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PHILLIP NOYCE, FEDERICO FELLINI, FRANCES O’ CONNOR, CATE BLANCHETT, PAUL COX

NUMBER 116 M A Y 1997

$6 .95


contents

C I N E M A PAPERS • MAY 1997

I N S I G H T S

N U M B E R 116

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F O C U S

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In ilits fe stiv a ls

The L atest in Serious Indian Cinema. Jo h n W . Hood 18 Rotterdam . Adrian M artin 12

in eb iifereiice

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Scriptw riters’ Conference. D iane Cook

inprofile

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Frances O ’Connor Cate Blanchett

in review

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FILMS: B lackrock, The C attle, M other, The Q uiet Room , Zone 39, L u st e3 Revenge BOOKS: IFeLLinh, books received

legal eabe

They w ere alone in the outback. O ne o f them had a large knife ... Bill Bennett talks to ANDREW

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A ccess Agreements. Lloyd H art

light no tes

KISS OR KILL It was a hot summer night.

L . URBAN about the disturbing personal experience which

Riviera Dreaming & Snapshots o f the

inspired his latest film, and his

Australian films

struggle to w rite a script with

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in search o f fam e—

no moral hang-ups

and sales —at

20

The A to Z o f Producing. H al M cE lro y

te ch n ic a litie s

F o x and M ovie W orld Studios B arrie Smith, Sco tt M urray

inproduction eid etic eight

73 80

by

T im H u n t e r

by

by

T im H u n t e r

The S ain t director Phillip Noyce spills the beans on being inside

Cannes ’97

the studio system

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34

Short Films with Long Impact

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Ex-Pat Guide to Hollywood

M ar garet S mith

Heaven’s Burning by

P au l K alina

In her first feature, Sam antha

Jo n a th a n Ogilvie ponders about

Film noir meets road-movie with

Lang captures the stark and

abstract expressionism, irony,

a twist o f m ulti-culturalism in

brooding atmosphere of

dogs and his latest creation,

Craig LahifFs variations on the

Elizabeth Jo lle y ’s novel

Trunk

Tristan and Isolde theme

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¡bits NEWS, VI EWS, AND

MORE NE WS,

FFC TO CONSIDER NEW FEATURE FILM PROPOSALS he Australian Rim Finance Corpo­ ration decided at its March Board meeting to consider further feature film proposals at its next meeting scheduled for 30 April.

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The FFC had announced its decision to suspend feature film financing in December 1996 because of the high level of commitments already made for feature films for the year. This did not affect other funding areas, including documentary and television drama, and, while the FFC’s cash reserves are being fully utilized by its commitments to date, financing another feature film will involve using some of its expected appropriation for 1997/98. AUSTRALIAN FILMS AT THE 1996 BOX-OFFICE ustralian films earned 8 percent, or$43.7m , of the national boxoffice in 1996, doubling the 1995 percentage of 4 percent. It didn’t quite meet the 10 percent share of 1994 for the same number of films released, when 20 feature films grossed $46111. 1995 saw only 13 features released.

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E T C.

Editor: Scott Murray Deputy Editor: Paul Kalina Editorial A ssistance: Tim Hunter

The top five Australian films in Australia 1996 were: Babe $25,804,554; Shine $6,764,493; Cosi $2,896,980; Dating the

Enemy $2,620,325; Love and Other Catastrophes $1,647,929. (Figures as of 31/12/96. Babe was released in December 1995; Shine was still screening at 31/12/96.) DISTINCTLY AUSTRALIAN INITIATIVE FELLOWSHIPS he Australian Film Commission recently announced the 1996/97 Distinctly Australian Fellowships. Fiftytwo Fellowships totalling $884,000 were received by filmmakers from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia. The Distinctly Australian Fellow­ ships are designed to provide career development opportunities for writers, script editors, writer-directors and pro­ ducers, and are the fourth and last in the current series. Recipients of Direc­ tor-Writer Fellowships totalling $90,000, who are then able to step aside from commissioned work to

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116 Argyle St, Fitzroy, VIC, Australia 3065 PO Box 2221, Fitzroy MDC, VIC 3065 Tel: (03) 9416 2644 Fax: (03) 9416 4088 email: cp@parkhouse.com.au

A dvertising: Terry Haebich Office Assistance: Mina Carattoli

develop a screenplay of great personal importance, include Emma-Kate Croghan, Lawrence Johnston and Ben Lewin. A total of $380,000 was received by 26 producers of various levels of expe­ rience to allow consolidation of their creative and business plans. Among the recipients were: Jenny Day; Rona Eagger; Matt Carroll; Richard Lowenstein; Posie Graeme-Evans; Jim McElroy. Documentary Fellowships, totalling $120,000, were awarded to: David Bradbury; Russell Porter; David Roberts; Barbara Chobocky; Frank Rijavec; Tom Zubrycki. The Writer Fellowship Scheme awarded a total of $150,000 to: Shane Brennan and Sue Smith ( The Leaving

Of Liverpool); Deborah Parsons and Denis Whitburn (Blood Oath, Billy’s Holiday and Bodysurfers); Steve Wright (,Lilian’s Story).

Accounts: Tory Taouk Proofreading: Arthur Salton Office Cat: Oddspot Legal: Dan Pearce (Holding Redlich) MTV Board o f Directors: Ross Dimsey (Chairman), Natalie Miller, Matthew Learmonth, Penny Attiwill, Michael Dolphin Founding Publishers: Peter Beilby, Scott Murray, Philippe Mora : Design & Production: Parkhouse Publishing Pty Ltd Tel: (03) 9347 8882 Printing: Printgraphics Pty Ltd Film : Condor Group Distribution: Network Distribution © COPYRIGHT 1997 MTV PUBLISHING LIMITED Signed articles represent the views o f the authors and not neces­ sarily those o f 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 peripission o f the copyright owners. Cinema Papers is published every month by MTV Publishing Limited, 116 Argyle St, fitzroy, VIC Australia 3065.

AUSTRALIAN COMM ISSION

CINEMA PAPERS IS PUBLISHED WITH FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN FILM COMMISSION AND CINEMEDIA

contributors D ia n e C o o k w o r k s p a r t -t im e a s a

W HATTHEYSAID A S THEY PICKED UP THEIR OSCARS

FREELANCE WRITER, AND AT ClNEMEDIA;

(oNd CINEMA PAPERS liearHIy cheer* Uiem) . . .

Da v id A. Ha in e s w a s d e p u t y c h ie f

. . GEOFFREY RUSH

. . . J O H N SEALE

CENSOR FROM

(B e*tActor, SHINE)

(Bc*t Cinem atography, THE ENGLISH PATIENT)

CONSULTS TO THE COMMUNICATIONS AND

I want to thank all the members of the Academy. I’d also like to thank every Australian actor and theatre colleague I’ve ever worked with.

Thank you very much. My congratulations to the other nominees and to the Academy. This is for Louise, Darren and Briana, and Clem and Linden from Mona Vale. Contrary to what you see, a cameraman or a cinematographer doesn’t stand alone and there’s a big international crew back there that helped us make the film. On my side of it, it was headed by Tamaso Mele and Mo Flam, second unit Remy Ardeparison, who shot all the second unit; he shot all the beautiful camels. To Michael Ondaatje, thanks very much for the book. To Anthony Minghella, thanks very much for asking me to contribute to the film. And to one of the nicest produc­ ers, my congratulations for the Thalberg Award, and one of the world’s gentlemen, MrSaulZaentz. Thank you very much.

ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY ON CENSORSHIP;

There’s a game you can play where you create a dinner party where you can invite guests from any time in history, real or fictional. The Academy has honoured me by choosing to seat me as David Helfgott, at a table with Larry Flynt, and Count Laszlo de Almasy and Carl Chivers and Jerry MaGuire. I can’t imagine where the conversation might head that night, but it has really enriched me as an actor to be seated at that table. I want to thank Scott Hicks and all the Shine team for giving me the chance to have a glimpse of the bird of paradise. Scott, thank you. My darling wife, Jane: I wouldn’t be standing here without you. And to Merle and John, my mum and step-dad in Queensland. And to the unstoppable David Helfgott The front of my script said that this story was inspired by the events of your life. You truly are an inspiration. And to those people who say it is a circus, then with your celebration of life you show me that the circus is a place of daring and risk-taking and working without a safety-net, and giving us your personal poetry. Thank you.

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1986 -94 , AND PRESENTLY

M ic h a e l H e l m s is E d it o r o f

Fa t a l Vis io n s ; J o h n W . H o o d is . c o m p l e t in g a s t u d y o f r e p r e s e n t a t io n s o f w o m e n in

I n d ia n c in e m a ; Ll o y d Ha r t is a p r in c ip a l o f Ha r t & S p ir a ; P e t e r M a l o n e ^ d ir e c t o r o f t h e , " C a t h o l ic F il m O f f ic e ; A d r ia n M a r t in is a f il m c r it ic f o r

Th e A g e ; H a l M c E l r o y is o n e ;o f A u s t r a l ia ’ s MOST SUCCESSFUL FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCERS; B r ia n M c Fa r l a n e is a n A s s o c ia t e P r o f e s s o r in t h e E n g l is h D e p a r t m e n t at

M o n a s h U n iv e r s it y ;

B a r r i e S m it h is a S y d n e y d ir e c t o r , w r it e r a n d p h o t o g r a p h e r ;

M a r g a r e t S m it h is a S y d n e y f il m m a k e r a n d w r it e r ;

A n d r e w L. U r b a n is a f il m m a k e r , NOVELIST AND GOURMAND;

Gillian (Lyn Redgrave) and David Helfgott (Geoffrey Rush). Scott Hicks' Shine.

M o n ic a Z e t l in is a p r o d u c e r ’ s

fili

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ASSISTANT AND WRITER ON FILM.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


T racks A u stralia So u n d P r o d u c t io n Pty Ltd

46 A lbany Street, C rows N est NSW 2065 T el: (02) 9906 2960 Fa x : (02) 9906 4128


mbits Eight Script Editing Fellowships worth $120,000 in total were awarded, enabling the recipients to work on attachment with an overseas produc­ tion company, writer or script consultant to develop their skills. One such recipient was Sally Regan, who will work with Roger Corman. Four Project Fellowships totalling $24,000 have been awarded. These allow writers to undertake a non-pro­ ject specific professional initiative, such as an attachment to a studio or filmmaker, or a travel plan designed to establish or consolidate professional contacts overseas. As well as this, The Australian Screen Directors Association, The Aus­ tralian Writers Guild and The Screen Producers Association of Australia have all received Fellowships support­ ing script assessment and script workshop initiatives.

46TH MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL he first scraps of news are coming through about 1997’s Melbourne International Film Festival, after a number of setbacks, including the premature resignation of program­ mer Chris Berry, and the Gonski Report’s recommendations. This is Sandra Sdraulig’s first year as execu­ tive director. Films already confirmed for the Festival, which will run from 24 July to 10 August, include Little Angel by German director Helke Misselwitz; Layin’ Low from American Danny Letner; Lilies from Canada’s John Greyson; New York photographer Matt Mahurin’s début feature, Mugshot-, Brazilian director Jose Araujo’s first feature, Landscapes of Memory-, Czech animator Jan Svankmajer (Alice, Faust) brings his new film, Conspirators of Pleasure, to the Festival; German Mar­ tin Walz’s film Killer Condom-, Courting Courtney by first-timer Paul Tarantino; Suzaku (Moe No Suzaku); Takeshi Kitano’s Kid’s Return, and Tokyo Skin from Yukinari Hanawa.

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PH ILLIP N OYCE'S

A LIFE IN MOMH H I C

INEMA PAPERS asked Phillip Noyce, ex-patriate Australian director of Patriot Games (1992), Sliver (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994) and most recently The Saint, about his favourite films. APOCALYPSE NOW (Francis Ford Coppola, 1978): I must admit that the first time I saw it at Hoyts, I went to the 11am session and turned around at 2pm and turned around at

co ver:

Al (Matt Day) and Nikki (Frances

O ’Connor) in Bill Bennett’s Kidd or K ill.

Also featuring in this year’s Festival will be four major focuses on film: “All That Jazz: Saxophones in Cinema from Fats Waller On” ; “ Made in Spain” ; “Ser­ gio Leone Spotlight” ; “Studio Ghibli: Contemporary Japanese Animation” . PROVINCIAL FILM FESTIVAL RESULTS he 3rd Annual Provincial Film Fes­ tival was almost washed out, but around 800 punters stuck it out to see all the films, and witness the presenta­ tion of awards to the winning films. Awarded were: Alfred (Christopher Minos): the Australian Film Institute Award, for distribution throughout Australia and New Zealand; Freak Magnet (Kellie McGregor): the Domaine Chandon Encouragement Award, $500 cash, and $1500 worth of Domaine Chandon champagne; What Comes First? (Alex Weld): the Media World Production Prize, use of a 35mm camera, lenses and filters for two days, and 2,000 feet of 35mm stock and processing; Uncle (Adam Benjamin Elliot): the Media World Prize for Best Animation, $3,000 cash; Space Pizza (Paul Fenech): the Cafe Provincial Prize for Best Fiction Film, $4,000 cash.

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NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE CONDITIONS n a letter to the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Alston, renowned director Bruce Beresford has spoken out for improved conditions for staff and the Collection at the National Film & Sound Archive. “Although they are housed in a rather colourful old building, it isn’t ideal for the purpose of film presenta­ tion,” he said. While the government has acknowl­ edged that working conditions are unsatisfactory, it has withdrawn funding for a purpose-built facility. No alternatives have been found, and staff have been asked to tolerate their conditions for an indefinite time, and with no guarantee of improvement.

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5pm. Not only was I swept away with the story itself, but just the tex­ ture of the film overwhelmed me, and so much of that had to do with Coppola and Walter Murch’s use of sound. The soundtrack of Apocalypse Now, and by the soundtrack I mean the manipulation of the combination of dialogue, music, sound effects and atmos­ pheres, was really revelatory to me and a great influence on me as a filmmaker. THE GODFATHER (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972): Again, first of all because of the story and, sec­ ondly, because the photographic texture of the chiarascuro lighting was unlike anything that I’d seen in colour in the American cinema. The film was not made for a big budget, but the lighting transported me. RAGING BULL (Martin Scorsese, 1980): Because of the performances, again because of the story... In all these films, the story took me up and never let hold of me. In Raging Bull, it seemed as though the acting style was so natu­ ralistic that I believed I was watching a documentary, even though so much of it was stylized. But the fighting sequences - and I’ ll never forget the opening sequence - were so cinematic, so dramatic: the punches, the use of contra­ puntal sound effects and the rhythm of Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing. I was like a kid addicted to candy, who has suddenly inherited a candy shop. I couldn’t get enough of that film, and I watch it frequently. NATURAL BORN KILLERS (Oliver Stone, 1995): Disliked by many people all around the world because of its content. Oliver Stone put it together in a free­ form way. From talking to him, there was no rhyme or reason behind it, no logic to when he used video, when he used 8mm, when he used black and white, when he used colour - or, at least, he hasn’t been able to explain it to me. His cutting style, and his use of music and sound, are so propulsive that you come out of the film feeling you’ve had two days worth of cinematic experience, although you have only spent under two hours. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (David Lean, 1965): Maurice Jarre’s theme is so well-used in that film, and I found myself just swept up in the love story. In addition, Lean works on such a grand scale. He never ever ignores the minutas, the little details. He is able to tell us the story of the second-greatest, most impactful social and political experiment of the century after Nazism, and yet involve us in Lara and Zhivago’s ongoing love story. I saw it again when it was revived, and it had the same emotional effect on me as it did the first time, and I’ve seen it probably twenty times throughout my life. He [Lean] is a master story­ teller, but I must admit it is Lara’s theme, which Maurice worked on for months and months and months and Lean kept rejecting, that contributes so much to the way the love story works. IL CONFORMISTA (The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970): You know, I often look at it again because of its design qualities, the way in which colour and com­ position are used - not only to tell a story but to affect you emotionally. But I think of all those films, Doctor Zhivago is my favourite. Not as a film­ maker, but because the story gets to me every single time, and because Lean is so traditional and yet so perfect in a way that he uses classic construction - no tricks, just straight up and down and directly to the heart.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


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email: cp@parkhouse.com.au

SPLINTERS AND MOATS SCOTT MURRAYADDSA FEW PENNIES TO THE CONTROVERSIAL POSSESSORY CREDIT DEBATE BY CONVENIENCE, A NAME In their article in the previous issue, “Taking the Credit: How Directors Contribute to the ‘Big Lie’ of Filmmaking” 1 , Simon Lake and Ian David admon­ ish Cinema Papers by stating Cinem a Papers will refer to a film and then put the director’s name in brackets as though that is all you need to know. [...] It’s lazy and it’s an inaccurate way to discuss film. Cinema Papers, like many serious film publica­ tions around the world, lists the director’s name and date of release in parenthesis after first men­ tion of a film title. This is done simply as a way of avoiding confusion. In recent years, for example, two features were made in Australia titled Fortress; another two were called Traps. Statements such as “This is the best thriller since Fortress” or “the most politically-incisive since Traps” are meaningless without clarifi­ cation. Equally, there are many foreign films with the same title as an Australian film: Next of Kin, Secrets, Frauds, Devil in the Flesh, et al. Dates by themself are insufficient. One can’t expect readers to remember which Next of Kin was released in 1989, or which Devil in the Flesh is being referred to, as both recent versions pre­ miered in 1986. Of course, one could replace the parenthesized director’s name with that of some other member of the collaborative process, but it is a fair guess that the reader would be hopelessly confused. After all, for which Fortress did Frederic Talgorn do the score, or Phillip Warner the production design, or Jason King some sound editing? Lake and David know full well that this desire to avoid confusion is the real reason such a editor­ ial style exists worldwide, but they opt instead for the mischievous claim that it is “a lazy and inaccu­ rate way to describe a film” . Editorial clarification in no way sets out to “describe” a film, nor is there ever any suggestion that it is “all you need to know”, as they also cheekily claim. Every review in Cinema Papers lists all the major credits, something very few journals do. Cinema Papers also co-publishes the only books on Australian cinema which list all the major cred­ its of a film, laboriously copied down by hand to ensure that no significant contribution is missed or misattributed. Lake and David’s criticisms of Cinema Papers are misdirected. EYEING POSSESSIVES As a feature writer-director who refused to take a “A Film by ...” credit, it is hard not to agree with Lake and David about the total inappropriateness of such a credit. However, the fact remains that directors have been unfairly singled out. The most ego-driven grabs for possessory glory in Australian cinema have been by writers. Taking a copy of Australian Film 1978-19942 in

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

hand, look at all the theatrical film titles which include a person’s name:

Patrick White’s The Night The Prowler David Williamson’s The Club Sumner Locke Elliott’s Careful Fie Might Hear You Morris West’s The Naked Country Peter Kenna’s The Umbrella Woman Haydn Keenan’s Pandemonium David Williamson’s Emerald City David O’Brien’s Shotgun Wedding. In every case, the name is that of the scriptwriter, novelist or playwright.3 (Since 1994, of course, there has also been David Williamson’s Brilliant Lies.) As well as theatrical features, there are the tele­ features and mini-series. Taking Australia on the Small Screen 1970-19954 in hand, there is not a direc­ tor to be found with his/her name in the title, but possessory writers are profligate. To name but a few:

Sumner Locke Elliott’s Water Under the Bridge Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice Ruth Park’s Poor Man’s Orange David Williamson’s The Perfectionist Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South. While one could make a case for such a possessory when a film is based on a famous work, and the original writer’s name is good publicity (Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire or Ian Fleming’s Dr. No), how can anyone seriously argue a case for Peter Kenna’s The Umbrella Woman or David O’Brien’s Shotgun Wedding, to name but two? Of course, Australia is not alone in witnessing this desire by scriptwriters to have their names in a film’s title. Overseas, it has been going on since cin­ ema began. For instance (to cite but one film screened recently on SBS), it is Budd Schulberg’s A Face in the Crowd. No mention of the director there; just the scriptwriter. And that hit film of 1996-7 isn’t Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet but William Shakespeare’s Romeo

CLASSIC REOPENING he Classic Cinema in Elsternwick, Melbourne, has re-opened. Eddie Tamir, who has worked at Generation Films and is involved with Champion Pic­ tures, an independent distribution company, has secured a 25-year tenancy of the cinema, and is cur­ rently renovating and restoring one of the oldest surviving cinemas in M^bourne.

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APPOINTMENTS Jane Smith has been appointed Director of the NSW Film and Television Office. Smith was formerly the general manager of international and strategic analysis with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She replaces Greg Smith who resigned last year. Andrew Traucki takes over as Project Co-ordinator in the Rim Development Branch of the AFC, a position he shared with outgoing Co-ordinator, Michael Hill, who has left to pursue his career as a film- and multi­ media-maker. Traucki has worked as an independent film producer and director, with the award-winning television series Rocky Star among his credits. Bruce Carter has been named creative director at Animal Logic. This is a new position, and Carter will consolidate Animal Logic’s core team of senior edi­ tors and integrate his management experience with hands-on design work. Previously, Carter worked as a senior television graphic designer, advertising arts director in London, designer and animator for Moving Picture Company, also in London, and as manager of the graphics department and head of creative services at TVNZ. Al Hansen, formerly Head of Telecine at Omnicon, has joined Frame, Set & Match as a senior colourist. Hansen replaces Warren Lynch, who has left the com­ pany to pursue other interests.

& Juliet. No, it is not directors who traditionally claim glory by having their name in a film’s title, it is writers. That is something Writers’ Guilds worldwide ought to bear in mind before solely criticizing directors. After all, a possessory film title is infinitely more open to accusations of egotism, and a blatant denial of the rights of collaborators, than the more minor (but still quite unjustifiable) “A Film by ...” credit, which is in smaller print than, and never has the prominence of, a name in the opening title. Isn’t there some biblical saying about denounc­ ing the splinter in someone else’s eye b u t... ? 1 Cinema Papers, no. 115, April 1997, pp. 30-1, 44. 2 Scott Murray, Australian Film 1978-1994: A Survey of Theatrical Features, Oxford University Press in associ­ ation with Australian Film Commission and Cinema Papers, Melbourne, 1995. 3 In the case of Haydn Keenan’s Pandemonium, Keenan was also the director. 4 See Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 19701995, Oxford University Press, 1996.

AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN’S TELEVISION FOUNDATION AWARDS o commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Aus­ tralian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), the Premier, the Hon. Jeff Kennett, presented indus­ try achievement awards to Mark Mitchell, Chris Neal, Ralph Strasser and Esben Storm at a cocktail party celebrating the achievements and the successes of the ACTF over those 15 years.

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consigning it to the “too hard” basket. The new fee structure is complex and sets fees according to a sliding scale; however, as an exam­ ple, the classification fee for a 95 minute feature,

SPEAK! CENSORSHIP FOLLIES DAVID A . HAINES EXAMINES SOME OMINOUS CHANGES TO AUSTRALIA’S CENSORSHIP REGIME 27 December 1996 saw the Federal AttorneyGeneral, Daryl Williams, slip out a sneaky press release announcing the setting up of Community Assessment Panels to assist with the censorship process, seemingly to second-guess the decisions of the Classification Board (the Board). Daryl Williams’ statement that the establishment of these panels was consistent with recommenda­ tions of the Senate Select Committee on Community Standards Relevant to the Supply of Services Utilizing Electronic Technologies (the Committee) was certainly a worry. It should be remembered that the Committee recommended such a panel represent major interest groups. Given that the Committee might better be known as the “Morals Committee” , one need not look too far to guess the sort of inter­ est groups that would have been jumping at the chance for a say in what the Australian community can see at the cinema or in the home. Industry should have been pressing for greater detail of how such panels were to be constituted, who was to make the selections and how, and pre­ cisely what the panels’ role would be. One sus­ pects, however, that as usual commercial interests took precedence and any flutters of anxiety felt by industry members were pushed aside. The interests of film-lovers and film-goers are nevertheless being represented by the newlyformed “Watch on Censorship”, set up by a group of concerned individuals led by: Paul Byrnes, Director of the Sydney Rim Festival, Jane Mills, Flead of Rim Studies at the AFTRS; and David Marr, writer and journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald. “Watch on Censorship” held a public forum at the Chauvel Cinema in Sydney on 20 March. Principal guest was the NSW Attorney-General, Jeffrey Shaw, who spoke about the decision the previous week by Censorship Ministers to estab­ lish the Community Assessment Panels. Fie said that, while he thought the panels were unnecessary, the original recommendation ofthe Committee had been watered down considerably and the panels would have no legal powers to change Board decisions. As such, they would appear to be an extension ofthe “focus groups” research conducted for the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) between 1993 and 1996 which indicated that, if anything, Board deci­ sions were slightly more conservative. A close watch will need to be kept on the selec­ tion of panel members, and to ensure that their deliberations are not used to bring pressure to bear on the decisions of what is still nominally an independent statutory Board. The announcement also presaged a review ofthe selection process for Board members. Any such review needs to take account ofthe fact that a truly “ representative” board would require the appoint­ ment of dozens of persons representing our soci­ ety’s multiplicity of different ethnic, religious and cultural groups. This would be totally impractical. What is needed on both the Board and the Review Board are people imbued with basic common sense

10

who are sensitive to, and can reflect and represent, the plurality of views in the community. The possibility that terms of appointment are reduced to one year should also be of concern to an industry already bemused by inconsistencies in clas­ sification decisions. While it is necessary to have a steady infusion of “new blood” into the Boards, both industry and the public demand consistency in the classifications assigned to films over time. One way of achieving this is to ensure that, despite fatuous arguments about desensitization, there are at least a couple of members with a longer term perspective on each ofthe Boards. While it is impossible to measure objectively such qualities as sensitivity, my 13 years’ direct involve­ ment with the censorship processes in Australia has indicated that, if anything, the reverse is true: that classifiers (read censors) generally become more sensitive to classification issues the longer they perform the task. In recent times that sensi­ tivity has also extended to political pressures. Neither should the political element be over­ looked with the States and Territories increasingly involved in the selection of members of the Board. The clamour for State representation with its pos­ sibilities for patronage and political interference is also to be resisted. Hopefully the new Director to be appointed nine months’ hence will bring stronger leadership in coun­ tering such pressures, and reassert the indepen­ dence granted by the statutory nature ofthe Board. While the appointments process is being looked at, it would be appropriate to look at the structure ofthe OFLC. In order to protect the integrity and independence ofthe Board, the business manage­ ment ofthe OFLC, together with its policy and min­ isterial support functions, should be taken over by a suitably experienced senior Public Service officer. This would leave Board members to discharge their statutory responsibility of classifying films accord­ ing to their interpretation of community standards free from political and commercial pressures. It might also be a good time to consider the appointment of a part-time Director or figurehead for the Board who could speak out in defence of the principles that have applied to censorship in Australia until recent times without fear of tread­ ing on sensitive political toes - people such as David Stratton, the film writer and critic, Paul Byrnes, Director ofthe Sydney Film Festival, and Sue Milliken, Chairman ofthe Australian Film Commission, would make ideal choices. By the time this is published, yet another devel­ opment with serious ramifications for the film industry will be in the course of implementation. In early March, the OFLC held consultative meetings with industry to decide on the timetable for the application of increased classification fees. These second-stage consultations follow the preparation for the OFLC of a Pricing Policy Review by Pivotal Management Consultants. It is an impressive-look­ ing document and has busy industry members scratching their heads about what it all means and

which was $280 in 1993, was increased to $500 on 1 January 1996 and will rise to $1,055 ¡n 1998. The cost of an appeal to the Review Board for a film of similar length has risen from $300 to $1,000 on 1 January 1996. This rise has already seen small­ er distributors forego appeals on decisions they did not agree with simply because of cost. This “economic censorship” will be exacerbated with appeal fees set to rise to $2,645 ¡n 1998. Buried away at Recommendation 13 ofthe Review are the options that were to be decided on at the March meetings - whether the price increas­ es be: 1. Staggered by being introduced at 75 percent of the new fees on 1 July 1997, with 100 percent fees applicable from 1 July 1998; 2. Introduced at 100 percent ofthe new fees on 1 January 1998; or 3. Introduced at 100 percent ofthe new fees on 1 July 1997, the additional funds being used to promote community awareness and improved enforcement ofthe national classification scheme. Looks a bit like Hobson’s choice, with an “enforce­ ment” carrot thrown in for video operators worried about parallel imports! There are fundamental flaws with the Pricing Review including the fact that the Pivotal Review does not report on OFLC work practices and how these impact on the pricing policy model. Neither does it report on past, present or projected perfor­ mance indicators that would permit a proper con­ sideration ofthe proposed pricing levels. Additionally, there is no provision for the funding of enforcement activities from fees collected under Commonwealth laws, yet industry is expected to pay the $600,000 levy to the States and Territories each year, and subsidize a staff mem­ ber, laughingly described as a “community liaison officer” based in Melbourne. The officer’s function is essentially to police video stores to ensure com­ pliance with local enforcement legislation. The introduction of new censorship legislation on 1 January 1996 coincided with the “ commercial­ ization” ofthe OFLC. As a government monopoly the discipline of “competition” should be replaced by the disciplines of economy and efficiency. These disciplines seem to be almost entirely lacking in the Pricing Review that industry were asked to agree to in March. We have yet to learn what decisions, presum­ ably said to be supported by industry, will be made. Under pressure at one ofthe March meet­ ings the Director did admit that, following repre­ sentations from the Eros Foundation, the adult video industry peak body, legal advice was now being sought on whether enforcement costs can be charged to industry. Implementation ofthe new fees should be delayed until such time as the proposed fees truly reflect the notion of a “fee for service” rather than merely covering the costs ofthe OFLC not funded by the Government.

Watch on Censorship Committee: P.O. Box 950, Glebe, NSW2037. Tel (02) 96603844.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


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26th International Film Festival. Rotterdam by Adrian Martin HE INTERNATIONAL FILM Festival, Rotter­ dam, is a special event. In the range of festi­ vals worldwide, it is lauded as one that seeks motes feature films with an experimental and/or politically radical edge. It is also an event geared far more to the needs and interests of serious filmmakers, critics, curators and programmers than to those of sales agents, hucksters, hack journal­ ists and deal-makers. It was a very respectable year for Australian films at Rotterdam, with seven features - Children of the Revo­ lution (Peter Duncan), Shine (Scott Hicks), Floating Life (Clara Law), Love and Other Catastrophes (Emma-Kate Croghan), To Have and to Hold (John Hillcoat), Fistful of Flies (Monica Pellizzari) and Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett) - and one short - Merilyn Fairskye’s Plane Torque - on show. Clara Law was also a participant in the growing CineMart, which helps film­

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makers to raise money for future pro­ jects. No Australian film, however, picked up a prize in eligible categories (such as the Fipresci Prize, which went to Kawase Naomi’s delicate Suzaku)-, and there out and pro­was nothing Australian shortlisted for the Tiger Awards (which honoured Amir Karakulov’s Last Holi­ day, Hon Sang-Soo’s The Day a Pig Fell into the Well and Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Space). Shine, however, did pick up the official Citroën Audi­ ence Award. Rotterdam is a concentrated but large event. With the addition this year of the vast Pathé complex as a central venue, there were never less than halfa-dozen films at once from which to choose. One can easily spend twelve days and nights blearily stumbling from session to session, and still feel at the end that one has only seen a fraction of what was on offer. The experience is frustrating, but it is also a cinephile’s heaven. La Promesse (The Promise), the first fiction film from the documentary

team of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardanne, is one of the great films of the 1990s (it screened at the 1996 Melbourne Inter­ national Film Festival). Reminiscent of the fine American film Fresh (Boaz Yakin, 1995) in its evocation of a teenage boy (Jérémie Renier) calmly negotiating his way through the mean streets of an amoral, criminal milieu, La Promesse ends up evoking the cine­ ma’s most telling, compassionate and morally complex portraits of childhood and adolescence, specifically Rossellini’s war-time classics. Caught between two prom ises-the promise to a dying African immigrant to look after his wife and child, and the promise to his father to keep this man’s death a secret-the boy’s painful journey to the toughest of res­ olutions is a remarkable parable of human ‘bondedness’, responsibility and community in our multi-racial, multi-cultural time. Werner Schroeter approves of the German title of his new film (Abfallprodukte derLiebe ) and the French title 0Poussières d ’amour), but considers an adequate English title an impossi­ bility. Nonetheless, his subtitlers have come up with Love’s Debris. Under any title, this film - by a living, avant garde legend whose 30-year career is virtu­

ally unknown in Australia - is superb. Schroeter’s earliest Super 8 works revolved around his passionate obses­ sion with opera, and his subsequent artistic path has led him to direct many operas on stage. Here, he sets up a ‘between documentary and fiction’ sit­ uation, inviting various renowned opera singers to work with him, for a couple of days each, on the staging of an aria for the camera. He also takes the opportunity to quiz each partici­ pant intimately on the topics of love, art and death. A beautifully-edited mosaic of glimpses and fragments, Love’s Debris is a precious document of the collaborative creative process at its richest. Irma Vep is a fast, bold, euphoric movie from Olivier Assayas, a rising star of contemporary French cinema. Reportedly written and shot very quickly, it has a spontaneous, comic feel that removes Assayas from the slightly precious, solemn, academic manner of his previous features (such as Cold Water, 1994). Described by the director as a “cubist mosaic”, Irma Vep is indeed a whirlpool of scenes, tones and textures. This ‘film within a film’ plonks Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung (playing herself) smack in the middle of an obviously doomed proC I N E M A P A P E R S • MAY 1997


festivals

ject: a remake of Feuillade’s Les Vam­ pires by a New Wave director (hilariously played by Jean-Pierre Léaud) well past his glory days. Che­ ung functions as a fascinating, febrile enigma amidst the crossfire of all the wildly different images and fantasies that everyone (from crew members to journalists) projects onto her. Irma Vep bridges the abyss that today sepa­ rates experimental and commercial cinema like few movies have, or can.

Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman was, for me, one of the loveliest and most moving films of the Festival. Made for (and against) the French tele­ vision series Cinéma de notre temps, it is in fact structured rather like Philip Tyndall’s Words and Silk (1992): a poetically constructed ‘free montage’ (in which the director, as she avows, treats her past work as “rushes”, raw material for a new, imaginary film) butted up against a brutally plain and frank into-camera address by the artist. Finally, the piece becomes an investi­ gation into the ways and means of the very genre of the self-portrait, with all its attendant paradoxes and impossi­ bilities: a series of attempts at representing one’s self, from the swirl of clips that evoke, however obliquely, the stages of Akerman’s autobiography (solitary childhood, rebellious adoles­ cence, the place of the mother, discovery of art, bisexual explorations), to the final, perfect declaration: “My name is Chantal Akerman, I was born in Brussels - that’s true. That’s true.” Edward Yang’s Mahjong disap­ pointed some devotees of his earlier work, but for me - a newcomer to Yang - it was an utter delight. This acidic comedy of sexual and monetary man­ ners runs on some cruel fuel — particularly in its depiction of the myr­ iad ways in which cocksure men exploit gullible women - but every­ thing, including initial positions of class and gender, comes around for reversal and debunking by the end of the twisted tale. Yang’s style is a beguiling (and one presumes deliber­ ate) mixture of virtuosic mise en scène, dexterous mood-switching, intricate multi-character plotting, and an almost clunky amateurishness, particularly in relation to some of the performances. But, for me, this unstable brew creates a potent charm - and who can forget the sight of a sooky young male crying non-stop for about the last quarter of the film, solely because he finally relented and let a woman kiss him on the lips? Graced with a boundlessly invenC I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

tive performance from Marcello Mastroianni, Trois vies et une seule mort ('Three Lives and Just One Death) may well be Raul Ruiz’s spriteliest and most congenial film to date. A mad­ house of dovetailing stories that eventually lead to something resem­ bling a rational explanation, it is a veritable companion piece to David Lynch’s eerie Lost Highway. In both, elaborate narrative games are gener­

Jacquot’s La Fille Seule (The Only Daughter) is a sad affair coming from the maker of La Désenchantée (The Disenchanted, 1990). it is a laborious exercise in ‘real time’ cinema - follow­ ing a young woman (Virginie Ledoyen) working in a hotel - but since it uses conventional cutting rather than the long-take simulations of Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) or Rouch’s Gare du Nord (1964), this parti pris hardly seems to matter. Lastly in this category of woe, Claire Denis’ Nénette et Boni is an oddly unfocused, baldly repetitive piece alternating between the masturbatory fantasies of a teenager (Grégoire Colin) and the hard-luck tra­ vails of his pregnant sister (Alice Houri). All of Denis’ films (such as the unforgettable U.S. Go Home, 1994) play on understatement, allusion and things unspoken, but the explicit, sur­ face level here is so thin it virtually disappears into the ether long before the dreamy ending. Jean-Luc Godard’s For Ever Mozart is also a sad case, and one that has

essentially tasteless project with any social seriousness or human insight whatsoever. Completely opposite in effect was Charles Burnett’s stirring Nightjohn. This historical drama about black slav­ ery, a tele-feature made for Disney, has all the conventional stateliness and restraint of a William Wyler film. But how utterly compelling it is: sub­ tle, complexly shaded and novelistic in the best sense of the term. A central scene, in which the young heroine (Allison Johns) sheds a private, secret tear in close-up as she gazes at the words in a hymnbook and understands them for the first time (“ I be read­ ing!”), seemed like the most powerful argument for classical narrative - and a radically humanist politics - offered by a modern filmmaker. Rather less classical in its structure, but similarly intense in its focus on character inter­ action within a vividly-defined social milieu, André Téchiné’s Les Voleurs ('Thieves) is a quiet, oblique, singularly haunting study from a filmmaker who

ated from a fanciful multiple identity premise. Ruiz’s experiments often meander, wilfully scuttling formal con­ sistency and a suspenseful build-up of narrative energy, but Three Lives is, for a change, a vehicle built for comfort, not just for speed. There were disappointments. Abel Ferrara’s The Funeral has its showcase moments for such indelible actors as Christopher Penn, Christopher Walken and the mesmerizing Vincent Gallo, but it is a pale movie stuck in a depres­ sive, entropie, apocalyptic, male-masochistic groove mined too often already by this director. Benoît

wildly divided many critics and view­ ers. It is full of those breathtaking moments of image and sound manipu­ lation we have come to expect from late-Godard, but its central premise sticking the director’s usual beautiful young things mouthing philosophical conundrums into the battlegrounds of the Bosnian w a r- misfires to a horrify­ ing degree. Of course, Godard has tackled issues of war and its crimes at least once before (in Les Carabiniers, 1963), and we should all be immune by now to his strategically flip, ‘it’s red, not blood’ depictions of violence and atrocity. But it is hard to credit this

grows in mastery and expressivity with each new film. Outright stinkers are rare in Rotter­ dam. But let me state for the record that I walked out of Lone Star-as always with John Sayles, a lazy assem­ bly edit of poorly-directed footage from the pages of a possibly interest­ ing but insufferably PC script - and that I gaped in disbelief at Aurelio Grimaldi’s grubby biopic Nerolio, a film that reduces Pier Pasolini’s entire life and work to a series of drooling gazes at pretty boys in underwear. There were five retrospective events in Rotterdam this year, 56

One can easily spend twelve days and nights blearily stumbling from session to session, and still feel at the end that one has only seen a fraction of what was on offer. The experience is frustrating, but it is also a cinephile’s heaven.

13


KISS OR KILL

HEAVEN'S BURNING

Producers: Bill Bennett & Jennifer Bennett

Producers: Al Clark & Helen Leake Director: Craig Lahiff

W riter/Director: Bill Bennett Cast: Frances O'Connor, Matt Day

Writer: Louis Nowra Cast: Russell Crowe, Youki Kudoh

A LITTLE BIT OF SOUL

THE LAST BUS HOME

Producers: Peter Duncan, Simon Martin

Producer: Paul Donovan W riter/Director: Johnny Gogan

Martin McGrath & Peter (P.J.) Voeten W riter/Director: Peter Duncan Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Frances O'Connor

Cast: Annie Ryan, Brian O'Byrne

BLACKROCK

TRUE LOVE AND CHAOS

Producer: David Elfick Director: Steve Vidler

Producers: Ann Darrouzet W riter/Director: Stavros Andonis Efthymiou

Writer: Nick Enright

Cast: Naveen Andrews, Miranda Otto

Cast: Laurence Breuls, Linda Cropper Simon Lyndon

Noah Taylor, Hugo Weaving

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AT CANNES - Suite #129, Majestic Hotel Tel: (4) 92 98 78 24 Fax: (4) 92 98 78 26 Head Office - Sydney: 53-55 Brisbane Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia Tel: 61-2-9281 1266 Fax: 61-2-9281 9220 Email - films@beyond.com.au Website - www.beyond.com.au R ep res en tativ e O ffices:

USA: 1875 Century Park East Suite 1320 Los Angeles CA 90067 USA Tel: 1-310-785 2255 Fax: 1-310-785 2260 UK: 22 Newman Street London W1P 3HB UK Tel: 44-171-636 9611 Fax: 44-171-636 9622 M e lb o u rn e : 32-36 Little Leveson Street North Melbourne Victoria 3051 Tel: 61-3-9348 9340 Fax: 61-3-9326 5493

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inconference

Seventh National Screenwriters’ Conference by Diane Cook HE BIENNIAL NATIONAL Screenwriters’ Conference has long been enjoyed for its verve and camaraderie, and, every so often, for a good ver­ bal stoush as well. It’s hosted International guests as emi­ nent as Michael Tolkin, Georgia Jeffries and Ring Lardner Jnr (and as off-the-planet as the American writer who several years ago spent her two-hour slot lecturing about her guru and the awaken­ ing of her shakti), and countless local stars. Many a craft and industry secret shared, many a soul bared; it’s never been your average talk-fest, and some­ how the Conference has always engendered a fairly heady and often inspira­ tional atmosphere. This year’s event, held in Melbourne between 13 and 16 March, proffered some lively sessions, and Briton Paula Milne was the international guest. Milne was a compelling self-confessed agent provocateur. A writer for television and features, she began her career on shows such as Coronation Street and Z Cars. Among her most recent projects were the mini-series

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Frank Moorhouse issued a different but somewhat inextricably-linked challenge, in an equally-interest­ ing address. Peppering it with wry anecdotes and quoting luminaries from Dad and Dave to Milton, he admonished Australian writers for what he identifies as an adversarial approach to the industry - an “ideo­ logical habit” - and for their failure by and large to take seriously the “the suits” (bureaucrats, financiers) they so despise, but from whom they expect financial support. He spoke of an “imaginative deficit” among Australian writers when dealing with the world of commerce, politics and bureaucracy, of their reluc-

The Politician’s Wife and The Fragile Heart, and the feature

Hollow Reed (Angela Pope). In her first session, she spoke scathingly of “the invidious tide” of net­ work and studio power over writers, saying it had fostered a “service industry for actors and directors”, and incited her audience to demand greater creative control of their projects as well as to exercise greater political consciousness in the content of their work. By way of insurgent example, she mentioned that she refuses to write storylines, and will contract only on the basis of a concept/synopsis; she also demands of producers that she work very closely with directors, composers and other principals. Needless to say, Milne received rousing applause for this, and her work is ample evidence of the clout she deserves. But it’s hard to imagine the heavily-sub­ sidized Australian industry accepting the former practice, at least. Spend limited development dollars and taxpayers’ dollars at that - for which there’s fero­ cious competition, on the basis of a concept, particularly from less-experienced writers? Perhaps the private sector might respond favourably, but the public sector almost certainly won’t - it can’t, reasonably. But it was good to hear a note of contention, something which might stimulate intelligent debate; and Milne’s exposition of her craft, her astute analysis of her writing process and of her recent work in this and her second session was both fasci­ nating and inspiring.

16

tance to delve into power elites other than via caricature (NB all those who would follow Milne: this is precisely the world with which she deals in very serious detail). As a long-time film bureaucrat, I couldn’t help smiling as Moorhouse pointed out (a) “it’s their money”, and (b) some highly admirable work has come from “the system”. Moorhouse went on to talk more generally of screenwriting craft, and of storytelling as antidote to “the malaise of the real”. He described his personal creative quest as “the perfection of imperfection”, and spoke of the screenplay as a series of tableaux, of the fragments which constitute perfection within film, and of the screen­ writer’s responsibility for these,for“the moment”. His erudition was as absorbing as his anecdotes were illuminating and funny.

Jan Sardi talked about the frustrations of taking

Shine through years of development, about the writing process and his creative partnership with director Scott Hicks. He said that they endured the long development haul because of their unflagging belief that the script worked; this carried them past numerous obstacles, including negative assess­ ments and the sudden closure of apparently-open financial doors. He stressed the importance of good creative relationships, and encouraged writers to avoid “ possession” of their work, saying that they should find good collaborators and then abandon themselves to the process of development and pro­ duction ... and perhaps stick to novels if they’re not prepared to do so. Craig Pearce told another story of nerve-racking development re William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, and again the precariousness of financing was central. The session was almost as pacy as the film itself, a whirlwind of a tale of brainstorming, writing, auditioning, pitching, budgeting, cast­ ing. Pearce had hilarious anecdotes about meetings with studio executives (aimed at convincing Fox, with whom co-writer-director Baz Luhrmann has a firstlook deal, to invest in the project), and his and Luhrmann’s collaboration. And he gave the audience considerable insight into the process behind the film’s tone, language and aesthetic, discussing his and Luhrmann’s reasons for maintaining an Eliza­ bethan idiom, and for using American accents and a contemporary setting. Comparing Elizabethan Eng­ lish with rap, he said it was not unlike contemporary American English, and that he and Luhrmann there­ fore felt there was strong currency in the idiom. They wrestled with the context of the story many times before they settled on the setting, returning time and again to the play to identify where they might find a lat­ ter-day Romeo and Juliet, what Verona might have meant to Shake­ speare’s audiences, and decided it was hot, violent, sexy - something like Miami, only shooting there was out of the question so the fictitious metropolis was ren­ dered via Mexico City. Pearce was much more than just entertaining, however; what emerged from this session was another portrait of a partnership founded on incredible creative energy and tenacity, and successful ego-wrangling. Other craft sessions included John Hughes and John A. Scott discussing their collaboration on What I Have Written, Lawrence Johnston and John Brumpton on Life, and the Blue Heelers team on their high-rat­ ing series. Issue-based sessions included children’s drama, writing indigenous characters and themes, interac­ tive writing, action cinema, animation, sex on screen, and screen violence. They were supplemented by the customary marketplace sessions for funding bodies and distributors. C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


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The latest in serious Indian cinema elements that are not followed HE INDIAN PANORAMA through. The John Cleese imitations of section of the Interna­ one of the two leading characters is tional Film Festival of irritatingly amateur. India, held recently in Amol Palekar’s rejected film, Trivandrum, might well Daayra be remembered not so much for the(The Square Circle), is clearly a better film than either of these, though quality of its films as for the contro­ it is, nevertheless, a crass attempt to versy provoked by its selection panel. treat a serious and sensitive theme in Intended to showcase the best of the a way that might make it as acceptable Indian art cinema of the previous

more realistic example of political cor­ rectness is decided upon: the deviant must be killed, and by the thugs who had earlier raped his female compan­ ion. While it is, ultimately, cheap and populist, Daayra had no less an enti­ tlement to inclusion than some of the selected films. Another reject was Govind Nihalani’s Sanshodhan (Correction), a very well-made film about the legislation for empowerment of women in village administration and the conservative reaction against it. Sanshodhan is

Santwana Bardoloi. Nairashya deals with the obsessive preference for male children that still prevails in many Hindu families, where girls are regarded even by their mothers and grandmothers as a curse. In this case, the father, an unabashed misogynist, is a teacher of physics, a man one would have thought educated enough to know the biological facts of gender determination. Nairashya’s subject is extremely important and its treatment is intelligent, despite occasionally bor­ dering on melodrama. However, it is

twelve months, the Panorama may show anything up to 21 films. This year, the selection panel chose a mere 14. Bearing in mind a committee’s usual propensity to produce camels when designing horses, this one came up with an interesting beast, noble in some respects, a lame hack in others, with half the hump and maybe a leg or two altogether missing. Several films by noted filmmakers, including Govind Nihalani, Aparna Sen, Basu Bhattacharya and Amol Palekar, were rejected by the selection panel whose decisions were made, accordingto the chairman, Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sarma, on artistic merit alone. Presumably, the films of the reputable rejects lacked artistic merit and here was the basis of the controversy that waxed more than a little bitter at times during the Festi­ val. The films were not actually rejected In favour of films that were claimed to be better; they might, in fact, have been included, bringing the total to eighteen, still three short of the prescribed maximum, and the con­ troversy would very simply have been avoided. There were, in fact, films selected in the Panorama that were clearly inferior works. One wonders how Santosh Sivan’s Halo made it into the Panorama, being a film for children, yet that aside it has little to recom­ mend it other than its technical slickness. It is full of hackneyed senti­ ment buoyed by all the clichés of commercial cinema and popular televi­ sion. Arun Khopkar’s film, Katha Don Ganpatraonchi (its English title is not much easier: The Tale of Two Ganpatraos), was another undeserving entrant, a fatuous film based on Gogol’s short story of the two quar­ relling Ivans. While Khopkar has taken a good story as a basis for his film, his treatment of it is marked by ham-fisted acting, contrived and clichéd comedy, and a very flabby script in which too much importance is given to narrative

notably successful in its visual recre­ ation of the heat and languor of village life and of the obvious distinctions between privilege and labour, power and subservience. The story is highly plausible, but just as highly pre­ dictable and, as its subject might suggest, the film - over-long at two and a half hours-succum bs more than once to the temptation to be didactic and polemical. Needless to say, it is definitely a better film than Daayra and as good as half those selected in the Panorama. Also taking up women’s issues were two films, Nairashya, by the Kan­ nada director, Rahat Yusufi, and Adajya (The Flight) by the Assamese,

very short (53 minutes) and, given its predominantly voice-over approach and its script clearly contrived for a particular purpose, it might well have been more appropriately placed in the documentary section. Adajya is concerned with the prob­ lems of widows in high-caste society, though the film incidentally offers an interesting insight into the customs, beliefs and superstitions of the ortho­ dox in Hindu society. Adajya has a minimal plot structured around one widow’s desire to raise the money to go to Benares to perform the final rit­ ual for her late husband, another’s endeavour to administer her property through a trusted servant who

by John W. Hood.

T

18

at the popular box-office as at the arthouse. The subject is very interesting and, for Indian cinema, quite adventur­ ous, dealing with a chance relationship between a girl who has been raped and a male transvestite who feels more comfortable as a woman. The rape is made a feature, as it would have been in a Hindi commercial film, along with woman-bashing, songs for the sake of them and a highly-improbable though well-choreographed fight scene. The ending is gooey as well as politically correct, advancing the naive notion that the deviant might become normal thanks to the love of a good woman, but then the director’s intelli­ gence overcomes this whim and a

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


deceives her, and, more prominently, the developing relationship of a third with an English research scholar, a relationship that inevitably destroys her. While her aim to portray rather than examine the plight of widows is artistically respectable, Bardoloi’s lengthy shots of unheard conversation do little to advance the film’s ideas. Moreover, the work is slow but with­ out the compensation of any basis for reflection or meaningful contempla­ tion; indeed, its overall substance is too meagre to allow for that. The occa­ sional exaggeratedly-long takes also suffer for want of apparent purpose. Although the contrived pace is stylisti­ cally inappropriate to its minimal substance, the film does offer a very good visual experience and its audiography is a strength. Another Assamese film was Bidyut Chakravarty’s Rag Birag, given the English title Vacation tor a Sannyasi. The sannyasi or Hindu ascetic who takes a holiday is the uncle of a boy who also wants to renounce the world and enter the monastery. (His older brother has also renounced the world in a more active way, having gone underground and become a terrorist leader.) The uncle is enjoined to per­ suade the boy to reconsider his decision. In talking with the boy, the monk becomes involved again in the life of his family and, through his nephew’s rejected girlfriend, realizes that female company still has the power to excite him. The film has little dramatic interest, its characters are flat and its dialogue is excessive and, at times, tediously homiletic. Rag Birag is often very beautiful to look at, but this is less an integral quality of the film than an incidental advantage of its being shot in Assam. An immensely better treatment of a religious idea was given by

Desaadanam (Journey to Wisdom) by the Keralan director Jayaraj, and one of the three best films of the Panorama. It tells the story of an exceptionally-intelligent and spiritualty-perceptive boy who is recognized by the head of a nearby monastery as being his ideal successor. With naturally-profound misgivings, the parents acquiesce in giving their son over to the religious community. Such an extreme of reli­ gious devotion might well be seen as decidedly pre-modern -t o Indian as well as non-Indian audiences. But Jayaraj very skilfully avoids alienating his audience by his cogent and simple establishment of the cultural context of the action and by his concentration on the warmth of familial relations, so making the parents the easily recogniz­ able tragic victims of their own piety. Especially beautiful is the treatment of the mother-son bond and the poignancy of its dissolution. Desaadanam might have been effec­ tively trimmed in one or two places, but generally it is well-paced and has an economical sense of purpose. Its emo­

tive power, something much stronger than sentimentalism, is very intense. The emotional impact of Girish Kasaravalli’s Kraurya (Cruelty) is diluted by the film’s excessive length. The first hour is especially lovely, as the Kannada director gradually intro­ duces his old widow, beloved of the children of the village for her stories and derided by their parents, espe­ cially those who are her distant relations and charged with the respon­ sibility of looking after her, as an unnecessary burden on their lives. This potentially-touching story is allowed to become too encumbered and the director simply loses control of it; the promise of the first half is there­ fore lost in the unnecessary entanglements of narrative. Much the same could be said of Raja Mitra’s Nayantara, a film about

Arguably the best film of the Panorama was Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Lai Oarja (The Red Doors). the life of a Calcutta stage actress and her young adult son trying to find a purpose in his life. The film promises much interest in the theatrical life of the city, but relationships are sketchily-drawn and the quotations from performances are too lengthy. Like Kraurya, it is an enjoyable film but one in which too many narrative ele­ ments are introduced and not followed through to any conclusion. It is, how­ ever, notable for a memorable performance by Mamata Shankar in the title role. Also from Bengal, and one of the better films of the Panorama, was Malay Bhattacharya’s Kahini (Fiction),

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

described by the director as “an exer­ cise in introspection” . On the surface, the film presents a story in which a lawyer offers a man some old papers and photographs, so prompting him to undertake a journey with a taxi driver and a poster painter, during which they kidnap a small boy, who later dies. Actually, the film makes little sense as conventional narrative, for this is not its purpose; rather, it offers an impression of narrative merely as a basis for the man’s journey in search of his imaginary self o r ‘other’ of him­ self. Kahini proceeds, with minimal dialogue - some of it voice-overthrough a structure of loosely-associ­ ated episodes out of which a thread gradually emerges as a kind of selfrealization is attained by the central character. Bhattacharya effectively exploits temporal and spatial disconti­ nuity to merge and sometimes confuse dream and reality, a blurring that is enhanced by the soundtrack and its occasional ‘inappropriateness’. Kahini offers some real hope that there are directors in India willing to dare to be different. Not so willing to be different, but always to be relied on for technical and artistic polish, is the eminent Ker­ alan director Adoor Gopalakrishnan. His latest film, Kathapurushan (The Man of the Story), is a well-con­ structed, carefully-paced work aiming to reflect in the life of its central char­ acter the momentous changes that have occurred in the history of the state of Kerala since the early 1940s. The story has a strong moral dimen­ sion, celebrating the quest for truth at all costs, and, while the central character is intended to be no more than a man, he certainly emerges from his trials in a heroic light. 56

19


After tke Hollvjwoo* experience of TWO IF fY

Wl Çewnett «*** Kovne

to get excited about fAvuvnaf^H^ again. He talfcf to AWl^KEW L ^KEAV^ aboMt tke geneiif an* making of KISS OK KILL, ki( tkriUer (et on tke K/nllarbor, (tarring Matt ba^ an* France( O’ Connor. T h e id e a f o r /O s s o r K il l w a s b o r n in a b a r n , w a s n ’t it ?

Yes. I was at Broken Hill in a shearing shed during the making of Backlash in 1986 and there had been a camera malfunction. It was in a remote location about 80 km out of town. For some rea­ son I can’t recall, the rest of the crew had gone back to town and I was in this woolshed with another crew member. We’d worked on A Street to D ie [1985] together and I’d known this fellow, I guess, quite a long time. We’d become friends. Anyway, all morning he had been playing with this big-bladed Rambo knife which he had bought. I remember it was blistering hot, there was a slight wind outside and it was rattling the galvanized iron roofing. He was sitting in one corner and I was sit­ ting in the other. It was so hot we could barely move; and he was hypnotically sharpening this blade on the sharpening stone and he was just sit­ ting there, going, joop ... joop ... joop ..., and it was becoming really quite eerie. Then he stopped and he looked up at me with

this very clear gaze and he said, “Bill, I could cut your throat. I could put your body underneath these floorboards here and, when the rest of the crew came back, I could tell them that you’d gone for a walk down by the creek. No one would ever know.” He held that gaze and in that moment I discovered that in fact I really didn’t know this man. I didn’t know whether or not he was serious or whether he was joking. So much went t h r o u g h my mind just at that instant. Anyway, he burst out laughing. The moment was forgotten for him, but it stayed with me. That really was the genesis of Kiss or K ill; that some­ body I thought I knew, somebody I was good friends with, could have a side of his personality that I just could not fathom. B u t t h a t i n s i g h t f u l m o m e n t in t h e w o o l s h e d WAS t o u g h e r t o n u r t u r e t o f il m t h a n y o u h a d a n t i c ip a t e d .

I wrote over a long time. This was a story that I couldn’t get off my back. I must have done about 18 or 20 screenplays over those 10 years or so. It

®

always had inherent story problems that I couldn’t crack. In fact, on a number of occasions I could have actually financed the film and gone into pro­ duction, but I pulled back because I didn’t feel the story was right. If you don’t get the story right, it could just end up being a B-grade video exploitation film, which is not what I wanted. I was more interested in the psychological underpinning of the characters and I just couldn’t get all the elements in place so that I felt comfortable. In 1 9 9 3 ,1 finally just threw it against the wall and I said, “I can’t do it. It’s taken too much out of my life.” I was at the point where I would say to Jennifer [Cluff, Bennett’s wife], “I’m going to do another draft of Kiss or K ill”, and she would scream at me. She would say, “No, don’t!” So I dropped it and I started work on Spider & Rose [1994]. I really didn’t think that I would ever come back to Kiss or KilL B u t y o u d id .

Well, yes. Pierre Rissient [cinema advocate and


(Frances O'Connor). Bill Bennett's K iss o r Kill.

Cannes Film Festival consultant] had been followthe thing for some time, and in early 1996, he was here, took me out to dinner urging go back to it. He in fact had been a very supporter of Two I f By Sea and had been at the negative critical response to that. He’d wanted Two I f By Sea for Compétition screening and his words rang in my ear. He said a couple of really interesting things. I had always been concerned about the morality of Kiss or K ill and that was the one thing that was holding me back. I don’t have any problems making an immoral film, but I do have problems making an amoral film, and I couldn’t get the morality right within myself. Pierre said, “Bill, in this one you must not think. You must simply write: action, action, action”, and something that Picasso once said, “If you are an artist and you work, then what you produce will be art.” So, I sat down and realized that what in fact had been shackling me on Kiss or K ill is that I’d been intellectualizing too much. So, I just threw everything away. I sat down one day and just wrote the script in three weeks, not referring to anything that I’d written prior. C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

T h e s c r i p t is w e l l t h o u g h t o u t a n d e v e n c o n t a in s SOME SPECIFIC DIALOGUE, BUT THERE IS A LOT OF IMPROVISATION REQUIRED BY THE ACTORS. IN K lSS OR

K il l ,

is t h a t a n y m o r e

o r l e s s t h a n w it h y o u r

OTHER FILMS?

Backlash was improvised. There were bits of A Street to D ie that were improvised. Obviously, M ortgage [tele-feature, 1989] and M alpractice [tele-feature, 1989], the two drama-documentaries I did for Film Australia, were improvised. This is actually a very controlled film. I mean, it’s a bit of a misnomer really, or it’s probably a little bit mis­ leading, when people talk about an improvised film. They probably regard it as being a very undis­ ciplined thing where you simply turn a camera on and the actors get out there and start talking. In fact, you know that to shoot a picture-in the

PHOTOGRAPHS: BILL BENNETT

At (M att Day) and Nikki

number of days that we have scheduled, and the value that we’re striving for, you need to be extra­ ordinarily disciplined. Very rarely do we actually get to a scene where the actors have to talk about what’s to be said. All of that has been discussed beforehand during the rehearsal period. Also, I have very specific dialogue in the script. It may not be, you know, word for word, but I’ve written a 60-page scene breakdown, and each scene has a very clear notion of where ths logue needs to travel. So, it’s actually a ve controlled and disciplined process. I’d be crazy to go into something that was otherwise. Kiss or K ill is also a'good film for improvisation in that a lot of it is very reactive stuff, unlike, say, the social-realist drama documentaries I did, which were heavily dialogue-dependent. Thif isn’t. But

S i l t Bc n n f t t

there so far, the romantic cor more warmly. Kiss or Kill is a

21


to go the N atural B om K illers [Oliver Stone, 1994] route. We needed to understand that, yeah, they’ve ripped people off, but there is a reason for it. There is a social and political reason for it and that within their framework they still draw the line. For instance, they get to a place where people are helping them, and the character played by Matt tries to steal some jewellery. Frances’ charac­ ter says, “No, you don’t steal from these people.” T h o s e h u m a n i z in g e l e m e n t s a n d t h e t h i n g s t h a t ALL YOUR CAST BRING TO THIS FILM : HOW MUCH OF THAT IN THE OVERALL SCHEM E OF THINGS IS CRUCIAL TO THE M O VIE? -A

Oh, it’s fundamfehtal to me. I’m blessed in the fact that I have a really fantastic cast. W e’ve all been trying to ask ourselves the question, “Have we seen these people before?”, ancl, if we have, then we go another way. Chris Haywood, for instance, is playing a role that I’ve not seen him play before: a very precise, controlled, steely detective, and yet one that still has that undercurrent of empathy and warmth which, when you talk to these cops, they do. I b e l ie v e J e n n i f e r C l u f f p l a y e d a s i g n i f i c a n t PART AS SCR IPT EDITOR ON K lS S OR KILL. W H AT DO YOU THINK IS THE M O ST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION SHE MADE?

Her contribution covers a vast range of things. It was really Jennifer who cast Matt and Frances. She steered me there; her influence has been through the script, the casting, wardrobe, a vast array of things. llljlll

B u t s p e c i f i c a l l y in t h e s c r i p t ?

Paul McCartney, whenever writing songs with John Lennon, would always bring John in to do the middle eight. As for Jennifer and I, it seems she’s always on my back about the third act, because it’s always the one that I have the most problems with. W h a t a b o u t t h e l o o k o f t h e f il m ?

Kiss or K ill has what I call a heartbeat. I call it a jagged, fractured look, because it’s a jagged, frac­ tured story. I wanted to do this film unconventionally in the sense that I wanted to make filmmaking exciting for myself again, because I got a bit jaded doing the Hollywood pic-

that’s not to say there aren’t some cracker dialogue scenes in it. HOW WOULD YOU PITCH THE FILM IN A FEW W O RDS?

Two young hustlers, they’re lovers, on the run from the cops, going across the Nullarbor. In each town in which they spend the night, there is a murder, and each begins to think the other is the killer. That was my basic premise for the film. Of course, it’s changed a little bit from there, in that there are not two towns, there’s just one town, and there’s a small dwelling for the second murder and so forth. But that is, I guess, the pitch for the film. HOW DID THE CHARACTERS ARRIVE - BECAUSE THEY W ERE THE ONES THAT DROVE THE S C R IP T -W H E N YOU SAT DOWN TO W RITE THIS FINAL, NEW AND TOTALLY DIFFERENT V ERSIO N ?

It’s funny, you know: the one theme that kind of inspired me through the 10 years has been the

22

Bruce Springsteen song, “Born to Run”. What are the words: “People like us, m^hggwc were born to run”? You know, the whole n o ^ y of this theme: working-class kids wnllllh Yknow are criminals but they do have a line beyond which they don’t cross, and for them to find themselves in circumstances where suddenly everything starts to spin out of control. Where do the characters come from? Gee, I don’t know exactly. jl W e d o s e e g l i m p s e s in t o t h e i r p a s t w h i c h r o u n d s THEM OUT AS CHARACTERS. W E DO UNDERSTAND T H E M ^ AND WE EVEN LIKE THEM AS PEOPLE.

Jennifer and I cast Matt [Day] ancj&ances [O’Connor] for that very reason, because we knew that on paper they’re pretty unlikeable people really. They do pretty dastardly things, but what Matt and Fran have brought to it is certainly what I require as a director: a wonderful humanity and empathy for them [their characters]. I didn’t want

So, I started to look at French New Wave cin­ ema and tq,look/think back on things like The French Connmjdpn [William Friedkin, 1970] and the great ’70sramerican cinema, at B reathless [A Bout de Sou ffle, Jean-Luc Godard, 1959], which was the closest to what I was ^tempting here. And given that we were shooting it in 30 shooting days, ■fWanted to go hand-held to have the sense that we were actually there; that this is real and happening. After all, you havc&,aiiu ge emotional investment and it seemed that this v is the appropriate style for this story. ^ Instead of doing conventional coverage, we’d Jftioot from slightly different angles and change Tfocal lengths margm^jAMj^ymow, throw conti­ nuity out the wi iid( >\\ uid just d this very fractured, j u m p y r e f e r to it as a heartbeat, b e c a i i movi e we do cover it more co n v B H H ^ H ^ t the time when the heartbeat is slow, añadiere are other times when the adrenalin is pumping, and the film jump-cuts all over the place. It just seems appropriate for the film. ® C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


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1

FRANCES O'CONNOR ilm audiences were not familiar with seeing Frances O’Connor on the big screen until last year when Love and Other Catastrophes (Emma-Kate Croghan) was released. O’Connor played Mia, a young university student trying to get some order into her life and into Adrian Martin’s cinema-studies class. O’Connor was nominated for Best Actress at last year’s AFI Awards, and since then she has worked in three films: Cherie Nolan’s Thank God He Met Lizzie, Bill Bennett’s Kiss or Kill, and Peter Duncan’s provisionally-titled A Little Bit of Soul. O’Connor started acting in the usual ways: in school plays, and at Curtin University, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in literature. After a year’s trip to Japan, she studied acting at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) from 1990 to 1992. “After I finished uni, I knew I wanted to be an actor,” says O’Connor, “but I knew I had to get out and have a bit of a real life for a while.” In her first year out, O’Connor worked with the Melbourne Theatre Company, and in the first season of television’s Law of the Land: “It was a really good way into the industry, because the only way to get grounding is on the job, and that was three months of moulding the character, and me bumping into cameras, and making an idiot of myself.” From there, O’Connor moved in to other television work, such as GP, The Damnation of Harvey McHugh, and Halifax f.p., which was where Emma-Kate Croghan noticed her, and was further encouraged by Greg Apps to cast her for Love and Other Catastrophes. Having just completed three features, O’Connor is interested in remaining versatile, but finds film work very satisfying: “Film’s such an attractive medium to work in. It’s a very creative medium, and the more I get experience in it and feel comfortable in it, the more I want to do it, because I’ve done quite a lot of theatre, and I feel like I know that, but film is some­ thing I’m still exploring and learning about. It’s such a delicate kind of medium in terms of acting that I feel there’s much more for me to explore.”

F

Photo: Tamara Harrison


A M A N T H A LA N G , director of two short films, Out and Audacious, has chosen as her first feature an adaptation of The Well, by the acclaimed Aus­ tralian novelist Elizabeth Jolley. It is a fine example of contemporary Australian literature, encompass­ ing many themes and atmospheres common to other Australian writers, such as Tim Winton. Scripted by Laura Jones (The Portrait o f a Lady), it is a psychological thriller about two mutuallydependent and manipulative women, Hester (Pamela Rabe) and Katherine (Miranda Otto), who find their fragile world threatened when they acci­ dentally run over a stranger near their isolated farm. W h a t i s y o u r f i l m i c p e r s p e c t i v e o n Th e We l l ?

It is not naturalism, but a kind of heightened real­ ism. I wanted —even more than situating it in an Australian landscape - to situate it in its own kind of world, a world that was much more like a fable.

It is not really a myth, because it doesn’t quite have mythic proportions, but a world presented in a way through Katherine and Hester’s eyes. The landscape is supposed to reflect, to pro­ vide, a metaphor for Hester’s inner world. It is quite isolating and arid, rugged, with those strange boulders, and should really underscore Hester’s character, rather than being a real place in north­ ern New South Wales.

So y o u ’ r e

u s i n g l a n d s c a p e in a s i m i l a r w a y t o

L o v e S e r e n a d e [ S h ir l e y B a r r e t t , 19961? The Well has a darker side of the female psyche, though maybe Love Serenade does, too, in a different way. When I was making The Well, and I hadn’t seen Love Serenade, I was quite concerned about it being similar, but actually it’s not. There are simi­ larities, though, in the sense that there are two female protagonists ...


O n e in e a c h f i l m p l a y e d b y M i r a n d a O t t o ...

Yes. But hopefully the similarities stop there. They have also a man in the middle. W h a t m a k e s o n e t h i n k o f Lo v e S e r e n a d e i s y o u r COM M EN T THAT THE WELL HAS A HEIGHTENED REALITY.

L ove Serenade does, too. It’s where you allow things in the film to take on symbolic value. A cup­ board, for example, can mean something more than just a cupboard. The things within the frame are significant; they are not arbitrarily there. HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE WELL?

For me it has a very short history. For Laura Jones [scriptwriter] and Sandra Levy [producer], it has a much longer one, in that Sandra optioned the book when it came out. She had already worked with Laura on H ightide [Gillian Arm­ strong, 1987] and they wanted to do another project together. Originally, it had another director attached to C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997

27


“THE WHOEE DEVEEOPMENT PROCESS FOR ME WAS VERY RAPID IN THE SENSE THAT I CAME ONTO THIS PROJECT IN JUNE, AND WE WERE SHOOTING AT THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER. I COUEDN'T BEEIEVE IT. I HAD NEVER IMAGINED THAT MY FIRST PICTURE WOUED COME TO ME IN THIS WAY."

it, but that director decided not to do it and it was laid to rest

It’s very complex psychologically, and the great challenge for me was to learn something about the country and have a feel for it, an understanding of it, and

for a couple of years. I met Sandra, when I first went to film school [AFTRS]. I was doing an attachment on one of her television shows. I didn’t end up doing the televi­ sion thing, but went off on another project. Then in May last year Sandra called me into her office and said, “Please take

to acquire that in a short period of time. I don’t think of it as a country drama, because I’m not particularly fond of them. In a way, I was trying to get as far away from that as possible, whilst still

this script away and read it.” I liked the story, but thought that there were things that I would like to improve, or change. I met with Laura a cou­ ple of times and talked about the film that I could see. About three weeks after those meet­ ings, Sandra rang and said, “I have the money to make the film. Do you want do it?” The whole development process for me was very rapid

who will develop a style according to what the story demands. It could be a comedy, a thriller, an action movie, whatever. For me, part of the excitement is discovering a style for a story. Obviously there are particular themes csr 5 8

being situated on a homestead with a farmer. I wanted to try and work out what that meant psychologically, rather than practically. I went to the Country Women’s Association, and met farmers and people like that. I was interested in what effect the country would have on someone’s psyche and what kind of woman would exist in that environment. I see both Out and A udacious as being very different. I don’t see myself as someone who is stuck in a particular style. I’m a director, or hope to be one,

in the sense that I came onto this project in June, and we

were shooting at the beginning of November. I couldn’t believe it. I had never imagined that my first picture would come to me in this way. Th e W e l l

is v e r y d if f e r e n t t o y o u r t w o s h o r t f i l m s ,

Out

and

A u d a c io u s .

W h a t d ir e c t io n h a d y o u s e e n f o r y o u r s e l f in f i l m ?

I’d been developing a project which was another adaptation based on The M onkey’s M ask, a crime fiction novella written in verse by the Australian poet Dorothy Houghton. I always thought that would be the first thing I’d do. I’ve never lived in the country - most of the stories that I had told have been urban - but when I read The W ell I thought I’d love to direct this film.

28

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


CATE BLANCHETT

C

ate Blanchett has played some fairly powerful rôles in her rela­ tively short career, and seems set to continue, having just worked on Bruce Beresford’s Paradise Road, Gillian Arm­ strong’s Oscar and Lucinda, and Cherie Nolan’s Thank God He Met Lizzie. Blanchett grew up in Melbourne, gradu­ ated from NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) in 1992, and stayed in Sydney, where she has been very active in live theatre. She starred in the ABC television series Heartland in 1993, and has guest starred in episodes of both G.P. and Police Rescue, as well as starring in

Bordertown. Film work to date includes Police Rescue (Michael Carson, 1994) and Parklands (Kathryn Millard, 1996), a 50minute featurette filmed in Adelaide, as well as the features mentioned before, now in post-production. Says Blanchett: “ I’ve been lucky because each project has been so completely different that it’s really kept

me stimulated. I have a very insistent need to be constantly stimulated by things. That’s why it’s been great: I’ve been thrust into these all-consuming projects.” It was Bruce Beresford’s confidence in Blanchett that got her a part in Paradise Road with Glenn Close, Wendy Hughes and Pamela Rabe, and similarly Gillian Armstrong’s belief that she, and not Sharon Stone, was right for Lucinda in Oscar and Lucinda, with Ralph Fiennes and Ciaran Hinds. Blanchett: “ It’s a testament to the power of Australian directors who will not compromise their artistic integrity. I am filled with admiration, and gratitude, that they didn’t compromise on that.” While Blanchett is currently working on stage in The Seagull, and having a rest from film, her agents all over the world are fielding scripts and looking for the right ones for her to work on next. But, at the moment, she has a blank page. And that, she says, is quite exciting. Photo : Marco del G rande


R

¡ v i e r a

¿

6

éV

3

tv t fo

3

The Big Red

1996 was a great year for Australia at Cannes. The following is a summary of the features most likely to be seeking critical and sales glory at Cannes in 1997, in either an official event or in the Marché. D

Director

DOP

Director of photography

P

Producer

PD

Production designer

AP

Associate producer

CD

Costume designer

EP

Executive producer

E

Editor

IP

Line producer

Co-P Co-producer

Production company : Scala

Production company : Palm

Production company : Working

Production company : Dark City

Productions, Unthank Films

Beach Pictures (Blackrock)

Dog International sales agent :

Productions Production : 5/8-

Village Roadshow

SD

Sound designer

SR

Sound recordist

18/11/96 International sales

Production : 16/9-9/11/96

Production : 26/8-4/10/96

I nternational sales agent : The

I nternational sales agent :

Samuel Goldwyn Company

Beyond Rims

EP: Michael Hirsch SW: Santo

D:AlexProyas P: Andrew

D: Stephan Elliott P: Finola

D: Steve Vidler P: David Elfick

Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane

Mason SW: Alex Proyas,

Dwyer Co-P: Antonia Barnard

AP: Catherine Knapman

Kennedy, Rob Sitch DOP:

Lem Dobbs, David Goyer

EP: Nik Powell, Stephen

SW: Nick Enright (Based on

Miriana Marusic PD: Carrie

DOP: Dariusz Wolski

Woolley SW: Michael Thomas

his play) DOP: Martin McGrath

Kennedy CD: Kitty Stuckey

PD: George Liddle

(Based on the novel, The Dead

PD: David McKay CD: David

E: Wayne Hyett C: Craig

CD: Liz Keogh E: Dov Hoenig

Heart, by Douglas Kennedy)

McKay E: Frans Vandenburg

DOP: Mike Molloy PD: Owen

SR:Guntis Sics

D:RobSitch P: Debra Choate

Harnath. SR: Chris Izzard.

Scriptwriter

Kiss or Kill

A Little Bit of Soul

Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jen­ nifer Connelly, Richard O’Brien,

Syno psis : The story of Teddy,

Linda Cropper (Diane), Simon

Kerrigan), Stephen Curry (Dale

a streetwise New Yorker, who

Lyndon (Ricko), Chris Hay­

Kerrigan), Anthony Simcoe

finds himself out of his depth

wood (Det. Sgt Wilansky),

(Steve Kerrigan), Sophie Lee

Down Under, entrapped by a

Rebecca Smart (Cherie), Essie

(Tracey Kerrigan), Wayne

sunkissed Outback Valkyrie.

Davis (Det. Gilhooley), Jessica

Hope (Wayne Kerrigan), Tiriel

Napier (Rachel), Heath Ledger

Mora (Dennis Denuto), Eric

(Toby), Justine Clarke (Tiffany).

Bana (Con Petropolous),

The third feature of Stephan Elliott, and his first since the

Charles (Bud) Tingwell

Bruce Spence, Colin Friels Syn o psis : John Murdoch awak­

ens alone in a strange hotel room, accused of a series of brutal murders that he cannot remember. Indeed, most of his memories have vanished

worldwide hit, The Adventures

Syno psis : When a 15-year-old

o f Priscilla, Queen o f the

girl is raped and murdered at

Desert.

a teenage surf club party,

Synopsis : Darryl Kerrigan and

as he knows it are in fact

Blackrock turns into a town of

his family fight to save their

artificial creations controlled

hatred, shame and distrust.

home from compulsory aquisi-

by a fiendish underworld of

For 17-year-old Jared, the

tion by airport developers.

ominous beings collectively

event tears him between loyalty and truth. When one is 17, scared and alone, how does one choose?

Love in Ambush

I nternational sales agent :

Beyond

Beyond

D: Bill Bennett P: Bill Bennett

D: Peter Duncan

Budget: $4.9 million

Co-P: Corrie Soeterboek

P: Tristram Miall

Production : June 1996

Cast : Frances O’Connor,

Cast : Rufus Sewell, William

Kerrigan), Anne Tenney (Sal

I nternational sales agent :

SW: Bill Bennett

New Line Cinema

Cast : Laurence Breuls Oared),

Patterson E: Martin Walsh

altogether. He soon discovers

(Lawrence Hammill).

that his memories and reality

[See Peter Malone’s article on the film and its genesis in

(formerly Angkor and Mirabeau) Production company : Pro Films

Australian distributor : REP

known as The Strangers. The third feature of Alex

issue no. 115, pp. 10-2. and the

Proyas (Spirits o f the Air,

review this issue, pp. 44, 46.]

Gremlins o f the Clouds and

[See review this issue, p. 45.]

SW

agent :

Cast : Michael Caton (Darryl

Composer

C

Dark City

Blackrock

The Crow).

Paradise Road

Paws

River Street

Production company : Village

Production company: Latent

Production company : House &

Roadshow Pictures Produc­

Image Productions Production:

Moorhouse Production :

tion : August-September

14/10-9/12/96 Distributor:

September-October 1995

1996.

Locations: Penang, Port Dou­

Polygram Rims (UK)

glas Australian

International sales agent:

distributor :

Roadshow Distributors

Polygram Rims (UK)

D:TonyMahood P: Lynda House AP: Catherine Bishop SW: Phillip Ryall (Based on

Cast : Frances O’Connor

Richard Roxburgh,

D: Carl Schultz P: jean Pierre

(Nikki), Matt Day (Al).

Geoffrey Rush

Ramsay EP: Richard Becker

D: Bruce Beresford P: Greg

D: Karl Zwicky P: Andrena

a story by Tony Mahood)

Syn o psis : A thriller set on the

Privately financed and made

SW: Loupe Durand, David

Coote, Sue Milliken EP:

Finlay, Vicki Watson EP: Rebel

DOP: Martin McGrath

flat, treeless plain of the

in great secret, A Little Bit o f

Ambrose, Christine Miller,

Graham Burke, Andrew Yap

Penfold-Russetl SW: Harry

PD:Paddy Reardon CD:Kerri

SW: Bruce Beresford DOP:

Cripps, Karl Zwicky (Based on

Mazzocco E: Dany Cooper

Peter James PD: Herbert

the novel, Chance in a Million,

SR: Lloyd Carrick

Pinter CD: Terry Ryan E:Tim

by Stephen Dando-Collins)

Wellburn

DOP: Geoff Burton PD: Steven

Nullarbor. Al and Nikki are

Soul is the second feature of

John Howlett, Tom Hegarty

lovers on the run from the

writer-director Peter Duncan

Cast : Jacques Perrin (Pascal),

cops. Heading across the

(Children o f the Revolution).

Sigrid Thornton (Shelley

Nullarbor, they stop for the

Kincaid), Gary Sweet (Eddie),

night at a small motel. The

James Tolkan (Price),

Cast : Glenn Close, Cate

following morning the motel

Bernadette Lafont (Madelaine),

Blanchett, Pamela Rabe,

owner is found dead. Second

David Clendinning (Charles),

Lisa Hensley.

night out, two more people

Val Victa (leng), Dody Lacuna

Synopsis : Set in World War 2

are killed in their sleep. Al

Sumatra, European women

begins to think Nikki is the

(Keo), Dinna Padilla (Rath), Grant Piro (John), josua Sacro

killer. Nikki thinks it’s Al.

(Kutchai), Alvin Bernales

seek solace from the horror of

They have known each other

(Ouk).

their imprisonment by forming

for years, but do they really

imprisoned by the Japanese

Jones-Evans CD: David Rowe E: Nick Holmes SR: Guntis Sics Ca s t :

Nathan Cavaleri (Zac),

Cast : Aden Young (Ben), Bill

Hunter (Vincent), Essie Davis (Wendy), Tammy Macintosh (Sharon), Joy Smithers (Marcia), Sullivan Stapleton

Emilie François (Samantha),

(Chris), Lois Ramsey (Edna),

Joe Petruzzi (Stephen),

Matthew D’Brass (Leon).

Caroline Gilmer (Susie), Rachel Blake (Amy), Sandy Gore (Anya).

Syno psis : An ambitious,

unscrupulous young realestate agent tricks his way

Synopsis : After fleeing an

a vocal orchestra.

unhappy marriage, Shelley

[See interview with DOP Peter

film about a boy, his dog and

land occupied by a community

[See article in this issue,

Kincaird returns to Cambodia

James next issue.]

their computer.

centre, but is redeemed into a

pp. 20-2.]

to find her brother who has

know each other?

Syno psis : A family adventure

into buying a valuable plot of

gallant attempt to save it.

been accused of deserting the army in Vietnam. [See interview with director Carl Schultz in a forthcoming issue.]

30

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


Production company: Matt Carroll Films Production:

Doing Time for Patsy Cline Production company: Oil Rag

Fistful of Flies

Dust Off the Wings

Heavens Burning

International sales agent:

Production company: Long

Production company: Duo Art

Production company: Village

Southern Star Films.

Black Productions

Productions Production:

Roadshow Pictures Production: 4/9-16/10/96

28/9-16/11/96 International

Films Production: 20/9-

P: Lee Rogers P: Lee Rogers,

Production: 30/10-22/12/95

30/9-22/11/96 International

sales agent: Village

1/11/96 International sales

Ward Stevens SW: Lee Rogers,

International sales agent:

sales agent: Beyond

Ward Stevens.

Southern Star Films.

Roadshow

Pictures Worldwide

agent: Southern

Star Sales.

D: Ian Barry P: Michael Lake

D: Craig Lahiff P: Al Clark,

EP: Robin Burke, Greg Coote SW: Stuart Beattie DOP: David

D: David Parker P: Matt Carroll

P: Chris Kennedy P: John

Cast: Annaliese Braakensiek,

D: Monica Pellizzari P: Julia

Helen Leake EP: Craig Lahiff,

LP: Greg Ricketson EP: Greg

Winter Co-P: Chris Kennedy

Kate Ceberano, Phil Ceberano,

Overton SW: Monica Pellizzari

Georgina Pope SW: Louis

Burr PD: Peta Lawson

Coote, Alan Finney SW: Matt

P: Chris Kennedy DOP: Andrew

Felix Williamson,

PD: Lissa Coote CD: Louise

Nowra DOP: Brian Breheny

CD: Marion Boyce E* Lee Smith

Ford (Based on a screenplay

Lesnie PD: Roger Ford

by Elizabeth Coleman)

CD: Louise Wakefield

DOP: Keith Wagstaff PD: jon

E-. Ken Sallows O Peter Best

Dowding CD: Tess Schofield

SD: John Dennison, Tony

Wakefield E: James Manche

PD: Vicki Niehus CD: Annie

C: Felicity Fox SR: Bronwyn

Marshall E: John Scott C: Carl

Murphy

Vine SR: Toivo Lember

Ed Begley Jr, Ruth Cracknell,

tape with a very small crew,

Cast: Dina Panozzo (Grace),

Cast: Russell Crowe (Colin),

Harold Hopkins.

Dust Offthe Wings is about

Tasma Walton (Mars), John

Youki Kudoh (Midori), Ray

the last two days of singeldom

Lucantonio (Joe), Maria Louise

Barrett (Cam), Kenji Isomura

fora Bondi surfer

Abatz Gentile (Magda),

(Yukio), Robert Mammone

Giordano Gangl (Ercole),

(Mahood), Anthony Phelan

Eamon Davern (johnny).

(Bishop), Matthew Dyktinski

A privately-financed lowbudget feature shot on Sony widescreen digital betacam

E: Bill Murphy

Vaccher, Chris Alderton

Cast: Toni Collette, Dominic

SR: Chris Alderton

West

Cast: Richard Roxburgh

Synopsis : A romantic comedy

(Boyd), Miranda Otto (Patsy),

about a young Australian

Matt Day (Ralph), Gus Mercu-

woman who shares the same

rio (Tyrone), Betty Bobbitt

name and birthday as the

(Connie).

Princess of Wales. Obsessed

Synopsis : A wry tale about a

in a conservative Catholic

with her royal namesake, she

reluctant hero who sacrifices

Italo-Australian family,

wins a trip to London and

his dreams for love and

struggles to come to terms

comes close to shaking her

desire.

with her sexuality.

hand, but is elbowed out of

Doing Time for Patsy Cline

Fistful of Flies is the first

is writer-director Chris

feature of Monica Pellizzari

Kennedy’s third feature, after

who made a name from a

Glass and This Won't Hurt a Bit!.

series of quirky shorts about

the way by a pushy paparazzo photographer. The second feature of David Parker, who not only shoots

[See article, issue no. 112, pp. 16-19.]

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Mars Lupi, the only daughter

(Boorjam), Colin Hay Oonah), Susan Priox (Sharon), Kate Rtzpatrick (Gloria).

Synopsis: When a young Australian boy boards a train to Sydney to reunite a baby kangaroo with its abducted parents, a hilarious adventure begins through the city’s mean streets and to the halls of government, finding a new best friend and justice along the way.

[See article in this issue,

A children’s film from the

pp. 38-40.]

director of The Chain Reaction (1980), Minnamurra (1989), Crime Broker (tele-feature, 1993), The Seventh Floor (tele­ feature, 1993) and Blackwater Trail (tele-feature, 1995).

her Italo-Australian upringing.

Hercules

McKenna, Rebecca Gibney,

Synopsis: A thriller.

It premiered at the Venice Rim

and co-produces Nadia Tass’ films, but directed

(Moffat), Petru Gheorghiu

Cast: Jamie Crofts, Alex

Festival late last year.

Returns.

Road to Nhill Production company: Gecko

Thank God He Met Lizzie

Sound of One Hand Clapping

True Love and Chaos Production company: Westside

Southern Star Rim Sales

Films Budget: $2.5 million

Production: 15/4/96-15/5/96

Turtle Rims Production: Octo-

D: Samantha Lang P: Sandra

Production: 25/7-11/9/96

Australian distributor:

ber-December 1995

Levy LP: Stephen Jones

D: Graeme Rattigan P: David

SW: Laura Jones (Based on

Production: 2 7/IQ -I5/12/95

Artist Services Production: 7/10-22/22/96

Australian distributor: REP

NewVision Rims International

D: Richard Flanagan P: Rolf de

lette Freeman PD: Georgina

Heer SW: Richard Flanagan

Production company: Stamen

International sales agent:

sales agent: Beyond

Beyond

Length: 97 mins

McCarthy E: Tony Stevens

D: Cherie Nowlan P: Jonathan

C; Elizabeth Drake SR: Mark Tarpey

Campbell CD: Louise

Barry (|im), Lynette Curran (Margot), Monica Maughan (Nell), Patricia Kennedy (Jean), Lois Ramsey (Carmel), Paul

Rims

Giles LP: Jane Scott SW: David

the novel by Elizabeth Jolley)

Giles, Graeme Rattigan DOP:

DOP: Mandy Walker

D: Stavros Andonis Efthymiou

Paul Murphy PD: Laurence

PD: Michael Philips CD: Anne

Shteinman Co-P: Carol

P: Ann Darrouzet SW: Stavros

Eastwood E: David Stiven

Hughes SW: Alexandra Long.

Andonis Efthymiou DOP:

DOP: Kathryn Milliss

Laszlo Baranyai PD: Steven

PD: Clarrissa Patterson

Jones-Evans E: Ken Sallows

CD: Edie Kurzer E: Suresh

SD: Craig Carter, James Harvey.

Cast: Kerry Fox

Cast: Bill Hunter (Bob), Tony

Ayyar C: Martin Armiger SR: Stephen Vaughan

Cast: Naveen Andrews (Hanif), Miranda Otto (Mimi), Noah

Chubb (Maurie), Alwyn Kurts

Cast: Richard Roxburgh (Guy),

Taylor (Dean), Hugo Weaving

(Jack), Matt Dyktynski (Bret),

Cate Blanchett (Lizzie),

(Morris), Ben Mendelsohn

Bill Young (Brian), Terry Norris

Frances O’Connor (Jenny),

Gerry), Kimberley Davies (Ariel),

(Ted).

Linden Wilkinson (Poppy),

Genevieve Picot (Hannah).

Synopsis: A comedy about a fictitious small country town on the day of a car accident

International sales agent:

Production company: Silver

Production company:

SW: Alison Tilson DOP: Nico-

The Well

Rims Budget: $2.4 million

Films Budget: $1.85 million

D: Sue Brooks Pi Sue Maslin

Under the Lightiiouse Dancing

John Gaden (Dr O’Hara), Genevieve Mooy (Mrs Jamieson), Michael Ross (Mr Jamieson).

Synopsis: Set in the world of bars, motels and endless high­ ways,

True Love and Chaos is

Cast: Jacqueline McKenzie, Jack Thompson, Naomi Watts,

Borghesi E: Dany Cooper C: Stephen Rae SR: Bronwyn Murphy

Aden Gillett, Phillip Holder,

Cast: Pamela Rabe (Hester),

Zoe Bertram.

Miranda Otto (Katherine),

Synopsis: An uplifting romantic comedy based on the true story of three couples who visit Rottnest Island to stage a magical wedding.

Paul Chubb (Harry Bird), Frank Wilson (Francis Harper), Steve Jacobs (Rob Borden), Genevieve Lemon Gen Borden), Paul Caesar Gock), Simon Lyndon (Abel),

The film first screened at this

Jennifer Kent (MargTrinder),

year’s American Rim Market

Stephen Rae (Murray Trinder).

in Los Angeles.

Synopsis: An unsettling

a gritty film about the need to

pyschological thriller about

Synopsis: The romantic myth

love. It follows the topsy-tur-

two mutually-dependent and

husbands and fire engines go

is exposed for Guy when he is

vey relationship of four people

manipulative women who find

in all directions, and everyone

plagued by memories of an

driving across Australia, and

their fragile world threatened

has a different version of

old girlfriend on his wedding

their descent into chaos.

when they accidentally run

events.

day.

Stavros Andonis Efthymiou is

which ends up involving the whole town. Bowling ladies,

The first feature of director

one of the key collaborative

Sue Brooks and DOP Nicolette

team behind 1996’s

Freeman/CC

Other Catastrophes.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997

Love and

over a stranger near their isolated farm. [See article, pp. 26-7.]

31


PHOTOGRAPHS: SOPHIE HOWARTH

32

C I N E M A P A P E R S â&#x20AC;¢ M A Y 1997


oixcl blxcux

^xjxlixley &Jxcuve/& lxl& ^ft.e/clJ'e/iMx Ixtxix&e/ uxibix lxl& G/cuxuxe/, bK/e/ s/bcu^ 8 ® © HxEfgjs e ia d l

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lyecix a e g o nx nxe ixtleel bxj fBl/e/i^r-c/ « fv lssx e ix t Y iv^aeeixlixxj a b (ia.ixixes/, cuxel lxef x u v a llln x j bo l\e « iv ij* lb Ixtia lyeeix s. e l e& L e d . Ogilvie’s three short films are completely different. The first, Despondent Divorcee, focuses on a photograph Ogilvie found in Life magazine which shows a man sitting in the window of an American bar in the 1920s. Ogilvie wrote an internal monologue for this man, which told us he was a salesman who had left his girlfriend behind on the coast for another woman. As he talks, we see different segments of the grainy blackand-white print, and then gradually the whole photograph is revealed with its shock ending. Ogilvie financed the film himself and was elated when it was accepted for Cannes. And we all know what happened then. He took a Super 8 camera to Cannes to film the stars, but the madness and may­ hem turned his eye to the stars’ outrageous dogs. Ogilvie came home to Australia with lots of dogs in his camera, and filmed his own dog, Quinn, as the star guest of the Festival in a shoot in Melbourne. Now with the linking footage, he had a whole film, and again it was selected for Cannes as a very irreverent satire on the whole damn show! Jokingly, Ogilvie regrets that, even though Quinn became famous world wide, there’s been no television ad man knocking on their door offering them a lucrative contract. And now Ogilvie’s third film, Trunk, is something very different again. It’s a spoof on movies and cars, concentrating on yes, you’ve guessed it, the trunk! Actor Leverne McDonnell (Naked, Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies) plays a car dealer with an eccentric eye for oddball clients. She even introduces herself at the beginning of the film with absurd grabs such as, “We can talk primary purchase moti­ vation”, and “The colour brought good luck, and your first finger fuck.” The camera tracks with Leverne as she measures various boots for size. There’s the Jaguar trunk of Down By Law (Jim Jarmusch, 1986), the Cadillac trunk of Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992), the Pontiac trunk of GoodFellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990), the Oldsmobile trunk of White H eat (Raoul Walsh, 1949) and more. Ogilvie doesn’t confess that he conceived the film in a car. He says he wrote Trunk with Leverne McDonnell in mind because he’s attracted to the idea of using a subjective and objective cam­ era in the one film. Ogilvie explains, “When Leverne talks to the camera, it only works if it’s contrasted with something else. To maintain the impact, we used a crane and other objective shots.” Pierre Rissient has said that it’s Ogilvie’s best film yet. It appeals to his film-buff self, especially as Rissient has a rever­ ential admiration for Raoul Walsh’s White Heat. Ogilvie’s passion for films started when he was at univer­ sity in New Zealand, where he made Super 8 films with a friend: “We edited in the camera, and made it up as we went along. Now I see it as a chunky, moving scrapbook of my youth.” In Sydney, Ogilvie did a year’s television course at the Australian Film Television & Radio School, but he wasn t accepted into the directing course. He went on to shooting, directing and editing music videos, and his favourite is for the Headless Chickens. Recently, he’s realized that he can have a career in film: “When I was a teenager, that thought was absurd. It s only now that it’s become a viable option for kids in school. Ogilvie is very interested in the language of film, and is C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

Leverne McDonnell in Jonathan Ogilvie's Trunk.

happy to acknowledge his influences. When asked if he consciously chose to become a post-modern filmmaker, he says that just evolved because “I’m not com­ fortable with autobiographical filmmaking and with staged dramas. I’m interested in showing different perspectives, round the corners of the stage.” Passion for his craft is something he cares about, and one of his great memories was going to see Samuel Beckett’s Crapp’s Last Tape in London, which really pushed the boundaries of storytelling. Quentin Tarantino is not an influence, although Ogilvie acknowledges that “vio­ lence on stage and screen is a great outlet. But I’m not really comfortable with that violence. It’s not something I’ve experienced in my own life - it’s not part of my Australian psyche.” Then again, Ogilvie admits quickly that he does have shrapnel in both legs due to a grisly accident in China in the mid-’80s. It is the films of Stanley Kubrick that still affect him: “I worked on his Full Metal Jacket as a specialeffects assistant in 1985, and I was fascinated by his approach. Every film Kubrick makes has its own form defined by its content. He’s an ultimate auteur.” Ogilvie’s own bent toward rock video clips has fuelled his interest in soundtracks and sampling. He has a close partnership with Chris Abrahams, who composed the soundtracks for This Film is a Dog and Trunk. On Dog, Abrahams had Ogilvie together with Peter Johnson and Grant Horsnell actually playing the music on guitars, bass and mandolin: “The use of samples has opened up notions of hybridity. It adds another level to the piece.” Modern art is another influence on Ogilvie’s work: “Abstract expressionism is in a sense what post-modern film is. You’re using the film as part of the subject. Right now, Ogilvie is developing his first feature-film script. When asked how hard it is to be original for 90 minutes, he says, “You can get away with murder in a short film, but at some point you have to rely on a craftsperson approach. In a feature film, it’s naive to ignore that the audience is going to want to get involved with the story you have to follow that through.” Ogilvie’s script is called “Kinghit” and it plays with the genre of boxing films. He says that it’s an American genre but he’s going to dress it up “and glad it in the folklore of Australian legends”. He’s been hanging out at Tony Mundine’s gym in Redfern, and “Kinghit” will focus on both white and Koori boxers of the 1920s. Ogilvie says he’s interested in irony “as the tool of the underdog”. He remembers going to see Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer, 1949), with Alec Guinness, when he was a kid: “The producer of that film told the director, ‘You’re trying to do the impossible in trying to sell irony to the British public.’ Americans have a similar problem. Now that they’re top-dog in the world, they can’t see the irony of their actions.” Ogilvie agrees Bruce Springsteen was a typical example: “His ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ was taken up by President Reagan for some sort of jingoism. But perhaps Bruce sang it in a way that allowed that to happen.” Lastly, Ogilvie is asked if there are any recent American films that he admires. He says Lone Star, because John Sayles isn’t “over pitching his story. It’s an intelligent script, though perhaps still a little too didactic.” Afterwards, he takes his dog for a walk in Redfern park. No one stops him to ask for Quinn’s autograph, but perhaps he has a better deal just the same. ©

33


TO

A fter several notable films in A ustralia, including the icon ic N e w front (1 9 7 8 ) and Dead Calm (1 9 8 9 ), d irector Phillip N cy ce w en t to A m erica. T h ere he has had g reat b o x -o ffice success w ith films such as Patriot Gamer (1 9 9 2 ), Sliver (1 9 9 3 ) and Clear and Prevent Danger (1 9 9 4 ), even if not alw ays critical success. B u t N oyce's A m erican career has a solidity and strength that has eluded many, and N oyce may j^et prove to be one o f A ustralia's best H ollyw ood directors. C ertainly his film ic interpretation o f Leslie C harteris ’ T h e S ain t ch aracter has been m uch anticipated, as is his planned adaptation o f G raham G reen e’s The Oulet American. H a v in g n o w w o r k e d h e r e in A u s t r a l ia , in

H o l l y w o o d a n d in E n g l a n d , w h ic h is t h e

MOST SATISFYING PLACE FOR YOU TO WORK?

In Australia, when I was working, you were making films in a little bit of a vacuum; that is, as opposed to now when so many films are being made with foreign involvement and partial pre-distribution deals. When I was making them in Australia, we were making them with 90 percent government money, or, under the 10BA era, it was 100 percent private money. It was a very benign private investment, because it was usually spread over 300 small investors, whose only contact with the film was an invitation to the premiere and a yearly profit-and-loss statement. Obviously, there was a greater freedom in that first wave of films than anything you would proba­ bly find anywhere in the world. The big difference in Hollywood is there is a ‘filter’ prior to shooting which supposedly filters, with varied degrees of accuracy, the non-commercial films out of the Hollywood studio system.

There are many tiers of filmmaking within America, and in the tier that I’ve been working in, which is the big-budget studio tier, there is a fair amount of pre-judgement on behalf of the studio in terms of what films they put into production. Once you start production, there is very little involvement in the filmmaking process, but once you finish the film and screen it in the preview sys­ tem, which is part of Hollywood filmmaking, and has been since the ’30s, then the studio comes back into play. The preview system can be one that can work to your disadvantage or your advantage. I remem­ ber on Clear and Present Danger, after I sent an early cut of the film to Harrison Ford, he was demanding that he have his own editor and re-cut the film himself. The only way to quell that was to advance the first public preview a month and then the problem went away. In other words, once we had demonstrated to the studio that the audience loved the film, there was no further question about changing it, re-editing it or doing anything to it.

And there is a third possibility, which is not that the preview system has a negative impact, but that you can use it positively. That is, just like any artis­ tic endeavour, but particularly one that is made obviously on a large budget to appeal to a mass audience, you really covet the chance to screen the picture to an audience. I usually screen it within a week of finishing shooting. For example, on The Saint we did that at Pinewood studios within ten days of shooting. We recruited our own audience privately, away from the studio system, so we could get an idea of how it was playing. That screening was really related to pacing and story intelligibility, although I also use the preview system to assess music; sometimes I’ll try a differ­ ent approach to music and have a screening just to try things. Each system has its benefits; the benefit I

P H I L L I P N O Y C E I N T E R V I E W E D BY 34

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


suppose, if you can look on the positive side of the Hollywood system, is the very fact that Holly­ wood has been so successful and that it is locked into the audience. Its hegemony over the world’s cinema screens is based on a number of factors, not least of which is the aggressiveness with which films are marketed worldwide, including lately in the expansion of Hollywood-owned or partiallyowned cinemas all over the world. Even before that happened, the aggressive marketing was in place, but, even beyond that, you have to have a product to market, and the pacing, the story values generally, appeal to the widest - not necessarily the lowest, although it can be the lowest as well —common denominator, with devastating results all around the world. That is an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your point of view.

M HUNTER C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


It means that it is harder to make films of true artistic distinction, although it’s arguable that America makes as many of those as any other country, as well as more of no artistic distinction. But looking at the Australian films that have emerged even within the new era, where so many of them have been picked up prior to, or during production, I would still have to say from a dis­ tance, looking at the product that has emerged, that there is more freedom in Australia, because the development process at least is done outside that lowest-common-denominator filter. In Hollywood, one of the hardest processes is actually getting your film up to the stage where it will even be considered for production. Unlike the old days, where most decisions were made by one or two people at the top of the studio, in the past 15 years there has been the rise of middle manage­ ment, called in particularly American fashion - but I see it is emerging in Australia now - “vice-presi­ dents in charge of production”. Each vice-president will have under him or her a number of film pro­

jects, and the films are in part filtered through that vice-president before they even get to the two or three people who will make the decision at the top. The vice-presidents are there for a combination of political and business and artistic talents, but they need to have the business and political talents pre­ dominantly in order to survive within the Hollywood system. They are a strongly homogeniz­ ing influence on the films that are turned out. In the old days, as recently as 15 or 20 years ago, it was mostly a relationship between the filmmakers that is the writers, producers and directors - and the studio heads but that’s all gone now. I’m going through that process on my next film, which is an adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American, to star Sean Conner}'- as the English journalist. The film is being produced by Sydney Pollack, who also has a home here at Para­ mount Pictures where I have a company under their auspices. A script has been developed com­ pletely outside the system, and now we have a budget and a star. We put it all together without any reference to the studio, and now we are asking the studio to decide whether they want to make it. If they don’t, then we will be very happy to take it

36

out of the studio system and do it independently. DO YOU FIND IT IRONIC THAT NEWSFRONT SYM PATHIZES w it h

L en M a g u i r e [ B il l H u n t e r ], w h o s t a y s in A u s ­

t r a l ia ,

AND THAT HIS BROTHER FRA N K [G ERA RD

K e n n e d y ], w h o g o e s t o A m e r i c a , is t r e a t e d d i s ­ p a r a g in g l y ,

NOW THAT YOU ARE AN AUSTRALIAN

EXPATRIATE LIVING AND W ORKING IN LOS A N G E LE S?1

I guess there is an irony, although, at the time, the Australian film industry in those years between 1970 and 1990 was always what could be described as a feast-or-famine cycle. There were times when it was very easy, and too easy, such as the 1 OBA years, which have been documented by David Stratton in his book, but there were times when it was too hard. After making News front in 1978, it took me four years to get another film going and then another four years to get another film going. So, in the late ’80s, after the demise of 10BA - in fact, D ead Calm was one of the last of the 10BA films I didn’t really see much future in Australia at that time. I was lucky- enough - or unlucky, depending

on your point of view - to stumble into the Harri­ son Ford-Jack Ryan project, Patriot Games, which was a huge-budget boys’ own adventure, and it was quite successful. I guess I like working on that level of film inas­ much as it was a case of if you died tomorrow at least you could say you’d been there rather than pining about the fact that you never have. It wasn’t a direction in filmmaking that I coveted, but, like so much that has happened to so many Australian filmmakers, it was a blissful gift, and I continued making films like that. Maybe The Saint will be the last one, although the chance to work on that level is something that will certainly be denied to you and you’ll never be able to return to it after a cer­ tain point in your filmmaking career. That is a given. It is sort of something that you can’t go back to, so you may as well do it while you’ve got the opportunity. The Quiet American has a budget of $33 mil­ lion. Obviously it is on a different scale, and so is the content very different to The Saint. Hopefully, that is a move in a different direction, or the direc­ tion perhaps that I might have liked to have stayed on when I first came here.

T H

E

SAIN T

C o u l d y o u s t a r t w it h t h e b a c k g r o u n d t o t h i s PRODUCTION OF THE SAINT?

William McDonald bought all the rights to The Saint and then took them to Robert Evans who, at the time back in the early ’90s, was sort of on the outer in Hollywood. The Saint was one of the pro­ jects Evans used to make his re-entry back into Hollywood. Evans then hired Terry Hayes2 to write a screenplay. That was the story of Simon Templar, a polo-playing playboy in Miami, who somehow became involved with some Russian jewel thieves. The trail led him to his estranged father, who was to be played by Roger Moore, who was the most famous recent Saint in the British television series which started in 1961. To cut a long story7 short, the trail led to the grave of the Romanovs, the last Czars of Russia, and there Roger M oore’s character was killed, leaving young Simon to become the new Saint. I worked on it with Terry for a couple of months after I did Patriot G am es in 1992 and went off to do Sliver, followed very closely by Clear and Present Danger. When I was a kid growing up, I used to love the Leslie Charteris stories of The Saint, although he was very different to Roger M oore’s interpreta­ tion. In fact, The Saint has not exclusively been an Englishman even. During World War II, Charteris had him working as a government agent and he became an American, and, of course, Vincent Price played him on American radio on NBC from 1947 for three years. The most famous of the people who have previ­ ously played him in the cinema was George Sanders in the late ’30s, early ’40s.3 They were fea­ ture films adapted from Leslie Charteris’ books. The first one was called The Saint in N ew York [Ben Holmes, 1938], and that was light years away from the Roger Moore interpretation. The Saint had quite a dark side, full of angst and self-doubts, and was quite a ruthless character, although he did have the veneer - the debonair veneer and charm that Roger Moore brought so well to the part in the ’60s. Anyway, I’d loved the stories as a kid. I’d always imagined a different Saint to the one that appeared when I was a teenager in the form of Roger Moore. So, when I was offered it again after Clear and Present Danger, it really was an opportu­ nity, not only to bring to the screen one of my childhood favourites but also to interpret him in the way that I’d seen him in my mind’s eye, as opposed to doing an adaptation of a TV series. The reason I always loved The Saint was because of his duality. He was able to be on the side of right, but also with one foot on the wrong side. He was light and dark at the same time 59 C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


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As one would expect, things go wrong, very wrong, in the film noir-inspired Heaven’s Burning. And there’s no shortage of working-parts ready to be broken: a Japanese woman who plans to run off with her former lover during her honeymoon in Australia; her revengeful, cuck­ olded husband; gun-brandishing robbers hitting a crowded city bank; double-crossed hit-men; a desperate escape to the out­ back where, ironically, strangers are notable for their presence. In Heaven’s Burning, Tristan and Isolde collides with the fatalistic visions of Don Siegel, the road movie hitches onto the multi-cultural train, and redemption is found in a conspiracy of misadventures. Heaven’s Burning’s director, Craig Lahiff, has led an unusual career, even by the curious paths most Australian feature film directors endure. After a career in the computing industry, he enrolled in a Master of Arts in Film at Flinders University. He learned the tools of the trade watching and working (as an assistant in the editing department) on the sets of ‘Breaker’

Morant (Bruce Beresford, 1980), The Plumber (tele-feature, 1979), and several locally-made documentaries, before directing and producing a couple of short films. Having figured out the workings of 10BA, he made his first tele-feature, Coda, in 1987. “In order to direct my own films,” he recalls, I had to become a producer and raise the money myself. My background as a computer consultant, working with people like BHP, gave me a confidence to deal in finance. After Coda came Fever (1987), with Bill Hunter and Gary Sweet, Strangers (1990) and another tele-feature, Ebbtide (1993), a project with which Lahiff is far from satisfied: I had to go at different elements of style, trying, even if I was not happy with the script, to make the most of it and learning about working with actors and developing a style.

38

Making Heaven’s Burning was an opportunity for Lahiff to collaborate with screenwriter and playwright Louis Nowra, to work on a scale - not to mention budget —in excess of his previous films and to exercise a greater degree of control over the entire project. A novel, which Lahiff describes as “very Polan­ ski, sort of The Tenant”, was sent to Nowra. That project didn’t eventuate, but through their discus­ sions a mutual interest in films noir and specific directors - particularly Don Siegel and Orson Welles - got Nowra thinking about a number of ideas. One followed the story of Midori, a Japanese woman who is caught up in a bank robbery and pursued by her husband. Another centred on two people from different cultures whose ill-fated love ends on a paradise beach somewhere on the Andalusian coastline in Spain. Scenes from one worked their way into the other, and from that a first draft, C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


Midori (YoukïKudoh) ¡usseltfCrowe).

iven's Burning.

Director Craig Lahiff actor Russell Crowe.

BYPAULKALINA which Lahiff hails as being “all there ... the first script I’ve had that you could pick up, go out and shoot”. Unlike many Australian stage-and-screen writers, Nowra’s screenplays are not simple adap­ tations of his stage work, nor do they clumsily metamorphose conventions that work in one onto the other. For Lahiff, Nowra has a great eye for the poetic visuals as well He is very mindful that it is cinema, and not just words and characterizations. He spends a lot of time thinking the project through; the structure, the dramatics. I’ve found with some writers they get started and say, “We’ll see how it goes.” They don’t go through to the end, and there generally comes a crunch some­ where later on. it is very hard to go back and restructure things because characters have already developed in a certain way. C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997

Both Louis and I like to start with a character who is fairly normal. Then something happens, some sort of incident, a catalyst, where they change, for better or for worse. Generally, they go off the rails, which makes for a good dramatic film.

Part-‘lovers on the lam’ romance, part-road movie, part-thriller, Heaven’s Burningis infused with the dark poetiy of film noir. On the first night of her honeymoon in Sydney, Midori (Youki Kudoh) fakes her own kidnapping, having previously planned a rendezvous with a for­ mer lover. The following day she is taken hostage during a failed bank robbery, and saved from cer­ tain death at the hands of her thug captors by the conscionable driver Colin (Russell Crowe). Together, they flee the vengeful Boorjan (Petru Gheorghiu), whose son was the price of Midori’s

freedom, and Midori’s outraged husband, Yukio (Kenji Isomura). They wind up at Colin’s outback home, where his philosophical father, Cam (Ray Barrett), tends to a once-thriving, now barren and drought-stricken property. (The events surround­ ing Midori’s kidnapping and Yukio’s elevation to the stature of world’s most famous cuckold are based on actual events several years ago in Japan.) A contemporary Tristan and Isolde is one way of looking at it, says the quiet-spoken Lahiff, while Don Siegel provided a perfect model for the char­ acterizations that drive the film: Charley Varrick [1973] is one of my favourites, and of course there is Dirty Harry [1971], Coogan’s Bluff [1969], Escape From Alcatraz [1979] and Invasion of the Body Snatchers [1956k going back to that genre. Quite often his films tend to be about a main charac­ ter who comes into contact with his darker side. Like in Dirty Harry, one of the characters tends to be very controlled and then he is pitted against somebody who has lost control. There is a final confrontation.

39


Generally, he makes a statement at this stage: whether it is beneficial for society to be more con­ trolled and emotions contained, or whether there is something more spontaneous about people who express their emotions more. There’s a duality between those two different sides of human nature. I suppose the archetypical film is Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where you get the total pod people. Heaven's Burning doesn’t settle on just one ‘dual’ protagonist upon which to pivot its unpredictable flights of suspense and action. Nowra and Lahiff bring to their film noir typology a skewed take

We met with him when he was down in Adelaide with his band, and then he suggested I come up and watch

spend about five or six weeks with the DOP and go

the cricket with him. So we spent the day in the box watching the cricket to see if we could get on with

doing the film, and come up with a consistent approach which will fit the budget. I storyboard all the

each and last a day, which was a good way of doing it. The other casting issue, says Lahiff, was the range of ethnic characters. As well as the lead characters,

over all the locations, think about different styles of

shots. But with this film you can pick up the script and have a look at the storyboards on the side of the

Japanese and Anglo-Saxon, are Afghans and indigenous Australians. Lahiff and DOP Brian Breheny opted to shoot

pages and it is pretty well the same as what we shot. Lahiff welcomes the breadth of styles, subject mat­ ters and audiences - from niche arthouse films to

the film in Super 35, which will end up as anamorphic in the final print: I like to somehow shoot in a way where you see the characters in their environment. This was helped by shooting in the wider screen ratio.

market-driven genres - with which Australian filmmakers are currently engaged.

on ethnicity and Australian multi-culturalism. It doesn’t amount to the message about multi­ cultural harmony our political pundits would prefer to hear. I wouldn’t like to make any implications about that mix of different cultures coming into collision. The important thing is Midori’s point of view, being a Japanese woman who comes out here into a different society. She steps outside of her own culture

I do get a bit disappointed that there are not too many stylists left; filmmakers who have their own distinct visual style. Particularly American films tend to have a certain look and that is it. I miss the Hitchcockian set-pieces, the Welles visual style. and only finds herself by breaking the rules. In the end, it costs her her life, but in the end love is more important... which again ties back into Tristan and

Isolde. Part-‘lovers on the lam’ romance, part-road movie, part-thriller, H eaven’s Burning is infused with the dark poetry of film noir and a free-wheeling approach toward myriad film genres it systemati­ cally subverts, with a healthy amount of knowing humour. There have been few Australian films as dark as this. This was an issue for one Australian distribu­ tor the producers approached, says Lahiff (and with whom, needless to say, they did not go) : It was difficult to cast, and difficult to shoot as well. The script moves between suspense and mystery at the beginning to straight action sequences and black humour. But the central element is the love story. Some people who originally read the script tended to sympathize with Yukio, the husband. Midori needed to be somebody who was sympathetic, who had only been married for a week or so and was leav­ ing her husband, who appeared to have done nothing wrong. For the rôle of Midori, producer Helen Leake and I wanted Youki Kudoh, whom we’d seen in Mystery Train. We sent the script to her and then went over to meet her. She has such an innocence, a naïve quality, which is very endearing. We thought we could get the audience to still empathize with this character despite what she does. She makes mistakes; there is a touch­ ing scene where she and Colin are in the motel room, in separate beds, and she is saying how she is bad luck for the men in her life. The first choice for the key rôle of Colin was Rus­ sell Crowe, and this meant delaying the project to fit in with Crowe’s commitments in America:

40

Welles, says Lahiff, was an influence, though his trademark shooting style only in part worked its way into this film: You try to find a visual style for the film depending on the content, which is what I do with the DOP. I like to

However, he laments the slickness of many American films and the absence of “stylist” film­ makers: I do get a bit disappointed that there are not too many stylists left; filmmakers who have their own distinct visual style. Particularly American films tend to have a certain look and that is it. I miss the Hitchcockian setpieces, the Welles visual style. © C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


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Cox Resurgent

Where's Carrie? Zone 39, that rarest o f the rare, a serious

b a rb ed a n d witty Lust & R even ge

n e ith e r is she A lb ert

A ustralian sci-fi

48

B ro o k s ’ in

A Short Walk to an Airport

After two films sent straight to the video shelf, Paul Cox is deservedly

Debbie Reynolds wasn’t always Carrie’s favourite mum, but ^

back o n the silv er s creen w ith the

film , m a k es its

M o th e r

lo ng-a w aited s.

début

T h e F ro n tlin e tea m has c re a te d a lo w -b u d g et c o m ic g e m w ith T h e C astle

44

in re F

ilm

THE QUIET ROOM Directed by Rolf de Heer. Producers: Rolf de Heer, Giuseppe Pedersoli. Co-producers: Sharon Jackson, Fiona Paterson. Executive producer: Domenico Procacci. Scriptwriter: Rolf de Heer. Director of photography: Tony Clark. Production designer: Fiona Paterson. Costume designer: Beverley Freeman. Editor: Tania Nehme. Composer: Graham Tardif. Sound recordist Peter D. Smith. Cast: Chloe Ferguson (7-year-old girl), Phoebe Ferguson (3-year-old girl), Paul Blackwell (Father), Celine O'Leary (Mother).

counselling, she just says nothing!”

film with a seven-year-old protago­

separately, the mother under the

nist, and she doesn’t speak for most

sun and the father under a black

Her mother angrily asks him to give

of its duration.

cloud. Kate has done twenty or so

their daughter time - time to recover. But, by now, we the audi­

The film is mostly set in the

similar drawings which are all stuck

child’s deep cool-blue bedroom,

neatly on the wall of her room, too

ence sense through Kate’s

where she keeps her fish and her

neatly for a young girl.

perspective that it’s the parents who

toys. We never see her in the

need counselling. Kate has told us in

When the mother (Celine

her internal monologue that she

kitchen, the family room or watch­

O’Leary) comes into the room and

ing television because Rolf de Heer

sees the drawings, she’s shocked and

“Makes her own peace” and “You

purposely set out to make a film

she recognizes their symbolic

know what you have to do to make

that isn’t distracted by ordinary

nature. But when the father (Paul

me talk again!”

domestic tasks and ‘kitchen-sink

Blackwell) is given a drawing by

Australian distributor: Twentieth Century Fox. Super 16 (blown up to 35mm). 92 mins.

drama’. We see the parents’ bed­

Kate, he looks at it quickly and

earlier time when she was three

room and the spare bedroom, but

looks away, too busy to see its sig­

years-old (Phoebe Ferguson), when

nearly always from the child’s point

nificance.

there was love and fun in the house.

I

of view.

t’s impossible to predict how The Quiet Room will do at the Aus­

The child’s name is Kate (Chloe

Kate also has flashbacks to an

The parents are obsessed with

These scenes are shot hand-held for

getting Kate to talk, which is putting

energy and movement, and tinted

tralian box-office. The film screened

Ferguson) and, at the beginning of

their marriage even more on the

with golden tones to accentuate

in Compétition at the Cannes Film

the film, she is creating a drawing of

edge. She hears her father say

warmth and affection. We see the

Festival last year. It is a minimalist

her mother and father: they stand

roughly, “No point in taking her to

three-year-old in bed with her par­ ents, and in the country with them, in a series of romantic images. The older child wants to return to this time, and her muteness is her way of trying to tell her parents. She wants them to hear her inner voice, but they aren’t able. In contrast to these earlier warm images, the world of seven-year-old Kate is shot cold and still-framed. The camera never follows the par­ ents; instead, they even argue in her room, and run about in and out of her bedroom door in the film’s most

Grim Secrets Jared [...] has witnessed a rape which has ended in murder [...] and is torn between telling the police the truth and the hoary old Aussie bromide of never dobbing on your mates [... B la c k r o c k ], while sparing its rapist pigs nothing, also makes clear that sexuality is a matter that interests women as well as men. p

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MAY 1997

45

43


n review Films

continued

though we see moments of real warmth between Kate and her mother, and Kate and her father, no one really understands what the other is feeling. The parents’ argu­

unconvincing scenes. Even if we’re

ments convey moments of

meant to see these scenes from the

self-indulgence, rather than issues of

child’s point-of-view, rather than

real contention, and they erupt out

realistically, the parents’ arguments

of nowhere. Kate’s own attitudes

seem false and hyped up rather than

and intransigence gradually become

real points of conflict.

in the viewer’s eyes just a manifesta­

But when the older schoolgirl comes to babysit, the film returns to

tion of all this dysfunction. So, when Kate succeeds in get­

its own inner strength. The girl sits

ting them to hug one another, and

down on the floor and really tries to

she climbs in between them as she

talk to Kate and tells her kindly,

once did as a younger child, they all

“Some of the kids at school think

stay as separate as before. Finally,

you’ve gone mad. Everyone talks,

there is some sort of resolution for

except babies.” Kate’s inner reply is,

this family, but it’s not what any of

“Yeh, but they don’t deserve it yet.” By now, the film is developing a more complex inner world for Kate.

them really wants, except for Kate,

THE CASTLE

who does score a hit on at least one

Directed by Rob Sitch. Producer: Debra Choate. Executive producer: Michael Hirsch. Scriptwriters: Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy and Rob Sitch. Director of photography: Miriana Marusic. Production designer: Carrie Kennedy. Costume designer: Kitty Stuckey. Editor: Wayne Hyett Composer: Craig Hamath. Cast Michael Caton (Darryl Kerrigan), Anne Tenney (Sal Kerrigan), Stephen Curry (Dale Kerrigan), Anthony Simcoe (Steve Kerrigan), Sophie Lee (Tracey Kerrigan), Wayne Hope (Wayne Kerrigan), Tiriel Mora (Dennis Denuto), Eric Bana (Con Petropoulous), Charles (Bud) Tingwell (Lawrence Hammill). Australian distributor: Roadshow Film Distributors. 1997. Super 16 (blown up to 35mm). 88 mins.

of her wish lists.

what his dad calls an “ideas man”,

tive. Where it would have been easy

and has something of an eye for a

to depict the Kerrigans as a family

bargain in The Trading Post-, his

of losers living in a particularly

other brother, Wayne (Wayne

unattractive neighbourhood, and

Hope), is in gaol for armed robbery,

really robbing them of any integrity

but misses his family terribly and

and reality by turning them into

longs to get out; while sister Tracey

gross caricatures, the creative team

(Sophie Lee) is the family’s pride

has shown instead a family that has

and joy. N ot only did she get her

foibles and faults - some of which

hairdressing certificate at Sunshine

are very amusing - as well as pride

College of TAFE, but she was called

and dignity, and a right to live the

down on The Price is Right, and

way that they enjoy.

almost won the whole showcase, and has just married Con (Eric

There is also an element of familiarity with the Kerrigans, as if

Bana), a man the family have grown

they were our own family, or our

to love as one of their own.

neighbours or friends. Their life is

The Kerrigans are a happy, con­

full of the strange domestic trap­ pings that we tend to take for

he Castle was destined to create

real-estate assessor turns up on their

granted - The Trading Post, the

a lot of interest in film circles.

doorstep to do a valuation on the

unfinished extensions, the cubby-

It is the first feature produced by

house. Soon afterwards, they receive

house converted into a kennel

the creative team behind the highly-

a letter stating their house has been

(it would have been a granny flat,

praised Frontline television series,

compulsorily acquired so the airport

but the council wouldn’t approve

and it seems that the interest is well-

can build a storage facility. Darryl is

it), television game shows - things

deserved. They have succeeded in

not at all happy about this; his

that are identifiable, and immedi­

producing a low-budget film that has

house is his home - his castle - and

ately endearing. And even though

no pretensions about what it is, or

he is not prepared to give up with­

they are distinctly Australian,

the story it has to tell.

out a fight. With the unwilling help

there’s a notion that they’re univer­

of Dennis Denuto (Tiriel M ora), the

sal as well, and the Kerrigans take

Dale Kerrigan (Stephen Curry),

others a young philosopher with

Room when he was waiting for

real concerns not only for herself

some money to come through from

the 16-year-old narrator, begins by

solicitor who represented Wayne,

on the role of the ‘Everyfamily’

but for the crazy world of adults.

Miramax for some extra shooting

telling us his story, the story of his

Darryl takes it to the Federal Court

battling against the faceless

Her own assessment of the larger

on Epsilon. His minimalist The

family, the Kerrigans. They live in a

with an hilariously underprepared

corporate enemy.

dumpy house adjacent to the airport

case and, not surprisingly, loses. But

lenging in its concept and execution,

and framed by power lines and

during a court recess, Darryl meets

no government funding, and only

and Chloe Ferguson’s performance

cyclone fencing. His father, Darryl

Lawrence Hammill (Charles “Bud”

a financial kick-in from Roadshow

as Kate is quite marvellous, and

(Michael Caton), is a loving man

Tingwell), a retired QC specializing

during post-production, The Castle

in constitutional law, who offers to

was shot on Super 16 during an 11day shoot, edited in a similar time,

world is that “Adults are good liars!” Kate’s world is finely-drawn, and we never tire of her voice-over

Quiet Room is certainly more chal­

Produced independently with

should have won a special AFI

committed to his family and his

by de Heer. The camera of Tony

award for best child’s performance.

greyhounds, and is constantly think­

represent the Kerrigans’ case in the

Clark adds to the expressiveness,

It probably won’t have anywhere

ing up plans to improve the house

High Court in Canberra.

and at one point does a 1 8 0 degree

near the box-office of Bad Boy

| for his family - patios, mezzanine

tilt when Kate lies in bed absorbed

Bubby (1994), but could work very

\ levels, extensions - and never finish-

Castle is not the story or the situa­

by her memories.

well on television.

i ing them.

tion - they’re fairly standard as far

methods on Frontline (where they

as storytelling goes - but the quality

are not just writers and directors,

j ney), is just as devoted to her family,

of the script itself. While it is a sim­

but producers, camera operators,

| and is loved for her cooking, and

ple film, its humour, and the skill

which is written with great insight

In the third act of The Quiet Room, it becomes clear that the three members of this family are all incredibly self-absorbed. Even

44

Rolf de Heer made The Quiet

sented, is sophisticated and effec­

tent and comfortable family until a

T

At times she’s a naughtly child, at

the house. Dale’s brother, Steve, is

@ M argaret S mith i

(See interview with Rolf de Heer on the making of The Quiet Room'm Cinema Papers, no. 110, June 1996.)

i

Dale’s mother, Sal (Anne Ten-

! her handcraft skills evident around

The impressive thing about The

i with which that humour is pre­

and then transferred to 35 mm. With the success that the team has had with their rather unique production

editors, casting and music supervi­ sors and actors), it is pleasing to see

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1 997


Jared's arm), but can find no time or way to tell him until she has had the operation. When he visits her in hospi­ tal, he tells her he won't be round when she gets home, and the rest of the film must work towards a closure which will satisfy narrative expecta­ tions aboutthe way this relationship has been working. The early scenes between them, getting in each other's way in the bathroom in the morning, have a very convincing sense of peo­ ple long used to living together. Diane, in Linda Cropper's out­ standingly good, detailed performance, is crisply likable, capable of nagging, generally allowing Jared what turns out to be more independence than he can handle. The relationship deterio­ rates until a final truth-baring scene when he leaves her in a stretch of urban wasteland in the shadow of a vast bridge. Breuls is not really up to this exchange, but Cropper makes her side of it eloquent and just about car­ tell the police investigating the death

ries him through.

of Tracy that he has seen the rape

B la c k r o c k Directed by Steven Vidler. Producer: David Elfiek. Associate producer: Catherine ■ Knapman. Scriptwriter: Nick Enright Based on his play. Director of photography: : Martin McGrath. Production designer: David McKay. Costume designer: David McKay. Editor: Frans Vandenburg. Sound recordist: Guntis Sics. Cast Laurence Breuls (Jared), Linda Cropper (Diane), Simon Lyndon (Ricko), Chris Haywood (Det Sgt Wilansky), Rebecca Smart (Gherie), Essie Davis (Det. Gilhooley), Jessica Napier (Rachel), Heath Ledger (Toby), Justine Clarke (Tiffany). Australian distributor: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment 1997. Australia,35mm. 90 mins.

It's not just Breuls'fault The char­

from his position on the cliff above the

acter of Jared is too clearly signposted

beach. A generalized sense of loyalty

as the sensitive one, the one with aspi­

to his friends becomes focused on one

rations (to be a photographer), andtop

who later confesses to Jared that he

often the camera dwells soulfully and

the film medium. It is a promising

killed the girl because she "led him

unrewardingly on his conventional

directorial début for actor Steven

on" and then bit him ("like a fuckih

good looks. There's not enough sense

Vidler.

dog") when she tried to repel him. This

of activity behind the eyes to make one

is the leastwell-managed scene in the

feel that this character can work the film's pivot.

Blackrockhas affiliations with such Australian films as Michael

film: the confession is awkwardly writ­

Thornhill's The F J Holden (1978 ) in its

ten and its immediate cliff-top

unillusioned picture of suburban youth,

aftermath belongs to a different sort of

film is remarkably astute in its intima­

In terms of community, though, the

e's nearly a grown

the place in beat-up cars. They may-

with Bruce Beresford’s Puberty Blues

melodrama. The surfie funeral rites

tions of how class, gender,

man", says Len (John

if not legitimately at least understand­

(1983 ) in its response to the surfing

(the board floated out to sea bearing

generations and sexuality stake their

V

Howard), whose

ably - confuse danger with

subculture, and with Steve Jodrell's

his wetsuit and other relics) are rightly

claims for attention. Class, in particu­

divorced wife, Diane

excitement; they may see surfing as an

Shame (1987 ) in its account of a com­

placed in a subsequent scene as a

lar, is very sharply signified in a couple

(Linda Cropper), asks him to help their

escape from the neat streets of their

munity's response to a dreadful crime.

maudlin gesture, when the parent? of

of brief scenes at the high school: this

son. "Yes, but what kind of man is he

home; but the parents (and the pjati-

is no cliched working-class black­

gonna be?" is her reply. This exchange

tudinous school principal neatly

board jungle institution, just a dreary cross-class place where kids are

m

u

sums up a good deal about this new

sketched by Harold Hopkins) can offer

Australian drama of urban youth in an

neither any serious alternative nor any

bored but put up with it most of the

industrial seaside town. Jared (Lau­

workable restraint.

time, saving their energies for more

rence Breuls), their son, has witnessed

Playwright Nick Enright has

dangerous games. Similarly, the film,

adapted his play, The Property of the

while sparing its rapist pigs nothing,

after a party he has thrown to wel­

Clan, ultimately called Blackrock,

also makes clear that sexuality is a

come back his older surfie mate, Ricko

based on an actual rape and murder in

matter that interests women as well

(Simon Lyndon), and is torn between

Newcastle, to the screen. To his great

as men. Diane and her friend Glenys,

telling the police the truth and the

credit, the film bears no trace of its

rightly unable to bear watching a video

hoary old Aussie bromide of never

theatrical origins; in so far as Black-

of Terms of Endearment (James L

dobbing on your mates.

rockworks, and it very considerably

Brooks, 1983 ), go to a pub where Diane

does, it works cinematically. Not

meets an amiable but unknown bloke,

a rape which has ended in murder

This is a film about kids unsuper­ vised, before they're ready to look after

merely because the mobility of settings

Geoff, and later spends the night with

themselves and certainly before

(homes, school, club, beach, police

him.

they're ready to take responsibility for

station, cemetery and others) is

the results of their stupid and danger­

beyond the range of realistic represen­

In some ways, it works better than any

the dead girl berate Jared, whom they

ous lifestyles. Mot that the-film takes a

The film finishes on a sobering; long shot of the cemetery where Jared

tation on the stage, but because the

of these: it zips along with enough

have seen on television news cover­

has wordlessly joined his mother and

.censorious approach to its youthful»!

whole pacing of the narrative, its

energy and drive to deflect attention

age of the ritual. The film is not

the dead girl's friend to remove the

characters and it is ready to see

movement between the wide canvas

from awkward moments and an inade­

judgemental about the surfie murderer,

word "Slut" spray-painted on her

parental neglect, incompetence and

and the intimate two-shot, its clever

quate central performance. Its

but neither does it allow us to senti­

headstone. As the camera pulls back

ineffectuality as having a good deal to

¡attention to details of mise en scène,

dramatic texture is denser than that of

mentalize him.

and up, we recall Diane's words about

any of the earlier films.'

answerfor. However, it very intelli­

and the use of a nearly non-stop,

gently Sees the1possibilities open to J

pounding score to pape|over .

kids in a threadbare culture of surfing,

moments when unexercised minds

screwing, boozing and hooning around

can't face the truth belong wholly to

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997

There are two interweaving narra­

Th e other 'secret' isth at Jared's

people dying before their time, and this

mother, Diane, has breast cancer

final shot underlines the poignant arbi­

tive strands, both dependent on

(Vidler cuts from the diagnostic needle

trariness; with which lives have been

'secrets'. Jared can't bring himself to

to the tattooist performing his art on

brutally spilled. © B rian M c Farlane

45


in review Films

i

MOTHER

Directed by Albert Brooks. Producers: Scott Rudin, Herb Nanas. Coproducers: Barry Berg, Adam Schroeser. Scriptwriters: Albert Brooks, that these methods can work just Monica Johnson. Director of photography: Lajos Koltai. Production as well for feature filmmaking. designer: Charles Rosen. Costume The cast, for the most part, is ' designer: Judy L Ruskin. Editor. Harvey strong and effective, and is only let Rosenstock. Composer Marc Shaiman. down by some of the walk-on per­ Sound recordist Kim Ornitz. Cast Albert formers who appear wooden in Brooks (John Henderson), Debbie comparison to the main cast. Caton i Reynolds (Beatrice Henderson), Rob plays Darryl with conviction and Morrow (Jeff Henderson), Laura Weekes (Karen Henderson), Vanessa makes the character noble and sim­ Williams (Donna). Australian distributor: ple, but never stupid, and, even UIP. US. 1996.35mm. 105 mins. though Sophie Lee’s character is

i tle observational variety, you

brother, Jeff (Rob Morrow), a very

sometimes get the uncomfortable

successful happily married man who

j feeling that you are laughing at the

has a wonderful relationship with

[ expense of characters, and not with

his mother. Perhaps too wonderful:

i them - Brooks’ character an excep­

Jeffs very happiness depends on his

1 tion. The same uncomfortableness

own wife’s disgust. So, John moves into Beatrice’s

j

Debbie Reynolds plays Beatrice, in her first leading rôle for 2 7 years.

living alone for some time - and

does she not listen to his views and

j accept them? This is the central dynamic Mother explores - between

i an adult son and his mother. And it i has some peculiar comments to make. Much has been made of the fact

i that Albert Brooks’ comedies are

entertaining to watch. Curry as Dale

, back in with his mother in a little

is completely believable as the plain

i experiment that should solve his

and simple teenager; M ora is per-

' problems with his self-esteem and

haps a little too close to Frontline’s

his relationship with women. John’s

Marty, but gets some good

been suffering a mid-life crisis: he’s i moderately successful in his chosen

And she’s good. Her performance

' begins his ‘experiment’. Why doesn’t i is able to deftly reveal layers in j Beatrice, while at the same time she unconditionally love him? Why 1

|

|

which often are either banal or wor­ i risome.

comfortable middle-class Bay Area

has a plan: he’s going to move

1

(P. J. Hogan, 1994), she is still very

j carries through to the observations,

j abode, where she has been happily

ohn Henderson (Albert Brooks)

akin to her role in Muriel’s Wedding

moments; and Tingwell makes for

t ble. While the comedy is of the gen­

other one”. John first turns to his

j closeness with Beatrice, much to his

continued

J

don’t exist, and refers to him as “the

often overlooked and underrated;

appearing very ‘surface’ - a good interpretation of a middle-class

i veneer. In fact, she’s so good that it’s probably the main reason why I had troubles with the concept. That John Henderson is a man so i embittered with the legacy of self­ doubt and lack of confidence that his mother left with him does not

he’s seen as a kind of goy Woody

sit with Reynolds’ portrayal of an

t Allen, but not as lauded. Personally,

i essentially-confident, caring mother.

i I like a description I read which

So she doesn’t shout his glory across

described him as a mix of Woody

the suburbs, or constantly ring him

knowing that her main source of

Allen and Ivan Reitman: he has

to praise and admire. The assump­

emotion for him was one of jeal­ ousy. It feels a bit like an outcrop

a great, and human, QC. Robyn

career of science-fiction writer, but

i great ideas, but he seems to be

tion that she is maddening and that

Nevin also turns up in a wonderful

he constantly forms relationships

i pitching them to executives in suits

he is charming and in need of more

of a perceived ‘feminist backlash’,

cameo as a judge.

with women who don’t believe in

who can’t see beyond the straight

positive reinforcement is a problem,

where men who have problems

angle.

when confronted with a self-

relating to women trace it back to a

There are some weak moments, and some conventional devices that sit at odds with the tight script and

i him. He has two divorces to show i for that. But why should they 1 believe in him, when he can’t even believe in himself?

excellent production, but overall

To answer that question, he

The Castle is a modest, unassuming film with a deceptive simplicity and

i turns to his relationship with his

a whole lot of appeal.® T im

i

H

unter

(See interview with Santo Cilauro, about the making of The em a P ap ers ,

Castle,

in C in-

no. 115, April 1997.)

\

mother, Beatrice (Debbie Reynolds),

Mother is an excellent example. i The idea itself is not bad: to exam­ ine the relationship between son and mother, put together under the microscope of the family home. i There is potential not only for good

crippling mother. That is not to say

absorbed son who forces his need on his mother, who has chosen a

i that this perception is not without

lifestyle that suits her.

i validip-, but in this case it comes

The dénouement itself is a stick­

1 across as a bit of a cop-out. There are moments when the

ing point: he has an epiphany by realizing that her lack of belief in

i film rises above this narrow vantage,

the woman who can’t take a call

comedy, but good drama. Unfortu­

him comes from her own stunted

i and they have great intrinsic com-

from him without constantly inter­

nately, the idea gets muddled in a

ambitions to be a writer. Thus he

1 edy elements. One is the scene

rupting for call-waiting or calls that

weird West Coast male psycho-bab­

can pit>r her and gain self-worth in

j where John, in order to totally i incense his jealous brother, yells out

John (Albert Brooks) and Beatrice Henderson (Debfne Reynolds). Mother,

pp

i “Yes, we are making love” in front 1 of his horrified mother and her dod\ dering old neighbour. And there are \ nice observational moments: Beati rice’s freezing everything, including 1 a weeks worth of salad, and a | jumbo-sized cheese block; the trip i to the supermarket which turns into i an extended exchange of banalities i with the elderly neighbours. There are other films which , explore this son-mother dynamic a ' little more adventurously: Flirting

i

i with Disaster (David O. Russell, j 1995) and Spanking the Monkey i (Russell, 1994) come to mind. Also i “Mrs Robinson”, which Mother 1 refers directly to by remaking Simon j and GarfunkeTs signature tune i (“Here’s to you, Mrs Henderson”), i Unfortunately, the frisson of these 1 films is undermined by John’s essenJ tial infantilism. He’s unlike Allen in i that he doesn’t seem to realize his i own character’s essential weakness, j and that this weakness needs to be \ plumbed to gain humour.

® M onica Z etlin

46

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


ultra-thin computer screens which

the rest of its 9 3 -minute running

hang almost suspended in the air.

time in the bunker. Outside, the sky

death, a limb lopping, two sex

One female office-worker hangs

fights with the salt lake surface to

scenes (one of which earned it an

glued to her screen. Care of some

produce the brightest light. Inside,

MA) and several visions of rampant

impressive digital F X work, we

the light again mainly emits from

drug abuse, this is no exploitation

watch Anne Megaw play a com­

computer screens. Megaw’s abode is

checklist. Zone 3 9 has much larger

puter prank that goes disastrously

pictured in thick brown hues. It’s

considerations that extend way

wrong. She’s hacked into a top-level

difficult to work out where exactly

beyond the eco-warrior-come-grief-

security network to prove its fallibil­

the earth ends and the rust begins in

stricken character of Leo Megaw.

ity. Instantly, she disobeys her

this tomb-like place. Megaw lounges

Phelps remains enigmatic as Megaw

superior by doing it again. In the

around reporting back his observa­

throughout, and makes you wonder

midst of her fevered game-play,

tions through a voice-activated and

why he usually has to do Spanish

she’s sent off the field to catch the

unnamed computer with response

horror movies to get lead roles. For

train home. She does manage to

capabilities and female vocals (Marg

a digital apparition, Novan Anne is

phone husband Leo before her rapid

Downey).

played confidently by newcomer

office departure. “She’s our best

I

of Star Wars (George Lucas,

his superiors order a hit on the train

called Alfie (and later, after Alfie’s

first outing as the sole DOP.

complete with a carefully-organized

untimely demise, reads the previous

Zakharov has definitely captured

owner’s diary that claims Alfie was

some rich textures. Music and

the only thing that kept him alive!),

effects are full and effective, with

a couple of border-hopping runners

percussion to set the tone.

burn down Route 666 to the post­

raid on his flat, Leo cops a glass

them before the final exit. Relation­

holocaust bottom-of-the-quarry

sliver to the leg that just about slices

ships with others are understandably

fast-car fun factory. Instead, it’s an

off his kneecap. A (botched) instant

brief and few and far between,

elegiac and darkly-contemplative

his dreams before his journey or

skin graft sticks around long enough

which has Leo reaching for the

drive on a road of the near future.

self-discovery, he puts the singular

to be lovingly peeled off for the cam­

shower and a dose of Novan at

That the road’s paved with a

objective of Stalker1s characters -

era at a later stage. He quickly picks

every available moment.

the ability to harness dreams - in his

up the get-out-of-gaol-free card,

After the initial shock and com­

Zone 3 9 could easily be a quick

humanity being rapidly absorbed by corporatization and modern tech­

own pocket, or ear as it is, and then

though, with a posting deal that

mune with Anne, she becomes his

ably demonstrates what several

sends him to a distant border point

tactical adviser and the main spur

environment damage, is a prime

doses of Novan can do to your grip

that is coincidentally the site of the

behind his self-questioning and

concern of Zone 39. Concern your­

first major joint venture. Megaw

motivational attitude. Her sharp

self with the fact that you don’t

seems only concerned with scoring

omnipresence comes and goes.

have to wear ‘sat-cam’ shades to

on reality. Novan is apparently a govern­ ment-produced pharmaceutical that

some Novan, which he does from his

can induce full digital virtual reality.

friend, Sharp (William Zappa).

Megaw ingests the drug by means of

In between fantastic photogra­

A serious threat to Megaw, Boas

nology, to say nothing of real living

view it. Who knows? Boffo box-

(Brad Byquar), who happens to be

office might dislodge its distribution

an old army rival, is brought on late

labelmate Epsilon from distribution © M ichael Helms

a plastic tab attached to his left ear

phy of Woomera and environs, a

for an ending poles apart from all

limbo.

lobe and principally uses it to keep

part of Australia only previously

sorts of recent sci-fi efforts. Suffice

(See article about the making of Z o n e

in touch with his deceased wife,

privy to members of the American

to say, an angst-ridden and nihilistic

3 9 in C inem a P ap ers ,

Anne (Carolyn Bock).

military, Zone 39 spends most of

good time is had by all.

1997.)

no. 114, February

Before the credits proper, a chunk of text states that two corpo­

Australian cinema screens. A mod­

ment as we know it. Overnight,

estly-budgeted science-fiction film

social order reigns, a 40-year war

by anyone’s reckoning, Zone 3 9 is

has been put on pause, and a few

also a universally-downbeat experi­

joint ventures have been announced

ence - sometimes for the audience,

- all this and more, only in

sometimes for the creators.

exchange for total media control. After this opening scrawl, Zone 3 9 tries to focus on a military train­

graphic with the snappy ad line

ing session involving land mines. A

“The truth is a lie” (which, for

trainee fails to disarm the mine he’s

some, is immediately nullified with

standing on and the bomb deto­

the follow-up, “Enter the terror

nates. As the failed soldier lays

zone” - Terrorzone being a mid-’80s

screaming from hot metal wounds

sci-fi comedy!), the title, Zone 3 9 ,

he obviously hasn’t really sustained,

more than neatly references the

we learn audibly that training ses­

work of Russian filmmaker Andrei

sions are frequently conducted in

Tarkovsky. N ot only does Zone 39

virtual reality. The ‘info spear’ is

frequently adopt the pace of a

presented as neither shocking nor

Tarkovsky film, but it actually takes

humorous. N ext we’re in shared office space that wouldn’t look astray

matic advance. By arming lead

somewhere in Lost Highway (David

character Lieutenant Leo Megaw

Lynch, 1997). Light bursts from

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997

Burkhard Dallwitz using drones and

his wife in a silver body-bag sends

and puts their bodies in an onboard

have linked up to replace govern­

Stalker (1979), and attempts a the­

gets in his dune buggy, chases down

on-line body disposal unit that scans

about Zone 39 (finally) hitting

one of his better-known works,

minutes too late. The discovery of

several capital offences. During a

rate and former “enemy nations” ■

hope for an X-Files-size demo­

plied by Peter Zakharov, here on his

him into a spin where he commits

1977), there’s something righteous

While the distributors obviously

Carolyn Bock. Photography is sup­

Megaw befriends a bearded lizard

Leo arrives on the scene several

n the year of the 20th anniversary

Out on the (rocket) range,

code-breaker”, the boss mumbles as

cover job.

Directed by John Tatoulis. Producers: Colin J. South, John Tatoulis. Associate producers: Peter Bain-Hogg, Judy Malmgren. Scriptwriter: Deborah Parsons, based on an idea by John Tatoulis. Director of photography: Peter Zakharov. Production designers: Philip Chambers, Stan Antoniades. Costume designer: Clare Griffin. Editor: Peter Burgess. Composer: Burkhard Dallwitz. Cast Peter Phelps (Lieutenant Leo Megaw), Carolyn Bock (Anne; Novan Anne), William Zappa (Sharp), Brad Byquar (Boas), Alex Menglet (Tito), Jeff Kovski (Pagett). Australian distributor: Roadshow. Australia. 1997.35 mm, 95 mins.

Despite the inclusion of violent

47


review

Films

The harsher laughing at stupid­ ity is reserved for minor characters who are written in a more one­

continued

dimensional style, but no less telling

LUST & REVENGE

establishment, who appear briefly in

for that. It is the gallery-and-arts

gallery tours or at money-raising

Directed by Paul Cox. Producers: Paul Cox, Jane Ballantyne. Executive producer: William T. Marshall. Scriptwriters: Paul Cox, John Clarke. Director of photography: Nino Martinetti. Production designer: Neil Angwin. Editor: John Scott. Composer: Paul Grabowsky. Sound: James Currie. Cast Nicholas Hope (Karl-Heinz), Gosia Dobrowolska (Cecilia), Chris Haywood (George Oliphant), Claudia Karvan (Georgina Oliphant), Victoria Eagger (Lily), Norman Kaye (Baba Charles), Ulli Birve (Anna), Max Gillies (Art Critic). Australian distributor: Adfilm. 35mm. 97 mins.

crass company board members who receive the sharpest barbs. They are all the more effective because of the skills of Pamela Rabe (who shows how one can be memorable even with a minute or two of screen time and only half-a-dozen lines), Max

and alcoholic critic, and is manipu­

decent, often bemused and strug­

Dobrowolska’s suburban wife, with

gling with his earnest wife, Cecilia

combination of innocence, puri-

Critic!”), John Hargreaves in a final

But the heiress, Georgina

(Gosia Dobrowolska). She, mean­

tanism and shrewd determination.

memento cameo and a humorously-

Oliphant (Claudia Karvan gives a

while, has wafted off to the New

Her performance gives the film a

disguised Wendy Hughes.

smart interpretation of chic border­

Age, prefers purity to sex, doing

humanity without which Lust &

Gillies (pontificating, “I’m an Art

lated by the owner’s spoilt daughter.

ing on breakdown), has her own

good for the customers at the Cen­

Revenge might merely have been

alvolio springs to mind: “I’ll

Film Victoria did not contribute

problems, cajoling her wily philis­

tre for Synchronous Awareness

vindictiveness.

be reveng’d on the whole

financially, but the South Australian

tine executive father, George (Chris

(including Cox himself in a cameo

pack of you.” Olivia (in Twelfth

Film Corporation did) and the sub­

Haywood, as a paragon of double

role to show he is really enjoying

questions, this is not a film of

Night) then says, “He hath been

ject is the visual arts world, but it

standards), outwitting her psychia­

the movie, as well as the revenge)

answers. Relationships get no fur­

most notoriously abus’d.”

can be taken as Melbourne and the

trist (Robert Menzies) and seducing

and sitting at the feet of the ex-

ther than frequently comic lust.

film world.

Karl-Heinz (Nicholas Hope), the

Rabbi, ex-Jesuit missionary guru,

Audiences will respond to the

sculpture model. There are plenty of

Baba Charles (a smarmy Norman

comic depictions of issues of art, art

M

Paul Cox has often given inter­ views about how he sees himself

The setting is Adelaide (since

While a genuine artist is com­

While there is an abundance of

badly treated by the Australian film

missioned to sculpt a piece as a

targets here as well, not the least the

Kaye), whose words are those of

and commerce, art and patronage,

establishment, its funding bodies, its

memorial donation for the entrance

poking fun at pop psychology and

unctuous spirituality but whose

art and pretensions, to issues of

reviewers and critics. He has often

to a gallery, the money comes from

greedy quackery with drugs and

mind is on dollars and power.

threatened to exit (as Malvolio does

the owner of a pharmaceutical cor­

therapy.

after his taunt), but he at least

poration (with ultra-diligent

stayed long enough to make this

investigations for the maximum tax

revenge movie.

breaks), is approved by a

C ox’s collaborator is John Clarke, with whom he worked on

self-besotted

So, there are enough characters

But Karl-Heinz is the naive hero, easily seduced by the prospect of money and lust. Nicholas Hope makes him

and enough plot to keep us attentive and entertained. The production design, photography and lighting give each location a specific tone and atmosphere: suburban homes,

Lonely Hearts (1982). C ox’s style of

spirituality centre, board room,

humour is satiric, even bitter, and

gallery, mansion and artist’s studio.

often threatening to bludgeon.

Paul Grabowsky’s score has eastern

Clarke’s is hilarious deadpan

beats and instruments (recorded in

with all the virtues of under­

Sri Lanka), which nicely counter­

statement, with the subtleties

point the visuals.

of satire. Lust & Revenge is not

Lust & Revenge is often very funny. The situations are set up,

exactly an understated title,

often belying our expectations, and

but it heralds one of the most

the editing cuts mean the sequences

accessible of C ox’s films, an

do not outlast their welcome and we

authenticity and phoniness in

amusing and entertaining

are swiftly on to the next. One pre­

society, religion, business and rela­

blend of who turned up briefly

sumes that John Clarke’s major

tionships. It is just as well that the

to contribute to the joke and to

contributions is the dialogue. Much

film itself works and exhibits Paul

C ox’s cause.

of it is slyly wry, a judicious blend of

C ox’s talent for filmmaking.

Whatever the motivation behind the film and its plot, the achievement is a finely-balanced

the obvious and the subtle - and it is delivered with verve and point. The humour also works because

At the end, the Art Critic, plied with alcohol, fails to see that he is being set up as a pseudo-expert. He

satire. It is realistic enough for

of the contrasting personnas of the

audiences to find it credible. It is

four main characters. Chris Hay­

opinions on the commissioned

stylized enough for audiences to

wood’s bumptious worldly-wise

statue, praising with tropes and style

appreciate the ridiculous and rel­

donor is balanced by Nicholas

of the lines and curves of the sculp­

ish the mockery. Mock it does.

Hope’s nice and somewhat naive

ture. While the couple in the statue

But the central characters are so

model. Claudia Karvan’s sophisti­

are wearing no clothes, C ox finally

well-written and acted that, while we laugh at them, they are suffi­ ciently rounded to make them interesting and their hi-jinks worth watching.

48

socials; it is the pompous critics; it is the seedy legal advisers; and the

cated poses are balanced by Gosia

Georgina Oliphant (Claudia Karvan). & R evenge.

delivers himself of authoritative

leaves us with the image of the Art (Film) Critic, who is wearing ‘emperor’s clothes’ and whose opinions are threadbare.

© P eter M alone

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


has been trying to copy ever since. Federico Fellini was born in

B

o

o

k

é

I FELLINI Charlotte Chandler, Bloomsbury, London, 1996,407 pp., illus, index, rrp $49.95.

F

Italy in 1 9 20. He was a precocious teenager who told his parents he

especially Marcello Mastroianni who played his alter-ego in many Fellini films. Chandler is just as interested in

was going to Rome to enrol in law

Fellini’s private life as in his films,

school, but he didn’t tell them he’d

but there was never any real divi­

go to lectures. Instead, he tried his

sion. At home, Fellini married the

hand at freelance cartooning and

actor Guilietta Masina, who starred

journalism and opened the Funny

in La Strada (1954) with Anthony

Face shop with some friends. Then,

Quinn. Fellini admits he was her

one day, Roberto Rossellini walked

best director but perhaps never her

ederico Fellini was honoured

in (for whom Ingrid Bergman left

best husband. Women threw them­

with an Academy Award in

her marriage and Hollywood), and

selves at his feet and sometimes he

Fellini’s life changed forever.

says he couldn’t resist them!

1992 for his lifetime achievement,

and in 1993 he died in Rome.

Rossellini asked Fellini to write

Fellini himself is also pretty irre­

Before he died, he entered into a

a short film script for his movie

sistible and this book gives us a new

series of taped conversations with

Roma, città aperta (Rome Open

window on his soul. Despite Chan­

the journalist Charlotte Chandler,

City, 1 9 45), about Italy after World

dler’s tendency to gush sometimes,

which are full of wit and irony, and

W ar II and during the invasion of

her interviews are a pleasure to read

are frank and disarming. N ot sur­

the Americans. With its documen­

and you come away feeling that you

prisingly, he’s full of contradictions,

tary style, mixture of actors and real

actually know this man just a bit

which makes him all the more inter­

characters, and offbeat storytelling it

better.

esting, especially as his genius is

introduced the world to ‘neoreal­

there on celluloid forever.

ism’ and made its filmmakers

For instance, Fellini thought television seduced us because we

CREATURES F IE R C E A novel by IA IN J O H N S T O N E

© M argaret S mith

famous. Fellini acknowledges his enor­

watch it when we’re half undressed,

mous debt to Rossellini in his

that Anita Ekberg’s curvaceous body

conversations with Chandler, and

was woman personified, that

explains how he went on to create

Catholicism makes “sex obsessively

his own remarkable cinema. Dis­

interesting”, that women tend to

cussing some of his more unusual

love one man and that men are

filming methods, Fellini says he

naturally promiscuous!

never gave actors the whole feature

Of course, Fellini made some of

J O H N C L E E S E & I A IN J O H N S T O N E

film script, so they could be caught

the greatest films of the 20th cen­

up in the journey as they went

tury, including Otto e Mezzo (8 1/2 ,

along. Sometimes the script wasn’t

1963) and La Dolce Vita (1960), the

even written when they went into

first foreign film nominated for an

production. The actors who worked

Academy Award, which Flollywood

with him had to understand this,

Book,) Received THE EVENING STAR Larry McMurtry, Orion Books, London, 1997,637 pp., rrp$14.95

F

irst printed in 1 992; reprinted as movie tie-in, 1997

EXTREME MEASURES Michael Palmer, Arrow Books, London, 1997,420pp., rrp $14.95

F

irst printed in 1 991; reprinted

T

he

P

o r t r a it

as movie tie-in, 1997

of

FIERCE CREATURES

Laura Jones

a

Lad

y

lain Johnstone, Arrow Books, London, 1997, 220pp., rrp $12.95

LETHAL KISSES 19 STORIES OF SEX, HORROR A N D REVENGE

Ellen Datlow (editor), Orion, London, 1996,370pp., rrp $19.95

S&*i

esyc« abîô«!

PARALLEL TRACKS

iterSLodb?

issa

asá xa*Bcwae*

-sEtc-raj

KM***!*, íeSa»Mà&erââ nsrfBax!

O

THE RAILROAD A N D THE S IL E N T C IN E M A

Lynee Kirby, University of Exeter Press, Exeter, 1997,338pp., rrp £12.95

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY SCREENPLAY Laura Jones, based on the novel by Henry James, Penguin Books, London, 1996,161pp.,rrp $16.95

C D -R O M i DANTE'S PEAK TH E IN S ID E STO RY A N D E D U C A TIO N A L G UIDE

SHAKESPEARE AND THE MOVING IMAGE

UIP, Universal, 1997, PC/MAC compatible

TH E PLAYS ON FIL M A N D

HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN FILM

TE L E V IS IO N

Anthony Davies, Stanley Wells (Editors), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995,266pp., rrp $42.50

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1 997

1895-1996

1 Shakespeare i andthe th e plays on film and television

EditedbyAnthonyDavte* andStanleyWells

Webster Publishing, 1997, PC compatible

49


legal ease

Access Agreements by Lloyd Hart

S

UPPOSE YOU HIT on a likely film subject, a true story. There is someone in the story, or who has a particular interest in the story, and whose co-operation is valuable. You know it is a good idea to contract this desirable person to give you exclusive access to the information, contacts and documents in their possession. In this article, I will discuss some of the issues that can arise as you set about obtaining this exclu­ sive access.

Books and Access Where there is a real story of real events, or a person’s life begs for cinematic treatment, some enterprising author may have seen fit to put pen to paper about it. Maybe there is a cornucopia of books. A producer might well say, “ In strict legal terms, I don’t need to get an option on these works. I can do my own research.” Yet there are reasons to take up an option on the rights. Research can be time-consuming and costly. You stake out your territory as far as the other filmmakers are concerned. What has this to do with Access Agreements? Well, it’s this. Where an incident or a life has an interesting aspect, the stuff of legends perhaps, spawning books, you will often find there is either a group of experts or theorists who have devoted a lot of time to the topic, or there is a key relative, associate or busybody who has gathered critical information or harbours a unique theory, giving colour to the story. They may have numerous bits of memorabilia or know a lot about the various places where the information is in this mini­ industry. If you can obtain an exclusive agreement with one or more of those persons, as well as an option on the existing books, you have the means to get the best story you can and the inside running to boot.

Don’t Miss Out Your accessor may be pretty old and information lost to posterity if you do not ask now. They may also be able to authenticate and put in context photographs and documents. Their presence may influence others to co-operate with you.

Hi

~'1 when you aren’t (passing off). You cannot use a specific idea you know has been given to you in con­ fidence. There are also limits under the Copyright Act on how you use a performer’s performance when you pay for it. You can’t use it for something other than the purposes you have agreed to. So, if you want someone who is the focus of the script to co-operate, they have no copyright in them­ selves as it were - artistic work though they may be. You may choose to enter an Access Agreement with them. There may be some mileage in having the unau­ thorised version - most likely on the road to court.

Issues In Access Agreement E x c l u s i v i t y : T o w o rk , y o u r a g r e e m e n t m u s t b e

Do You Need Permission? What if there is no book? Generally, if you want to make a film about someone’s life or an aspect of it, they cannot stop you, short of putting your horse’s head or other parts in your bed, unless you have defamed someone big-time or done some of the things below. Even then, speaking generally again, you won’t be injuncted where damages are a suffi­ cient remedy. But what will your backers say? In some American jurisdictions, the celebrity and the notorious have a loose kind of proprietorship in their own fame. Not here. We Australians cannot sug­ gest that someone endorses a commercial product when they don’t, that someone endorses your script, your film or your series when they don’t, or that you are associated with someone else’s well-known work

50

s o le a n d e x c lu s iv e . Y o u n e e d to fix th e p e r io d - at le a s t fiv e y e a r s - to g iv e tim e to d e v e lo p th e s c r ip t a n d h a v e th e film o u t s a n s c o m p e t it io n . S c r i p t A p p r o v a l : Y o u d o n ’t h a v e th e lu x u ry o f g iv in g s c r ip t a p p r o v a l to th e a c c e s s o r , fo r y o u r s c r ip t d e v e lo p m e n t b a c k e r s w o n ’t r is k m o n e y n o w to h a v e la te r re t u r n s je o p a r d iz e d b y a th ird p a rty th e y m a y s e e a s b e in g a s c o - o p e r a t iv e a s th e c a p t u r e d a lie n in

Independence Day. You need to clarify that you can freely change the story. Perhaps you will change it so much that you are no longer able to claim in the credits that the film is based on a true story. Major wins election. I n t r o d u c t i o n T o T h ir d P a r t i e s : The accessor may agree to introduce other people integral to the story, libraries and other sources.

^ -

D o c u m e n t s : The accessor may have copyright in letters and other documents they have written. They can give you permission to reproduce these. They may possess other documents. It may be a breach of copyright to copy these. An agreement can cover this, so that the accessor does not give you more than they have, but you can define exactly what you’re allowed to do with the information. D e f a m a t i o n : Unless you are paying a fee that would make the Sultan of Brunei blanch, you cannot expect the accessor to consent to your defaming them, when they have no earthly notion of what you might say. Someone who is a little insane may agree to give you immunity from a defamation suit if what you say is true, regardless of whether it is for the public benefit. Most people, when it is put to them fairly and squarely, are like religions and the truth: fairly reluctant to embrace it. A lot of access agreements deal with this issue in the way of some religious orders - silence. A prudent produceralliteration certainly, but is it tautology or oxymoron? - gets pre-emptive guidance from defamation coun­ sel before each draft of a script on sensitive subjects. F e e s : Fees can obviously vary a great deal according to the importance of the accessor’s contribution to the story, the size of the film or the amount of work the accessor will have to do. If you ask them to meet you a goodly distance from where they live, you will pay for their reasonable travel and accommodation expenses, assuming there is such a thing today. es - 56

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


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Film Special Effects F ilm in >> F ilm o u t

FLAME > URSA GOLD C

O

M

P

L

E

T

E

,

f k

Feature Film and Television series P ost Production

0^0

C O M P L U fp o s t

12 T h istle th w a ite S t S o uth M elb o u rn e Victoria 3 2 0 5 A u stralia

T elep ho n e 61 3 9 6 9 9 4 6 3 3 Fa csim ile 61 3 9 6 9 9 3 2 2 6


light notes

The A to Z of Producing by Hal McElroy

A

is for AFC, AFFC, ABC. They’re ait good, but A is also for Arrogance - a bad thing. Are you with me? A is for Art. Many people think what we do is Art. True! But some people are outraged if I talk about what I do in such terms. How can commercial tele­ vision be Art? So maybe I should file what I do under P for Popular Art. A is also for Attitude - be positive if you’re not, don’t expect anyone else to be! A is for Aim High - don’t settle for second best. A is for Actors - who you must learn to love and understand. A is also for Apathy - things won’t happen unless you get off your arse and do something. Then there’s that other A. A for Arse - as in tin arse luck. But I’ll get to that later.

B

is for Brand - branding is important these days. Your name is your brand - protect it, promote it, enhance it - it has value. B is for Be S tro n g -yo u’re the leader, so lead! B is for Bullshit! - avoid it at all costs, particularly if it emanates from your own mouth. B is also for Beastie Boys - their songs and videos are wonderful.

C

D

M O H A N VALL URY

is for Clarity of Vision communicate your vision to everyone in your cast and crew continuously. C is also for Collaboration, for CostControl and Creative - all good. But C is also for Cold - as in imper­ sonal or aloof. If that’s how you’re perceived to be, then you can’t use all the other good C letters - like Commu­ nicating, a Clear Creative Course. is for Delegate - learn to do it if possible.

D is for Diplomaticessential in dealing with the creative community. D is for Decisive, imperative, and Distribution, necessary, and Directors - your most essential collaborators. D is for bad qualities like Dogmatic -try not to be! D is for Don’t Repeat Yourself, or De La Soul - who’ve taken hip hop rap, scratching and sampling to amaz­ ing heights, and Di, my wife, who is amazing. C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

is for Enthusiasm and Effi­ ciency —they’re terrific- but it’s also for Ego - keep it under control. Sublimate it to your star’s or the director’s, all for the pro­ ject’s sake. is for Fighter (you need to be), for Friendship (you’ll need them, don’t forget them) and for the Future - something you should always be watching. F is for Fear of Failure. In my 23-

F

year career, I’ve wanted to make (and have developed) nearly 150 projects, concepts, books or scripts. But I’ve only made 17 and only had 7 or 8 suc­ cesses. So there’s a lot of failure implicit in those numbers. In fact, for the mathematicians, it’s a 5 percent success rate, isn’t it? Don’t be fearful of Failure, it comes automatically with the game. F is also for Freak Out/Panic Attacks - try and control them, particularly in public.

C

is for Groundbreakingtry to be - and Generosity -

learn to be, particularly with praise because it helps speed the creative process. But G is also for Gangrene - a lifethreatening disease that arises when a wound or problem is neglected. So if you figure out there’s a problem, for god’s sake do something about it straight away. Unless attended to, neglected problems can be life threat­ ening.

53


light notes

is for S im plify The M e ssa g e - that’s part

S

is for Honesty and Hard W ork - they’re two qualities I like to think I’ve built my reputation on. H is for H ysterics - given the incredible stress of what we’re doing, perhaps understandable in others like actors or directors, but unforgivable in a producer.

H

of your job. S is for S a lesm ansh ip - crucially

important. S is for S hare The Credit - be generous. S is also for S u ccess, which is rare but welcome, and S is for Shit, which is what you feel like if you don’t have success.

is for Integrity and Innovation - both funda­

I

mental.

T

I is for Inform ation. I read 20 newspapers and

five women’s magazines every week. Plus I read at least 5 monthly magazines, and switch continuously over the 12 different radio stations programmed into my car, plus watch a slew of television. Why? Because it keeps me up to speed with everything people are reading, watching, thinking and talking about. I is also for Isolation. I know producing is hard and lonely, but no one promised you a rose garden. Come to terms with it and get out and meet and talk and share and then you won’t finish up in that other I - the I that is for Ivory Tower.

J

J is for Jealousy - there’s lots of it - some of it

in the most surprising of places, like your friends. It comes with the territory, so get used to it, too. is for Know Your M arkets - if you don’t

know them then you’re dead. K is for Kryptonite, but you’re not Super­ man, so don’t worry about it. is for Listening - learn and listen and watch carefully and deeply - listen to and watch your audience, your crew, your director. L is also for Learn From Your M istakes - they’ll prove to be your most powerful lessons. L is for L u c k - which is best described as when preparation meets opportunity. And L is for Little M inds - wherein success is not possible.

L

M

is for M ovies as opposed to Television -

learn the difference. Different needs, demands and audience expectations. For example, I don’t believe that the same lowbudget movie script could also make a good televi­ sion movie. So understand the difference.

N

is for New Technology - learn about it, adopt it if you can, as quickly as you can.

N is for No - most things I want to do are greeted with a No. Virtually always, at first, my ideas are rejected. That’s okay. Don’t necessarily stop - learn from the No what problems you may face. The negatives may have come from the way you presented your idea. So, try incorporating the negative into your sell thereby, hopefully, neutralizing it by dealing with it. You can learn a lot from a negative by turning it into a positive. N is also for Nasty - my attitude to violence.

54

T im in g -t h e im portance of w hich is so m e ­ tim es forgotten - and Team work, which

makes this whole job easier, more successful. T is for Targeting - which means you may reach the right audiences. And tell the Truth at all times. T is for Tits and A rse - which are certainly popular, but is it art? And T is for Taxis and Trucks; stay well clear, otherwise you’ll come to a grinding halt as I did in June last year.

U V

is for Unity of Purpose - which is good,

but U is for U nseem ly B ehaviour - like arguing with your director on the set, which is a seriously bad idea.

is for Journalist - make them your friends,

they’re just men and women with a job, don’t turn them into the enemy!

is for Thick-skinned, very necessary, and

is for Optim ism and O riginality - enough

O

said.

0 is also for Opportunistic - enough said. But 0 is for an Open Mind, too. Keep your mind and your heart open; that way instinct can flourish, then creativity will follow.

P

is for very im portant things like P ersever­

is for V alidation. If you’re hoping you’ll

achieve personal validation through success alone, you’ll probably be disappointed. So seek validation through good work - then success may follow. V is for Vicious, a Lou Reed song, and for Vanity Fair and V a riety-both of which are required reading.

ance and Patience - you’ll need heaps of

both.

Getting near the end guys, hang in there.

P is for Publicity and Promotion - you’ll want

heaps of that, so think about it all the time. P is for Popular Culture (or is that art?). Immerse yourself in it because, like it or not, as far as your audience is concerned, that’s the industry we’re all part o f - popular culture. And P is for street Poetry or rap - which is just young people expressing their fears and prejudices. P is for Problem s - but that’s your job isn’t it? Solvingthem. P is for one of the most im portant q ualities of all, Passion, for without it no success is ever possible. If

you don’t have a passion, then don’t do it - it’s too hard and probably doomed to failure. And failure will make you P for Pissed Off. is for Q uestions - ask them all the time. Why does it work? Why did it fail? Why does it cost so much? Why can’t I do it quickerTcheaper, better? Q is for Quixotic - try and avoid.

%

R

is for Research, Reading and Radical -

which are good. And R is for Rew arding O riginality, which

is essential, and the Republic, w hich is inevitable,

is for the W orld Out There - that’s

W

where the big success lies and the big bucks, so don’t be scared. Making something for the world, not just for Australia. W is for W riting and W riters - support them, for without them we have nothing to produce. W is also for W atch Your Back - get a good lawyer and keep them informed. is for Xenophobic - that’s what that racist

X

Pauline Hanson is pretending she isn’t.

But Xenophobic is what most Americans are about our film and television. X is also for the X Factor - that mysterious and wonderful thing that happens when you add all your elements together: concept, cast, director, script, music, location, whatever, and something ‘extra’ happens - a magical chemical reaction of one plus one plus one = five. Success!

Y

is for You’ve Got To Be Joking, and Y is also for W hy Are W e Here - because we love it!

Don’t we?

And, lastly,

and Rolling Stone, w hich is a terrific m agazine, and Rhythm in Storytelling - which is fundamental to

good drama.

Z

is for Zebra - which has nothing at all

to do with Cthis. I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


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“23

13 festivals - Rotterdam

focusing on three directors Gang SunWoo, Oleg Kovalov and Alain Cavalier), the burgeoning mockumentary genre defined elastically enough to include Orson Welles’ FFor Fake (1973), Wim Wenders’ childlike The Brothers Skladanowsky and Mohsen Makhmalbafls latest, A Moment of Innocence and a tribute to the production com­ pany Golden Harvest. I sampled two films by Kovalov, The Island of the Dead (1992) and his lat­ est, Sergei Eisenstein - Autobiography. Both are compilation or found footage feature films in a fairly avant garde mode - no narration, no identification of any clips until the final credits. His montage effects veer from the ridicu­ lously obvious - for instance, intercutting Eisenstein’s more romantic Soviet visions with documentary footage of hideous historical atrocities - t o the archly cryptic. The films work best when they conjure Ruiz-style ‘impossible scenes’ and fanciful fic­ tions from the assembled fragments but, in the long run, they become tire­ some and unengaging. The Cavalier series seemed to find little favour among critics at Rotter­ dam. But I was intrigued by his latest work, Le Rencontre (The Encounter), which is in many respects the ultimate exercise in personal cinema attempted to date - filmed entirely by the director with a small Hi-8 video camera, nar­ rated by him and his lover, and documenting the internal intimacies of their relationship. Nonetheless, the film is rigorously, often lyrically styl­ ized - comprised almost entirely of close-up inserts of various, talismanic objects collected by the lovers, with nary a glimpse of a face, and few views of any bodily parts beyond hands and an occasional foot. The narration is pitched at a level of gush that undoubtedly makes the film painfully embarrassing for some - just about everything that Cavalier films leads him to whisper frantically, “ It’s so mar­ vellous, so beautiful, it filled me with such tender emotion!” - but this is a special and unique experiment.

Even more remarkable was Cava­ lier’s previous work, Libera Me (1993). A film with no dialogue (but an exquis­ itely-rendered soundscape), the barest possible sets (but a remarkable feeling for space and objects), and a plot abstracted from all historical speci­ ficity, Libera Me is an intense distillation of personal experiences related to imprisonment and resis­ tance. It is, once again, a virtually

56

unbroken succession of insertsimages that patiently and hypnotically detail practices of secrecy (how a group of oppressed captives hide and pass messages inside clothes, books, furniture) and, eventually, violation (when the oppressors move in and methodically destroy these same objects). Cavalier’s style openly recalls Robert Bresson - especially the Bres­ son of Un Condamné à Mort s ’est

Échappé, ou le Vent Souffle où il Veut (A Man Escaped, 1956) - but this amazing film is more Bressonian than Bresson, with its astonishing portrait shots of each character, its micro­ scopic attention to gesture, detail and texture, and its accumulation of fierce, pained emotional traces. If ever there was a film that deserved a cult - a seri­ ous, reverential, avant garde kind of cult - that film is Libera Me. And I had to travel to Rotterdam to be able to see it, which unfortunately says a lot about the current state of Australian film culture, with or without the recom­ mendations of the Gonski Review. ®

“23 19 festivals - India Kathapurushan is a very warm, humane film, well acted and beauti­ fully photographed. The meticulous care given to characterization is one of its great strengths. Yet one cannot help wondering how long the man who made a masterpiece like Elippathayam is going to keep turning out conven­ tional narrative cinema, albeit of a very high quality. The prolific Mumbai-based director Shyam Benegal had two films included in this year’s Panorama. The lesser of the two, Sardari Begum, tells the story of a woman who achieved considerable fame as a classical singer while she strove, often without success, to achieve happiness in her personal life. The film takes a hackneyed approach of structuring the narrative in the form of a journalist’s investigation, and to some extent several of the characters are mere sources of information rather than people interesting in themselves. Those with a taste for fine Indian music will find the film an aural delight, while some may be critical of the filmed con­ cert that it often appears to be. Shyam’s other offering was the highly-acclaimed The Making of the

Mahatma, an excellent film dealing with the South African period in Gand­ hi’s life during which he developed his philosophy of non-violence and carried out what he called his “experiments with truth” . So many popular represen­ tations of Gandhi depict him as a

pre-packaged mahatma or ‘great soul’,

“23 50 legal ease

ignoring the perplexities and pain he

T i m e a n d P l a c e : You need to decide how accessible the accessor

brought to his family in the develop­ ment of his lofty moral rigour. Benegal’s warts-and-all Gandhi, played superbly by Rajit Kapoor, is by no means entirely admirable, and, consid­ ering all that she had to put up with, one might sometimes wonder why the title mahatma was not bestowed on his long-suffering wife, Kasturbai. Those who remember Attenborough’s epic will immediately appreciate the rela­ tively minimal budget of Shyam’s film, but they will be no less impressed by the film’s attention to historical detail, its keen perception of character and, above all, its sincerity. Arguably the best film of the Panorama was Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Lai Darja (The Red Doors). Given its thematic, structural and stylistic origi­ nality, as well as its impeccable craftsmanship, this film clearly stood out against the rest. Basically, the film represents a man’s endeavour to regain the innocence long lost in the suffocation of urban bourgeois life, and to this end traces the slender though adequate story of a dentist, fearful of becoming a robot and trying to cope with the break-up of his mar­ riage. Alongside his unhappy domestic life, we see the exceptionally success­ ful love-life of his driver, a simple, good-natured rogue, who has two wives and a third on the way. There is another strand of narrative in which Dasgupta presents glimpses of an ide­ alized world of lost innocence and flashes of an all-too-real and absurd world of present experience. The direc­ tor, also an eminent poet, weaves the three strands together with remark­ able artistry, giving his highly poetic film meaning and intelligence without being abstruse, and thoughtfulness without detracting from its proper measure of endearing zaniness. Lai Darja is a delightful film. It is a pity that the Indian Panorama was marked by controversy. Given the uneven quality of the package and the relative merits of some ofthe rejects, questions might perhaps be asked, or at least wondered, about the many rejects by not so well-known filmmak­ ers whose names did not even make it into the controversy. In its aim to show the world the best ofthe country’s art cinema, this year’s Panorama, contro­ versy notwithstanding, was saved by the reliable Gopalakrishnan and given sparkle by the promising Jayaraj and Bhattacharya, the veteran Benegal and the immensely-talented Dasgupta. ©

is, and just how often and where they can make themselves available. You may choose to employ them as a consultant on the film itself. You may have to allow for old age. They may set conditions. You can negotiate. R ig h t T o U s e A c c e s s o r In P u b l ic ­

The accessor may be seen to be a great authority on the story; they may be a person of public interest. You may have to insist that they appear at vari­ ous times and places for publicity and allow themselves to be photographed. it y :

E x t e n t O f R ig h t s T o U s e I n f o r m a ­

The accessor may want to restrict the use of information to particular media. Of course, you will want to use t io n

:

the information for all purposes. This may affect the fee. You may also agree that the accessor is not obliged to talk on certain subjects (bed wetting, perhaps). The accessor may be a copyright holder ofthe material they say and you record. Better to get an assign­ ment ofthe rights in it. A c c e s s o r Is U n d e r E ig h t e e n :

Even though a parent or guardian signs the agreement, it may not bind the accessor. It may be impractical to enforce any access agreement where the accessor goes silent, particularly on a sensitive subject, hard as it is to think of one today. W h a t I f Y o u D is c o v e r S o m e t h in g

What happens if during the course of your research you find out something really quite disgusting about the person who is giving you the access? Assuming you intend to base your film on a true story and want to say so, integrity can be an issue if you do not depict the dreadful truth you have uncovered. Maybe the disgusting thing isn’t relevant to the drama. Maybe it is. You could withdraw. Facing backers after that might compare with meeting your maker - best delayed as long as possible. D r e a d f u l ?:

Personal It usually makes sense not to bind the accessor’s successors to act - the agree­ ment is clearly personal-though access to material should survive the accessor.

Conclusion Access Agreements can sew up the story; not so much find the core themes. That’s already been done. So, it’s better not to put the cart before the horse that bolted off before the stable door was closed! Wasn’t that the one taken to water? © C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


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28 The Well that I’m consistently interested in, but I’m not precious about the form in which they are told. HOW MUCH INPUT DID YOU HAVE ON

ing with. Of course, she had to meet them and feel good about them, too.

THE SC R IPT?

But Mandy was someone who I

We did one major rewrite, and from there we did tweaks. We wrote a couple of different endings, tried a few different things. Laura is an absolutely wonderful writer, a great collaborator and a very generous per­ son. She insisted that it should be my film and that she didn’t want any­ thing in the script that I wasn’t happy about directing; that I had to like each scene and think it was relevant; that if I didn’t believe in a scene, then it shouldn’t be there. Because the screenplay had gone through several drafts, I went back to the first draft and worked out its evolution. I found things in some of the original drafts that I really liked, and put those back in. I guess every director tells a story in a different way. D id t h e f a c t t h a t Th e W e l l h a s b e e n CON SIDERED UNFILMABLE PU TYO U OFF?

I read the screenplay first, so I always approached it as a film rather than an adaptation. I read the book a cou­ ple of times, and stuff like that, but I always treated it as a film and as a story that I was telling on film. Laura had already done that in a sense, so whilst she was actually true to the essence of the novel, I didn’t feel compelled to use story elements in the film just because they were in the novel. My task was to make it work as a film. Maybe some viewers will have read the book, but I’m catering for a movie audience, not for a liter­ ary audience. So, I never thought about it. I don’t know what you mean in terms of “unfilmable”. It’s quite a strange story and it asks you to sus­ pend disbelief on a number of different levels. It’s hard trying to make something that can sustain that suspension of disbelief. Once the man is thrown down the well, Katherine’s saying he is alive is a very odd thing to happen. That’s why I wanted to approach it from the point of view of a fable, because in fables, or in fairy tales, there are lots of things that happen that aren’t real or couldn’t possible exist, but they help

BIT TOO CONSIDERED OR DELIBERATE,

gage attached - not that that was

BUT THE LIGHTING, BEING SLIGHTLY

why I cast her. She is fresh, a very brave, very

BLEACHED AND A LITTLE W ASHED OUT, IS VERY EVOCATIVE.

I thought at the time, “Oh, this is too

intelligent, very clever storyteller who was willing to allow Hester her oddities and her peculiarities.

wanted to work with. Sandra met her, really liked her, and we went from there. It was the same with the

self-conscious”, but hopefully once you see it up on the screen, and it has its sound properly done, it will all blend into one thing. There is noth­

which was the most important thing,

first AD and the production designer.

ing worse then watching a movie that

certainly for a film like this.

W a l k e r h a s a v e r y p o e t ic v is u a l

is so self-conscious that you can’t get into the story. As a first-time director, you want to make an impression; you want to come up with something that is exciting. It’s hard to find the balance between that and going too far. That’s something that I’ve realized

D id y o u u s e m u s i c t o h i g h l i g h t t h i s

STYLE.

What is fantastic about Mandy is that she is a great communicator, a great collaborator. She is an artist, but she is very practical and great fun. Mandy is a very unique combina­ tion because what she does is visually very poetic. She has a great under­ standing of that without being a

retrospectively. It is part of the process of making films and of learn­

tosser. She talks about things in very tangible terms: “This is the emotion of this scene. This is what we want to feel. How can we find an image that

ing what your parameters are and how far you can push one element, and how little you need to do in order to achieve something.

is going to make us feel like this? Is this the moment when we want to see Hester really clearly, or is this the moment when we want her in the

M ir a n d a O t t o a n d P a m e l a R a b e p l a y

dark?” None of her images, or her light­ ing, is arbitrary. It has meaning, but it also has a kind of visual flair. Mandy and I did a lot of research in the beginning to try and come to a style. When she first read the script, she felt it would be really good to do it in black and white. I said, “I really think it would be good to have a bit of colour in it.” So we then tried to develop a technique that had the feelings that we were both going for. We did a bleached bypass process which strips everything of its colour but certain colours still resonate in the frame. We did weeks of testing to try to come to the right filtrations and the right look. The other thing that we discussed was how Australian light is very hard, very contrasty. I wanted the film to have a painterly look. When light is soft and slightly abstracted, you don’t feel like it is really real. We tried a couple of things and ended up putting Softex filters in front and not bouncing into daylight, trying to give it a softer floating-

it like that.

down feel. We also decided that we wanted to try and make the images like still photographs. An image wasn’t arbi­ trary: if you freeze-framed it, it would have a meaning on its own.

W a s it y o u r d e c i s i o n t o b r i n g

T h e r e is a g r e a t f e e l in g o f c o m p o s i­

M a n d y W a l k e r o n a s DOP?

t io n

Yes. Sandra was very generous and

PEOPLE M IG HT FIND IT A BIT SLOW, OR A

in the telling of the story. I looked at

58

very supportive in the sense that she allowed me to go out and bring in people who I was interested in work­

THROUGH THE WHOLE FILM . SO M E

THE TWO MAIN CHARACTERS, KATHERINE and

H e s t e r . W a s t h e r e a n y c a s t in g

IN PLACE BEFORE YOU JOINED?

No. I was lucky again; I did all the casting. At first, we looked at much younger girls for the part of Kather­ ine, because she was written as 15. But I didn’t have much success find­ ing a younger girl who could achieve the complexity of a character like Katherine. She is such a chameleon: slightly manipulative and seductive, but naive at the same time. Sandra, Laura and I talked about Miranda, but I thought she wasn’t quite right. When she came in, she did one take and I thought, “This girl is Katherine!” She is really amazing. As far as Pamela goes, it was very hard to find someone to play Hester, because she is a very peculiar charac­ ter who is out of her time. If you read the book, Hester is like a char­ acter from the ’30s and Katherine from the ’80s, yet they are both liv­ ing in this same time. I found that quite hard to grapple with at first. Certainly in the casting it was hard to find someone who could bring a real­ ity to such an ‘out of time’ character.

Because of that, she could also find an emotional truth to the woman

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHARACTERS, AND HOW INVOLVED W ERE YOU IN THE CHOICE OF M U SIC ?

Completely and absolutely. One of the first things I realized was that music would play a really important part in showing the balance, or imbalance, in Hester and Katherine’s relationship. I started work with the composer, Stephen Rea, very early on. We played each other bits of music and basically came to a few choices. We showed them to Sandra, which was a very amusing exercise! She loved the classical music, but then I played her Fur, the band in the pub, who were not musical geniuses. Her face fell. “What?”, she said. “Are we going to have that noise in the film?” For me, it wasn’t important that I had music that was going to make a great CD; what was important was having music that describes both characters and has great contrast. Hester’s music is supposed to rep­ resent the only beautiful thing that she had contact with in her life, whereas Katherine’s music is about being physical and thrashing around, about something that was scary, kind of instant and not sweet or beautiful, but sensual or primal. In a way, it’s those elements, or those characteris­ tics, in Katherine that Hester is attracted to; but also they are foreign to her because she has very little understanding of her own physicality or sensuality. That [early selecting of music] was also great because it helped me to start seeing Hester and Katherine’s relationship. Before I’d even cast, I had this music which was describing their characters to me. It also helped when we finished shooting the pic­

Pamela is perfect. I can’t imagine anyone else playing Hester.

ture and started working with the composer again.

I f it w e r e 3 0 y e a r s a g o , R u t h C r a c k -

COM PLETELY DIFFERENT AGAIN.

Hopefully, it means that all the music is part of the film, rather than something that happens later.

Yes, that’s right. Pamela isn’t iconically Australian,

cal and I’ve never been to the country,

if you know what I mean, whereas Ruth Cracknell may be seen like that. Pamela doesn’t come with that bag­

and here I am making a film with lots of music set in the country. But I think it is about more than that. ©

NELL, PROBABLY. BUT THAT WOULD BE

It’s terrifying, really. I’m not musi­

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


36 Phillip Noyce - a Robin Hood character, except not like Robin Hood because he did­ n’t just steal from those who deserve stealing from and give it to those who needed it. He did that and something else, which was that he kept some of the booty for himself. In that sense, I suppose that’s been his appeal ever since he appeared in 1929 with Leslie Charteris’ short crime stories, as a minor character in a British crime magazine, and why he has endured all those decades. When I came back to it, Terry was working on The Planet o f the Apes [remake] script for Fox, so he couldn’t work on it again. So, I hired Jonathan Hensleigh, who had written Jum anji and Die H ard with

would make him an orphan and tell the story right from childhood. In our story, which is the story that will appear on screen, he is an orphan who doesn’t know who his parents are or their nationality. It could be English, could be Aus­ tralian, could be a combination of anything, certainly Caucasian. He is growing up in a Catholic orphanage somewhere in the Far East, presum­ able Hong Kong or Singapore, where he has been given the name of one of the patron saints of the orphanage, a name which he denies because he knows it is not his real name: and he invents his own name. Simon from

steal the life work of a female scien­ tist [Dr Emma Russell], played by Elisabeth Shue. Originally, the movie that Jonathan Hensleigh wrote was much more based on action set-pieces and was similar in its scope and its style to GoldenEye. G oldenEye came out and we knew that Tom Cruise was making Mission Im possible when Wesley came on board. I thought, “Okay, we really have to do something different here.” Although many people have claimed that Ian Fleming took the Simon Templar character and put him to work for M I5, even if the character did come before on

the Far East somewhere.” We also decided that, although he was principally a Brit, we couldn’t be sure that he would be played by a Brit, because it would depend on who we could get to play him, who wanted to play him - not that we were seeking an American, although that is the way it turned out. Although Roger Moore played him as the quintessential ’60s Britisher, the character for me when I was growing up was not necessarily that personality. So, we decided that we C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

and relationship. Essentially, the film is a romance for better or for worse. HOW CLOSE TO THE O RIGIN AL CONCEPT of

C h a r t e r is ’ T h e S a in t is y o u r f il m ?

That is an impossible question to answer. First of all, there is not one Charteris Saint. There is Charteris’ Saint of the early ’30s, late ’30s, the war years. After the war, the ’50s, he changed. Our Saint is closer to the first Saint movie starring George Sanders. But our film is not about The Saint; it is about a man who becomes a Saint, and how he becomes known as The Saint.

Is t h i s

s o m e t h in g t h a t

T h e S a in t

PU RISTS ARE GOING TO THROW TH EIR HANDS UP IN THE AIR AND SAY, “ N o,

a Vengeance. We thought about it for a while. There was one problem with this present screenplay, the one that Terry had written. It assumed something that may or may not be true: that there is a huge audience out there who are familiar with The Saint, and who are waiting with bated breath for his reappearance on the silver screen. It seemed to me, particularly from Los Angeles, where I was sitting at the time, that the opposite was true: that there was very little knowledge, particu­ larly amongst the prime movie-going audience. Yet, I was also aware that amongst my own age group, and amongst opinion-makers - that is, writers and people in the media that there was an awareness and a loyalty, even if we don’t really go to the movies. So, we thought what we’ve got to do here is to try and come up with a story that reintroduces The Saint to an audience who are familiar with the character, but also intro­ duces The Saint without alienating the first group. We investigated Leslie Charteris’ life. He grew up in Singapore, so we thought, “Okay, so The Saint is going to grow up in

by the turns that it takes into character

THIS IS NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE” ?

Hopefully not, and certainly not till now. I showed it to Roger Moore about a week ago and he seemed delighted, and the producer of the original Saint TV series, Robin Baker, had a similar reaction. I s T h e S a i n t t h e k in d o f c h a r a c t e r THAT EVOLVES AND DEVELOPS DEPENDING o n t h e e r a t h e m o v i e o r THE TELEVISIO N SE R IE S IS MADE IN?

Yes, obviously he did, and also according to the medium, as Roger and Robin commented after the screening: “You know, our Saint was deliberately softened and given a somewhat more debonair light-touch because he was made for television.” I don’t think in the ’90s a recreation of the Roger Moore character would

Simon the Magician from the Bible, because he has found an identity for himself as a performer of magic tricks, and Templar from the Knights Templar stories that he reads in class when he should be reading the Bible, but really he reads these adventure stories, like I did when I was a kid growing up in Australia. The story that we wrote was not the story of The Saint, but it is the story of how Simon Templar becomes The Saint, and essentially it’s a story of how a sinner becomes a Saint. I suppose casting Val Kilmer, who has such a reputation as a sin­

the super-heroes tree, it doesn’t matter because Bond, although we thought he was dead, has been resurrected with a vengeance, and we didn’t want him to become confused with James Bond. We decided that, rather than trying to get bigger and distinguish ourselves by being a bigger actionadventure movie, we should distinguish ourselves by being a smaller one; that the film should try and concentrate on the psychology of the character, and the central relationship he has with the woman he is hired to steal from. And so the film took, under Wesley Strick’s

ner, is probably perfect casting. Jonathan went off to write Term i­ nator 4 for Jim Cameron, so Wesley Strick came on. Initially, the film was always the story of Simon Tem­ plar, a master thief who steals for a

writing, a major turn to become a film that we hoped would be true to the spirit of the action-adventure genre - that is, basically exciting escapist entertainment - but at the

price for anyone; who is hired to

same time would startle the audience

really work - as good as he was in that time and that medium. The same seemed to be the reac­ tion last week when we screened the film to about a thousand English­ men, in a provincial town, just to see what the reaction would be. Where they did make comparisons, they seemed to appreciate the fact that this Saint was more complex than The Saint they remembered from the TV series which is now re-screening on BBC 2 weekly. ® 1 See discussion in S co tt M u rra y , “A u stralian C in em a in the 1 9 7 0 s and 1 9 8 0 s ” , in S c o tt M u rra y (E d .), A ustralian C in e m a , Allen &c U nw in in asso ciatio n w ith A u stralian Film C om m issio n , Sydney, 1 9 9 4 , p. 8 9 . 2 A u stralian scrip tw riter w h o w ro te D e a d C a lm and several K en nedy M iller m ini-series. 3 T h e seco n d (T h e Saint Strikes B ack, 1 9 3 9 ) w as d irected by A u stralian J o h n F a rro w .

59


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All the fun of the Fox funfair b y B a rrie Sm ith URRENTLY, THE BIG productions that require Hollywood-scale studio space head to the Warner MovieWorld stages at Coomera on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Many in the industry have long thought the northern state’s venture into film real estate an odd one, considering the traditional production centres have always been in Sydney and Melbourne. Talent reservoirs, produc­ ers’ enclaves, laboratories, sound studios and escalating tiers of specialized and arcane services, such as animal handlers, antique car hire, etc., are visible in abundance in the southern states, mainly due to the high activity of television commercial pro­

EN TRY TO STU blO

JPED\ ESTRIAN ! EN TRA N CE

AVENUE

could be adapted for our use, we did so. Two big pavilions are being retained because they lend themselves for shooting and big exhibition spaces.

and not only with buildings. It applies to streets

The Government and the Commemorative Pavilions date from April 1938 and, whilst considered to be structurally very sound, contained large amounts of asbestos in their roof areas. This was a major task to remove. But the reward of this costly effort was the salvation of, in the case of the former, a huge stage area of 3,800 square metres. This structure has a very high arched roof and it will receive sound insula­ tion treatment to improve its acoustic performance. On the site of five proposed sound stages, the present animal-judging sheds had low ceilings and little else to recommend themselves productionwise, so were not serious prospects for studio conversion. These studios will be new, purpose-built structures: three stages (2, 3, 8) will be primarily intended for film, while the other two (4, 5) are aimed at television production and will accommo­ date live studio audiences. All the sound stages will be able to switch to the other medium. All stages will have the ability for acoustically-secure cable ports to allow for OB vans to park outside and pass their cables inside. The philosophy behind the whole site is that the studios will be let on a ‘dry hire’ basis. The main stages will be a shell and production units will need

and open spaces. Wherever possible, if a building

to bring in their own gear and people.

ducers. But a change is due as, from early 1998, the scales may begin to tip the other way when Fox Stu­ dios Australia begins operations with serious resolve and a huge investment in its Sydney Showground production site, just four kilometres from the Sydney CBD and no more than eight kilometres from the city’s airport. As you stroll around the spacious site, with last year’s Ferris wheel and a sprinkling of today’s trade shows filling temporary exhibition halls, it’s hard to visualize the magnitude of what will actually be run­ ning in 1998. No more funfairs, fairy floss, cattle droppings, woodchopping tu ssles... To soak up the story, I spoke to Rod Allen of Fox Australia.

Asbestos Rod Allen: In taking over the area, we adopted a philosophy that we would respect the heritage of the site -

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997

“ It’s not our intention to end up with a big work­ force of our own. Fox Studios will be the supplier of facilities”, says Allen. In the area of post-production, Fox is adopting a selective approach when it comes to sub-letting space to interested companies. Allen: Our approach has been to talk widely. W e’ve had a lot of interest and applications from a whole range of businesses, not only in post-production, but from businesses that provide services, like equipment hire, props, wardrobe, casting agencies - all those types of production support. In the case of post-production, there has also been a lot of interest. At the present time, we’ve not made any final decisions at all about any businesses that will be relocating to this site. But our approach is to encourage existing businesses to move to the site and set up those facilities, rather than for Fox to establish a post-production service itself - apart from a picture-cutting service or a sound-mixing service.

Allen is of the opinion that this approach reflects the way the Australian industry works at the present time: In most cases, we’ll certainly not want to set our­ selves up in competition with existing businesses. It’s a small industry and it wouldn’t be in our inter­ est. It is better to attract the established businesses and those with best reputations to locate here.

61


te c h n ic a litie s

Communication Fox Studios will have a fibre-optic ring around the site to enable build­ ings to exchange information or data. There will also be a network of conduit laid to allow for future communication standards that may arise. Inbuilt will be the ability to transfer data and image and sound internationally, although there’s no intention of on-siting a dish at the present time.

Power Film and television production demand relatively large amounts of clean, reliable and economic electrical power. The power supply to the Showground site will be upgraded. Based on research the company has done, each of the stages will be equipped with adequate power; as an example, the Government Pavilion will

be able to tap into 750 amps on each oftwo phases. On the day of the Australian Cinematographers’ Society visit, there was a buzz of discussion coming from some of the cinematographers about the decision to take mains power. One, an Australian expatriate DOP and a veteran of high-level Flollywood productions, felt it was unwise to rely on mains power, citing his own experi­ ence of working in many parts of the world with truck-mounted generator current. Yet another argued that, in his experience, the Fox way was the best way to source the necessary amounts of power. In its favour, reliability would seem to be assured by the fact that there are several major hospitals in the area. Company research indicates that the power is stable in the adjacent areas. Allen is confident

that the studio complex will have flexibility on site as far as power is concerned and certainly we’re confident from the research

Response Allen: I think the industry is getting behind what’s happening, once they

that we’ve done that the power will

realize what we’re doing here.

be adequate to service the stages.

W e’ve been very active in having industry groups and associations

Road Access The principal access to the working studio areas is off Driver Avenue, which passes the Sydney Football Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground. This has sufficient room to take two traffic lanes into the site, while around the site itself a road system will be marked one- or twoway traffic as necessary. There will be a ‘professional’ entrance, with the public entry separated. Additionally, the public will not be able to go into the working studio area - the two areas will be separated by barriers.

visit and, as more people have the opportunity to see first-hand, we’re getting a very positive response. W e have visitors from overseas all the time who have heard about what we’re doing. We expect that interest will start to increase now. Obviously, productions have a long gestation period, but, when it comes to the decision to go into produc­ tion, that’s when a producer starts to look for facilities. W e’re still a year away, but we expect that as this year goes and construction starts we’ll get a lot more interest. And a lot more interest from AusPHOTOGRAPHS: BARRIE SMITH

DISCOVERY CHANNEL CABLE EXCLUSIVE AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARIES.

Row of buildings on left will house ancillary

Interior of 3,800 square meire Government Pavilion - J g js e One.

services: post-production, digital effects, etc.

Asbestos roof had to be removed before renovation could begin.

The Story So Far The Sydney Showground development is Fox’s first production complex to be built outside North America, and sets out to offer world-class facilities for both film and television production, as well as providing some degree of pub­ lic access in the nature of a multi-screen cinema, specialist retail­ ing and restaurants. The heart of the site, the parade ring, will be left as open public recre­ ational space - surrounded by new and renovated stages. There will, of course, be a public studio tour to entertain and educate the public about the filmmaking process. In 1995, as the news hit the fan, so to speak, perimeter political interests tried to fracture the NSW Government’s resolve by claiming sleazy deals and hidden agendae supported the deal. But to no avail.

62

In the days after the announce­ ment, however, call-back radio and newspaper correspondence columns displayed majority public support especially from film techies and, natu­ rally, the echelons of the producers and directors around town. The early team running the project, under the helm of Fox Australia’s CEO Kim Williams, has taken great pains to invite interested industry groups to the site and gauge their feelings. This writer was fortunate enough to string along with the ACS one afternoon then returned a month or so later to explore the story further. Fox Australia claims that, once fully operational in 1998, the development will create 1,600 direct and indirect jobs annually, and generate produc­ tion with an $85 million value annually. H i s t o r y : The Sydney Showground at Moore Park has been occupied by

the Royal Agricultural Society since 1882 and was proposed as the site for the development of a major film and television production studio by the State Liberal Treasurer and Minister for the Arts, Peter Collins, in late 1994. The Fox project breaks down into three zones: largest and most impor­ tant is the production areas; the other two are those allocated to the studio tour and the cinema/shops complex. The portion of the site leased by Fox occupies 24 hectares, leased for 40 years with a ten-year option. The company intends to spend in excess of $120 million over the next decade. Eventually, there will be eight stages, ranging from 800-4,000 square metres. Stage 1, the so-called Govern­ ment Pavilion, is a renovation project, while five others are new structures to be built over the next twelve months to replace a maze of cattle and animal judging sheds. A further two are

‘planned’ to proceed at a later date. Not a working studio as such, but call­ ing for renovation is the huge Commemorative Pavilion - intended to act as the public’s eye into production technology. The stages are of varying sizes, and will be augmented by other buildings intended to house allied post-produc­ tion facilities, audio activities, digital image manipulation and special effects. A major feature of the planning is the inter-structure communications links and facilities to permit image and sound transfers domestically and internationally. Backlot areas have been allotted for external shooting. Construction workshops, wardrobe and prop storage are planned, while parking for 672 cars is provided. Studio and allied areas constitute 45 percent of the site, whilst public access venues soak up around 50 percent.

C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


tralian producers as well. Bookings

\

should start to flow later this year.

I

Start Construction of the working studio area was scheduled to commence just two weeks after the final RAS show takes place - meaning ‘first sod’ bro­ ken in late April. Fox Australia’s intention is to have the working studio up and running by the first quarter of 1998 - meaning all studios will be renovated or built by that date. The project managers are confident they can keep to this commitment. The public area will take a little longer to complete (by late 1998) but, according to Allen, the beauty of having brand new sound stages is that we’ll be able to operate in this area without any concern from noise generated by the construction on the rest of the site. And we’re very excited at the prospect of opening in early 1998.

Comparison There’s nothing like a positive approach - and every ounce the Fox team can muster will go towards mak­ ing the venture a success. At this stage, little is known about Fox U.S.’ plans to install any of its major productions at the Showground facility, but there’s nothing like bulk­ ing up a subsidiary’s balance - and booking - sheet with a healthy forward production schedule. Naturally, it would gripe with Rupert Murdoch to have to pay for a sojourn at the Warner’s facility, so bets are off that the Sydney project will miss its early 1998 completion date! Drawing comparisons is hard when setting the Gold Coast operation up against Fox’s Sydney. With a not-unexpected parochial attitude, Allen claims: There’s nothing like this in Aus­ tralia. The Gold Coast has stages, but it doesn’t have Sydney. It’s not part of the major production centre in the country. In terms of floor area, we have more. Our largest stages are bigger than the Gold Coast’s largest. Our largest, the Government Pavilion, has an arched roof which is higher [at its peak] than the highest at the Gold Coast. Sound stage 2, however, is almost the same volume as the highest stage in the Gold Coast, but has a larger floor area.

Come 1998, there will be a lot of inter­ est in this old/new production facility. C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997

MovieWorld Studios. Queensland b y S c o tt M u rra y

T

HE WARNER ROADSHOW MovieWorld Studios on the Gold Coast have been for several years Australia’s major film studios, attracting a significant num­ ber of large-budget off-shore productions, as well as lower-budget television work. In this wide-ranging interview about the future of the Studios (and some associated Village Roadshow operations), Managing Director Michael Lake begins by explaining his modus operandi: I arrived here with a very clear way of making this work, which was to attract off-shore production. The Stu­ dios had been here [under different ownership] for a while. They were not working based on Australian produc­ tion, and we really went out there with a clear goal of attracting off­ shore production. That certainly has made it work for us. 75-85 percent of the work that we are getting through is from off-shore and I think that trend will continue. In the nine years the Studios have been operational, probably only two or three projects here have had FFC money. I think it will always attract projects which are outside the smaller-budget Australian film area, unless of course they are Village pro­ jects that are driven by Village. We are tending to finance projects by

pre-sales and other methods our own. So, it is a different sort of oper­ ation that we are running. A nd

t h e m a j o r it y o f t h e o f f - s h o r e

PRODUCTIONS ARE AMERICAN?

Yes, though we recently finished a big Japanese picture called Acri, which filmed here and did all the

ket, both theatrically and television. Television has been very good to us in terms of production. We’ve done something like 14 American movies of the week [MOWs] through here in the past five years, combined with syndicated series work like Time Trax and Flipper, which are very good from a studio point of view, because it is long-term work. Flipper filmed for about 9 months, and Pacific Drive for 12 months in its first series. Fe a t u r e s

h a v e b ig g e r b u d g e t s ,

BUT USUALLY HAVE SHORTER STAYS IN A STUDIO.

visual effects in conjunction with Dale Duguid’s company, Photon Stockman. There was about $2 million worth of visual effects done on that. I’ve been to Japan many times. I see it as a market that is developing for us, though it will never be as big as the American market, of course. Maybe we will get two or three fea­ tures a year out of Japan, but they will be both a combination of studio pictures and pictures that come here for location. Certainly, America is our key mar­

Yes, unless they are big features like The Phantom, which took over both of our big stages, five and six, for quite a long time. That is good for business. 20,000 Leagues was another big studio picture and it used stages five and six for 10 weeks. The features probably spend more money in a shorter time, but it is nice to have a basis of television work flowing through the Studios. YOU MENTIONED JAPAN. WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF A SIA ? D o YOU SEE PO SSI­ BILITIES THERE, OR IS THAT AT A LOWER-BUDGET END?

It is probably at the lower end, as is Japan. Independent pictures out of Japan tend to be not dissimilar to Australian productions, and around the $3-4 million area. The rest of Asia is a much longer-

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term situation. In my mind, the next possibility of doing business with is Korea. One of the things that would help the whole Australian-Japanese situa­ tion would be the signing of a co-production treaty between the two countries. Do YOU SEE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN V il l a g e R o a d s h o w a n d G o l d e n H a r v e s t b r i n g i n g m o r e A s ia n f il m s here?

There may be, although, interestingly enough, there has been a couple of Golden Harvest pictures shot down here in the past two years, with Jackie Chan. But they were more location-based type pictures. There is a possibility, I guess, but there isn’t a lot of studio-based pro­ duction out of Golden Harvest. It tends to be more location-based, but who knows what the future will hold.

them. It is a free service and they get a very good package before they come down here. We’ve done that for most of the major studios now. The big thing now for us, of course, is that we have such good word of mouth, and that is helping us. We have done so much production, and have worked with all the major televi­ sion producing studios, the networks, the major independents, people like Warners, people like Dis­ ney, all that sort of thing. We have a pretty good track record now, and it is spread by word of mouth. The plus for us is that the heads of production in a lot of those places

States for that. With theatrical production, it is a definite saving situation, especially with studio-based projects that need a lot of building in them. That is where we really excel. We are build­ ing sets for probably around about a third for what they build them for in the States. Labour costs are still slightly less. Even when the exchange rate is sit­ ting around 79 to 80 cents, it is still more economical for them. In Queensland, there is also a range of incentives that the Queensland government offers to producers. On a big pic like StreetFighter, they had

are giving us recommendations to people. They are saying, “ If you have that project, why don’t you go to Australia? Why don’t you talk to the Studios or talk to VRP Production Services?”

around $400,000 rebated to them, which is a tidy piece of money. On a typical MOW, it can be anywhere between $50,000-70,000 in rebate, which makes it a little more attractive to them. What that helps to do, of course, is make it a more level playing field, because that more than pays for the cost of bringing people down here, although that is changing as well, especially in the television arena. They are tending to bring less people down now. Often with these produc­ tions they will send a director and a producer. Sometimes I’ll work as a producer on the show for them, and they will just send a director down.

Basically, all we have done here is American-style production going back to Mission: Impossible [televi­ sion] days. We have built a range of expertise of people doing Americantype productions. Our production designers, for example, are used to doing projects that are based in America and are able to deliver. Often they say, “We should bring a designer down to get the American slant to it”, and we say, “ Don’t. We have designers here who have done hours of television or theatrical work and such.” So, it is a confidence thing as much as anything. W h a t d is a d v a n t a g e s a r e t h e r e f o r

W h a t is t h e p r in c i p a l w a y s o f m a r ­ k e t in g t h e

S t u d io s i n t e r n a t io n a l l y ?

It is probably twofold. We are lucky in this state that we also have the Queensland government’s Pacific Film and Television Commission [PFTC], which was formed about the same time as I came up here to work with Studios. In fact, I was on the board of the PFTC before I actually came to work at the Studios. It is more along the lines of an American film office, in that its major function is to market the state and attract pro­ duction to the state. It is a little different to Film Queensland, which has a more state film office tradi­ tional role of investment and film development and so on.1 The PFTC has done a lot of joint­ marketing of the state. Initially, it held seminars in Los Angeles for heads of production, studio heads and producers. I go there six times a year. Now with Export Film Services Australia, we do a lot of inward-bound mis­ sions, which I believe are the best way of promoting what we have down here. You can give people brochures, you can show them video­ tapes, but there is no substitute for having them come down here and actually seeing what we have to offer and talk with people about it. If somebody has a project they think would work in Australia, we ask them to send the script down. We’ll read it and, first, tell them if we believe it is do-able here. Second, we will budget it for them and tell them what it will cost them here. Third, the film office will do a location presentation for C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997

W h a t d o t h e o f f - s h o r e p r o d u c t io n s SEE AS THE MAJOR ADVANTAGES OF FILMING HERE?

Over all, it is economics. Everyone is trying to get more bang for their buck wherever they are filming. With television production, we are saving some money, especially with movies of the week. What we are tending to be able to give them is more production value for their money, or there have been projects that they haven’t been able to do in the U.S. for their finite budget. The normal MOW is now around the $3 million U.S. mark and a lot of pro­ jects they can’t afford to do in the

B e c a u s e t h e q u a l it y o f t h e p e o p l e WORKING HERE HAS STRENGTHENED, OR BECAUSE THE OFF-SHORERS HAVE MORE FAITH?

I think it is quality and confidence.

PEOPLE COMING DOWN HERE, AND ARE THEY FIXABLE?

One of the big disadvantages of doing a lot of American stuff is, of course, we drive on the other side of the road. Doing urban driving-type shows is difficult. We can do them on a smaller scale and it probably works more for television than it does for theatrical, when you are not playing on that bigger screen. The pool of actors who can play American is sometimes a disadvan­ tage to us, although that has grown over the years, with people either moving to Australia or Australian actors working more on their accents. The bringing in of actors, whilst we have never had an absolutely defi­ nite “no”, is sometimes restrictive. Whilst there is a definite process in place for bringing overseas actors

65


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into Australia, I think this is a cate­ gory that doesn’t fit in any of the current guidelines. We are talking about pictures that are absolutely 100 percent financed from off-shore. They are pictures or television series that are usually set in America, and I believe there should be a category with different guidelines associated with those shows. Having said that, producers also don’t want to bring all their cast from America, otherwise it becomes counter-productive and uneconomi­ cal. The norm tends to be around about six people on a MOW. I was doing some figures recently and I think we’ve brought in some­ thing like 175 actors over the past five years into projects we have pro­ duced through the studios or through VRP Production Services. And in that time there has been something like $4 million spent on fees for Australian actors. So, there has also been quite an amount of work for Australian actors which would normally not have been there. And the amount of work given to Australian crews in that time is probably something like $10-12 million. What we have developed, I believe, is a new strand of production in Aus­ tralia, which has been beneficial to both the acting community, certainly for the technical crew side of it, and also for Australian directors as well, because there are a lot of directors working. All Flipper was directed by Australia directors. Most of Time Trax was directed by Australian directors. A CBS MOW we recently did was directed by John Power. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was directed by Rod Hardy. Kevin Dobson directed

Thornbirds. Another interesting aspect about this off-shore production path is the benefit to the Australian government in terms of export dollars, and build­ ing a service industry. Austrade was sufficiently interested to set up Export Film Services Australia, because they saw what was happen­ ing. Through the Studios alone over the past five years, we’ve gone close to bringing in something like $200 million in export earnings to Aus­ tralia, and more specifically Queensland. It has been, from that point of view, a very interesting exer­ cise and it is one that perhaps gets lost in the debate about this. It is a very different industry. It is bringing those dollars in to be spent here,

68

instead of Australian pictures being exported initially, then the dollars flowing back in. It has made it a much easier way to finance these pictures, and I guess it means there has been a whole strand of production that has not had either state film body financial support, AFC support, FFC support, or tax support at all. It has just been purely invest­ ment money coming into the country. M a n y A u s t r a l ia n d ir e c t o r s h a v e GONE OFF TO HOLLYWOOD. D o YOU HAVE

THE SAME PROBLEM WITH CREWS AND ACTORS ONCE THEY REACH A CERTAIN LEVEL?

The major problem areas are direc­ tors and directors of photography. They tend to be the ones stolen quicker than anyone else. In the main, we have been pretty lucky. Because Village is so involved overall, along with another arm of Village that I run, VRP Production Services, we have been able to bring people on. What we have here at the Studios at the moment is what we used to have at Crawfords. There is a body of production where people can move. The people who worked on Pacific Drive, for instance, are proba­ bly lesser experienced than people who worked on Flipper, who may be less experienced than those who worked on Thornbirds. If we can keep this mass of production here, then we have the opportunity of training people through the system,

which has been very hard in Australia since the demise of Crawfords. Because it has become much more independent production, once the production is done everybody goes. If we can overlap and keep running a production like this, then the train­ ing opportunities become stronger for people. So YOU HAVE of

TRIED TO BRING THE BEST

Cra w fo rd s h er e?

Yes. Nick McMahon, who is executive vice-president of Village Roadshow

Pictures Television, and I both were directors of Crawfords. We were there for a long time and saw the advantages of that system, and I think there is an advantage in that system. We also do a lot of training and peo­ ple come in on the attachment side. I sit on the course advisory committee both at QUT and Bond University in their television schools. With Bond, we have an internship programme and we take three students in their last semester of their television course there and they spend at least a day a week at the Studios involved in work here, involved in work on pro­ ductions. That is a great training ground for them. It gives them the opportunity to be exposed to what they are about to go into, and some of those people have got jobs with us here once they graduated. You m e n t i o n e d s e v e r a l t i m e s VRP P r o d u c t io n S e r v i c e s . W h a t w a s t h e

RATIONALE BEHIND SETTING IT UP?

What I found is a lot of productions coming down here were not necessarily keen on setting up a pro­ duction company here in Australia. They wanted to do it as simply as possible. I suggested to Village that we set up a production services com­ pany that became the producer in Australia and the employer of the Australian crews and cast, etc., on these American productions. All they need to do is pay us a fee for the ser­ vice and we would take over the production in Australia. I either act as producer for them, or line producer or as production consultant. What we tend to do is expand that. The majority of the productions that have come through the studios now utilize that service. And, indeed, we have expanded that. Most of Vil­ lage’s own production goes through that company, but also we will use it anywhere in Australia, or even in South East Asia. I tell producers, “ Don’t think just of Queensland. We are better posi­ tioned to service your production anywhere in South East Asia, and probably do it much more economi­ cally by using Australian technicians, Australia equipment and such. It is much simpler to ship it from here than from the States and you then take advantage of the savings that you may get in Australia.” It has worked very well for us. With The Phantom, we were the produc­ tion services company in Thailand, as well as in Australia. Because we have such a mass of production, we’ve been able to negotiate the best deals with the services outside the Studios, like the laboratories. It has also meant that the off-shore productions have got around having to deal with the unions. We will do all the union negotiations with them, and indeed VRP Production Services has for the past three years. We are just in the process a finalizing an agreement with Media Arts Alliance in relation to off-shore production with actors in television, and we are indeed expanding that to cover feature films for the next three years as well. D o e s A la n F in n e y ’ s m o v e t o V il l a g e R o a d s h o w P r o d u c t io n s r e p r e s e n t A DIFFERENT DIRECTION?

Alan was already doing a lot with Australian production. What we’ve decided to do is focus Alan more in that area. It has meant that Alan is probably working closer with the C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


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te c h n ic a litie s

production division now than we have in the past. The production division within Village has grown substantially over the past few years, and we want to develop that. We want to be sure that not only what we are developing in-house, but projects outside of it. Maybe we are better served to act as producer for some of these projects with some new people coming through. For instance, last year we finished Hotel De Love, which I produced with David Parker in Melbourne, where we had a first time director-writer. Village was able to package the deal around him. We are always looking outside of what we are developing for I guess the next Muriel’s Wedding, the next Priscilla. We are the ones that are doing that as much as I guess the other people in the game outside ofVillage. We are very well situated with a very strong production division and a very strong distribution/exhibition arm to do that - and an exhibition arm that I guess is growing through Asia and into Europe. We want to be sure that we are the ones that are getting the pictures that are coming out of new Australian talent. D o YOU SEE THE SYDNEY FOX STUDIOS HAVING ANY EFFECT ON YOUR STU D IO S?

It will be competition, but from an overall situation competition is a good thing. Also, if there are more facilities available, then they are going to attract more production to the country. We both offer things that are slightly different. Where we are set up here, we have a great range of locations that are a very short dis­ tance from here, whereas in Sydney it becomes much more urban. If you drive half an hour from the studios in Sydney, you are still in a suburban area, whereas half an hour from here you have absolutely pristine rainfor­ est. From that point of view, we have an advantage. I’m not sure how they are going to deal with Australian production, you know. My feeling is that most lowbudget Australian production will not use studios. It hasn’t to date and I don’t believe it will; the finances don’t make that work. So, they would need to fall back on what we are doing and that is attract off-shore production and also use, in the case they don’t have a partner, their owner to utilize it as well.

70

What I do find interesting is that Sydney eventually got its studios, but only because it was heavily subsidized by the governments, both state and federal, whereas the studios here were much more eco­ nomically driven. Certainly, there was state government support of them, but that support was byway of low-interest loans, which have been repaid to the government. Running studios is not a way to get rich and I just wonder if the econom­ ics in Sydney would have been such that somebody could have made it happen there. Pr esu m a b ly th ere are ad va n tages IN HAVING STUDIOS SID E-BY-SID E WITH A THEME PARK, AS WELL?

Very much so. Universal have shown that, and we’ve shown it here. In our early days of setting up, having the theme park being part of the overall thing is very good for it, but with this theme park, of course, a lot of the credibility is attached to having busy studios. The studios are to MovieWorld what the dolphins are to SeaWorld. YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE EVERY STUDIO DOOR CLOSED AS THEY DRIVE AROUND

Exactly. Flaving Ray Liotta or Billy Zane at the Studios helps in making MovieWorld more attractive. But certainly in an economic sense it is I a plus in having that park there. Also, the Sydney studios will be slightly different. We are a four-wall operation. We don’t own anything but the studios on this complex, apart from our wardrobe department. Any other facility here, and there are about nine or ten other companies working, are companies that pay a rent to us, like Videolab, Show Travel, Photon Stockman, Samuelsons. We always push them as the preferred facility supplier to people coming in here, but they don’t have to use them, whereas in Sydney, from what I’ve read, they will be a little bit more like the Flollywood studios. They will have some infrastructure that they will own as well. ©

Other Key Studios The following list makes no attempt to be exhaustive about major feature-film studios, but merely to give an indica­ tion of other studios available.

New South Wales 101 Eton Road, Lindfield, NSW 2070. Tel: (02) 9413 8691, Fax: (02) 9416 5672 Set on two hectares of bushland close to Chatswood and fifteen min­ utes from Sydney’s CBD, Film Australia has quite a large range of facilities available, including: • two Lightworks editing suites with Pro Sound and Turbo options, and 1.5Gb removable optical rewritable disk drives and tielines to DAT syncing facilities • three SP Betacam offline editing suites fitted with two Sony SP Betacam machines, Sony RM450 controller, Digiteyes’ frED auto edit controller, and Shotlister and Pipedream software • tape to tape colour correction through the Corporate Cummunications ‘Sunburst’ Colour Correction System and Accom grain reducer • 10 film editing suites for 16mm, Si6mm and 35mm equipped with Steenbecks, picture synchronizers and trim bins. Syncing and num­ bering facilities are also available • a fully soundproof soundstage 20m x 10m x 3.5m with two moveable overhead gantries, an infinity cyclorama, magnesite floor and three phase power • wardrobe and make-up rooms, a production office and a green room • a separate, non-soundproof studio for packshots and model work • the Roxy Presentation Theatre which seats 200 people and has a large foyer and bar area Film Australia offers full support for 16mm and 35mm, optical effects, film laboratory, negative matching, stock shot library, audio post-production and video graphics. F il m A u s t r a l i a :

South Australia S o u t h A u s t r a l ia n F il m C o m m i s s i o n

1 Since this interview was done, dramatic changes have been mooted in Queens­ land. It is possible that both the PFTC and Film Queensland will be closed at the end of the 1996/97 financial year and a new body will be formed. Cinema Papers will report on all the new devel­ opments in Queensland, including any effect on the Studios, as soon as things are finalized.

3 Butler Drive, Flendon Common, Adelaide, SA 5014. Tel: (08) 8348 9300, Fax: (08) 8347 0385 Located in Flendon, 15 minutes from Adelaide’s International Airport and 20 minutes from the city centre, the SAFC studios have hosted films such as Rolf de Fleer’s Bad Boy Bubby and The Quiet Room, Scott Flicks’ Shine, and the sound recording stu­

S t u d io s :

dios have been used for films such as What I Have Written and Zone 39. There are two sound stages, one 30m x 16.5m x 5.25m, and the other 24.5m x 16.5m x 5.25m. They are soundproof and have widedoors open­ ing onto a large carpark with plenty of room for trucks and crew vehicles. Interior doors lead to various large production suites, smaller offices, and complete Art Department facilities. The Art Department includes a large workshop with a separate office, stand-by props store and a Wardrobe Department comprising two costume workshops with fitting rooms, a laundry, drying room and two makeup rooms. There is also a cafe available for cast and crew catering that seats 100. Editing Rooms are equipped with Steenbeck and Moviola 35 and 16mm machines. Non-linear and sound edit­ ing facilities are also on site. Rushes screening in 35mm anamorphic, Super 35 and 35mm wide screen, 16mm and Super 16mm double-head. The Sound Department is equipped with a digital foley/post sync dialog theatre, a television mixing theatre and a Dolby SR»D stereo mixing theatre for theatrical product. Equipment includes Studer 24 track ATR, 12MTE dubbers including 6x6 track, coupled to one 6 track recorder and one 4 track recorder. A Fairlight mfx3 is wired to all theatres. Fligh-speed rock and roll MTE projector for 35mm anamorphic, 16mm and Super 16mm image. Other services include: continuous double­ head 35mm and 16mm screenings, sound transfers to and from all for­ mats, and non-linear and sound editing services are also available on site.

Victoria 117 Rouse Street, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207. Tel: (03) 9646 4022, Fax: (03) 9646 6336 The Melbourne Film Studios in Port Melbourne, 7km from the CBD and close to the many post-production facilities in South Melbourne, have been utilized by films such as George Miller’s Gross Misconduct and The Man from Snowy River, and John Ruane’s Death in Brunswick. Owned by filmmaking partners Nadia Tass and David Parker, the Studios consist of a soundproof soundstage 31.4m x 19.5m x 11.6m, lighting grid, make-up room, green room, wardrobe rooms and a canteen. Also available at the studios is a range of adaptable office spaces for permanent, semi-permanent or tempo­ rary productions. M e l b o u r n e Fil m S t u d io s :

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


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even films * seven worlds • seven weeks Fina Torres'

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(Sweden)

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B R O T H E R O F SLEEP

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tour dates

L 'A M O R E M O L E S T O otaiy)

SYDNEY - Academy Twin April 24 ■June 18 PERTH • Cinema Paradiso May 1 - June 25 MELBOURNE - George Cinemas May 8 - July 2 CANBERRA - Electric Shadows May 15 - June 9 ADELAIDE - East End Cinemas May 22 - July 16

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FA LLEN A N C E L S

(Hong Kong)

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AUSTRALIAN SCREENPLAYS

The Australian Screenplays collection, published by Currency Press, the p e r fo r m in g a rts p u b lis h e r , highlights the diverse, highly individual and vigorous state of contemporary Australian films. These screenplays explore a variety of issues including: race relations (.D ea d H eart), small town yearnings {L o v e S eren a d e), teenage violence {B la c k r o ck ), schizophrenia (A n gel B a b y ) and ideology {C h ild ren o f the R ev olu tion ). Other titles include M u r ie l’s Wedding', B a d B o y Bubby, T he Sum o f Us and The A dventures o f P r is c illa Q u een o f the D esert. All titles are priced at $17.95 (RRP) and include B/W and colour stills from the film as well as introductions from the films’ writers/directors/producers and film commentators. C urrency P ress, PO B ox 452, P addington, NSW, 2021, A ustraua. E-mail: c u n re iic y @ m a g n a .c o m .a u

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FFC Funding Decisions Features

Brothers and Sisters Canary in the Mine The Highest Authority Mohammed Ali’s Happy Feast Day Our Park Rite of Passage Secret Fear

73 73 73 73 73 73 73

I

i i i i i i i i i i i i

Production Survey

Features in Post-production

Features in P re-production

Justice

73

Features in production

Amy Fallen Eights The Real Macaw The Sugar Factory

74 74 74 74

FFC Funding Decisions Following Board meetings in March 1997 the F F C has entered into contract negotiations with the producers of the following projects:

BROTHERS AND SISTERS

pain and disability, and he has a remarkable strength of spirit. Jonathan belies a wisdom beyond his years in his understanding of love, friendship, beauty and suffering. Through the eyes of personal friends, including environmentalist Dr David Suzuki, the film will also look at Jonathan's impact on others.

(55 mins A ccord Documentary)

THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY

S onja A rmstrong P roductions

(55 mins A ccord Documentary)

D: Russell Vines P: Sonja Armstrong W: J oan Sauers

Film A rt Doco D: Daryl Dellora P: Sue Maslin W: Daryl Dellora Pre-sale: ABC

Pre-sale: A BC

E veryone who has a brother or sister

knows the sibling bond can be one of the most rewarding, infuriating and complicated relationships in his or her life. But until now, this connection has not been seen to be as important as the parent-child relationship, orthe bond we share with romantic partners. Brothers and Sisters features a variety of sibling groups who have compelling stories to tell.

CANARY IN THE MINE (46 mins A ccord Documentary)

ost people know about the Mabo and Wik decisions, but few know much about the decision makers: the High Court of Australia. The Highest Authority will show first hand the characters and drama of the High Court of Australia, the pinnacle of legal and constitutional processes in Australia. The role of the Court will be explored as the film follows constitutional, criminal and civil appeals where much is at stake and the decision of the Justices is final.

RB Films

MOHAMMED ALI'S HAPPY FEAST DAY (55 mins A ccord Documentary) Little Universe Films

C

D: Nicola Tyndale-B iscoe P: Catherine Dyson W: Nicola Tyndale-B iscoe Pre-sale: SBS

T

he "Happy Day" feast is a Somali ritual of celebration. Traditionally, everything from the first rain after the drought to the purchase of a good camel is acknowledged with a feast,

74 74 74 74 74 76 76 76 76 76 76

and this spirit lives on every Saturday night in a small café in the Melbourne working-class suburb of Flemington. It is a celebration of another week of survival and progress for a new refugee community. Through the voices of Mohammed and Halima -th e hosts of the Dhodaan Cafe - and the stories of their patrons, a portrait emerges of the collective loss suffered by more than five thousand Somalis., most of whom have arrived in Melbourne since 1991. That portrait becomes more complex and poignant as we experience the intimacy of the friendships, support networks and the optimism characterized by the Happy Day feast

I

i i i i i I

i

Wanted The Truth About Taro The Well Shorts

Dr Amoeba Does Sex! Nine Cauldrons D ocum entary

The Golden Mile Little Brother, Little Sister “The Nomads”

Co-P: Richard Keddie Ws: Richard Keddie, A ndrew W iseman Pre-sale: SBS

ite of Passage is a story about a dramatic month in the lives of 35 long-term unemployed young people when an organization called 'Breaking the Cycle'takes them out of their existing lives - and fast-tracks them into adulthood. On offer is a job and a future. The price is the young people's determination to confront the troubles of their youth, and move into adulthood.

R

SECRET FEAR (50 mins A ccord Documentary)

OUR PARK

Fertile Films

(55 mins A ccord Documentary)

D: Sarah Stephens

B lack Dog Pictures D: Gillian Leahy P: Gillian Leahy Co-P: Sophie J ackson W: Gillian Leahy Pre-sale: SBS

M

D: Laurel Cohn P: Rosemary Blight W: Laurel Cohn Pre-sale: Channel 7

anary in the Mine is about 16-yearold Jonathan Wilson-Fuller. Jonathan is an extremely bright and impassioned young person. He is eloquent and outspoken on issues concerning the environment and the way we live in the world. He is also acutely chemically intolerant. His understanding of the world is imbued with a potent experience of physical

Aberration The Alive Tribe Black Ice Four Jacks One Way Ticket Oscar and Lucinda Out of the Blue Pigeon Scream Siam Sunset Sound of One Hand Clapping

O

ur Park covers a year in the life of

White's Creek Valley Park in Leichhardt, Sydney. The pensioners, the migrants, Housing Commission tenants, yuppies and old working-class Australians who live around the park all have conflicting ideas of how the park should be developed. How does a community negotiate such diverse ideas? In our big city environment, the park is a battleground between the wild and the tame, and a place where we think through our relationship to the natural world. In a time when "wildness" gets further and further from our reach, this is a crucial activity.

RITE OF PASSAGE (55 mins A ccord Documentary) A pollo Films D: Richard Keddie P: A ndrew W iseman

K

e y

EP Executive Producer P Producer Co-P Co-Producer AS Associate Producer LP Line Producer D Director SW Scriptwriter C Cast PC Principal Cast S E Story Editor W D Writer-director D IS T Distributor N O T E : Production Survey forrru1 now adhere to a revised form a t. Cinema Papers regretd it cannot accept inform ation received in a differen tform a t.

Cinema Papers does not accept redpondibility fo r the accuracy o f any inform ation dupplied by production companied. Thid id pa rticu la rly the cade when inform ation changed but the production com pany m aked no attem pt to correct w hat had already been dupplied.

P: Eva Orner W: Sarah Stephens Pre-sale: SBS ecret Fear focuses on the experiences of several people who suffer from or have recovered from an anxiety disorder. Psychiatrists are beginning to realize that sufferers of anxiety disorders frequently play down the severity of their condition and will sometimes suicide without warning. That anxiety disorders have occurred throughout history and across cultures is beyond dispute, but the way we respond to excessive anxiety depends on our cultural references. This programme touches on these explanations and attempts to offer hope for those afflicted through the experiences of others who have found their own solutions.

S

Production Survey [As a t l April 1997.]

Featured tn p re-production JUSTICE Production company: W est Coast Pictures Distribution company: Newvision Budget: S1.72m Pre-production: A pril 1, 1997 (5 weeks) Production: May 5, 1997 (6 WEEKS) Post-production: 16/6- 12/9/97

Principal Credits Director: Ron Elliott Producer: Bob Roget Line producer: Dixie Betts Executive producer: Larry Hirsch Associate producers: Ryan HODGSON,

Kelvin Munro, Stuart McCracken Based on the original screenplay titled:

J ustice By: Bob Roget Director of photography: Alex McPhee Production designer: Clayton J auncey

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~production Production Survey continued Costume Designer: Lisa Galea Editor: Lawrie Silverstrin Sound recordist: Scott Montgomery

Punning

Development Script editor: Steve Turnball and

Casting consultants:

A nnie M urtagh-M onks & A ssociates Extras casting: J enni Cohen Budgeted by: Dixie Betts Production Crew Production manager: Dixie Betts Production co-ordinator: Liz J anney, J enni Cohen Location manager: T im Burns Production accountant: Lisa Smith Insurer: HW W ood Australia Pty Ltd Completion guarantor: First A ustralian Completion Co. Camera Crew Camera operator: A lex Mc Phee Focus puller: Torstein Dyrting Clapper-loader: Sean Meehan Camera assistant: David M cM illan Key grip: Barry Hansen Gaffer: T ed Nordsvan Best boy: Craig Irwin On- set Crew 1st assistant director:

M ichael Faranda Continuity: J an Piantoni Make-up: Lesley Rouvray Hairdresser: Lesley Rouvray Stunts co-ordinator: Peter W est Safety officer: Peter W est

Art Department Art director: Clayton J auncey Art department co-ordinator:

Debbie Taylor Art department runner: Sam Hobbs Set dresser: Debbie Taylor Props buyer: Beth Garswood Standby props: Kelvin Sexton

W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Lisa Galea Standby wardrobe: Christine Lynch Wardrobe assistant: A bby W ilson Post- production (Film and/ or Video) Post-production supervisor:

Lawrie Silverstrin Government A gency Investment Production: Screen W est, FFC Marketing International sales agent/distributor:

A ugust Entertainment Cast Marcus Graham (Bobby Lewis), Kerry Armstrong (Annie Martin)

is an 'against the odds' story of hope and inspiration. Set against the background of the city slums, an alcoholic derelict is framed for the murder of a female Internal Affairs officer. In order to prove his innocence, he must first fight and conquer his personal demons before he is able to challenge the legal system and, representing himself, discover the truth and bring the guilty to justice.

J

u stice

Featured in production

AMY

W

ith his distinctive 'voice' and unusual view of life, Harris takes one through his story: a harrowing journey of humour, grief, resolution and redemption.

odern-day sexual thriller set in the post apocalypse.

THE REAL MACAW Production company: BECKER Films

P/L

Location: Brisbane, A ustralia & Bali

Set decorators: LlSA THOMPSON, NlC

Featured in podt-production

Budget: $5.5 MILLION

Brunner Set dresser: Daniel Mapp-M oroni Standby props: Harry ZETTEL Art department assistant: J anie Parker Graphic artist: J ane M urphy Draftsperson: Steven W hiting W ardrobe Costume assistant: Bernice Devereaux Standby wardrobe: Mandy Sedawie

Production office: Brisbane Distribution company:

REP Distribution P/L Production: 10/2-18/4/97

ABERRATION

Principal Credits

Production company: Grundy Films

Director: Mario ANDREACCHIO

Production: 25/11/96 - 6/1/97 (Wellington

Producer: Margot M cDonald

and Queenstown, New Zealand)

Co-producers: ROCKY Bester,

Principal Credits

Costumier: ALISON FOWLER Assistant wardrobe: Denise Petrovic

Bruce Hancock, Tim Prescott Executive producer: Richard Becker

Director: TlM BOXELL Producer: Chris Brown

Construction Department

Scriptwriters: BRUCE HANCOCK,

NZ producer: T im Sanders

Scenic artist: JOHN HARATZIS Construction manager: Brendan M ullen

Mathew Perry

Co-producer: SCOTT Lew

Director of photography: David Foreman

Scriptwriters: Darrin Oura, Scott Lew

Post- production

Editor: Ted Mason

Director of photography: ALLEN GUILFORD

Post-production supervisor: David Birrell Assistant editor: DAVID BlRRELL Editing assistant: Rochelle ÜSHLACK Sound editor: Paul Huntingford Foley artist: PAUL HUNTINGFORD Music supervisor: Chris Gough,

Production designer: ROSS MAJOR

Production designer: GRANT MAJOR

A my Film Productions Distribution company: Beyond Films Ltd (international), Village Roadshow Ltd (Australia and New Zealand) Production: 24/3-24/5/97 Principal Credits Director: Nadia Tass Producers: Nadia Tass and David Parker Co-producer: PHIL JONES Based on the original screenplay titled: A my By: David Parker Director of photography: KEITH W aGSTAFF Production designer: J on Dowding Costume Supervisor: Christiana Plitzeo Editor: Bill M urphy Composer: Phil J udd Sound designer: DEAN GAWEN Sound recordist: A ndrew Ramage Production Crew Production manager: Lesley Parker Production co-ordinator: TRISH FOREMAN Producers' assistant: J ane Hamilton Production secretary: COLETTE BlRRELL Location manager: Neil McCart (Spider) Unit manager: Leigh Ammitzboll Unit assistant: Peter Boekeman Production runner: J onathon Rishworth Production accountant: Nadeen Kingshott Insurer: Tony Leonard, AON Risk Services Completion guarantor: A drienne Read Legal services: Bryce M enzies, Roth W arren Camera Crew Camera operator: David W illiamson Focus puller: Warwick Field Clapper-loader: J ude L0VATT Key grip: Richard A llardice Grip: Peter Stockley Assistant grip: MARIN JOHNSON Gaffer: Ian Dewhurst Best boy: Lex Martin 3rd electrics: M ichael Hughes 4th electrics: Chris Dewhurst On-set Crew 1st assistant director: Bob Donaldson 2nd assistant director: CHRISTIAN ROBINSON 3rd assistant director: Iain Pirret Director's assistant: Clea Frost Continuity: Jo WEEKS Video split operator: Pip W incer Boom operator: Tony Dickinson Make-up: A manda Rowbottom Hairdresser: Zeljka Stanin Special fx supervisor: Peter Stubbs Stunts co-ordinator: ZEV ELETHERIOU Safety supervisor: Tom Coltraine Unit nurse: Ted Green Still photography: SKIP WATKINS Unit publicist: Sarah Finney Caterer: J enny Stockley Caterer's assistant: TIFFANY MORRIS Tutor/chaperone: Maree Gray A rt Department Art director: HUGH BATEUP Art department co-ordinator: Christina Norman

M

Production Crew

Production Crew

Production manager: Rosslyn A bernethy

Production supervisor: Bridget Bourke Location manager: Scott Donaldson

A rt Department

1st assistant director: Chris Short

Marketing Publicity: FIONA SEARSON,

Government A gency Investment Finance: FFC, Becker Group, SAFC,

Government A gency Investment

Film QLD, NSWFTO

Production: Australian Film Commission:

Rachel Griffiths (Tanya), Alana De Roma (Amy), Ben Mendelsohn (Robert), Nick Barker (Will), Kerry Armstrong (Sarah), Jeremy Trigatti (Zac), William Zappa (Bill), Sullivan Stapleton (Wayne), Torquil Neilson (Luke),Mary Ward (Mrs Mullins), Susie Porter (Anny)

A

my is an eight-year-old girl who can only hear music and communicates by singing.

FALLEN EIGHTS Production company: KUDOS PRODUCTIONS Pre-production: J anuary-February 1997 Production: March 1997

chiller film in the tradition of Trem ors. A woman on the run becomes trapped in a remote cabin with a local scientist during a blizzard.

J ason Robards, J amie Crofts, Deborra-Lee Furness, J oe Petruzzi, J ohn W aters.

THE ALIVE TRIBE

A

comedy adventure about a teenage boy and his grandfather's 150-year-old talking parrot who head off on a treasure hunt to save grandfather from being forced into a "pet-free" retirement home.

Principal Credits Director: STEPHEN AMIS Producer: Stephen A mis Line producer: SHARON PEERS Associate producers: Heng Tang,

Peter J inks, Greg J inks, Lawrence Silberstein Director of photography: Darrel Stokes

THE SUGAR FACTORY Production company: IMAGINE Films Distribution company: Beyond Films

Editor: ROBERT MURPHY

Production office: Sydney

Production designer: Priscilla Davies

Production: 27/2-18/4/97

Music: J ohn Phillips

Principal Credits

Production Crew

Director: ROBERT CARTER

Production manager: Myrlene Barr

Producer: J enny W oods

Production co-ordinator: Rasa Zdanius

Co-producer: A nthony Bickley Director of photography: A ndrew Lesnie Editor: Wayne Le Clos

Line producer: NATHAN STONES

Production designer: NICHOLAS McCallum Production Manager: Sue Mackay Composer: Peter Best Costume Designer: Theresa J ackson 1st Assistant Director: J amie Crooks Worldwide sales: Beyond Films (Excl.

Production Crew

A

Cast

Director: Kristian I. Connelly

Production supervisor: Kathleen HUTSON Production secretary: Stephanie Stones

Cast Simon Bossell, Pamela Gidley

Gauge: 35 mm

Producer: Danny Ginsberg, Ryan Gibson

Composer: Erica Hajij

Publicity: S ian C lement (02) 9450 3650

Length: 90 MINS

Scriptwriter: Robert CARTER

Scriptwriter: KRISTIAN I. CONNELLY

M arketing Sales agent: V ictor F ilm C o.

Post-production

Principal Credits

Executive producer: Kristian I. Connelly

Special fx: David Riley, Susanna Morphett, Daniel Perry.

DDA

Cutting Rooms: NOISY PICTURES Telecine: Complete Post

Commercial Television Production Fund Marketing International sales agent: Beyond Films Limited Domestic distributor: VILLAGE ROADSHOW Limited Network Pre-sale: Nine NETWORK Cast

On- set Crew

Art director: M ichael Rumpf

Mana Music Laboratory: Cinevex Laboratory liaison: Ian A nderson

Producer's assistant: Marla AKRTITIS

Camera Crew Camera operator: Steve W elch Clapper-loaders: A rianne Peers,

Christine Birman Camera assistant: GARY SOTT Key grip: Stephen Oyston Gaffer: Brett Hull Best boy: ROSS Orr

A ustralia & New Zealand) Unit publicity: Lisa Young

On-set Crew 1st assistant director: Monique Grbec

On- set Crew

Government Agency Investment

1st assistant director: ASHLEY Bell

Finance: FFC

Marketing

Post-production

Director’s assistant: TAMARA Schnapp

Publicity: Danny Ginsberg -

Length: 95 MINS Gauge: 35mm

Script editor: Yvonne Pecujac

Cast Cast: Matt Day, Rhondda Findleton, J ohn W aters

Make-up: J ulia Green, Clea Stapleton

Kudos Productions Cast M ike McLeish (M ichael Reeves) [Still casting.]

2nd assistant directors: Jo Todd,

Nadia Cossich

Continuity: A nna Lightfoot Stunts co-ordinator: P J Chris Peters Safety supervisor: PETER CULPAN

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C I N E M A P A P E R S • MA Y 1997


Winning Post Film Editors 02 9439 4366


production

Production Survey continued Stills: Peter M ilne

FOUR JACKS

A rt Department W ardrobe

Production company: Pipeline Films Production: 20/1-21/2/97 Post-production: 21/2-30/4/97

Wardrobe: KAREN Tate

Principal Credits

Post- production

Director: Mathew George Producers: ROBERT GOUGH, Stephen Stanford Line producer: Gene Geoffrey Scriptwriter: Mathew George Director of photography:

Armourer: J ohn Fox

Sound: M ichael Kitson Mixing:

M&E

Telecine: AAV Laboratory: CiNEVEX Film gauge: Super 16 Track-laying services: Labsonics

J ustin B rickle

Cast

Sound recordist: M artin K eir Editor: M ark Ellis Production designer: Ralph M oser Costume designer: Ruben T homas

Craig A dams, Kate Atcheson, Ian Scott, J ohn A rnold, Susie Dee, Maureen A ndrew, Steve Gome, Sophie M oor, Gary Gartside, J ohn Clarke, Peter Moon, David J ohnston, Lillian Frank, Bernie Quinlan

Planning and Development Casting: CHAMELEON CASTING Shooting schedule by: MONIQUE Grbec Production Crew Producer's assistants: H olly M ackay ,

T

he Alive Tribe is a wild bunch of hipped-out student radicals who fight for anything, from ecological Armageddon to the ozone layer and animal liberation. Set around the final days of the Fitzroy Football Club merger, the film explores the theme: evolve or die.

N ioue R iches , P ip S a llaban k , N in a N ichols Location manager: A oinya Ni Nullain Unit manager: Rohan J Anderson Production runner: David Pritchard

Camera Crew Focus puller: Cameron Dunn Clapper-loader: Sinead Buhler Camera type: Aarton Key grip: Freddo Dirk Assistant grip: MARK BUZZCURRIE Gaffer: Karl Engler Best boy: Darren Chou

THE BIG RED (working title) [See previous issue

for details.]

BLACK ICE

On- set Crew

Production company: WEDGETAIL Film Management Ltd Budget: $1.5 Million

1st assistant director: MONIQUE GRBEC 2nd assistant director: LlNDA K ane Continuity: G iula Sandler Boom operator: C hris O 'S hea Catering: Fab Foods

Principal Credits Director: J ames Richards Producer: Robert Greenough Executive producers: Bill Mutter, Ron W illiams Associate producer: Ron Vreeken Scriptwriters: J ames Richards, Rob Greenough

Cast Tommy Dysart, Stephen Pearse, A dam Haddrich, A lan King, Dave Serrifin, Lachy Hulme

Director of photography:

Kevin 'Loosey' Lind Production Crew Post-production supervisor:

Karl Bransten Choreographers: Ron Vreeken, J ames W illiams Assistant editor: A dam W eis

F

our young men piece together their rôle in a murder gone wrong.

N

athan Vaughn, an enigmatic man, a coiled spring ready to explode, is recruited by Detective Andy Riddle to hand out his own form of rough justice. Vaughn begins working for criminal Curtis Starr which is his final journey to self-destruction.

Production accountant: Ron Rheuben Assistant production accountant:

J ason Gooden Insurance: Tony Gibbs

Production company: GRUNDY TELEVISION Production: 15/2/97 (FOR 5 WEEKS) Location: MELBOURNE AND ENVIRONS

Legals: O'Neill-Owens

Principal Crédits

Focus puller: Roger Boyle

JOEY [S ee p . 33 for details.]

Clapper-loader: Les S neal

Director: Richard Franklin Producer: I an B radley

Gaffer: STEVE CARTER

On-set Crew

Executive producers: A ndrew B rooke, K ris N oble Scriptwriters: M ichael B rindley , K aren A ltm ann Director of photography: Ellery Ryan Editor: D avid P ulbrook Production designer: P addy R eardon

[S ee p. 32 for details.]

MY BLESSINGS [S ee previous issue for details.]

SOUND OF ONE HAND

1st assistant director: Clinton W hite Continuity: STEWART EWINGS

CLAPPING

Make-up: HILARY PEARCE

Production company: ARTIST SERVICES Production: 7/10-22/11/96 Producer: Rolf DE Heer Writer: Richard Flanagan Script editor: DEBORAH Cox

Hairdresser: Hilary Pearce Stunt co-ordinator: Grant Page Post- production

Planning and Development

Post-production supervisor: Rose Dority

Casting: M aura Fay & ASSOC

Soundtrack: PACIFIC Rim

Cast

Production Crew

Music co-ordination: PACIFIC RlM

Kerry Fox

Laboratory: MOVIELAB

Production supervisor: EMANUEL MATSOS

Post-production facility: S pectrum

Marketing

P eter P helps , Rachel B lakeney , Chris Haywood

T he story of a female prison officer: married, reliable, trusted. Yet she planned the most spectacular gaolbreak in Australia's criminal history - for the love of a convicted murderer.

Principal Credits

A

Royal Commission into police corruption is announced. Three brothers from different walks in life and through pure circumstance collide with the underworld and authorities.

Director: Hung-SOON "HOWARD" Chung Producer: Steven Heo Line producer: Glenda Carpenter Executive producer: In-Taek Yoo Associate producers: JOY Jl-HAE Paik, J ulienne Park Scriptwriters: Hung-Soon "Howard" Chung, Tony Egan, A rthur Tanaka Director of photography: GEOFF BURTON Editor: J ane Maguire Production designer: Sean CALLINAN Costume supervisor: Terri Kibbler

PAWS

OSCAR AND LUCINDA

[S ee previous issue

Production company: M eridian Films Distribution company: Fox S earchlight Production: S eptember -D ecember 1996 Budget: $16 MILLION Director: GILLIAN ARMSTRONG Producers: T im W hite , Robin Dalton Scriptwriter: Laura J ones

for details.]

PIGEON Production company: SlLO

Production Crew

Budget: Less than $500,000

Production manager: GLENDA CARPENTER Location manager: Tom BlNNS Unit manager: Edward Donovan

Production office: Melbourne Production: February-April 1997

Principal Credits

FFC

Cast

Production company: ClNE 2000 Production office: Sydney Production: 28/1-10/3/97

Simon W estaway (J ohnny Austen), Bill Hunter (C ee Tee), Rebecca Rigg (Maylene)

Cast

Government Agency Investment:

WANTED

Cast

Publicity: SlAN CLEMENT

On-set Crew

Director: Vincenzo Gallo

1st assistant director: MICHAEL Faranda Continuity: Royce Dunn Stunts co-ordinator: Grant Page

Producers: Lavinia Rampino, Robin J olly

Ralph Fiennes , Cate B lanchett .

Scriptwriter: VINCENZO Gallo

B ased on the novel by Peter Carey, a story about fate, love, gambling and faith.

Production designer: Brenton ANGEL

A rt Department

Other Credits

Armourer: JOHN BOWRING Special fx co-ordinator: JOHN BOWRING

Length: 90 MINS Gauge: Digital Betacam

OUT OF THE BLUE

Cast

Production company: A valon Films Distribution company: N ew V ision Pre-production: 2/12/96... Production: 10/1/97... Post-production:... 31/5/97

Kate Fischer, Garry Hillberg, A nthony Argino, Tony Nardella.

Principal Credits

Post- production Length: 100 MINS Gauge: 35mm Cast

T

he story of a man undergoing a strange breakdown who wants to become a pigeon and the journalist sent to cover the story.

J oong Hoon Park, Rebecca Lean

A

young Korean actor is convinced by police to impersonate a gangster on a television show. What begins as an acting job becomes dangerous yet hilarious as both the police and the gangster have him continue the impersonation for their own ends.

Director: PHIL AVALON Executive producers: H ans P omeranz ,

P eter O 'N eill , K erry D unn

SCREAM Production company: The Film Factory Production:... December 1996.

Associate producers: JULIAN SAGGERS,

KISS OR KILL

SIAM SUNSET Production company: ARTIST SERVICES Production: 11/11-13/12/96 Scriptwriters: Max Dann, A ndrew Knight

Camera Crew

Producer: PHIL AVALON

Cast J ohn Orcsik, Tony Bonner, Ron Vreeken, Tonia Lee.

Unit manager: Tony Fields Production runner: Ron HOLBROW

A rt Department Art director: Ralph MOSEK Propsperson: JlM L e V eque

psychiatric examination, the young man regresses to Egypt 4,000 years ago as a mummified body. The psychiatrist learns that there has been a trail of killings of anyone who disturbs the mummy.

Bill Marsden Locations: HARRIET SCOTT

Principal Credits

J ason Gooden Scriptwriter: P hil A valon Director of photography: L es Parrott Production designer: Cathy FlNLAY Costume designer: J enny Campbell Editor: M ike H oney

Director: GARY YOUNG Producer:

Cast Don Bechelli, Ted M iller, A l Bequette, Rich Goyet.

Script editor: G erard M aguire

Production Crew

(t e l e - f e a t u r e )

Production manager:

Production company: Thackray Productions Production: 2/10-23/10/96 Post-production: 24/10/96-JUNE 97 Principal Credits Director: Mark Thackray Producer: Susannah Thackray Executive producer: HOWARD THACKRAY

Scriptwriter: Gary Young

Planning and Development

ONE WAY TICKET

THE TRUTH ABOUT TARO

T. C. Fields

Executive producer: Gary Young

A

young man is arrested after the hold-up of a liquor store. During

HHB PORTA DAT & HHB DAT TAPE

Y O U R PRO FESSIO N AL PARTN ERS FREECALL 1 8 0 0 675 168 A U D IO SOUND CENTRE

76

C I N E M A P A P E R S • M A Y 1997


A G u id e to W h a t’s in S to c k

BACK

Number 1 (January 1974) David Williamson, Ray Harryhausen, Peter Weir, Antony Ginnane, Gillian Armstrong, Ken G. Hall, The Cars that Ate Paris Number 2 (April 1974) Censorship, Frank Moorhouse, Nicolas Roeg, Sandy Harbutt, Rim under the Wars, Alvin Purple Number 3 (July 1974) Richard Brennan, John Papadopolous, Willis O’Brien, William Friedkin, The True Story of Eskimo N ell Number 4 (December 1974) Bill Shepherd, Cliff Green, W erner Herzog, Between Wars, Petersen, A Salute to the Great MacArthy Number 5 (March-April 1975) Albie Thoms on surf movies, Charles Chauvel filmography, Ross Wood, Byron Haskin, Brian Probyn, Inn o f the Damned Number 6 SOLD OUT Number 7 SOLD OUT Number 8 (March-April 1976) Pat Lovell, Richard Zanuck, Sydney Pollack, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Phillip Adams, Don McAlpine, Don's Party Number 9 (June-July 1976TMilos Forman, MaxTemon, Miklos Jancso, Luchino Visconti, Caddie, The Devil's Playground Number 10 (Sept-Oct 1976) Nagisa Oshima, Philippe Mora, Krzysztof Zanussi, Marco Ferreri, Marco Bellocchio, gay cinema Number 11 ( ® u a r y 1977) Emile De Antonio, Jill Robb, Samuel Z, Arkoff, Rom ^Polanski, Saul Bass, The Picture Show M an Number 12 (April 1977) Ken Loach, Tom Haydon, Donald Sutherland, Bert Deling, Piero Tosi, John Dankworth, John Scot Days o f m p e , The Getting o f Wisdom Number 13 (July 1977) Louis Malle, Paul Cox, John Power^feanine Seawell, Peter Sykes, Bernardo Bertolucci, In Search o f Anna Number 14 (October 1977) Phil Noyce, Matt Carroll, Eric Rohmer, Terry Jackman, Johiffluston, Luke's Kingdom, The Last Wave, Blue Fire Lady Number 15 (January 1978) Tom Cowan, Truffau^ohn Faulkner, Stephen W allace, the Taviani brothers, Sri Lankan film, The Chant o f Jim m ie Blacksmith Number 16 (April-June 1978) Gunnel Lirablom, John Duigan, Steven Spielberg, Tom Jeffrey, The A frica Project, Swedish cinema, Dawn!, Patrick Number 17 (Aug-Sept 1978) Bill Bain, Isabelle Huppert, Brian May, Polish cinema, N e w sfro n f The Night the P row ler Number 18 (Oct-Nov 1978) John Lamond, Sonia Borg, Alain Tanner, Indian cinema, Dimboola, Cathy's Child Number 19 (Jan-Feb 1979) Antony Ginnane, Stanleytifawes, Jeremy Thomas, Andrew Sarris, sponsored documen­ taries, Blue Fin Number 20 (March-April 1979) Ken C am ion, Claude Lelouch, Jim Sharman, Fre n c h film ^ j^ri///a r? f Career Number 21 (May-June 1979) Vietnam on Film, the Cantrills, French cinema. M ad Max, Snapshot, The Odd A ngry S hot Franklin on Hitchcock Number 22 (July-Aug 1979) Bruce Petty, L^ iana Arrighi, Albie Thoms, Stax, A rson's B irthday Number 23 SOLD OUT Number 24 (Dec-Jan 1980) Brian Trenchard-Smith, Ian Holmes, Arthur H ill^JerzyToeplitz, Brazilian cinema. Harlequin Number 25 (Feb-March 1980) David Puttnam, Janet Strickland, Everett de Roche, Peter Fajman, Chain Reaction, Stir Number 26 (April-May 1980) Charles H. Joffe, Jerome Heilman, Malcolm Smith, Australian nationaosm, Japanese cinema, Peter Weir, Wafer Under the Bridge Number 27 (June-July 1980) Randal Kleiser, Peter Yeldham, Dona

Richie, obituary of Hitchcock, NZfilm industry, Grendel G re n d ^ G ^ n d e l Number 28 (Aug-Sept 1980) Bob Godfrey, Diane Kurys, Tin Burns, John O'Shea, Bruce Beresford, Bad

Timing, Roadgames Number 29 (Oct-Nov'1980) Bob Ellis, Uri Windt, Edward Woodward, Lino Brocka, Stephen Wallace, Philippine cinema. Cruising, The Last Outlaw Number 30 (Dec 1980-Jan 1981) Sam Fuller, 'Breaker' M o ra n trethought, Richard Lester, Canada supplement, The Chain Reaction, Blood M oney Number 31 (March-April 1981) Bryan Brown, looking in on Dressed to Kill, The Last Outlaw, Fatty Finn, Windows, lesbian as villain, the new generation Number 32 (May-June 1981) Judy David, David Williamson, Richard Rush, Swinbuipe, Cuban cinema. Public Enemy Number One, The Alternative Number 33 (June-July 1976) Johrnluigan, the new tax concessions, Robert Altman, Tomas Gutierrez Alea, Edward Fox, Gallipoli, Roadgames Numbers 34 and 35 SOLD OUT Number 36 (February 1982) Kevin Dobson, Brian Kearney, Sonia Hofmann, Michael R ub^ , B low Out, 'Breaker' Morant, B od y Heat The M an from Smowy River Number 37 (April 1982) Stephen MacLean, Jacki Weaver, Carlos Saura, Peter Ustinov, women in drama. M onkey Grip Number 38 (June 1982) Geoff Burrowes, George Miller, James lyofy, Phil Noyce, Joan Fontaine, Tony Williams, law and insurance, Far East Number 39 (August 1982) Helen Morse, Richard Mason, Anja Breien, David Millilkan,

JL Ray Barrett, M y Dinner w ith Andre, The Return o f Captain Invincible Number 41 (December Derek Granger, Norwegian cinema, National Film Archive, j/Ve of f/te Never Never Number 40 (October 1982) Henri Safran, Michael Ritchie, Pauline Kael, Wendy Hughes, River Number 43 (May1982) Igor Auzins, Paul Schrader, Peter Tammer, Liliana Cavani, Colin Higgins, The Year o f Living Dangerously Number 42 (March 1983) Mel Gibson, John Waters, lan'fringle, Agnes Varda, copyright. Strikebound, The Man from Snotifyr Riv ____________________ _ You __________ - (April , ____________ apprs, Street Kids Number June 1983) Sydney Pollack, Denny Lawrence, Graeme Clifford, The Dismissal, Sumner Cocke Elliott's Careful He M ig__...... ht Hear Number 44-45 1984) David Stevens, Simon Wincer,____ Susan -Lambert, a personal history of Cinema Papers, 46 (July 1984) Paul Coxf 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, Bavid 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 M ovie Number 49 (December 1984) Alain Resnais, Brian McKenzie, Angela Punch McGregor, Ennio Morricone, Jane Campion, horror films, NielLynnel 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 Fbrd, Noni Hazlehurst, Dusan Makavejev, Emoh Ruo, Winners, M orris West's The Naked Country, M ad M ax Beyond Thunderdome, Robbery Under Arm s Number 52 (July 1985) John Schlesinger, Gillian Armstrong, Alan Parker, soap operas, TV news, film advertising. D on't Call M e Girlie, For Love Alone, Double Sculls Number 53 (September 1985) Brian BrCwn, Nicolas Roeg, Vincent Ward, Hector Crawford, Emir Kusturica, NZ 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 Bookie Robbery, The Lancaster M iller A ffair Number 55 (January 1986) James Stewart, Debbie Byrne, BriahThompsoti, Paul Verhoeven, Derek Meddings, tie-in marketing, The Right Hand Man, 'Birdsville Number 56 (March 1986) Bred Schepisi, Dennis O'Rourke, Brian Trenchard-Smitlf John Hargreaves, Dead-end Drive-in, The More Things Change ..., Kangaroo, Tracy Number 57 SOLD OUT Number 58 (July 1986) Woody Allen, Reinhard Hauff, Orson Welles, the Cinémathèque Française, The Fringe Dwellers, Great Expectations: The Untold Story, The Last Frontier Number 59 (September 1986) Robert Altman, Paul Cox, Lino Brocka, Agnes Varda, the AFI Awards, The M overs Number 60 (November 1986) Australian tele­ vision, Franco Zwfirelli, Nadia Tass, Bill Bennett, Dutch cinema, movies by microchip, Otello Number 61 (January 1987) Alex Cox, Roman Polanski, Philippe Mora, Martin Arminger, 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 Stogy o f the Kelly Gang Number 63 (May 1987) Gillian Armstrong, Antony Ginnane, Chris Haywood, Elmore Leonard, Troy Kennedy Martin, The Sacrifice, Landslides, Pee W ee’s Big Adventure, Jilted Number 64 (July 1987) Nostalgia, D e n ^ Hopper, M e ljjjibson, Vladimir Cteherov, Brian Trenchard Smith, chartbusters, Insatiable Number 65 (September 1987) Angela Carter, Wim Wenders, Jean-P erre Gorin, Derek Jarman, Gerald L'Ecuyer, Gustav Hasford, AFI Awards, Poor M an's Orange Number 66 (November 1987) Australian screenwriters, cinema and China, James Bond: part 1, James Clayden, Video, De Laurentiis, New World, The Navigator, Who’s That Girl Number 67 (January 1988)ljohn Duigan, James Bond: part 2, George Miller, Jim Jarmusch, Soviet cinema, women in film, 70mm, filmmaking in Ghana, The Y e a rM t^ ^ ic e Broke, Send A Gorilla Number 68 (March 1988) Martha Ansara, Channel 4, S o v * cinema: part 2, Jim McBride, Glamour, Ghosts Of The Civil Dead, Feather^O cean, Ocean Number 69 (May 1988) Sex, death and family film^Cannes '88, film coi^osers, V in c ^ ^ V a rd , David Parker, Ian Bradley, Pleasure Domes Number 70 (November 19p8) Rim Australia, Gillian Armstrong, Fred Schepisi, Wes Craven, John Waters, Al Clark, Shame screenplay part 1 Number 71 (January 1989) Yahoo Serious, Davicf Cronenberg, 1988 in retrospect, film sound, Last Temptation o f Christ Philip Brophy Number 72 (March 1989) Little

^

Dorrit, Australian sci-fi movies, 1988 mini-series, Aromarama, Celia, La dolce Vita, women and Westerns Number 73 (M af1989) Cannes '89, Dead Calm, Franco Nero,

^ eters^ ur9' Frank Pierson, Pay TV Number 74 (July 1989)

The Delinquents, Australians in Hollywood, Chinese cinema, Philippe Mora, Y ur^S lo l, Twins, G hosts... o f the Civ^Dead, Shame screjnfrlay Number 75 (September 1989) Sally Bongers, the teentj^vie, animated, Edens Lost, Pet Sematary, Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader, Ed Pressman Number 76 (November 1989) Simon Wincer, Quigley Down U nde^ennedyM iller, Terry Hayes, Bangkok Hilton, John Duigan, Flirting, Romero, Dennis Hopper, Frank Howson, Ron Cobb Number 77 (January 1990) John Farrow monograph, B lood Oath, Dennis Whitburn, Brian Williams, Don McLennan, Breakaway, "Crocodile" Dundee overseas Number-78 (March 1990) The Crossp}-,,.

ne, Peter Greenawayand The Cook..., ----------------------S Michel Ciment, Bangkok Hilton, B arlow 3—. , -----------------------------------------------------------------------

and Chambers Number 79 SOLD OUT Number 80 (August 1990) Cannes report, Fred Schepisi career interview, Peter Weinand Greencard, Pauline Cfran, Gus Van Sant and Drugstore Cowboy, German skories Number 81 (December 1990) Ian Pringle Isabelle Eberhardt, Jane Campion, An A ngel A t M y Table, Martin Scorsese and Goodfellas, Presumed Innocent Number 82 (Marcjt 1991) The Godfather P a rflll, Barbet Schroeder, Reversal o f Immune, B lack Robe, Raymond Hollis Longford, Backsliding Number 83 (May 1991) Australia at Cannes, RHIian Armstrong, The Last Days at Chez Nous, The Silence o f the Lambs, Flynn, Dead to theJWorld, Anthony Hopkins, Spotswood Number 84 (August 1991) James Cameron a n | Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Dennis O'Rourke, Good Woman o f Bangkok, Susan D^mody, Breathing Under Water, Cannes report, FFC Number 85 (November 1991) J o c ^ n Moorhouse, Proof, Blake Edwards, Switch, Callie KhourUTre/ma & Louise: independent exhibition and distribution, FFC part 2 Number 86 (January 1992) Romper StomperWThe Nostradamus Kid, Greenkeeping, Eightball, Kathryn Bigelow, HDTV and Super/16 Number 87 (March 1992) Multi-cultural cinema, Stever^pielberg, Hook, George Fegus and The Red Unknown, Richard Lowenstein, Say a Little Prayer, Jewish cinema Number 88 (May-June 1992) S trictly Ballroom, Hammers Over the Anvil, Daydream Bebever, Wim W enders U ntil The Egrf of the World, SatyajitRay Number 89 (August 1992) Cannes'92, David Lynch, Vrtali Kanievski, Gianni Amelio, Fortress, film-literature connections,teen movies debate Number 90 (October 1992) The Last Days o f Chez Nous, Ridley Scott 1492, Stephwi Elliott F/i|j^^ ^^ ^^ ^M angiam ele, Cultural Differences and Ethnicity in Australian Cinema, John Frankenheimeris Year o f the Gun Number 91 (January 1993) Clint Eastwood and Unforgiverr, Raul Ruiz, George Miller and Gross M isconduct, David Erick's Love in Limbo, On the Beach, Australia's first film ^part 1 Number 92 (April ¿993) Reckless Kelly, George Miller and Lorenzo's Oil, Megan Simpson, Alex, The Zkver, women — in film ................................. and television, Australia's first - films: part * - 2 Number ' 93 (May 1993) Jand Campion and The Piano, Laurie Mclnnes and Broken Highway, Tracey Moffatt a^d Bedevil, Lightworks and Avid, Australia's first films: part 3 Number 94 (August 1993) Cannes '94, Steve Buscemi and Reservoir Dogs, Paul Cox, Michael Jermin's The Heartbreak Kid, 'Coming of Age' ftifhsrAustralialsicstfifmTpart 4 Number 95 (October 1993) Lynn-Marie Milburn's Mem ories & Dreams, Franklin on the science of previews, The Custodiarr documentary supplement, Tom Zubricki, John Hughes, Australia^^ret films: pail 5 Number 96 (December 1993) Queensland issue: overview of film in Queensland, early Queensland cinema, Jason Donovan and Donald Crombie, Rough Diamonds, Australia's fir^film s: part 6 Number 97-8 (April 1994) 20th Anniversary double ¡ssuewtTpNlw Zealand supplement, Simon Wincer and Lightning Jack, Richard tonklin on leaving America, Australia's first films: part 7 Number 99 (June 1994) Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ken G. Hall Tr^ute, cinematography supplement, Geoffrey Burton, Pauline Chan and Traps, Australia's first films: Part 8 Number 100 (August 1994) C a n n ^ 9 4 , NSW supplement Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddah, The Sum o f Us, Spider & Rose, film and the digital world, AustraiiTsfirst films: part 9 Number 101 (October 1994) Priscilla, Queen o f the Desert Victorian supplement, P. J. Hogan and M uriel'sJ/edding, Ben Lewin and Lucky Break, Australia's first films: Part 9 Number 102 (December 1994) Once Were Warriors, films we love, Q ^ k o f Beyond, Cecil Holmes, Lindsay Anderson, Body Melt, AFC supplement. Spider & Rose, Australia's First R^ m : Part 10 Number 103 (March 1995) Lithe Women, Gillian Armstrong, Queensland supplement, Geoffrey Simpson, Heavenly Creatures, Eternity, Australia's First Films Number 104 (June 1995) Cannes Mania, Billy's Holiday, A ngel Baby, Epsilon, V acan^ossession, Richard Franklin, Australia's Rrst Rims: Part 12 Number 105 (August 1995) Mark Joffe's Cosi, Jacqueline McKenzie, Slawomir Idziak, Cannes Review, GauiMntRetrospective, Marie Craven, Dad & Dave Number 106 (October 1995) GerartU^e and John Maynard on AH M en A re Liars, Sam Neil, The Small Man, Under the Gun, AFC low budget seminar Number 107 (December 1995) George Miller and Chris Noonan talk a o o u t^ b e T le w trends in criticism, The rise of b o u tiq u ^ ^ m a Number 108 (February 1996) Conjuring John Hughes' W hat I Have Written, Cthulu, The Top 100 Australian Rims, Nicole Kidman in To Die For Number 109 (April 1996) Rachel Griffiths runs the gamut Toni Collette and Cosi, Sundance film Fesfivat, Michael Tolkin, Morals and the Mutoscope Number 110 (June 1996) Rolf de Heer travels to Cannes, Clara Law's new home, Shirley Barrett's Love Serenade, Richard Franklin Number 111 (August 1996) Scott Hicks and Shine, The Three Chinas, Trusting Christopher Doyle, Love and Other Catastrophes Number 112 (October 1996) Lawrence Johnston's Life, Return of

TO ORDER

the Mavericks, Queensland Supplement Part 1, Sighting the Unseen, Richard Lowenstein Number 113 (December 1996) Peter Jackson's The Frighteners, SPAA-AFI supplement Lee Robinson, Sunday Too Far Away, Hotel de Love, Childtep o f the Revolution Number 114 (February 1997) Baz Luhrmann's W illiam Shakespeare's Romeo and J u lie t Dean Cundey, SPAA: The Aftermath, Idiot Box, Zone 39 Number 115 (April 1997) John Seale and The English Patient Newsfront, The Castle, Ian BaS^r, Robert Krasker

e e c T E A D - A i rr c u n c r D i D T i A y

e a


production

Production Survey continued

Standby wardrobe: Lucy Shannon Wardrobe assistant: Lucy S hannon

Based on the original screenplay titled:

The T ruth A bout Taro By: Mark & Susannah Thackray

Animals

Director of photography:

Anthony J ennings Production designer: Susan McDermott Costume Designer: Lucy SHANNON Editor: Robin Lloyd Sound recordist: ERIC Putre Planning and Development Researchers: Mark & Susannah Thackray Script editors: Mark & Susannah Thackray Casting: Thackray Productions Extras casting: THACKRAY PRODUCTIONS Storyboard artist: Anthony J ennings Shooting schedule by:

Thackray Productions Budgeted by: Thackray Productions Production Crew Production supervisor: Susannah Thackray Production manager: Martine GEORGlOU Production co-ordinator: Martine Georgiou Producer's assistant: MARTINE GEORGIOU Production secretary: Martine Georgiou Location manager: T hackray Productions Transport manager: Thackray PRODUCTIONS Unit manager: Martine Georgiou Assistant unit manager: MARTINE GEORGIOU Unit assistant: Martine Georgiou Production assistant: Martine Georgiou Production runners: JASON CR0SS0N, Kathy Small Camera Crew Camera operator: A nthony J ennings Focus pullers: Bonnie Elliott, Emma Cooper Clapper-loaders: Bonnie Elliott, Emma Cooper Camera assistants: Bonnie Elliott, Emma Cooper Aerial photography: A nthony J ennings, Graeme Smith Gaffer: J im Trifylus On-S et Crew 1st assistant director: J oanne Hall Continuity: Geneva Smith Boom operator: Eric Putre Make-up: JODIE Barrett Make-up assistant: Deanna ClRlNO, Natasha Bonello Hairdresser: J odie Barrett Safety officer: Susannah Thackray Still photography: J im Trifyllis, Mike Greenslade Unit publicist: Susannah Thackray Catering: DONNA Byer-S mith Runners: J ason CROSSON, Kathy Small A rt Department Art director: Susan M c Dermott Assistant art director:

Giovannina Cotroneo Art department runner:

A lison Mackay-S im Set dresser: Susan Mc Dermott Props buyer: Susan M cDermott Standby props: Giovannina Cotroneo W ardrobe Wardrobe supervisor: Lucy Shannon Wardrobe buyer: Lucy Shannon

Animal trainer: Geneva Smith

Post- production (Film and/ or Video) Post-production supervisor: Robin Lloyd Assistant editor: SUSANNAH THACKRAY Editing assistant: Edmund Falzon Edge numberers: EDMUND FALZON, Susannah Thackray Laboratory: Atlab Laboratory liaison: Ian Russell Negative matching: CHRIS ROWELL Grader: Atlab Film/Video gauge: 16mm Screen ratio: 1:1,85 Shooting stock: Kodak

Marketing Publicity: Susannah T hackray Poster designer: Geneva Smith Cast Yutaka Izumihara (Taro), W hitney Fitzsimmons (Cleo), Dugal Parker (Eric), Rachel Henderson (W illow), Peter Melov (Peter) Synopsis

O

n matters of love, Taro and his country don't see eye to eye. When an ancient Japanese discrimination prevents Taro from marrying his fiancée. Taro runs away to Australia. What he wants is a new beginning. What he finds is the courage to marry the girl he truly loves.

THE WELL [See previous issue for details] A lso, see previous issues for details ON THE following:

DARK CITY DIANA & ME DOING TIME FOR PATSY CLINE DUST OFF THE WINGS HEAVEN'S BURNING THE INNER SANCTUARY K.C. LOVE IN AMBUSH (FORMERLY ANGKOR/MIRABEAU)

RED HERRING ROAD TO NHILL THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE TRUE LOVE AND CHAOS Short F iin u

DR. AMOEBA DOES SEX! Principal Credits

Director: EDDIE M ort Producer: Peter Hansen Based on the novel/play/story/original screenplay titled: Dr A moeba Does S ex! By: Glyn Breeze Animation Studios: FUDGE Puppy PRODUC­

TIONS & RKA the A nimations Studios Composer: Eddie Mort Sound studio: Clax Studios Planning and Development Storyboard artist: Eddie M ort Shooting schedule by: Eddie M ort & Peter Hansen Budgeted by: Eddie Mort, Peter Hansen Post- production (Film & Video) Film gauge: Digital SP betacam, finish­ ing on 16mm and VHS Length: 5 MINS Government A gency Investment Development: Australian Film Commission Marketing Marketing & Publicity: Peter Hansen & Associates Pty Ltd Cast A ll voices by Marty Murphy

lonely asexual amoeba looks for sex. As he is asexual, he realizes he doesn't need a partner. He decides if he's going to procreate, he's going to do it with style, but through his own actions, the situation gets out of control.

A

NINE CAULDRONS (ABC M ic r o d a n c e VIDEO PRODUCTION)

Production company: CAULDRON Films Principal Credits Directors: Paul Hampton, Trevor Patrick Producer: Liz Burke Scriptwriter: Trevor PATRICK Director of photography: Laszlo Baranyai Costume Designer: J ane Hyland Editor: Rosie J ones Sound designer: LlVlA RuziC

Production Crew Production manager: CHARLOTTE SEYMOUR Production accountant: M ichael A gar Insurer: Tony GlBBS, HW WOODS Legal services: Dan Pearce, Holding

Redlich Camera Crew Camera assistant: Rohan Zerna Camera type: DIGITAL BETACAM Key grip: Ian Benallack Gaffers: Colin W illiams, Tim Morrison Best boy: JANEK SZALC On-set Crew 1st assistant director: Chris Odgers Continuity: JULIE FEDDERS0N Make-up: Phaedra Vance Choreographer. Trevor Patrick Still photography: PONCH Hawkes Catering: Sue Arnold, South M elbourne Kitchens W ardrobe Wardrobe assistant: Terri Anderton Construction Department Studios: Studio 44 Post- production (Film and/ or Video) Sound editor: LlVlA RuziC Narrator: Peter Cummins

LITTLE BROTHER, LITTLE SISTER

Mixer: Craig Carter Mixed at: MUSIC AND EFFECTS Titles: A ndrew Hickinbotham Video gauge: Digital Betacam Length: 6.5 MINS Screen ratio: 1:1.33 Shooting stock: Digital Betacam Off-line facilities: Complete Post Video master by: COMPLETE POST Government A gency Investment Development, Production & Marketing: AFC, ABC, Australia Council Cast Trevor Patrick (Dancer), Peter Cum­ mins (Voiceover) Synopsis

Production company: A lfred Road Films Production: J uly 1996-July 1997 Principal Credits Director: Belinda Mason Producer: Gaby Mason Consultant producer: Megan McMurchy Based on the original screenplay titled: By: Belinda Mason Editor: Ray Thomas Production Crew: Production co-ordinator: KATHY SHELPER Post- production Length: 55 MINS Government A gency Funding Finance: FFC Network Pre-sale: ABC Synopsis

is a dance video directed and choreographed as a N trio for camera, sound and dancer. It is ine C auldrons

about one figure's journey through nine pools of light, nine sequences of movement and nine physical transformations.

T

he journey of two children from Ethiopia as they are adopted into an Australian family.

"THE NOMADS"

Documentoried

Production company: SlMOUN PRODUCTIONS Budget: $200,000 Pre-production: FEBRUARY 1997 Production: MARCH-JUNE 1997 Post-production: J uly-August 1997 Principal Credits Director: Pierre-J acques Ober Producer: Pierre-J acques Ober Co-producer: DAVID S piteri Executive producers: PlERRE-JACQUES Ober, David S piteri Scriptwriter: PlERRE-JACQUES Ober Director of photography: Brian Breheny Editor: PlERRE-JACQUES OBER Sound recordist: J amie Cahill Production Crew Production manager: Jo MALCOLM Production co-ordinator: J ules OBER Production accountant: Jo MALCOLM Insurer: F.I.U.A. Camera Crew Camera assistant: Chris Taylor Camera type: SUPER 16mm Camera maintenance: CHRIS Taylor On- set Crew Boom operator: J amie Cahill Still photography: JULES ÛBER Post Production (Film and/ or Video) Laboratory liaison: SlMON WlCKS Film/Video gauge: SUPER 16mm Shooting stock: Super 16mm Print stock: ATLAB Synopsis

THE GOLDEN MILE Production company: Salomon Sisters Production: 25/4-19/5/97

Principal Credits Director: Mandy Salomon Producer: MARGOT SALOMON Based on the original screenplay titled:

T he Golden M ile By: Mandy Salomon Director of photography: J ennie M eaney Editor: Mark Atkin Composer: Paul Grabowsky Sound recordists: Mark Tarpie,

J ock Healy Production Crew Production assistant/Accountant: Barbara A gar Consultant producer: Fiona Cochrane Post- production (Film and/ or Video) Film/Video gauge: DVC Digital Video Length: 30 MINS Government A gency Investment Development: Film VICTORIA SCRIPT Development Production: Film Victoria IFF (Independent Filmmakers Fund) Synopsis

and selling of our home is Tguidehea littleonbuying story of epic proportions. Our this perilous journey is not the

thrilling voyage between myth and A reality into the life of a unique Australian outlaw motorcycle club.

priest or Rabbi, but the real estate agent. This is an observational documentary that tells us what sort of creature the real estate agent is and who they are when they switch off their mobile phones.

Neither heroes nor villains, but a working-class brotherhood of hard and rebellious men, the "Nomads" are the last true "wild ones".

HHB MASTERSYNC PORTA DAT

A A TO N O R IG IN C C O M PA TIBLE FREECALL 1 8 0 0 675 168 A U D IO SOUND CENTRE

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C I N E M A P A P E R S โ€ข FEBRUARY 1997


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i means not seen). The critics are: B ill Co Ulus (FX on Foxtel); B arbara Creed (The Age); P a u l H arris ( “The Green Guide ”, The Age); Stan Jam es (The Adelaide Advertiser); Scott M urray; Tom R yan (The Sunday Age); D avid S tratton (Variety; SBS); and E van W illiam s (The Australian). Sandra H all i 5 unavailable. | ____ |

80

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Cinema Papers No.116 May 1997  

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