Richard Lowenstein – He Died with a Felafel in His Hand [+Extras] (2001)

Over the past 25 years Australian cult director Richard Lowenstein has established himself as one of this country’s most dynamic independent filmmakers. With four feature films to his credit, Lowenstein has straddled both period and art-film genres to give cinematic expression to the stories of everyday Australians and in doing so has consistently captured the cultural zeitgeist on film…

After close to a ten year hiatus between films, Lowenstein’s fourth feature was born of his desire to translate to the screen John Birmingham’s humorous rumination on share household life, the cult novel He Died With A Felafel In His Hand. While the structure and substance of Birmingham’s novel would not easily lend itself to film adaptation, Lowenstein managed to craft a screenplay out of it which incorporated the novel’s most prominent scenes, characters and locations. In Lowenstein’s hands, He Died With A Felafel In His Hand presents an intelligent portrait of the highs and lows of share household life, as it takes a shot at exploring the dynamics of desire and existence, and reflects upon the differing psychologies of Australia’s major cities. In everything from the games of cane toad golf played in the shared house in Brisbane, through to the policemen at the door with twitchy trigger fingers in Melbourne, and the over-inflated egos polishing the floorboards in Sydney, Felafel presents a highly stylised snapshot of the different cultural flavours of Australia’s major cities, which shapes the kind of interactions spawned by those locations in the film…

Lowenstein has described He Died With A Felafel In His Hand as the “emotional sequel” to Dogs In Space, and while the focus of these two films on the social phenomenon of share household life would naturally lend itself to comparison, there is a marked stylistic difference between them. In Felafel, the long tracking shots and broad non-narrative structure that were Dogs In Space‘s trademark have made way for tightly framed images, restrained camera movement, a high level of stylisation and a tautly structured plot; culminating in what Lowenstein describes as the film’s “objective, observational style”. In terms of both its subject matter and its mode of delivery, He Died With A Felafel In His Hand conveys the sense that it is a maturation of Dogs In Space…

— Vanessa Long, Senses of Cinema

We started on the Felafel journey in about 1995. And, even though we thought it was a relatively simple low-budget independent film, it was incredibly difficult to finance. And for a number of years we went through financing hell. We were being given the run-around until 1997 when I finally got involved with an Italian producer, Domenico Procacci. It was something of a chance meeting. I’d met an Italian journalist who suggested I send my script to Procacci but I didn’t hear anything. Then I was in this Sydney café and was approached by a longhaired Italian. It turns out Domenico hadn’t ever received the script but had heard about my idea anyway. He’d been asking people around Sydney where to find me, and they said, “He’s sat at the table over there!” Fortunately I had a copy of the script in my bag. We had breakfast the following morning and he was into getting the film made…

Then, as we were finally ready to go ahead, Noah [the film’s lead] got offered the role in Almost Famous. Even though he was committed to Felafel, it was incredibly hard for me to take a sabbatical for six months and just wait…

Talk us through the process of creating a filmic storyline to a book which, essentially, had no spine…

The spine was John Birmingham. And the only way I could really liberate myself from saying, ‘John did this and John did that’ was to change the name of the character [to Danny]. And at the same time, I had Noah living downstairs from me in a very Felafel-type situation. In discussion with John we tried to work out how to thread these hundreds of houses together. We found that they fell into three distinct groups: Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – and the three distinct climates. We tried to make the definitive house for each town and just allude to fact that he’d lived in all these other places. It developed with John’s involvement for the first month or so, and then I began to develop it as a script…

There are a few tracks that I actually wrote the script around. The most obvious is ‘Golden Brown’ by The Stranglers. There’s a lot of subtext in it. It’s a beautiful piece of music but a lot of people don’t realise that it’s about heroin. Then there’s the bit about why people always try to kill themselves at 3am with Nick Cave playing on the stereo.

— Richard Lowenstein, interviewed by Michael Gently

1.39GB | 01:42:42 | 704×400 | avi

http://nitroflare.com/view/A434CBCF0875665/He_Died_with_a_Felafel_in_His_Hand_%28Richard_Lowenstein%2C_2001%29.part1.rar
http://nitroflare.com/view/0B768BF3512318F/He_Died_with_a_Felafel_in_His_Hand_%28Richard_Lowenstein%2C_2001%29.part2.rar

Language(s):English / Commentary (2nd audio channel)
Subtitles:English, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, and Russian srt’s

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