Laurie McInnes – Broken Highway (1993)

Characters adrift in an isolated landscape collide with the past and each other as they unravel the secrets of a dead man’s dreams. A moody meditation on anti-heroism, the film pays tribute to the black and white style of cinema noir. Read More »

Gillian Leahy – My Life Without Steve (1986)

An essay film, staged as a short drama deploying a first person, diary film narration over exquisitely designed object oriented “still life” tableaus, Gillian Leahy’s My Life Without Steve (1986) was a sensational hit in the mid-1980s. It won the Grand Prix and the Irwin Rado Award for Best Australian Film at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the General Category of the Greater Union Awards (today’s Dendy Awards) at the Sydney Film Festival. The film screened widely and generated passionate debate. Read More »

Julia Leigh – Sleeping Beauty (2011)

Lucy is a young university student possessed by a kind of radical passivity. She lets a flip of a coin decide the outcome of a random sexual encounter and she displays an uncomplaining patience when facing the repetitions of her various menial jobs that fund her studies. One day she answers an ad in the student newspaper and interviews for a job to be a lingerie waitress. But she is secretly being initiated into a world of strange new work; one where she will have to give into absolute submission to her clients by being sedated; becoming a Sleeping Beauty. Eventually this unnerving experience begins to bleed into her daily life and she finally develops the will to break the spell by discovering what happens to her while she sleeps. With a fearless performance by Browning, Leigh creates a bold cinematic vision; one where Lucy, both in her clandestine sexual adventures and in her mundane daily existence, lives with the same unflinching and brutal honesty. Read More »

Mekelle Mills – Zoe.Misplaced (2014)

Zoe’s regimented life is thrown into upheaval when she unexpectedly falls in love. In doing so, she is faced with making a series of choices whose outcomes not only impact on her independence but on the relationships with those most important to her. Read More »

Ana Kokkinos – Blessed (2009)

Blessed is a tender and stirring portrayal of the same day through very different perspectives. Seven children wander the streets in an urban odyssey but not all of them find their way back. Rewind the clock and experience the same period but from behind their mother’s eyes, where it’s apparent that they are as vulnerable and defenseless as the children they care for. Read More »

Tracey Moffatt – Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (1990)

“Formally, Moffatt’s movie is a beautifully considered, carefully crafted ‘tour’ across various, symbolically loaded areas of space, wherein John Whitteron’s steadily exploratory camerawork forces our gaze to look at certain, otherwise quite banal, objects and activities and to studiedly contemplate them, in all their sadly arrested beauty, in all their absurd tragi-comedy. Stephen Curtis’ set design, a symphony in scale and perspective blends the saturated ambers and lavender purples of Albert Namatjira’s kitschily redolent watercolours with what, again, might, or might not, constitute a stylised rendition of the living-room interior from the 1955 Chauvel classic. And Phillippa Harvey’s sound-edited noise-scape is probably one of the best uses of ambient aural effects in any local film, so much so that the wonderfully textured wailing and weeping, the strange whistles and screams can stay with the viewing ‘auditeur’ for days afterwards.”
senses of cinema Read More »

Jane Campion – Passionless Moments (1983)

Review (Geraldine Bloustien, ‘Jane Campion: memory, motif and music’. Continuum)
Passionless Moments, although possibly one of Campion’s most whimsical pieces, has all
the hallmarks of her later films. It is concerned with the insignificant, unsolicited
moments of daydreaming when one is caught almost unawares. The film consists of ten
self-contained vignettes of the sudden thoughts of ten very different individuals.
Classical Hollywood cinema concerns itself with the heightened moments of passion of
individuals with whom we identify in some way because of their bravery, humour, innocence,
heroic qualities and so on. In traditional feature films and documentaries we are usually
introduced to the characters’ backgrounds, motives and problems. However, in Passionless
Moments the characters serve only to illustrate some quirky aspect of human nature and
relationships. Read More »