an age r!” W e are not talking about flat-bed editing here, a nice

pro b le m s these edito rs and d ire cto rs e x p re sse d . M aybe

clean threading path and ha nd -a ssem ble d nuts and bolts.

the so lutio n is ju st a K e yc o d e step aw ay, as M elbourne

Th e s e are co m p u te rs and co m p u te r pro gra m m e s, s o m e ­

editor, tw o -tim e A vid o w n e r and n o w also lab o ra to ry part-

thin g that can be sold in en o u gh quantity at go o d price

o w n er Mike Reed s u g g e sts . He m entioned that U .S . printer

m arg in s. A profit that m akes it w orth m aking sure that, if

m anufacturer, Peterson Engineering, is w orking on a printer

yo u c a n ’t be the w inn er, be at least in the annual top 100

that will handle w h o le rolls of neg and do s c e n e -to -s ce n e ,

list. T h a t can be to u g h , som etim es dirty, and expensive.

fram e-accura te w o rk p rin t a ssem blies from a K e yc o d e edit

After the spat between the tw o leading s yste m s in

list. Th a t m ust cut d o w n the ex pen se of d a ily ru sh e s and,

Encore, I felt that kind of p o in t-b y -p o in t co m p a riso n was

w ith the speed of c o m p u te r edit s ys te m s , even let the

not appropriate here. Both of these syste m s do a good job,

director and cre w see cut sequ e n ce s as dailies, if required.

and ad ve rtisin g is a great forum for stating and b uilding

Austra lian film m aking is so fragm ented that m a n y tim es

y o u r p ro d u ct difference. In this limited space, w e ’re go ing

it is new faces m aking the sam e m istakes. If yo u d o n ’t

to be talking about the m ix of craft and te ch n o lo g y.

listen to other pe o p le ’s experience w ith n o n -lin e a r, then

It’s not a matter of the syste m yo u ch o o se , it’s the

yo u can be in for so m e s c a ry tim es. S y s te m s like O/SCR

co m p u te r te c h n o lo g y that has pro ved it’s point. Stephen

are not fo olproof, lists are fallible and cu ttin g a feature is

Sm ith at Fra m e w o rks has had tw o years of fin e-tun in g

a w h o le lot different from a th irty -s e c o n d co m m e rcia l.

both his A v id s , and they are as stable as any co m p u te r can

T h e re ’s the 25 to 24 fram es translation pro ble m s for a start.

be w hen pro gra m m ed by h um an s. Softw are re visio n s

V id e o -o rig in a te d p ro g ra m m e s are a co m p le te ly differ­

have gone from increm ental quality increases and bug

ent issue. After getting a taste of u s in g n o n -lin e a r syste m s

fixes to m ajor softw are feature additions.

on co rpo rate and co m m e rcia l w o rk , m ost e d ito rs and

Sp ectrum have also “done it right” , givin g its Lightw o rks

clients w o n ’t go back to a n yth in g else. It really is that

lots of hard d isk sto rage and stun n ed lots of people w ith a

liberating. W ith features, w e s o m e h o w m u st be able to

price offer that m akes it head to head w ith traditional U -

strike a balance between the c o s t s a vin g and the ease of

m atic suites. (I hope S p e c tru m has do ne its s u m s right so

digital editing w ith o u t lo sin g the fact that w e are actually

that it can pay for the inevitable hard d rive replacem ents.

s h o o tin g film

T h a t is so m e th ing w h ich , in tim e, all the n o n -lin e a r d is k -

I’m h a p p y to open these pages to s u g g e s tio n s .

based sys te m s face and is a big part of the ru n n in g c o s ts .)


62 . C I N E M A

P A P E R S 93


Linear c o n v er s a tio n s w ith NON-LINEAR CONCLUSIONS

t’s amazing with a technology as young as digital non-linear editing (AVID’s first

salesm an had sold it to the producers and they

system was launched in late 1989), we can go from a gee-whiz hardware story

believed th a t it was m ore efficient at saving tim e

into a multiple application. Already accepted widely in the U.S., we, forever

and m oney w hen it w asn’t. So I cam e to this

cautious, are only now seeing the first of the feature-length projects being cut non­ linear in Australia.

pretty much as a cynic. I w as also offered this job a fte r the producers had pretty well m ade up th e ir m inds to cut on the A vid, and, as all my e xp e ri­

I asked three of these features editors about the experience. Tw o were proficient on

ence on no n -linear g ear before had been crook,

the Lightworks (both John Leonard and Mike Honey have done sales demos on the

I said, ‘Yeah but I w ant to see it firs t’ and I spent

Lightworks system) and To n y Kavanagh, a film editor who has used a number of off­

tw o days w ith S tephen fam iliarizing m yself with

line systems, was cutting for his first time on the Avid. Also present in the different

the Avid and said, ‘O kay’.

Sydney conversations were the film’s directors, John Dingwall and Rob Stewart, who added valuable comment to the story.

Now, I love cutting on it, but I wish to god I could see som e film ! T h a t’s w here it’s going to end up and I know it’s really hard on low -budget

The conversations all took place in the same week, so we are comparing experiences at this time in late March 1993.

things but, at som e stage, it w ould be good to have som e w orkprint. T h e re ’s no doubt that m anipulating footage on the A vid is brilliant. The am ount of tim e saved is incredible, but you still


ca n ’t see those pictures. If you are making som ething to throw on a sheet and you are shooting 35m m negative and faces are going to

Editor T ony K avanagh and d ire cto r Rob S tew art

Pragmatic editing

are w orking to g e th e r again a fte r a break of ten

T ony Kavanagh began with som e background,

need to see it on a screen. O r you are going to

years. S tarting at the ABC as an a ssista n t e d ito r

w hat he called, w ith a sm ile, his positioning

be cutting it by m aking assum ptions.

in 1975, in the past few years Kavanagh has cut

statem ent:

features and m ini-series, such as The Paper Man, Brides of Christ, Frankies House and the

Kavanagh: W here I’ m at is cutting film s. I d o n ’t

Super 16mm feature, Alex.

p a rticu la rly care w hat I do it on. I’ve cut tw o film s

S tew art, the d ire cto r of Signal One, has a

on video o ff-line system s and, in both cases, the

be this by this [he spreads his arm s], then you

Stew art: I th in k those days [of printing film rushes] are gone, especially w ith our level of RIGHT: ROB STEWART AND TONY KAVANAGH IN THE FRAMEWORKS AVID SUITE. PHOTO: SIMON DIBBS.

string of dram a series and te le -m o vie s credits for ABC, BBC, C raw ford P roductions, P ara­ mount, P B L a n d others. His last fe a tu re w as The Slim Dusty Movie. Tony had been cutting the 35m m feature Signal One during production and, a tth e tim e we talked, had about a w eek rem aining of the three weeks allow ed fo r the final cut. He is w orking on the Avid at F ram ew orks’ office in C row s Nest, Sydney. The follo w in g statem e n ts w ere edited from a taped lunchtim e session w ith T ony, Rob S tew art and S tephen S m ith of F ram ew orks, m inus a num ber of o ff-th e -re co rd com m ents and the am bience of the background re sta u ra n t m usak. S tephen’s com m ents kept the to p ics alive but his voice d o e s n ’t appe a r

here because he

wanted it to be ju s t T o n y ’s and R ob’s e x p e ri­ ences. For a technical list of w hat Stephen Sm ith sees as the

A v id ’s fe atu re a dvantages, I can

only refer you to his piece in the M arch 18-31 issue of Encore. CINEMA


93 • 63


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budgets. W e ca n ’t e xpect it. It w ould be nice, but, alth o ugh on th is there w as ta lk a bout p rinting an o cca sional roll, I’d rather have th re e extras in a scene. E very d o lla r is really im portant. You have to be realistic w hen you accept the a ssig n m e n t th a t you are going to have to fig h t fo r every dollar, because e very line in the scrip t is som e so rt of e xp enditure. From my p oint of view , you get used to that. As soon as I go o ve r ratio, you w atch th o se early decision s to print a roll go goodbye. T hese guys [the editors] are dealing w ith ju s t one a spect of that. I th in k its a m istake not to see som e film . In the past I’ve been, if not ca u g h t out, at least b etter able to m ake a ju d g m e n t if I’d seen the film projected in term s of the cut. M aybe the m ood or the em otion of the piece could have been enhanced. But w e are in a w orld m arket and, w hile you w a n t it the best w ay you can, you also have to be realistic. A nd, realistically, th is is the best s y s ­ tem I’ve used. I’ve used others [T o u ch visio n ] and hated it m ainly because I co u ld n ’t store enough. W ithin a slate, the re m ay have been o n ly a grab th a t w as of value; e ith e r side of th a t m ight be a m inute of rubbish but to be able store it [in a linear system ] you have to go from the slate. You c o u ld n ’t ju s t re-id e n tify th a t bit. I’ve been used to being able [with film ] to se le ct the bits and m ake up an action reel. The a ssista n t w ould pull out the good bits, the best facial reactions, etc. Then w hen you had put the b a s ic c o n s tru c tio n to g e th e r, you w o u ld go th ro ugh the action reel and find the little gem s. W e ha ve n ’t done it yet, but I im agine the Avid can handle that.

Cutting time Kavanagh: S om etim es you get a scene and you d o n ’t really know w here it’s going, so you say I’ll w a it until the d ire cto r gets here and talk to him about it. On w orkprint, you tend not to fiddle too much because you will be putting cuts in your print, so you have to be co n se rva tive . You usu­ ally assem ble the sequence so th a t it tells its part of the story, but yo u ’re not happy w ith the cut. On the Avid, you go fo r it know ing th a t changing it back to w hat Rob w ants is not such a big thing. But you d o n ’t go in there and fiddle w ith every cut because you d o n ’t have tim e. I spend my whole

go cut on an Avid and to m ark and splice on a S te e n b e ck is no great advantage; it’s in being able to m anipulate all th a t footage. I e n d e a v o u rto c u t in a day w hat they shoot in a day. If it is a six or seven m inute sequence, then it’s heavy going; if it is a sam e-length tw ohanded dialogue sequence, then I go to the pub in the afternoon. T hat is w hat I see as my role, so th a t if the crew is concerned about som ething, or th e y need to p ost-sync som ething, or fo r w h a t­ ever reason, th e y can com e and check it. I’d do it on film and I do it on the Avid. In my tim e, I’ve probably w orked w ith every one of the editing system s, and, being realistic about getting those few extras on the screen, this is best system I’ve found to ju s tify th a t savings of dollars and cents - over and apart from the fa ct th a t you d o n ’t see a realistic trueto -film visual. W hat everyone should now know is that at last it is digital non-linear, w hereas before it was

Kavanagh: T h e re ’s nothing holding me back on

called no n -lin e a r but it w as still real-tim e tape-

th e A vid th a t m akes me say, ‘But I could do it on

based. T hat m eant if you changed shot two, you

a S te e n b e ck’, and I’ve been cutting film fo r years

had to still put down shots three to six hundred

and years. On previous off-lin e system s I was


often lim ited and I kept saying, ‘Put me back on a fla tb e d .’ W hen I started on the Avid I’d say to S tephen, ‘ If I w ere cutting on a S teenbeck, I’d do it such and such a w a y’, and he’d show me how to m atch it on the A vid. T hat w as great because I have a w ay, th a t fo r me, is the m ost efficient w ay of cutting. For exam ple, I lay up a lot of te m p o ra ry audio tracks, and the A vid lets me lay

Stew art:The post-production tim e is all cut down too. W hat w ould have taken eight w eeks under the the old system now takes three. B u tth e main thing you lose is five w eeks of thinking tim e! I guess the bottom line is to have the best system th a t will still allow you the cre a tivity and thinking tim e and the w hole process, w ith o u t the p ro d u c­ ers srew ing you into the ground.

up 24 tra cks if I w ant to. On the S teenbeck, I’ve o nly got tw o sound heads. For me, the sound is

Missing persons

part o f selling the piece, even w ith a bit of m usic

Stew art: There are o th e r little things th a t you

bro ught in from home.

m iss; one is the a ssistant. I’ve been in situations

T hese system s have all been sold to me as

w here the a ssista n t has sat back, w ound the

being able to cut alternative s. As fa r I’m c o n ­

reels and said nothing until one night, all of a

cerned, and please take this the right way, I’m

sudden, at ten o ’clock he says, “T h a t’s gre a t” or

paid the bucks to com e up w ith an alternative. Now fu rth e r dow n the line, we m ay have to

“T h a t stin k s ” , and you sud d e n ly put it all in perspective.

produce a d ire c to r’s or p ro d u ce r’s alternatives, but my job, w hen I get R ob’s rushes, is tell the


day m aking decisions. T h a t’s w hat ta ke s the tim e, not im plem enting them . The tim e saving to

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Kavanagh: I learnt how to be a good e d ito r by

story th a t is on the script, but in my w ay of

being in the room w hen good film editors were

looking at it. T h a t happens from day one, shot

dealing w ith good d irectors and producers. C u t­

one, and changes as m ore pieces com e in. But

ting this at the m om ent, I d o n ’t have anyone

cu tting alte rn a tive s as I go isn ’t an issue.

sitting behind me and I th in k th a t’s som ething th a t is going to have to be addressed. You learn

I w ant to know more about AVID: Name:______________________ Company:___________________

Stew art: M aybe th a t perta in s to dram a or ju s t

a lot of th in g s ju s t sittin g there - like etiquette,

the w ay w e w ork. I can im agine th a t w hen

w hen to keep your m outh shut, w hen not to ask


w o rking w ith a client on a co rp o ra te jo b it w ould

the d irector, “ E xcuse me sir, but w hy d id n ’t you

be g re a t to put to g e th e r three o r fo u r a lte rn a tive

C ity:_________ State:___ Pcode:

shoot a close-up th e re ? ” , or w hatever. T h a t’s

ideas and be able to pitch them really fast.

som ething th a t has been lost.

Telephone: (

) ______________



93 • 65

I think the advantage is that to post-produce on the Avid is cheaper than on film

scenes I look at people eyes and I cut from

and, with the way the industry is, we are going to be able to make more films if

peoples eyes. I say this shot is b e tte r because

it’s cheaper, because it is all producer-driven,

t o n y k a v a n a g h , e d it o r .

th e ir eyes are telling me som ething th a t’s not in th a t o th e r shot. My w ay round th a t here is th a t I’ve alw ays got an SP Betacam w ith the firs t tra n s fe r th a t I can

I had a te rrific a ssista n t on this fo r th e firs t

had several of them say, “ Look mate, I d o n ’t

w eeks, but now s h e ’s gone b ecause th e p ro d u c ­

need to com e, I w atched it w hile you w ere

go back to. I’ll see a take and say take three w as

tion c a n ’t afford it. W hat she did w as screen

sho o tin g it.” W atching rushes d o e s n ’t happen

te rrific and w hen I’m cutting it on the digitized

rushes and log the m aterial into the com puter,

any m ore on series because its lost th a t “Guys,

im age I’ll w o n d er w hy I chose it. T h a t’s one of the

com e in out of the s n o w ” fe eling. It’s a sham e.

good th in g s a bout this system is th a t there are

and th e re w ere a fe w occa sio n s w here she assem bled stuff for me. However, she has missed out on seeing w hat R ob’s been doing w ith me th is w eek and w hat the p rod u ce rs will be doing next w eek. P eople say le t’s have a tra in in g sch e m e, but w hat p ro d u ce r is going to pay to have som eone sit in a cutting room to learn to be an editor? T h a t’s a concern fo r me, because you can learn all about A vid or Lightw orks, you can

w ays around the quality loss, but it w ould be And it is d e fin ite ly because it’s on the te le v i­

lovely to refer back to the film .

sion screen. W e arra n g ed one scre e n in g on a big screen, out at M ovielab. It w a s n ’t advertised

Stew art: I th in k th a t one of the beauties of the

but the jo in t w as crow ded; crew cam e from

system is th a t it fo rce s all the lighting to the facial

e veryw here. And the m om ent th a t the black car

tones and ju s t lets all the background and the

cam e onto the big screen up there, the feeling

w hole sch m e e r go, w hich m eans th a t you d o n ’t

was, “ Hey, th is is te rrific. Now w e ’re really m ak­

really know w hat the film visuals are going to

ing a m o vie .” It’s ve ry im portant.


go and do T ech, courses and you w o n ’t becom e a film editor.

E very new tw is t of the te ch n o lo g y m akes my It is quite am azing the input th a t com es from

jo b m ore difficu lt. Take that exam ple T ony m en­

On rushes

the crew from seeing the dailies. W hen the grip

tioned of a c h a ra cte r’s eyes, som ething th a t I

com es up and says, “T hat perform ance was

have to keep in mind th ro u g h o u t the edit. No one

Stew art: W h a t w e ’ve also lost is w hen e veryone

te rrific ” , it m akes you look at the acto r d iffe re n tly

else is going to see th a t m agic m om ent until the

cam e in fo r rushes and y o u ’d th ro w it up th e re on

next tim e - if you re sp e ct the grip. I’ve only seen

print. Add to th a t the lighting I saw on the set and

th e screen and everyone could revel in th e ir

it as being positive. T he next day w hen you are

th a t I w o n ’t see again until it’s up there on the

d a y ’s w ork and y o u ’d have a few beers and ta lk

talking a bout it, everyone is w orking on the same

screen. I have to keep adjusting and rem em ber­

a b o u t it. I started by saying re a listica lly th a t it’s

flick. The m om ent you lose all th a t involvem ent

ing all these little incidents.

p ro b ably gone, but no one can take th a t aw ay as

it has to be detrim e n ta l.

being a w onderful aspect of film m a kin g and team m orale and spirit. You stand in the cold and

A quality of image

T here is really no reason to re-invent the w heel, but, having done so, the best w ay to go is get the best editor w orking fo r you and then

snow all day, and then go into a w arm room at

Kavanagh: I d o n ’t miss the ta ctile thing of film ;

h o pefully get the best system to put to g e th e r

night and slap yo u rse lve s on the back. O r you

th a t’s beyond me. T here are tim e s w hen I’ve

w ith them . So fa r from m y experience, the A vid

d o n ’t. I’ve been in som e m onum ental a rgum ents

w alked out of a cutting room and the a ssista n t

is the best system .

and situ a tio n s w hen D O Ps and o thers have left

has said, “Tony, com e back here” , because I’ve

pro jects through a set of rushes.

had a fram e w ith a bit of sticky tape stu ck to my

Kavanagh: As I said earlier, this is the first tim e

No one com es to rushes any m ore. They

pants and it’s her jo b to keep tra ck of the trim s.

aw ay from a S teenbeck th a t I can happily cut in

have lo s tth e irg la m o u r, lost th e ir screen p re se n ­

T h a t’s kind of cute, but I d o n ’t m iss having made

exactly the w ay that I w ould on the S teenbeck

ta tio n . “C om e and have a look at your d a y ’s

a slig h tly m isaligned splice in the w o rkp rin t th a t

and the producers are still happily telling me

w o rk” and you sit and w atch a te le visio n screen.

affe cts the w ay th a t cut w orks in every sc re e n ­

th e y can m ake this film fo r less m oney.

It is a te ch n ica l e xercise in te rm s of the visual.

ing. W hat I miss is the look of it.

W h y w ould m ake-up com e and look at that, w hy

W h e th e r it’s 16mm or 35m m , the look of film

w o u ld w ardrobe check the colours from it? T h e ir

on a S te e n b e ck has got a certain feel about it

p e rception is th a t it is not necessary, so you lose

and one of my jo b s is to deal w ith feel and

th e cam araderie and input of people.

em otion. I deal w ith the D O P ’s w ork, the sound

T he m om ent you put it on a TV screen,

re co rd ist’s, the m ake-up la d y’s work. M any tim es

y o u ’ve lost yo u r crew and you are lucky to get the

y o u ’ll have the sam e perform ance and, fo r w h a t­

D OP. A nd if he’s been the o p e ra to r at the sam e

ever reasons, you chose a take because so m e ­

tim e, he’s seen it through the vie w fin d e r. I’ve

o n e ’s m ake-up will be d ifferent. In em otional

* Rob Stewart’s reference here is to a function of the digitizing process. While able to produce near broadcastquality images, on long-form projects all the non-linear systems opt for a reduced detail image to enable the systems to store the large amount of picture information required for a feature cut. That Rob sees the loss of background detail as a plus, because it focuses attention on the faces, is a bit of psychology that the proponents of all the systems would be surprised to hear. F.H.

★ Thank you to all the companies who advertise here in Technicalities (and in Cinema Papers ). Your support for our format change has been appreciated! We want the issues we raise to be relevant to everyone and welcome your information and feedback.



93 • 67

FRAMEWORKS LONG FORM SUPPORT HAS CHANGER POST PRODUCTION FOR GOOD care of everything. From rushes to neg. matching. Daily budget and progress reporting. And, apart from always being accessable, Stephen still supervises complete or refresher Avid courses for the editor.Frameworks is the most experienced digital Non-Linear facility in Australia. Call Stephen for a quote.

The day Frameworks introduced the first Avid to Australia we set about refining the way a long form project should be supported in the new 'Non-Linear' environment.Working with top editors and producers of drama, documentaries and features, Frameworks' Stephen Smith has perfected a system that takes

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C U T TIN G 'LEX A N D RORY* A T E D IT A D V IS E John Leonard w as one of the top video editors at

W e actually got to a pictorial lock-off stage

AAV M elbourne back w hen I w as an agency

tw o w eeks a fte r the shoot finished. Then there

p ro d u ce r and CM X w as the new buzzw ord.

w as much agonizing o v e rth e look of it and som e

(Y eah, th a t long ago.) John em braced the te c h ­

re-shooting due to m ainly w e a th e r problem s.

nology and gave up being nice to young agency

Instead of w hat was usually a dry period in the

punks and m oved into research and d e ve lo p ­

A lbury-W odonga area w hen they w ere shooting,

m ent. A long w ith engineer G eoff B axter, the pair

th e y had floods. So som e se co n d -u n it stu ff was

passed from being m ortal into living legends in

done and m ore changes w ere made. W e are

M elbourne video post, but th a t’s a n o th e rs to ry . It

now six m onths down the tra ck w ith a finished

w as no surprise th a t John w ould em brace such


an elegant device as the no n -lin e a r co m p u te r

W e also had a story put to g e th e r fo r the 7:30

e d itor and, w ith B arry M inster and a Lightw orks,

Report, w hich th e y screened w hile the p ro d u c­

he set up Edit A dvise. S ituated in the other

tion was going on, show ing cut sequences of the

M elbourne video conglom e ra te Post! (soon to

m ovie w ith sound effects and the w hole bit, as if

be A pocalypse), he’s been happier then I’ve

the m ovie w ere a lready finished. That was one

seen him in years and ju st finished cutting the

of the first action sequences and, because it was

fe a tu re Lex and Rory, w ritten and directed by

such a lovely sequence, it is one of the few that

D ean M urphy and produced by S cott A ndrew s.

have stayed untouched.

A t first, John did not con sid e r the p ro d u ce r’s

W e had com pleted cuts barely two days

en q uiry as an assignm ent th a t he w ould edit,

behind the shoot. I’ve heard dark w hispers sa y­

and he tells the story from this point:

ing that w orking under th a t kind of pressure

Leonard: W e began by doing a pitch ju st as a

co u ld n ’t be good fo r you. And m aybe w orking by

dry hire w ith us providing an assistant role which we fe lt w as essential fo r anyone com ing new to the technology. W e had learnt a lot about m an­ a gem ent of the system , the nuts and bolts, but n e ith e r of us had a track record in the feature industry o rfe lt able to take o v e rth e editorial role. It w as during discussion o v e rth e next few weeks th a t I said, “W e should now be talking to your e d itor” , and they said, “W ell, we rather thou g h t you m ight do it.” W e w ent aw ay and drew up a price and, as part of that, we not only got the editing but com plete post-production m anagem ent, the lab liaison, etc. W e arranged also fo rth e audio p o st­ production, w hich is happening u n d e ro u ra e g is . It w as a really useful project fo r us to take on at th is stage and I can say w ith fa ir confidence that, at this end of the project, we have m ade very few w rong d ecisions. N o w th a tl know the pitfalls th a t could have opened under our feet, we w ere very lucky.

norm al m eans the pressure would be there, but th a t’s the big thing about non-linear: yo u ’re just thinking about the pictures, y o u ’re not thinking about the m echanics. The load it takes off you has to be experienced, and because you find things are going to g e th e r so easily you have to say to yourself, “ I’m going to take a bre a k.” Early in the shoot, I’d find th a t I started at nine or ten o ’clock in the m orning and at three am. the next m orning, I’d still be there because I w as on a roll and I d id n ’t w ant to break it. T hat can be a problem : you need to force yourself to have a break.

The wider view Leonard: My previous editing experience was totally television, program m es and com m ercials, so I was quick to put up my hand about things th a t I d id n ’t think w ould w ork on the big screen. T hings th a t are a few inches apart on a m onitor BELOW: JOHN LEONARD FROM EDIT ADVISE.


93 • 69




are fe e t apart on the screen and people will be sw ive lling th e ir heads from left to right. T h e re ’s an exam ple of th a t in the opening titles w here I

John Leonard: C inevex processed the neg and

scribed, how ever, the second interpolated field

spliced to the head of each neg roll a m odified

is dropped, resulting in one interpolated fram e in

leader w ith a series of tw elve num bered fram es

every tw e n ty four. This results in a noticeable

after the tw o fram e.

step every second w hich is quite a pparent on

Iloura, now part of A pocalypse M elbourne,

cam era m oves.

did the telecine tra n sfe r at 24 fram es per second

W e could, of course, have chosen to tra n s fe r

to Beta SP and sim u lta n e o u sly U-m atic. The

at the tw e n ty-five fram e rate, but this would have

Beta SP contained the standard im age w hile the

m ade sound syn chronization more com plex, but

U -m atic contained the im age with burnt-in d is ­

not im possible. It w ould also have m ade running

play tim ecode. A standard telecine set-up was

tim e calcu la tio n s a problem . In future, we may

used fo r each tra n sfe r to a ssist in evaluating

try doing ju s t this, as soon as the Lightw orks is

exposure variation and co lo u r balance changes.

capable of true 24fps operation.

At the sam e tim e, DAT sound tapes from loca­

O nce all this boring m anagem ent stu ff has

tion w ere digitally dubbed to DAT tim ecode

been achieved, editing is alm ost an anticlim ax.

m asters and to blacked U -m atic tapes w ith tim e

If an optical is required it can be done now or

code. The DAT originals and tim ecode m asters

later, and the results are im m ediately visible,

w ere then stored for audio post-production.

this results in fe w e r te st opticals from the lab

A conventional punch-and-crunch off-line edit

w hich reduces m aterial and labour costs.

system w as used by the a ssistant e d ito rto rough

S ince the im age exists in an e lectronic form ,

sync sound and pictures. These system s are

additional opticals can be preview ed and in­

specified at tw o-fram e accuracy, but a rough

cluded in the cut. In the final cut we made use of

sync was considered adequate for the purpose

step printing and blew up three shots, all of

since the tapes w ere p rim arily intended fo r crew

w hich we w ere able to evaluate before we w ent

screenings. In practice, our assistant, Julia

to the lab. The step-printing w as sim ulated in

M urray, achieved consistently accurate results.

Lightw orks, w hile the blow -up w as sim ulated

The selected takes were then digitized into

using ADO.

Lightw orks fo r editing. Lightw orks is capable of

W e found ultim ately th a tth e m ost convenient

m aintaining separate tim ecode references fo r

w ay of providing evaluation copies was to copy

picture and up to tw o soundtracks, and it allows

the individual cut reels to U -m atic and assem ble

either or both soundtracks to be separately

them to a com plete m ovie on a punch-and-

slipped against the im age to bring them into

crunch system . This m eant th a t when changes

precise sync.

were made to a reel we could ju s t dum p th a t reel

W hile the tra n sfe r and syncing operations

out and continue to cut, w hile ju st the off-line

w ere taking place, tw o database files were being

copy was revised. It m eant th a t we d id n ’t have to

generated. The first was required fo r O/SCR, the

stop w ork fo r an hour and a half w hile the m ovie

A delaide W orks neg match softw are th a t we

was dum ped to cassette. Evaluation copies were

w ere to use fo r finishing the production.

distributed on VHS cassette.

As we w ere also the p ost-production m anag­

W hen the cut was finalized, we did a co n ve n ­

ers, we created a second database th a t cross-

tional te le visio n -style vision assem bly from the

referenced cam era and sound rolls to Beta SP

Beta SP tapes. This did three things. It co n ­

and U -m atic tapes, and to m aster tim ecode DAT

firm ed th a t our tim ecode num bers w ere correct.

tapes. This database u ltim ately contained all

It gave us a good q uality screening copy, but

shot and take num bers, scene num bers, shot

obviously not as good as a film print, and finally

descriptions, and print take inform ation. It be­

we used this copy fo r the sound mix.

cam e one of the m ost valuable tools that we had,

At the end of the sound mix, the assem bled

and in any other large project of this type we

m aster was restriped, and screened using a

w ould autom atically do the sam e again.

vodeo projection system . W hen we w ere happy

The O/SCR database had cross-reference

that we had gone as fa r as we could we fin a lly

inform ation of cam era roll to Beta SP reel number,

com m itted the result to film . A part from the use

the Tw o Fram e tim ecode num ber, end tim ecode

of O /SCR , all final processing w as reasonably

fo r the reel and the interpolated field num ber

standard. O pticals w ere struck in the usual way,

w hich was obtained from the m odified leader

a sound neg w as produced, and the final film

m entioned previously. The interpolated field

w as finished on 35m m stock.

num ber is the additional field in every tw elve

W hat did we do th a t we should have done

fram es that the telecine chain inserts to produce

d ifferently? W ell, we underquoted, fo ro n e th in g .

tw enty-five television fram es fo r every tw e n ty-

W ould we do it all again? You betcha!

fo u r film fram es.

insisted th a t they flop a shot. T here w as a shot of a sn eaker w ith a pparently blood dripping on it and then a cut to a paintbrush dripping red paint. The sn eaker w as on the left of screen and the brush on the right of fram e and the cut w orks well on the sm all screen because yo u r eye d o e sn ’t have to m ove. If I w as w orried about the fram ing on the 1:1.85 screen, we conform ed the sequences here at Post! w ith a letterbox w ipe. For som e tim e we have been able to do variable aspect ratios, and it w orks. Yet we chose not to do it fo r tw o reasons. First, we w ere dealing w ith so m e ­ thing th at we knew w as going to be show n on the sm all screen eventually. S econd, we d id n ’t w ant to blank top and bottom of the screen because we needed to s e e th e burnt-in tim e c o d e fro m the original tele cin e transfer, if fo r som e reason we needed to refer back. W hat we did w as p h ysi­ cally m ask on our line m onitor, and I noticed that my cutting changed im m ediately. Even the pa c­ ing changed.

Print it Leonard: We d id n ’t strike any w orkp rin t fo r editorial purposes, but I d o n ’t believe its possi­ ble to do a movie w ithout striking som e w orkprint. I d o n ’t think it will be in the foreseeable future. T here will alw ays be the problem shots th a t you can look at by w ha te ve r m eans electronically and still not know w hat it will be like on the big screen. It may be a problem shot w here the dark areas are blocking up so you ca n ’t see areas that you expected you w ould, or subjective im pact of a shot that will look d iffe re n t projected to the sm all screen. We did strike about five or six thousand fo o t of w orkprint fo r various a sse ss­ ments. I m ade a point of seeing it all. W hat we have done is at diffe re n t tim es produce release versions of the movie and project them on a video projector. W orking off SP Betacam tapes, it w as a cheap assem bly and it has given us a quality cutting copy fo r the sound engineers. It also allow ed us at various tim es to get fe e d back using the rough sound mix out of the Lightw orks. W atching the m ovie w ith other people highlighted things th a t I th o u g h t w ere fine or okay and suddenly I said, “Oh dear, I’ll have to change th a t.” B ecause the m ovie w as alw ays available e lectronically, Dean w ould take sequence aw ay on VHS and th in k about the cut and the s tru c ­ ture. W e ended up stru ctu ra lly changing the first three reels of the m ovie based on D ean’s a bility to easily play around w ith ideas. T hat probably w o u ld n ’t have happened if we had been w orking conventionally, especially w ith a low -budget fe a ­ ture.

Two fields make up one television fram e, but

Edit Advise would like to thank Siggy Ferstl, Rachel

the interpolated field means th a t every tw elfth

Campbell and Diedre McLelland at (then) Iloura in

film fram e occupies three fields. The d isa d va n ­

Melbourne (now Apocalypse Melbourne) for the efforts with telecine. Both Kris Ferguson and Chris

up on the screen. It looks a considerably better

ta g e w ith the p re se n t a rra n g e m e n t is th a t

Berry at Apocalypse Melbourne are also owed a

picture than the budget w ould otherw ise su g ­

vote of thanks, as are the Post! team (now also


Apocalypse Melbourne). Chris Sturgeon at Cinevex

WeVe got it on our list

Lightw orks, in com m on w ith o th e r non-linear system s, records one field out every tw o, and repeats that field on playback. S ubjectively, this

made the project possible, and Evelyn Cronk (free­

I d o n ’t know w hat the final budget w as, but you can see literally every cent th a t w as spent

norm ally has no visible effect. W ith a tw e n ty fo u r

lance editor) very generously gave her time when

Leonard: W e ’ve done a lot o f w ork w ith C inevex

to tw enty five fram e schem e such as th a t d e ­

we had the odd hiccup.

and there w as a lot of input from The Adelaide

70 • C I N E M A



W orks, w hich m ake the O /S C R . T he neg m a tch ­

co m p o n e n t and a d issolve O ut co m p o n e n t and

ing is being done by O /S C R and we d id n ’t have

th e y can be at tw o d iffe re n t rates fo r exam ple.

any au to m a tic logging hardw are. So w hat we

W e w ere taking those lists and putting them into

have done is use a m odified form of le ader that

a w ord p ro ce sso r and m odifying them so th a t we

C inevex supplied w hich ide n tifie s easily w here

could assess better w hat optical footage needed

the a dditional field interpola tio n occurs in a 24

to be struck.

fra m e tra n s fe rto 25 fram es. W e w ere able to cut the p ictures tra n sp a re n tly. T he fa ct th a t there

Travelling to the future

w as an extra field every so often w as looked

Leonard: W e are talking about an o th e r long-

a fte r by the O /S C R softw are, w hich is told w here

form p roject w here we will be putting the h a rd ­

th a t a dditional field is. [This is explained by John

w are into a M azda van. The Lightw orks will be

in his technical piece below .]

b uilt into a rack th a t w ill be w heelable into any

D own the tra ck we w ill p robably be dealing

space. It lives bolted in the van unless you need

d ire ctly w ith 24 fram es on Lightw orks and then

it elsew here. W e ’ve had som e su g g e stio n s [that

we have a choice. W e can use O /SCR , w hich

I d o n ’t know are very sm art], but there was talk

has been very su ccessful and to o k th a t c o m p o ­

of a jo b in the S im pson D esert w here it w ould be

nent aw ay from us and m ade it the re sp o n sib ility

cutting a feed from the video split. The a d va n ­

of the lab, or we can opt to produce a list d ire ctly

tages of taking the hardw are to a location w here

th a t produces e ith e r K eycode or edge num bers

no editing fa cilitie s exist are great. You could

w ith offsets.

take a six or eight plate to the location, but you

W e m ade use of the m u lti-list fo rm a t th a t is

w ould need all the o th e r stuff, racks and reels

ava ilable in Lightw orks to a ssist us. The list th a t

and reels of film . B asically all we have is ju s t the

we provided to C inevex and the on-line edit

hardw are.

su ites w as a standard CMX edit list. It can be

I’ve never regretted buying the Lightw orks. It

read by alm ost anyone w ith editing experience

is a d elightful m achine and I’ve had more e n jo y­

and can be read by eye. But fo r our own internal

m ent editing then I’ve done in a long tim e. It

m anipulation, we w ere outputting ‘H a rry’ clip

brought me back into editing w hen I d id n ’t think

lists because th e y are fa r clo se r to the w ay th a t

there w as much th a t could. You d o n ’t have to

an o ptical p rin te r sees things. In the w ay, they

w o rry about the nuts and bolts, ju s t the pictures

de scribe a d issolve as a tw o-lin e event w ith an In

and the sound, and th a t’s m agic.”

C U TTIN G 'TH E CUSTO D IAN * O N LIG H TW O R K S I h adn’t been to S pectrum fo r over five years yet

fu tu re paths of editing m ight go (V irtual R eality

I d ire cte d the cab d rive r to the b uilding in

cutting?) have been edited out.

W illoughby like a r e g u la r - t h a t building is hard

M ike H oney began as an ed ito r in C anada in

to m iss. As S im on D ibbs show ed me around (“ ...

1965 and has cut features, series and p ro ­

over here is 60 Minutes, here th e y ’re cutting a

gram m es, of w hich the m ost recent are Seven

new feature, in there is the T o u ch visio n but you

Deadly Sins, The leaving of Liverpool, Waiting,

d o n ’t w ant to see th a t ...”), I had the sam e

Wendy Cracked a Walnut and Rebel. He is also

fe e lings of solid efficiency as w hen I firs t cam e to

enough of a co m p u te r buff to not be frightened

cut com m ercials there. Hans P om eranz and

by the m achine level operations of the Lightworks,

co m pany know how to do it right.

but it w as his perspective as a film e d ito r ap ­

As I w alked around, I im agined how happy S ony and D igiteyes m ust be w ith S pectrum as a client. T here are lots of B etacam s, and PCs

proaching the system th a t I have selected here.

The organization rules

running S ho tlister. T here are also tw o F airlight

M ike Honey: For a film editor, everything is very

M FX2s fo r tra ck laying. W ith B etacam as the

logically laid out and the w hole cutting p ro ce ­

bottom qu a lity off-line in the facility, th e re are

dure is as you w ould do it on a S teenbeck, only

tim e s w hen off-line becom es on-line. Spectrum

fa ste r. The thing th a t is im portant on Lightw orks,

has lots of alternative paths to final assem bly,

as w ith any no n -lin e a r system , is m em ory m an­

and it has optim ized the process and continues

agem ent. You have to be prepared w hen you

to cut series and features th a t way. (See Cinema

w alk in and start a job. It’s too late w hen you

Papers, No. 92 A pril 1993, fo r M ark M u irh e a d ’s

suddenly find yo u ’ve got more rushes than disk

d etails of how S pectrum uses S h o tliste r w ith the

space. To com e up w ith a gam e plan, you m ust

B etacam s and Lightw orks.)

observe som e sim ple rules: how to log and treat

E ntering the Lightw orks suite, I fe lt th a t the

the m aterial w hen it is in the system , and how to

la yo ut w as alm ost perfect. It could be used as a

back it up in som e kind of logical scrip t order. Do

m odel fo r reassuring film editors m aking tra n s i­

that, then th e re is not a lot of burning the m id­

tional stages from film to digital editing.

night oil.

S im on D ibbs then introduced Mike Honey,

D uring the period of the sh o o t I had one

the e d ito r of The Custodian, and we w ere joined

a ssistant; if it w ere on film , I’d p robably have a

la te r by the d ire cto r John D ingw all. The c o n ve r­

m inim um of tw o. T h a t a ssista n t w as responsible

sation ranged across a lot of sp e cu la tive areas,

fo r syncing the rushes, logging th e se and back­

fu tu re d e velopm ents and ideas. U n fo rtu n a te ly

ing up them up to the Exabyte tapes. It to o k my

fo r space and balance, I’ve had to confine m y­

a ssista n t a m axim um of eight hours a day to

se lf to M ike’s com m ents about the Lightw orks

accom plish all th is and the m ain difficu ltie s we

itse lf and som e nice ideas such as how the

enco u n te re d w ere associated w ith the vagaries CINEMA


93 • 71

If you had

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w So we appointed Clive Duncan as

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manager. As a cinematographer/ director of many years experience, he knows how precious original neg is, how im portant it is to know its whereabouts in the lab at any hour o f the day o r night, and how the neg has to come out o f the process spot­ lessly clean and on time. Because Clive knows how precious it is, Digital Film Laboratories will be handling your original negative like it’s the crown jewels.



you ask W l SH

of your


For them to treat my neg like i the crown jewels.


know that my time is money.

In a business where time is money, Digital Film Laboratories is in tro ­ ducing “ Electronic Dailies” . Put your original negative in fo r processing by midnight, and the next morning at 9.00 am, your rushes are ready fo r you on tape - let us know if you need them earlier and we’ll fit in with your schedule.

employ technology that gives me flexibility.


To give you total freedom o f choice, w e’ve installed the OSC/R System, which gives frame accurate reference to the original film and sound elements through every stage of post-production. N o w any con­ ceivable post-production path is possible: edit on film, video, o r both; release on film, video o r both. W e ’re breathing new life into Digital Film Laboratories. W atch us grow!

film lab? Digital Film Laboratories e Digital Film Laboratories Pty Ltd A C N . 057 901 881

72 . C I N E M A



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Telephone 03) 818 0461 Facsim ile 03) 819 1451

m ents there, and putting it into the assem bly at th a t stage. The w hole assem bly procedure is much more e fficient and is w orked out in much more detail than w hat would be possible on film in the tim e available.

Advantages that cost H o n e y : W hat happened on this shoot was that,

on one day in particular, I w as concerned that I d id n ’t understand w hat the dire cto r w anted out of the footage of that scene. The set was being struck th a t day and, having put the cut together, I felt th a t if I had interpreted it correctly I w ould have liked an extra pick-up. H ow ever, if I had m isjudged it, then it was okay. So I dum ped it out onto VHS and took it out there and show ed it to John during a break. You have the ability to respond th a t q uickly and not have to w ait fo r a couple of days. The advantages of the system are very exciting. My ultim ate w ay of w orking would be as the A m ericans tend to do w hen they are cutting with a n o n-linear system , and that is to have a film


of shooting schedule. W e w ere som etim es w a it­

a com puter, and you are ju s t cutting sound and

ing fo r tw o or three hours fo r the crew to screen


rushes. I often used this tim e to cut the rushes

B ecause film is a very linear process, the way

m aterial th a t th e y w ere due to see. I could then

I w ork is to take all the rushes fo r a particular

screen the rushes and then show the d ire cto r an

scene and string them together. If I’ve got tw enty

assem bly of the sam e m aterial.

m inutes of film fo r a five -m in u te segm ent, I sort

W hen we got into post, because of the w ay

it into som e sort of sequence w ithout any cuts. I

th a t the m aterial had been m anaged during the

then w ork out how I’m going to put th a t scene

shoot, there w as very little need fo r an a ssistant

together, detailing my hero cuts. I then unpeel

during the actual period of the fin e -cu t. At the

them all and put them back onto th e ir respective

end of each day, I w ould check to see it was

cores. Then I start follow ing my paper cut or

conform ing room hanging off the side. W e do n ’t have in this country the budgets that would s u p p o rtth a t, b u tth e film conform ing room would only be a day behind and then you could look at the film im age projected. It is very dangerous on a feature film to say that this system is going to allow us to w alk out of here in half the tim e than if we w ere doing it on film. Some of the m ost im portant decisions made on a feature are m ade in those last days w hen you have tim e to respond to screenings and fine tuning. It can mean the difference betw een a

m aterial we needed fo r the follow ing day. It it

w h a te ve r I had in my head. At the end, I make

was, I’d pop in the Exabyte give it a couple of

refinem ents. B asically I am w orking w ith the

com m ands and then go home. In the m orning,

hero takes that I have selected from my view ing.

I’d find that all the m aterial had been retrieved,

On very rare o ccasions I w ould consider ch a n g ­

installed on the disk ready to cut.

ing th a t take, because it m eans pulling open

And I’ll let Sim on Dibbs have the last com m ent

A ppreciating lock-off often means days that

ano the r take, trying or rejecting it. A lot of those

w hen he said that:

end in the early hours of the m orning. T his was

options I leave to the fin e -cu ttin g process when

not my e xperience w ith Lightw orks with my lo n g ­

the fine tuning of a perform ance takes place.

m ediocre and a good film . Yet if it is driven by the dollar, you are not allow ing the system to com e up with a better product.

D ib b s : W e take the position w ith producers who

com e in hearing how non-linear can save m oney

est day finishing at 10 pm. The real value in the

On Lightw orks, you d o n ’t have to assem ble

by saying, “Sure we can save you m oney, but

system is not the speed of w hich you work,

th a t m aterial: it’s called up and you store it in

w o u ld n ’t you be better leaving the tim e and

w hich is a by-product; it is w hat it allow s you to

w hat th e y call a G allery. You then look at the

budget the sam e but getting a better product?”

do. It allow s you to be able to respond to ideas

m aterial and w ork out how you are going to put

D on’t screw the budget dow n because it is fast.

as they occur, and frees you from the constraints

the scene together. Then rather then having to

It’s not fa ir to the system , the editors or to the

of the m echanics of the system .

put all the m aterial together, you can start a n y­

film .

Cutting conventions

w here and put it to g e th e r scrip t line by script line

Honey: O nce you are sitting there w ith the

planned, th e re ’s no penalty in looking at other

co n troller, you fo rg e t th a t you are operating with

takes and grabbing m om ents here and m o­

if you w ant to. If som ething isn ’t w orking as you

Postscript: As we went to press, Simon Dibbs men­ tioned that Spectrum had bought its second Lightworks system.

★ T O A D V E R T IS E IN T E C H N IC A L IT IE S C O N T A C T D E B R A S H A R P O R FRED H A R D E N O N ( 0 3 ) 4 2 9 5511



93 • 73



The FFC’s new Sydney address is Level 12,130 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

IN F O R M A T IO N IS CO RRECT A N D A D JU D G E D AS O F 1 / 4 / 9 3 .

Tel: (02) 268 2555 Toll Free: 008 251061 Fax: (02) 264 8551






(85 mins) Kolapore Management. Executive Producer: Jonathan Shteinman. Producer: Pe­ ter Green. Line Producer: John Winter. Director: Bill Young. Writer: Kym Goldsworthy. Dirk Trent, a chain-smoking, hard-drinking private investi­ gator is thrown headlong into a murder investi­ gation after he accidentally videotapes a homi­ cide. A macabre black comedy in the tradition of the film noir detective movies of the 1940s.

(50 mins) Maracaibo Films. Producer: Mark Stiles. Director-writer: Barbara Chobocky. Immi­ grant teenagers at a Sydney language centre deal with culture shock as they prepare to enter the Australian school system and survive in a new society. 26 March



(26 x 24 mins) Barron Films. Executive Pro­ ducer: Paul DBarron. Producers: David Rapsey, Barbi Taylor. Directors: Amanda Smith, Karl Zwicky, Glenda Hambly, Ron Elliott. Writers: John Rapsey, Mary Morris, Everett De Roche, Glenda Hambly, Judy McCrossIn, David Phillips. The comic adventures of the children who live on Circe Island, a fishing community and a commu­ nications base off the coast of W.A. Some of the children call it paradise; others call It a prison and long for the city life on the mainland. DOCUMENTARY FAIR GAME

(60 mins) Media Concept. Producer-directorwriter: lain Gillespie. A veteran of 25 years of television, radio and newspaperjournalism turns the camera on the high-pressure world of news gathering and packaging, and reveals what drives his journalist colleagues. DEADLY HURT

(60 mins) Parham Media Productions. Producerdirector-writer: Don Parham. The documentary looks at the prevention of male violence against women and finds hope in the treatment pro­ grams offered for perpetrators. It is structured around three stories showing victims of family and sexual violence, as well as a perpetrator of domestic violence who is receiving treatment. EAST M O NSOON

(60 mins) Electric Pictures. Producer: Andrew Ogilvie. Director-writer: John Darling. Acontem­ porary ethnography that deals with the Indone­ sian fishermen’s way of life and their voyages into Australian waters over the centuries. February

(90 mins) Southern Star Entertainment. Pro­ ducer: Hal McElroy. Line Producer: Richard Brennan. Directors: Kevin Dowling, Geoffrey Burton. Writer: David Stevens. Australian Play­ wright David Stevens’ sentimental and funny family drama about a father and his homosexual son was the off-Broadway hit of 1990-91. In the film version, the widower father, and his son, a plumber, hold nothing back in the bungalow they share in a blue-collar suburb of Sydney. DOCUMENTARY TWENTY YEARS OF AUSTRALIAN COMEDY

(60 mins) Producer: Cristina Pozzan. Director: Trevor Graham. A frank and irreverent look at the development of live and television comedy in Australia during that last 20 years. THE ICE CAPPED JUNGLE

(60 mins) Producer-director: Chris Hilton. Writer: Lincoln Hall. An expedition into Irian Jaya, west­ ern New Guinea, aforbidden zone forthe past 30 years of Indonesian rule and one of the most unexplored regions on earth. This film follows a small party of Australians and Americans on their 100 km overland journey to the peak of Carstensz Pyramid - the highest mountain any­ where between Himalayas and the Andes. WHEN THE LIGHTS GOT OUT

(30 mins) 220 Productions. Producer-directorwriter: Tony Gailey. Co-producer: Julian Russell. The filmcombines natural history with humourto tell the story of the insect which has been around for 320 million years - the cockroach. WOMAN IN A LAMPSHADE

(60 mins) Yowie Films. Producer-director: Christina Wilcox. Writer: Helen Hodgman. The film is about one of Australia’s finest and best­ loved performers: the actress Ruth Cracknell. Excerpts will show Cracknell’s comic-tragic tal­ ent in some of her best known roles.



(100 mins) Forest Home Films. Producers: Damien Parer, Ross Dimsey. Director: Donald Crombie. Writers: Donald Crombie, Chris Lee. Mike Tyrell is a Queensland cattleman who seems carefree but in reality is a young man with responsibilities beyond his years. His lifechanges when his truck hits a parked car that belongs to barrister’s wife, Chrissie Bright.

(60 mins) Storyteller Productions. Executive pro­ ducer-producer-writer: Mike Searle. Director: Peter Du Cane. The programme will continue to look at world initiatives to save endangered species of animals with particular emphasis on the changing roles of indigenous people; plus a look at endangered plants. TELEVISION DRAMA TELE-FEATURE


(100 mins) Southern Star Xanadu. Executive Producers: Errol Sullivan, Tom Donald. Produc­ ers: John Edwards, Sandra Levy. Director: Carl Schultz. Writer: Richard Mortlock. Country-andwestem music is Jazzer Smith’s life. He plays it and he writes about it. He shares a profound love with Anna Rose, the small-town girl he marries. Their joy of life hides a painful truth: Jazzer is the world’s longest survivor of Incurable cancer. 74 • C I N E M A




(96 mins) Barron Films. Executive producer: Paul Barron. Producers: Paul Barron, Julie Monton. Director: Robert Marchand. Writer: Robert Marchand, based on a concept by Paul Barron and John Goldsmith. John Standford, an expatriate Australian, now a private detective in Singapore, becomes involved in a fake pharma­ ceutical case and a dangerous love triangle.

Wardrobe supervisor Wardrobe admin. Wardrobe buyer Wardrobe assts.


Principal Credits





Prod, company Finance Production Director Producer Co-producers

Exec, producer Scriptwriters DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Costume designer

Leading hands

Platinum Pictures Allied Film Makers May 1993


Martin Campbell Gale Anne Hurd Michael R. Joyce James Eastep Jake Eberts Michael Gaylin Joel Gross Phil Meheux Ben Osmo Terry Rawlings Allan Cameron Norma Moriceau

Greensman Trades assts. Labourers Construct, runner

Planning and Development

Casting directors

Casting associate Extras casting Production Crew

Production supervisor Prod, co-ordinator Producer’s asst. Co-producer asst. Prod, secretary Location manager Travel co-ordinator Transport manager Prod, assistant Production runner Prod, accountant Account assts. Unit publicist

Pam Dixon Liz Mullinar Naomi Yoelin Suzanne Johannesen


Art dept co-ordinator Art dept assts. Art dept runner Draftsperson Scenic artist Sketch artist Set decorator Props maker Props & Set dressers

Ian Gracie John Pryce-Jones Amanda Selling Jenny O’Connell Margie Rahmann Justine Dunn Jamie Howies Caroline Polin Ray Pedler David RussellI Lesley CrawfordI Bryce Perrini Beverly Dunni KrisTorma Peter Foster Alex Slater Faith Robinson Nick Brunner Michael Iacono

Tim Grover

1st asst editor


Publicity Dennis Davidson Assoc. Ray Liotta [No further details supplied]. is a dramatic ac­ tion-adventure set on a prison island of the near future where dangerous offenders are sent to purge the mainland of crime. Cast: Synopsis: The Penal Colony

Prod, company


Avalon Film Corporation

Principal Credits

Producer Phillip Avalon Assoc, producer Dennis Kiely Scriptwriter Phillip Avalon DOP Martin McGrath Prod, designer Richard Hobbs Script editor Brian A. Williams Finance Private Gauge Super 35 mm Length 92 mins Cast: [No details supplied] Synopsis: A political thriller set on the Gold Coast.

1st asst director Make-up Make-up artistes

Art director Asst art director Art dept administrator

Dennis Smith Greg Hadju John Rann

Construct, supervisor Construct, managers

On-set Crew

Art Department

Paula Ryan Helen Francis Meg Gordon Angela Grac6 John Power Ken Barnett Chantal Cordey Bruce Fletcher Kim Howard Mark Jones Kristian Kiellarid Brad Howard Graeme Burton Peter Hill Lindsay Hadley Brent Harrison Gregg Thomas f Martin Scurrah :/ ; Steve Herman Adam Smigielski Michael Owen Prue Saunders Candy Burls Peter Hudson

Construction Dept

Colleen Clarke Jennifer Crowley Tyler Kelly Jennifer Scott Laiwa Ng Murray Boyd Elly Bradbury Tic Carroll Dave Moulder (LA) Russell Boyd Christine Robson Nadeen Kingshott Cheryll Stone Fiona Searson, DDA

Colin Fletcher Lesley Vanderwalt Sonja Smuk Cassie Hanlon Hair supervisor Lesley Vandewalt Hairdressers Paul Williams Jan (Ziggy) Zeigenbein Special fx supervisor Brian Cox Special fx co-ord. Brian PearceH Special fx Dave YoungH Paul Gome Stunts co-ordinator Conrad Palmisano

John Osmond Walter Van Veemendäl

Standby props Weapons maker

NOTE: Production Survey forms now adhere to a revised format. C inem a Papers resrets it cannot accept information received in a different format, as it does not have the staff to re-process the information.



Prod, company Dist. company Budget Pre-production Production Post-production Principal Credits

Director Producers

Exec, producer Scriptwriter Based on the novel .Written by DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer


Illumination Films Beyond Films $2 million 1/2/93 -14/3/93 15/3/93-25/4/93 26/4/93 — 27/8/93 Paul Cox Paul Cox Santhana Naidu Paul Ammitzboll William T. Marshall Paul Cox

Planning and Development

Script editor

Priest Island

E. L. Grant Watson Nino Martinetti James Currie Paul Cox Neil Angwin

Jghn Larkin

Budgeted by

Santhana Naidu

Production Crew

Production manager Paul Ammitzboll Prod, co-ordinator Roberto Rodriguez Producer’s asst. Chris Haywood Unit manager Andrew Marshall Assembly editor Rochelle Oshlack Prod, accountant Santhana Naidu Accounts asst Vanitha Naidu Insurer Holland Insurance Brokers Completion guarantor Motion Pictures Guarantors Legal services Marshalls & Dent Camera Crew

Camera operator Focus puller Clapper-loader Key grip Gaffer

Nino Martinetti Warwick Field Richard Comelissen Peter Kershaw Nick Payne

On-set Crew

1st asst director Continuity Boom operator Make-up Still photography Unit publicist Catering

Paul Ammitzboll Margot Wiburd Mike Bakaloff Liz Goulding Roberto Rodriguez Catherine Lavelle, CLPR Tony Marriott

Art Department

Art director

Steve Ewings


Wardrobe supervisor

Gosia Dobrowolska


Asst editor Edge numberer

Rochelle Oshlack Oliver Streeton, Filmsync Eugene Wilson, Sound Services Craig Carter Cinevex Meg Koemig 35mm 1:1.85 Kodak 5245, 5296

Sound transfers by Sound editor Laboratory Neg matching Gauge Screen ratio Shooting stocks

Government Agency Investment

Film Victoria FFC

Development Production


John Thornhill Marketing consultant Beyond Films Inti, sales agent Beyond Films Inti, distributor Catherine Lavelle, CLPR Publicity Cast: Aden Young (Peter), Beth Champion (Mary), Claudia Karvan (Jean), David Field (Dullach), Norman Kaye (Priest (Ghost)), Tony Llewellyn-Jones (Jean's Father); Hugo Weav­ ing, Barry Otto, Chris Haywood, Gosia Dobrowolska, Nicholas Hope. Synopsis: In the 19th Century, a young man is banished to an island after stealing a few sheep. There he lives, fighting the demons of his past and the ghosts of his present, until the arrival of a young woman, who hears of his existence and longs to be with him. When the God-fearing citizens of the mainland learn of their life to­ gether, they demand the two be married. Prod, company Budget Pre-production Production Post-production Principal Credits

Director Producer Assoc, producer Scriptwriters

DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Costume designer Composer


Filmside Productions $2.8 million 22/2/93 ... 13/4/93 ... 24/5/93 ... Jackie McKimmie Ross Matthews Sally Ayre-Smith Vince Sorrenti Larry Butrose Ellery Ryan Ben Osmo Emma Hay Chris Kennedy Anna Borghesi Roger Mason

Planning and Development

Max Dann Script editor Casting Liz Mullinar Casting Consultants Sally Ayre-Smith Budgeted by The Bottom Line Production Crew

Prod, supervisor Prod, co-ordinator

Sally Ayre-Smith Fiona King

Producer’s asst. Prod, secretary Location manager Unit manager Production runner Prod, accountant

Maria Moore Stephanie Finn Patricia Blunt Bob Graham Sophie Alstergren Belle Eder Money Penny Services Accounts asst. Michael Foster Insurer Steeves Lumley (FIUA) Completion guarantor Film Finances Legal services Lloyd Hart Camera Crew

Camera operator Focus puller Clapper-loader Camera type Key grip Asst grip Gaffer Electrician On-set Crew

1st asst director 2nd asst director 3rd asst director Continuity Boom operator Make-up Make-up asst. Stunts co-ordinator Still photography Catering Art Department

Art director Art dept co-ord. Art dept runner Set dresser Props buyer Standby props Action vehicle coord. Wardrobe

Wardrobe supervisor Standby wardrobe Construction Dept

Construct, manager Carpenter Carpenter asst. Standby carpenter Drivers Post-production

1st asst editor 2nd asst editor Sound editor Mixed at Laboratory Lab liaison Gauge Screen ratio Shooting stock

Ellery Ryan Martin Turner Anna Townsend ARRI IV Lester Bishop Terry Cook Matt Slattery Boo Slattery Chris Webb Geoffrey Guiffre Tanya Jackson Jo Weeks Gerry Nucifora Judy Lovell Noreen Wilkie Spike Cherry Corrie Ancone Johnny Faithfull Hugh Bateup Christina Norman Peter Forbes Janine Ranford Leanne Cornish Robert Moxham Tim Parry Edie Kurzer Michele Leonard Phil Worth Jeremy Sparks Anthony Drapper Andrew Staig Laurie Pettinari Tom Read Shawn Seet Abbey McNabney Andrew Plain Atlab Atlab Denise Wolfsen 35mm 12:1 Kodak

Government Agency Investment

Development Production



Southern Star Inti, sales agent Victoria Buchan Publicity Cast: Nick Bufalo (Gino Pallazetti), Zoe Carides (Lucia Petri), Bruno Lawrence (Joe Pallazetti), Rose Clemente (Rosa Pallazetti), Nico Lathouris (Rocco Petri), Fiona Martinelli (Maria), Lucky Fordali (Nonno), John Poison (Stan), Giordano Gangl (Vince), David Wenham (Trevor). Synopsis: Gino Pallazetti’s life is simple. He's in love with Lucia, and his career as a stand-up comedian is about to take off. But throw in the expectations of an Italian family, Lucia’s father, Rocco, an ambitious manager and an unplanned pregnancy, and life becomes comically compli­ cated. Prod, company Principal Credits

Director Producer Co-producer Line producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer

Phillip Emanuel Productions Richard Ryan Phillip Emanuel David Hannay Stephen Jones Richard Ryan Julian Penney Syd Butterworth John Scott Laurence Eastwood

Planning and Development


Maura Fay Marianne Krogdahl

Production Crew

Stephen Jones Prod, manager Caroline Bonham Prod, co-ordinator Leisa Kirby Producer’s asst. Phillip Roope Location manager Bob Graham Unit manager Laurie Pettinari Asst, unit manager Liam Branagan Production runner Denise Farrell Prod, accountant Insurer Film Insurance Underwriting Agency Film Finances Completion guarantor Camera Crew

Mike Wood Bryn Whittie Gary Lincoln Ian Freeman Jonathon Hughes Greg Allen Garth Allen

Focus puller Clapper-loader Key grip Asst, grip Gaffer Best boy Electrician On-set Crew

1st asst director 2nd asst directors Continuity Boom operator Make-up Make-up asst. Special fx co-ord. Special fx Stunts co-ordinator Still photography Catering

Art Department

Art dept co-ordinator Art dept runner Set dresser

Adrian Pickersgill Nikki Long Harry Mason Judy Whitehead Joe Spinelli Lesley Rouvray Belinda Weber Chris Murray Paul Gorrie Lou Stepanol Guy Norris Elise Lockwood Camera Cooks Richard Hobbs Rhett Hutchence Leanne Cornish


Wardrobe supervisor Construction Dept

Carpenters Studios

Terri Lamera Dean Daley Casey Holloway Larkin St. Studios


Edge numberer Chris Rowell Productions Peter Fenton Music mixer Ron Purvis Asst mixer Film Australia Mixed at Marlin Hoyle Lab liaison Neg matching Chris Rowell Productions Kelvin Crumblin Grader Super 16mm Gauge 1:1.85 Screen ratio Cast: Chantal Contouri , Robert Mammone, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick. Synopsis: A psycho thriller. Prod, company


Canealian Prods

Principal Credits

Rob Stewart Phillip Avalon Neal Gechtman Dennis Kiely Karl Shiftman Martin McGrath Tim Lloyd Tony Kavanagh Cathy Finlay Art Phillips

Director Producer Exec, producer Assoc, producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Editor Art director Composer

Planning and Development

Script editor Casting

Budgeted by Production Crew

Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Location manager Unit manager Unit runner Prod, accountant Auditor Insurer

Complet. guarantor

Phillip Avalon Liz Mullinar Suzanne Johannesen Ann Darrouzet Budget Analyst Lynda Wilkinson Ann Folland Richard Montgomery Phil Urquhart Tony Fields Michele D’Arcey Michael Megna J. F. Wells &Assoc. Tony Gibbs Hammond Jewell Rob Fisher/FACB

Lloyd Hart

Legal services Camera Crew

Ian Phillips Brett Matthews Roger Buckingham Andrew Birbara Roger Bailey Lemac Brett McDowell John Tate David Parkinson Daryl Pearson Andrew Moore Andrew Moore

Focus puller Clapper-loader 2nd unit camera 2nd unit assistant Camera equipment Key grip Grip Gaffer Best boy 3rd electrics Generator operator On-set Crew

1st asst director 2nd asst director 4th asst director Continuity Boom operator Make-up Hairdresser Special fx Stunt co-ordinator Safety report Unit nurse Still photography Publicist Caterer Drivers

Dennis Kiely Clinton White Heather Jean Moyes Alison Goodwin Mark Van Kool Hilary Pearce Hilary Pearce John Bowring Danny Baldwin George Mannix Jackie Ramsey Barry Peake Lionel Midford Cassie & David Vaile Out to Lunch Heather Jean Moyes (Cast) Paul Naylor (W/R, M/W Van)

Art Department

Quentin Conybeare Murray Gosson Peter Forbes Murray Gosson John Bowring

Art dept, runner Props buyers Standby props Armourer


Costume supervisor Standby wardrobe Post-production

Jenny Campbell Vicky Friedman Frame Works (AVID) Frame Works Les Fiddess Phill Judd Tracks Studio Movielab Kodak Eastman

Post-production 2nd asst, editor Sound editor Mixer Mixed at Laboratory Film stock Other Credits

Phaedon Vass FFC Citibank Bankers Inti, distributor I.N.I Entertainment Group Inc. Cast: Christopher Atkins (Martin Bullet), Mark Jackson (Jack Moran), Virginia Hey (Toni), Richard Carter (Frankie), Maureen O’Shaughnessy (Charlene), Alfie Bell (Doug), Laurie Moran (Bazza), Damien Cudmore (Sal), Kee Chan (Chang), Lyn Turner (Forensic Woman), Doug Scroope (Grimmer), Shane Flint (Gay Man), Fiona Sullivan (Reporter), Ben Collard (Lead Singer). Synopsis: [No details supplied). Finance

Prod, company Distribution comp. Pre-production Production Post-production


Principal Credits

Director Producer Co-producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Costume designer

Samson Productions II WMG/Capitol Feb-Mar 1993 Apr - May 1993 May - Sept 1993 John Duigan Sue Milliken Sarah Radclyffe (U.K.) John Duigan Geoff Burton David Lee Humphrey Dixon Roger Ford Terry Ryan

Planning and Development


Liz Mullinar &Assoc.

Production Crew

Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Producer’s asst. Prod, secretary Location manager Financial controller Prod, accountant CINEMA

Tatts Bishop Emma Schofield Susan Lane Jane Horvath Maude Heath Money Penny Services Jill Steele PAPERS

93 • 75

Insurer Completion guarantor Legal services Travel co-ordinator

Still photography Catering

Leilani Hannah

Art Department

Camera Crew

Camera asst

On-set Crew


Steeves Lumley Film Finances Paula Paizes Greg Helmers

Art dept runner Set decorators

P. J. Voerten John Martin Sue Wiley Noriko Watanabe Jan Zeigenbein Robert MacFariane Rea Francis

1st asst director 2nd asst director Continuity Make-up Hairdresser Still photography Unit publicist Art Department

Standby props Armourer Wardrobe

Wardrobe co-ord. Standby wardrobe Cutter Seamstress

Laurie Fayn Bart Groen Kerrie Brown Colin Gibson

Art director Art dept runner Props buyer Standby props Wardrobe

Wardrobe supervisor Standby wardrobe Seamstress


Danny Burnett

Shooting stock

Construction Dept

Construct, manager Post-production

FFC NSW Film &Television Office Cast: Sam Neill (Lindsay), Hugh Grant (Anthony), Tara Fitzgerald (Estella), Pamela Rabe (Rose), Portia De Rossi (Giddy), Kate Fischer (Pru), Ben Mendelsohn (Lewis), John Poison (Tom); Elle McPherson. Synopsis: In the late 1920s the controversy over a Norman Lindsay painting brings a young English clergyman and his wife to the famous artist’s country house. Production

Prod, company Pre-production Production Post-production Principal Credits

Director Producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordists

Editor Prod, designer Costume designer


Suitcase Films 18/1/ -26/2/93 1/3/-2/4/93 5/4/ - Nov 93 Susan Lambert Megan McMurchy Jan Comall Ron Hagen Tim Lloyd Don Connolly Henry Dangar Lissa Coote Clarrissa Patterson

Planning and Development

Keith Thompson Script editor Liz Mullinar & Assoc. Casting Performance consultant Lindy Davies Brandon Hendroff Storyboard artist Keith Heygate Shooting schedule Julia Ritchie Budgeted by Production Crew

Julia Ritchie Prod, manager Rowena Talacko Prod, co-ordinator Robin Clifton Location manager Rick Komaat Unit manager Wil Milne Asst, unit manager Virginia Croall Prod, assistant Julian Ryan Production runner Dianne Brown Prod, accountant Steeves Lumley Insurer Film Finances Completion guarantor Michael Frankel &Co. Legal services Camera Crew

Focus puller Clapper-loader Key grip Asst, grip Gaffer Best boy On-set Crew

1st asst director 2nd asst director 3rd asst director Continuity Boom operators Make-up 76 . C I N E M A

Gary Bottomley Mark Muggeridge Pip The Grip' Shapiera Joe James Tom Moody Andrew Smith Keith Heygate Topher Dow Belinda Mravicic Nikki Moors Mark Van Kool Andy Duncan Angela Conte Michelle Johnston PAPERS


■ ■

Pre-production Production Post-production Principal Credits

Director Producers

Exec, producers Assoc, producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Costume designer Composer


Editing assts

Sound transfers by Sound editors

1 1

Fandango SRL (Rome) SAFC 7/9/92 ... 16/11/92 ... 2/2/93 ... Rolf de Heer Rolf de Heer Fiona Paterson Domenico Procacci Giorgio Draskovic David Lightfoot Rolf de Heer Ian Jones (supervising) James Currie Suresh Ayyar Mark Abbott Beverly Freeman Graham Tardif

Planning and Development

Casting Extras casting Budgeted by

Audine Leith Sharon Jackson Gina Ploenges David Lightfoot

Production Crew

Paul Ammitzboll Gina Ploenges Charles Kiroff Charles Kiroff Phil Hayward-Surry Christopher Corin Sharon Jackson Lee Dean Steeves Lumley Rob Fisher Completion guarantor (FACB) Giulia Bernardi (SAFC) Legal services

Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Location manager Unit manager Prod, assistant Production runner Prod, accountant Insurer

Camera Crew

Ian Jones Camera operator Harry Glynatsis Focus puller Tibor Hegedis Clapper-loader Technovision Camera type Mike Smith Key grip Gaffers Richard Rees Jones (location) Keith Johnston (studio) Phil Hayward-Surry Best boy On-set Crew

1st asst directors

2nd asst directors Continuity

Mike Thomas Tim Stanley Crispin Joos SAFC


Basia Ozerski Leigh Elmes Super 16mm Blown up to 35mm Eastman Color Negative

BAD BOY BUBBY (formerly Bubby)

Prod, companies

Claire Benito

Construction super. Carpenters

Chris Budryss Gregg Thomas


Tim Nicholls

Construction Department

AFC Development AFC Production AFC Marketing Cast: Victoria Longley (Julia), Angie Milliken (Stephanie), Richard Roxburgh (Harry), Jacqueline McKenzie (Girl), John Jarratt (Mac). Synopsis: A conversation, overheard by a stranger, has bizarre and unexpected repercus­ sions on two women’s lives.

Government Agency Investment

Art director


Animal handler

Government Agency Investment

Sue Midgely Atlab (Aust.) Rank (U.K.)

Asst, editor Laboratory

Michael Bakaloff Michael Oxenberry Fred Stahl Beverley Freeman Beverley Freeman Beverley Freeman Richard Boue Guy Davis Simon Cardwell Mieke Vandenbos Sean Reid

Art Department

Jackline Sassine Gabrielle Dunn Loris Perryman Sheryl Pilkinton

Construct, manager Greensman Asst, editor Edge numberer Gauge

Sound asst Make-up Hairdresser Wigmaker Stunts co-ordinator Unit nurse Still photography Catering

Jann Vignes Jane Murphy Glen W.Johnson George Zammit John Bowring

Construction Dept

Mel Dykes Heather Laurie Sussanne Head

Boom operators

Angela Conte Michelle Johnston Elise Lockwood Megan Howie Good Lookin’ Cooking

Paul Ammitzboll David Wolfe-Barry Fran O’Donoghue Geoffrey Knibbs Carmel Torcasio

Mixer Mixed at Laboratory Lab liaison Gauge Screen ratio Shooting stock

Christopher Corin Craig Rowley Tony Young James Currie Jolie Chandler James Currie Hendon Studios, SAFC DFL Mark Freeman 35 mm 1:2.35 Anamorphic Kodak

Government Agency Investment

Filmsouth Development FFC Production Cast: Nick Hope (Bubby), Claire Benito (Mom), Ralph Cotterill (Pop), Carmel Johnson (Angel), Norman Kaye (The Scientist), Paul Philpot (Paul), Peter Monaghan (Steve), Natalie Carr (Cherie), Rachael Huddy (Rachael), Bridget Walters (Angel’s Mother). Synopsis: Bubby has been locked up by his mother for his entire life ... now he’s out. Prod, company Dist. company Production


Principal Credits

Director Producers

Co-producer Exec, producer Assoc, producer Scriptwriter DOP Editor Art director Costume designer Composer Other Credits

Lucas Produkzions Film Australia 23/11/92-24/12/1992 Kevin Lucas Aanya Whitehead Kevin Lucas Fiona Paterson Sue Maslin Paul Humpfress Ade Kukoyi Kevin Lucas Kim Batterham Dany Cooper Diaan Wajon Edie Kurzer Andrew Schultz

Julianne Schultz Roland Peelman Sydney Metropolitan Opera Stephen Page Choreography Stephen Jones Prod, manager Anita Mathews Prod, co-ordinator Rick Komaat Unit manager Bob Donaldson 1st asst director Rowena Talacko 2nd asst director Darrin Ballangarry Director’s asst Nathan Watson Runner Linda Ray Continuity Kate Dennis Focus puller Matt Butler Motion-control camera Brett McDonald Grip Richard Curtis Gaffer Mark Watson Best boy Neville Maxwell Special fx Lesley Rouvray Make-up John Russell Prod, accountant Lisa Gallear Standby wardrobe James Cox Standby props Faith Robinson Props buyer James McKay Construct, manager MaryAnn Sam Extras casting Stills photography Michael Bianchino Samuelsons Equipment Film Australia Sound stage Librettist Musical direction

Film Australia Editing rooms Maroochy Barambah (Miriam), John Pringle, Cindy Pan, Clive Birch, James Bonnefin, The Bangarra Dance Troupe. Synopsis: Anchored by Aboriginal mezzo-so­ prano Maroochy Barambah (Miriam), Black River is a cinematic adaption of an award winning contemporary Australian opera. The story tells of three generations of Miriam's family and treats the issue of race relations and Aboriginality with a refreshing blend of music, drama and dance. Cast:

Prod, company Pre-production Production Post-production


Body Melt July-Oct 1992 Oct - Nov 1992 Dec 1992 - June 93

Principal Credits

Philip Brophy Rod Bishop Daniel Scharf Lars Michalak Philip Brophy Rod Bishop Ray Argali Gary Wilkins Bill Murphy Maria Kozic Bob McCarron Anna Borghesi Philip Brophy

Director Producers

Asst, producer Scriptwriters DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Special fx make-up Costume designer Composer Planning and Development

Annette Blonski Greg Apps Prototype Scott Goodings Extras casting Scott Goodings Bit parts Charles Kenway Storyboard artists Philip Brophy Production Crew Yvonne Collins Prod, manager Jo Friesen Prod, co-ord. Chris Odgers Location manager Kevin Morrison Location security Michael Batchelor Unit managers Kevin Morrison Steve Crockett Asst unit manager Megan Spencer Production runner Bernadette Breitkreuz Prod, accountant Steeves Lumley Insurer First Completion guarantor Australian Completion Bond Co. Holding Redlich Legal services Janine Mazzini Chaperon

Script editor Casting

Camera Crew

Camera operator Focus puller Clapper-loader Add. camera assts Key grip Asst grips Gaffer Best boy Asst electrics On-set Crew

1st asst director 2nd asst director 3rd asst director Continuity Boom operators Make-up Hairdressers Special fx make-up Prosthetics Special fx Stunts co-ordinator Safety officer Unit nurse Mechanic Still photography Catering Art Department

Art director Art dept runner Set dresser

Jennifer Meaney Kattina Bowell Warwick Lawrence Angelo Sartori Ian Phillips Stuart Crombie Freddo Dirk Travis Walker Rory Timoni Battista Remati Stevie Price Euan Keddie Tony Gilbert Andy Pappas Kristen Voumard Mark Wasiutak Chris Goldsmith Christine Miller Paul Pattison Christine Miller Paul Pattison Bob McCarron Sonja Smuk Peter Stubbs Chris Peters Wally Dalton Jeff Brook George Vidovic Mark Dundon Keith Fish Tony Sini Food for Film Peta Lawson Zlatko Kasumovic Denise Goudy

Props buyer Standby props Armourers

Colin Robertson Graham Blackmore John Fox John Backhous


Standby wardrobe Wardrobe asst Wardrobe attach.

Rachel Nott Louise McCarthy Leonard Cossari

Construction Dept

Construct, manager

Walter Sperl


Post-prod, supervisor Asst editor Edge numberer

Lars Michalak Jane Usher Oliver Streeton Film Sync Eugene Wilson Craig Carter James Harvey Jack Rath Eric Gorton Colin Tyler Cinevex Ian Anderson 35 mm

Sound transfers Sound editor Asst sound editor Video camera Video graphics Opticals Laboratory Lab liaison Gauge

Government Agency Investment


AFC Film Victoria Cast: Gerard Kennedy (Sam Phillips), Andrew Daddo (“Johno” Johnson), Ian Smith (Doctor Carrera), Vince Gil (Pud), Regina Gaigalas (Shann), Maurie Annese (Gino), Nick Polites (Sal), William Mclnnes (Paul Matthews), Brett Climo (Brian Rand), Suzi Dougherty (Kate), Adrian Wright (Thompson Noble), Lisa McCune (Cheryl Rand), Robert Simper (Ryan), Jillian Murray (Angelica INoble), Ben Guerens (Brandon), Amanda Douge (Elouise), Bill Young (Willie), Neil Foley (Bab), Anthea Davis (Slab), Matt Newton (Bab), Tommy Dysart (Sergeant), Rosemary Margan (Bag Lady). Synopsis: A sensitive and moving portrayal of family life in suburban Australia, centred on the emotional crisis suffered by a defective placenta.

Paymaster Base-office liaison Camera Crew

Camera operator Focus puller Clapper-loader Camera type Key grip Asst grip Gaffer Best boy Electricians

Jasman Jade Peter Boyer Kevan “Loosey” Lind Rob Foster Terry Brazier Arriflex 35BL 4S Kerry Jackson Gary McNamara John Bridon Brown Vaugn Ottoway Paul Richard John Klicin

On-set Crew

1st asst director 2nd asst director 3rd asst director Playback operator Boom operator Make-up Make-up asst Hairdresser Stunts co-ord. Stunts Still photography Unit publicist Runners Art Department

Art director Set dresser Standby props Armourer

Michael Mercurio Deb Copeland Clinton White Joseph Eiby Chriss Goldsmith Margaret Archman Jackie Deakin Margaret Archman Greg Skippen Paul Hass Ian Withnal Blair Man Nicks P.R. Co. Nadine Cagzell Melissa Cagzell Wayne Deakin Nick Brewner Dirk Vanden Driesen Ian Skeneton Movie Ordinance


Wardrobe supervisor

Eva Maria Trust Eva Czaran


Horse master

Lorrie Sheridon



Cinevex Atlab Kodak

Shooting stock Marketing

GET AWAY GET AWAY [See previous issue for details] THE HEARTBREAK KID [See issue #91 for details] JUSTIFIED ACTION

Prod, company

Westworld Film Production $2.9 million 16/11/92-3/1/93 4/1/93-15/2/93 16/2/93-30/4/93

Budget Pre-production Production Post-production Principal Credits

Rene Nagy Jnr Rene Nagy Jnr Jack Samardzisa Summer Nicks Michael J. Knowles Elliot A. McGarva

Director Producer Exec, producer Assoc, producers

Scriptwriter Based on the story Written by

Justified Action

Elliot A. McGarva Rene Nagy Jnr Jack Samardzisa Kevan “Loosey” Lind John Shiuoibane Gary Woodyard Wayne Deakin Eva Maria Trust

DOP Sound recordist Editor Art director Costume designer Planning and Research

Script editor Casting Extras casting Shooting schedule by Budgeted by Production Crew

Prod, supervisor Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Producer’s asst Location manager Transport manager Prod, assistant Production runner Prod, accountant

Richard Carter Summer Nicks Kelly’s Inc. Michael Mercurio Rene Nagy Jnr Ron Stigwood

Michael J. Knowles Ron Stigwood Karen Anne Mansfield Blonde David Munro Louis Nagy Kathy Thomas Phill Toynton Jasman Jade

Summer Nicks Publicity Donald Swayze (Curtis Carter), Peter Phelps (Eddie Carter), Christina Ongley (Sarah Jordan), Mark Hembrow (Richard Carter), John Samaha (Vinny), Summer Nicks (Wilton Lineker), Richard Carter (Sam), Michael J. Knowles (Bennett), Rene Nagy (Tom Matthews), David Knowles (McDonald). Synopsis: A head of internal security of a multi­ million dollar corporation and his estranged brother team up to track down and avenge a Japanese underworld businessman, for the murder of their older brother, with a little help from their friends. Cast:

Prod, company


Dist. company Principal Credits

Director Producers

Co-producers Line producers Exec, producers Scriptwriter DOP Editor Prod, designer Other Credits

Casting Shooting schedule

Rosa Colosimo Productions Angelika Films Inti.

Jim Kaufman Rosa Colosimo Will Spencer Ellepi Film SRL Dan Q Inc. Ciné Ciné Canada Inc Basil Appleby (Aust) Gino Millozza (Italy) Leo Pescarolo Arthur Syin Ron Cohen Rosa Colosimo Dion Beebe Edward McQueen-Mason Franco Ceraolo

Maura Faye Will Spencer Gino Millozza Will Spencer Budgeted by Prod, manager Christine Hart Prod, secretaries Vivian Simonelli (Aust) Sabrina Ferilli (Italy) John Brousek Financial controller Completion guarantor MPG Luigi Ferrara Legal services Rosemary Brondolino & Co.

Length <Gauge Finance

90 mins 35mm FFC Ellepi Films (Italy) Cine Cine (Canada) Dan Q (Japan) Inti, sales agent Angelika Films Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Beals. Synopsis: A brilliant young professor and a beautiful enigmatic woman strike a macabre pact to avenge the deaths of their love partners in this psycho-sexual thriller set against a stylish Italian backdrop. RECENTLY COMPLETED See previous issues for details on: BEDEVIL CRIME BROKER CUSTODIAN DAWN OF THE DMF’S KEVIN RAMPENBACKER AND THE ELECTRIC KETTLE (formerly Cops and Robbers) THE SILVER BRUMBY THIS W O N T HURT A BIT (formerly Le Dentiste)


Prod, company Production Post-production

AFTRS Dec 1992 - Jan 1993 Jan - Mar 1993

Principal Credits

Director Producer DOP Sound recordist Editor Composer

Chantal Abouchar Imani Gunesekara Peter Coleman Gavin Marsh Richard Payne Felix Davies

Other Credits

Add. photography Chantal Abouchar Julia Greeton Camera asst. Gauge SP Betacam Length 26 mins Presale SBS Cast: [No details supplied •] Synopsis: Bondi Stories will consist of three stories which look at traditional Australian icons (beach culture, car worship, etc.) and set them in the context of pluralist Australia in the nineties.

Michael Boland Nick Paton Basil Krivoroutchko Lesley Crawford Ross McLennan

Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Prod, designer Composer

Planning and Development

Sue Manger Production Crew Gareth Calverley Ross Hughes Cathy Thomas Kerry Mulgrew FIUA Ian Gray


Locations Prod, runner Accounts asst. Insurer Legal services Camera Crew

Nick Paton Simon Christidis Margaret McClymont Warren Lazarides Kurt Olsen Mark Buckley

Camera operator Camera assistant Clapper-loaders Key grip Asst, grip On-set Crew

Angella McPherson Luke Denham Karen Mansfield Andrew Ellis Julia Le Sueur Ellie White

1st asst director 2nd asst director Continuity Boom operator Make-up Art Department

Asst, art director Set dressers

Suzanne Acton Nie Brunner Beverley Dunn Margie Rahman Dirk Vanden-Driesen Emma Rudkin Jim Sully

Standby props Armourer Wardrobe

Wardrobe supervisor Standby wardrobe

Kim Strewe Justine Dunne

Construction Dept

Construct, supervisor Dennis Smith Cast: Anthony Phelan (Joe/Jack), Russell Kiefel (Birelli), Angie Quick (Jill), Darryl Hukins (Dominic), Stephen Davis (Arab), Ray Marsh (Pilot), Catherine Miller (Hostess), Kelly Hanson (Emma), Peter Thompson (Stud), Dragicia Debert (Blonde). Synopsis: Jaded private detective Jack Bukowski battles his nemesis, the evil arch vil­ lain Birelli, in a fictional world created by a hopeful young writer named Joe. J.A.O.K.

Prod, company Dist. company


CAM Productions SBS

Principal Credits

Director Producer Co-producer Exec, producers

Scriptwriters Editor Composer Other Credits

Helen Gaynor Helen Gaynor Film Victoria Tony Chapman (SBS) Helen Gaynor Shane Higgs Greg Smith Jenny Vine Helen Gaynor Shane Higgs Greg Smith Jenny Vine Andrew Scott John Clifford White Helen Gaynor Helen Gaynor Michael Paulich John Clifford White

Camera Sound

Audio post-prod. Investment


Film Victoria SBS Cast: Rogiberto Menchu,, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Synopsis: An investigation of continuing perpe­ tration of Human Rights abuses and the struggle for justice in Guatemala via three case studies. SHORTS JACK BUKOWSKI - DEATH IS BLUE

Prod, company

Principal Credits

Director Producer

Firebrand Films

Michael Boland Gareth Calverley

Production company Principal Credits

Director Producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound Recordist Editor

The Melting Clock Craig C. Rossiter Craig C. Rossiter Craig C. Rossiter Anthony Englund Cris Kennedy Craig C. Rossiter

Other Credits

Production manager Production supervisor

Carl Vincent Margot Reynolds Director of lighting Nicholas Bolonkin 1st asst director Anne-Maree Englund Continuity Michele Day Clapper-loader Kate Crawford Camera assistant Kate Crawford Stills photographer Kate Crawford Catering Brenda Rossiter Asst editor Anna Reynolds Camera equipment Lemac Film & Video Laboratory VFL Gauge 16mm Shooting stock Fuji F-64 Duration 8 mins Cast: Shannon Woollard (Elder John), Rupert Boyd (Young John), Peter Reid (Judge), Margot Reynolds (Mother), Penleigh Boyd (Father), Patrick Oxley (Policeman), Robyn Boyd (Woman), Brenda Rossiter (Other Woman), and Payten Giles. Synopsis: Told mostly in voice-over narration, the film follows the early life of a young criminal who believes the acts he commits do not consti­ tute crimes. OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Prod, company

VCA Production

Principal Credits



93 • 77

Mick Connolly Scottie Walker Justin Brickie Brain Rapsey Paul Carland

Director Producer DOP Sound recordist Prod, designer Other Credits

Prod, manager Scottie Walker Art director Rachael Guthridge 1st asst director Andrea Bosshard Camera assistant Nicola Loder Prod, co-ordinator Fiona Mclnemey Prod, assistant Jill Harris Phil Winters Sound design Grip Freddo Dirk Gaffer Andrew Brimstead Set builder David Murrey Make-up Neil Timms Continuity Suzi Kent Stills photography Zoe Chang Caterer Helena’s Laboratory Cinevex Gauge 16 mm Length 15 mins Cast: James Vicary (Jason), Paul Sonkkila (Peter), Gus Mercurio (Max). Synopsis: A psychopath, a loser and a rehabili­ tation officer. Vocational guidance made easy. SOMETHING LOST, SOMETHING GAINED

Prod, company

Principal Credits

Director Producer Exec, producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Editor Art director Composer

Australian Cinema Ensemble

Angelo Salamanca Scottie Walker Angelo Salamanca Angelo Salamanca Stephen Amis Phil Winters Nadia Cossich Scottie Walker Janine De Lorenzo

Planning and Development


Australian Cinema Ensemble Production Crew Tass Sideris Producer’s asst.

Camera Crew

Camera operator Focus puller Camera asst Camera type Kep grip Gaffer On-set Crew

1st asst director Continuity Boom operator Make-up Hairdresser Choreographer Still photography Caterer

Stephen Amis Joanne Donahoe Joanne Donahoe ARRI BL Darryl Stokes Darryl Stokes Mick Connolly Nadia Cossich Phil Winters Marie Lupino Marie Lupino Angelo Salamanca Scottie Walker Helena’s


Piero Coili Editing supervisor Phil Winters Sound transfers Phil Winters Sound editor Janine De Lorenzo Musical director Janine De Lorenzo Music performed by Peter Frost Mixer Film Soundtrack Mixed at Cinevex Laboratory lan Anderson Lab liaison Tim Morgan Grader 16mm Gauge 1:1.85 Screen ratio 16mm 7245, 7292 Shooting stock Cast: Joseph Spano (Cris), Nani McMullin (Tess), Wayne Condo (Rex), Nancy Finn (Wendy). Synopsis: Marriage guidance, buskers, voyeurism. Life is a bit like that! AUSTRALIAN FILM TELEVISION & RADIO SCHOOL KEMBAL1 UHAT - RETURN LOOK

Prod, company Pre-production Production Post-production

Principal Credits


78 . C I N E M A P A P E R S

AFTRS; 1/12/92-18/1/93! 19/1/-2/3/93i 3/3/-30/4/93; Sally ReganI 93

Sally Regan Peter Coleman Sam Petty Richard Pain

Producer DOP Sound recordist Editor Other Credits

Prod, manager Sound editor Laboratory Shooting stock

Siobhan Hannan (Aust) Greg Fitzgerald Movielab 7293,7245 Video 8 Cast: [No details supplied.] Synopsis: This film examines the notion of the commodification of culture: how it is bought and sold as Buddhas or Koalas and how we as tourists enter into that contract. SIMPLE

AFTRS AFTRS $12,000 plus facilities

Prod, company Dist. company Budget Principal Credits

Director Producer Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer

Polly Seddon Bernard Purcell Polly Seddon Sion Michel Andrew Blinkensop Nick Meyers Annie Beauchamp

Planning and Development

Joy Sargant Greg Duffy Bernard Purcell

Casting Shooting schedule by Budgeted by Production Crew

Prod, supervisor Prod, manager Prod, co-ordinator Location manager Unit manager Production runner Prod, accountant

Bernard Purcell Bernard Purcell Sarah Tindill Michael Pollit Michael Pollit Michael Pollit Alison Baillache

Camera Crew

Sion Michel Tony Bosch lan Bosman

Camera operator Key grip Gaffer On-set Crew

1st asst director 2nd asst director Continuity Boom operator Still photography Art Department

Art director Standby props

Greg Duffy Peter Skarratt Stuart Ewings Cathy Napier Simon Bennetts Annie Beauchamp Brendan Boys


Wardrobe supervisor Animals

Eliza Reid Margaret Campbell

Animal trainer Post-production

Nick Meyers Greg Fitzgerald Sherre Delys

Post-prod, supervisor Fx mixers


lan Phipps Marketing consult. Cast: Lisa Hensley (Yvonne), Anthony Kierann (Xavier), Rohan Woods (Boss). Synopsis: Yvonne and Xavier live in a perfect, fairytale world with a house, employment, achild and true love. Little by little the cracks start to show as the pressures of daily life take their toll. All that was seemingly simple isn’t. SPRING BALL

Prod, company Dist. company Budget Pre-production Production Post-production

Principal Credits

Director Producer Assoc, producers

Scriptwriter DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Costume designer Composer

AFTRS AFTRS $500,000 1/8/92 - 30/10/92 1/11/92-15/11/92 16/11/92-31/3/93

Nicole Mitchell Paul Davis-Miller Glenda Pym Georgia Cordukes Nicole Mitchell Peter Coleman Greg Hodge Richard Pain Soula Gargoulakis Miranda Brock Dog Trumpet

Planning and Development


Joy Sargant

James McTeigue

Shooting schedule by Production Crew

Prod, co-ordinator Producer's assts

Financial controller Prod, accountant 'Camera Crew Focus puller 1Clapper-loader 1Camera assistants

Emma Brunton Lisa Main Rachel Lane lan MacArthur Alison Ballaiche Annie Benzie Paul Yoo Robert Green Heath Kerr Gary Russell Panavision Tony Bosch “Ozzie Alfaro” lan Bosman Peter Wood David Holmes Dean Winnell

2nd unit DOP 1Camera type Key grip Asst grip Gaffers Best boy Electrician 1On-set Crew 1st asst director 2nd asst director 1Continuity Boom operator Make-up Choreographer Still photography Catering Runners Art Department

Art dept co-ords. Standby props Wardrobe

Standby wardrobe Wardrobe asst

James McTeigue Peter Rees Kira Bonn Cathy Napier Carmel Marlin Erika Vaughan Nattina Eggleton Celia Morris Eunis Mitchell Scott Mitchell Country Women’s Assoc. Jodie Cutler Robert McKnight Jacqui Utley Marcella Paolacci Brendan Boys Philipa Wootton Grant Parker-Ross

Contruction Dept

Brent Taylor AFTRS crew

Construct, manager Post-production

Sound editor Mixed at Laboratory Lab liaison Neg matching Grader Gauge Screen ratio Shooting stock

Sherre Delys AFTRS Atlab Andrea Henderson Atlab Arthur Cambridge 35mm 2.35:1 Kodak 5293


Ruth Saunders Marketing consult. Cast: Gillian Hyde (Kitty McCoy), Richard Healy (The M.P.). Synopsis: What happens when we get old? Do we lose our lust for life, our desire for love, for sex. for joy? Do we lament the loss of our looks, of our youth? One night at an old people’s ball in a country town, we celebrate life, its wonder and its sadness. TELEVISION PRODUCTION THE FEDS (tele-feature)

Prod, company Dist. company Pre-production Production Post-production

Principal Credits

Director Producer Exec, producer Associate producer Scriptwriters DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Costume designer Composer

Crawford Productions Eaton Films 11/1/93 - 26/2/93 1/3/93 - 2/4/93I 5/4/93 -11 /6/93 David Caesar Jan Mamell Bruce Gordon Judith Bland John Reeves vjnee Moran Joseph Pickering John McKerron Bill Murphy Kerith Holmes Sally Grigsby Bruce Rowland

Planning and Development

Researcher Casting Extrascasting

John Reeves Jan Pontifex Nikki Longstaff

Production Crew

Chris Page Jo Friesen Betty Parthimos Greg Ellis Peter Allen Tim Scott Ross Porter Tony Möller Production runner Ron Sinni Prod, accountant Shirley Martin Accounts asst. First Completion guarantor Australian Completion Bond Co. R. Garton Smith & Co Legal services Showtravel Travel co-ord. Prod, manager* Prod, co-ordinator Prod, secretary Location manager Transport manager Unit managers

Camera Crew

Focus puller Clapper-loader Key grip Asst grip Gaffer Best boy

Rosie Cass Trish Keating Greg Tuohy Danny Lockett Brett Hull lain Mathieson

On-set Crew

Brendan Campbell 1st asst director Monica Pearce 2nd asst director Andrew Power 3rd asst director Kirsten Voumard Continuity Jenny Sutcliffe Boom operator Brad Smith Make-up Andrea Cadzow Hairdresser Brian Pearce Special fx supervisor Arch Roberts Stunts co-ordinator New Generation Stunts Stunts Tom Coltraine Safety officer Les O’Rourke Still photography Maryanne Mason Unit publicist Sweet Seduction Catering Art Department

Art director Set dresser Propsperson Props buyers

Standby props Armourer Wardrobe

Wardrobe supervisor Standby wardrobe Wardrobe asst Construction Dept

Construct, manager Studios Post-production

Post-prod, supervisor Editing asst Dialogue editor Foley Mixer Fx editors Music editor Mixed at Laboratory Lab liaison Grader Gauge Screen ratio Shooting stock Video transfers Off-line facilities Video special fx Video master by

Phil Chambers Timothy Disney Alex Dixon Danae Gunn Richie Dehne Stuart Redding John Fox Caaran Englehardt Sue Miles Keely Ellis Peter McNee Crawfords Australia David Birrell Nadia Trantino Ross Porter (Fairlight MFX 2) Bruce Climas Tracy Grimshaw Andrew Jobson Colin Swan David McDonald (Fairlight MFX 2)' Chris Pettifer Crawfords Australia Cinevex lan Anderson Charlie Ellis, AAV 16mm neg to 1” video 4:3 7245, 7293 AAV/GTV 9 Crawfords Australia GTV 9 GTV9

Government Agency Investment

Development Production


Film Victoria FFC

Inti, distributor Eaton Films Publicity Nine Network tast: Signd tnomton (unnstine McUuillan), Robert Taylor (Dave Griffin), Bruno Lawrence (Icehouse), PeterHosking (Roland Cloke), Nicki Wendt (Melita Reale), Stephanie Chen (May Po), Rachel Griffiths (Angela Braglia), Alex Menglet (Dr. Steven Jellicoe), Lewis Fiander (Monk), Daniel Rigney (“Daisy"). Synopsis: The Feds is an action-packed story filmed in Australia and Hong Kong. After months of investigation, Superintendent Dave Griffin is set to nail a prominent brain surgeon for fraud

When an American Senator is shot and federal agents become involved in a web of intrigue. OCEAN GIRL (series)

Prod, company Dist. companies Budget Pre-production Production Post-production

Westbridge Productions Téle Images Beyond Distribution $3.58 million 15/1/93 ... 7/6/93 ... 7/6/93 - 25/2/94

Principal Credits


producer Line producer Exec, producers Scriptwriters

DOP Sound recordist Editors Prod, designer Composers

Mark Defriest Brendan Maher Jonathan Mark Shift Gina Black Jonathan Mark Shift Jennifer Clevers Peter Hepworth Neil Luxmoore Jenifer Sharp Charles Boyle David Phillips Denise Morgan Alison Niselle Ian Coughlan Craig Barden John Wilkinson Philip Watts Anne Carter Tracy Watt Garry McDonald Laurie Stone

planning and Development

Script editors

Casting Extras casting Budgeted by Production Crew

Producer’s asst. Location manager Tutor Financial controller Prod, accountant Insurer Completion guarantor Legal services Travel co-ord. Camera Crew

Camera operator Focus puller Clapper-loader Camera assistant 2nd unit DOP’s 2nd unit asst. pâmera type

Michael Joshua Jenifer Sharp Neil Luxmore Jo Rippon Amanda Garland Jennifer Clevers Gina Black

Virginia Strickland Michael McLean Robert Bailey Jennifer Clevers Kay Ben M’Rad Hammond Jewell FIUA Film Finances Inc. Barker Gosling Jet Aviation Craig Barden Angelo Sartori Brett Matthews Jeff Fleck Ross Issacs Ron Hagen Gary Bottomley ARRI SRII

On-set Crew

Chris Page Ray Hennessy Rachael Evans 2nd asst director Henry Ellison 3rd asst director Dale Duguid Special fx supervisor Photon Stockman Chris Anderson Stunts co-ordinator New Generation Stunts Best Kept Secrets Catering 1st asst directors

Art Department

Art director Standby props

Construction Dept

Construct, supervisor Studios Post-production

Post-prod, supervisor Asst editor Editing asst. L&boratory Video transfers Off-line facilities Video special fx Video master by

Adele Fleur Chris James Michael McLean Crawfords Studios Philip Watts Anne Carter Andrew Scott Cinevex POST! POST! POST! POST!

Government Agency Investment

Development Production

Old Film Development Office Film Victoria FFC


Inti, distributors

Tele Image Beyond Distribution Cast: [No details provided. ] Synopsis: The story of Neri, a mysterious young girl from the ocean, and her discovery by the young inhabitants of an underwater research colony. Set in the tropical rainforests and spec­ tacular coral reefs of far north Queensland. SHIP TO SHORE (series)

Prod, company Pre-production Production

Barron Films (Television) 22/2/93 ... 5/4/93 ...

Principal Credits


Producer Line producer Exec, producer Scriptwriters

DOP Sound recordist Editor Prod, designer Costume supervisor Composer

Amanda Smith Glenda Hambly Ron Elliott Karl Zwicky David Rapsey Barbi Taylor Paul D. Barron John Rapsey Everett De Roche Ranald Allan Glenda Hambly Judith MacCrossin Brad Pearce Gary Carr Geoff Hall Tim Ferrier Helen Mather Bruce Rowland

Planning and Development

Script editor

Production Crew

Prod, supervisor Prod, manager Prod, secretary Location manager Transport manager Unit manager Production runner Prod, accountant Accounts asst. Completion guarantor Camera Crew

Camera operator Focus puller Clapper-loader Key grip Grip Gaffer Best boys

Barbara Bishop

Trish Carney Kerry Bevan Toni Raynes Jane Sullivan Tony Rhodes Aubrey Tredget Margot Evans Robyn McFadgen Leanne Bolton Film Finances Peter Goodall Steve Peddie Danny Featherstone David Cross Greg McKie Guy Bessell-Browne Joe Mercurio Clive Rippon

(Billy), Greg Carroll (Hermes). Synopsis: The comic adventures of kids who live on Circe Island, a fishing community and a communications base just off the coast of Western Australia. Some of the kids call it paradise, the others call it a prison and long for the excitement of city life on the mainland. SNOWY (mîm-series)

Prod, company Dist. company

Principal Credits


Producers Assoc, producer Scriptwriters

DOPs Prod, designer

Simpson Le Mesurier Films Beyond International Paul Maloney Ian Gilmour Roger Le Mesurier Roger Simpson RosTatarka Roger Simpson Tom Hegarty Vince Gil David Boutland David Allen Katherine Thompson Graeme Koetsveld Mac Gudgeon Peter Kinloch Robyn Sinclair Brett Anderson Craig Barden Tel Sto Ifo

Other Credits

Script editors

Roger Simpson Tom Hegarty Art director Bernie Wynack Presale Nine Network Length 13x60 mins Gauge 16mm FFC Finance Film Victoria Cast: Bill Kerr, Catherine Wilkin, Annie Jones, Bernard Curry, William Mclnnes, Neil Melville, Jochen Horst, Rebecca Gibney, Lucy Bell, Charles Powles. Synopsis: A tempestuous love story set amidst the grandeur and spectacle of the Snowy Moun­ tains. [No further details supplied.] STARK (series) [See issue #91 for details]



Eco Productions Pre-production Jul 1992 ... Production Aug 1992 - Feb 1993 Mar 1993 - Apr 1993 Post-production principa. Credits Director Lucinda Clutterbuck Fiona Eagger Producer Scriptwritèr Charlotte Clutterbuck Lucinda Based on original idea Clutterbuck Animators/directors Lucinda Clutterbuck Sarah Watt Sound recordist Stephen Vaughn Edjtors Harriet Clutterbuck Ray Argali Composers Paul Schutze Rosemary Pearse David Chesworth other Credits Animation assts Anna Kannava Rosemary Pearse Prod accountant Michael Agar ,nsurer Hammond Jewell Mjxed gt Crawfords Laboratory Cinevex Finance AFC Film Victoria ABC Children’s TV Presale cast: ^No detaj|s suppiied] Synopsis: The Web is a series of six by five minute animations on rare and vulnerable anima|s included in the series are: Peregrine Falcorii Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Great White Shark, Cheetah, Panda and Rattlesnake. See previous issues for details on: CLOWNING AROUND ENCORE! PHOENIX (series II)


On-set Crew

Jamie Crooks Michael Faranda Vikki Barr 2nd asst director Noni Roy 3rd asst director Continuity Judith Whitehead (Block 1) Jenny Sutcliffe Boom operator Karen Sims Make-up Peter West Safety reports Giancarlo Mazzella Unit nurse Skip Watkins Still photography Jan Rogers Unit publicist Runcible Spoon Catering 1st asst directors

Art Department

Art director Art dept runner Props buyers Standby props


Standby wardrobe


Animal handler Construction Dept

Construct, manager S/B Carpenter Props maker

Diaan Wajon Samantha Forrest Clayton Jauncey Nigel Devenport Tania Ferrier Kelvin Sexton Lisa Galea Jim Maher Steve Rice Matthew McGuire Chris Norman


Geoff Hall Supervising editor David Fosdick Picture editor Meredith Watson Editing asst Cinevex Laboratory Cast: Clinton Voss (Kelvin), Heath Miller (Ralph), Jodi Herbert (Julie), Kimberley Stark (Geraldine), Cleonie Morgan-Wootton (Babe), Christie Pitts (Sally), Ewen Leslie (Guido), Ronald Underwood CINEMA


93 . 79

TEN EB R ILE TEN Ten C r i t i c s ’ Bes t and W o r s t












AMELIA ROSE TOWERS J a c k ie F a rk a s





BITTER MOON R o m a n P o la n sk i



0 0




BRAINDEAD P e te r J a c k s o n


CANDYMAN B e rn a rd R o se







































T 0


































FORTRESS S tu a rt G o rd o n
























HOFFA D a n n y D e V ito












HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK C h ris C o lu m b u s












INTO THE WEST M ik e N e w e ll












THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS M ic h a e l M a n n












THE LIVING END G re g g A ra k i












MALCOLM X S p ik e L ee
























NOWHERE TO RUN J o e E sz te rh a s











1 .6

OF MICE AND MEN G a ry S inise












SALO P ier P a o lo P a so lin i












SCENT OF A WOMAN M a r tin B re st












SIMPLE MEN H a l H a rtle y












SNIPER L u is L lo sa
































ALIVE F ra n k M a rs h a ll




















CLOSE MY EYES S te p h e n P o lia k o ff


THE CRYING GAME N e il J o rd a n

FILM TITLE D ire c to r

WIND C a rro ll B a lla rd



O 0


80 • C I N E M A



MELBOURNE Centre of Australian Film Culture


Na t i o n a l Sc r e e n w r it e r s C o n f e r e n c e S t . K I l d a F ilm F e s t i v a l ATOM

Aw a r d s

Ex p e r im e n t a Pro



uppo r ted


F il m V i c t o r i a 4th Floor 49 Spring Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

Film Victoria i

TELEPHONE 61 3 651 4089 Facsimile 61 3 651 4090



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