THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES
THE LAST NEW WAVE: CELEBRATING THE AUSTRALIAN FILM REVIVAL
IN-PERSON APPEARANCE BY DIRECTOR PHILLIP NOYCE AND RESTORED 35MM PRINTS OF PETER WEIR’S PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, GEORGE MILLER’S MAD MAX, GILLIAN ARMSTRONG’S MY BRILLIANT CAREER AND MANY MORE
NEW YORK, NY (December 20, 2012) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today the lineup for THE LAST NEW WAVE: CELEBRATING THE AUSTRALIAN FILM REVIVAL, January 25-31, featuring a mix of established classics and forgotten gems, in beautiful restored prints courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Year-Round Program Director Robert Koehler said, “In a year when Australia promises to deliver two of the most heavily anticipated films in recent memory, Baz Luhrmann’s THE GREAT GATSBY and George Miller’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, we are excited to present this comprehensive overview of a most extraordinary decade in Aussie filmmaking.“
When the term “new wave” was coined to describe the group of French critics-turned-filmmakers who exploded onto the scene in the early 1960s, it quickly became shorthand for a series of similarly brash, youth-driven film movements concurrently emerging around the globe, from Japan (Shōhei Imamura, Nagisa Oshima, Seijun Suzuki) to Czechoslovakia (Milos Forman, Jiří Menzel, Ivan Passer) to the “new” Hollywood cinema ushered in by BONNIE AND CLYDE and EASY RIDER. Then there is Australia, where, beginning in the early 1970s and lasting throughout the decade, a sudden resurgence of national film production resulted in yet another “new wave”—the last of this particular era, and one of the most prolific.
Though some of the world’s earliest narrative films were made in Australia—SOLDIERS OF THE CROSS, that predated Edwin S. Porter’s THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY by three years—the closing of domestic studio facilities in the 1940s, combined with an absence of government funding for film production, all but ran local film production aground by the late 1960s. But with the creation, in 1971, of the Australian Film Development Corporation, everything changed virtually overnight. Shaking the national film industry out of its mothballed stasis, the Australian New Wave (or Australian Film Revival) launched the careers of a fiercely talented generation of directors (Bruce Beresford, George Miller, Phillip Noyce, Fred Schepisi, Peter Weir) and actors (Bryan Brown, Judy Davis, Mel Gibson, Jacki Weaver), to say nothing of cinematographers (including the future Oscar-winners Russell Boyd, John Seale and Dean Semler), production designers and other craftspeople. Many of the films competed at prestigious festivals including Berlin and Cannes, and it wasn’t long before Hollywood caught on to the rich talent pool available to them “down under”—a love affair that continues unabated to this day.
This series was made possible with the invaluable assistance of the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia and is dedicated to the memory of Jan Sharp, a great friend to the Film Society and a pioneer figure in Australian documentary filmmaking. Acknowledgments: Australian Consulate-General/Xenia Hanusiak, Phillip Scanlan and Julie Singer Scanlan, Chris and Francesca Beale, Clare Stewart, David Roonery, David Stratton, Elissa Burke, Margaret Pomeranz, National Film and Sound Archive/John Brady, Charles Slaats and Quentin Turnour, South Australian Film Corporation/Melissa Juhanson
Tickets are on sale both at the box office and on www.filmlinc.com today, Thursday December 20th. Tickets are $13 for General Public, $9 Student/Senior and $8 for Film Society members. Plus, save when you purchase tickets to three films or more with a special discount package. All screenings will take place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam). Visit www.FilmLinc.com for additional information and to purchase tickets.
FILMS, DESCRIPTIONS & SCHEDULE
ALVIN PURPLE (1973) 95m, 35mm
Director: Tim Burstall
Though less well-known internationally than the other major directors of the Australian New Wave, the late Tim Burstall may have been the most Australian of the bunch (despite having been born in England), making popular comedies and dramas that captured the spirit of the times and drew large local audiences as a result. (See also Petersen.) The first film to emerge from Burstall’s influential Hexagon production company—a joint venture between the filmmaker and the Roadshow distribution enterprise—Alvin Purple is a ribald sex farce whose title character (hilariously well played by Graeme Blundell) discovers from an early age that he has an unusual condition: despite rather ordinary looks, he is irresistible to women from all walks of life, including the psychiatrist (Penne Hackforth-Jones) he goes to see at the suggestion of his girlfriend. Released in the U.S. under the title The Sex Therapist, Alvin Purple was scorned by critics at home and abroad, but shattered the all-time local Australian box-office record previously held by They’re a Weird Mob—a record it continued to hold for the next five years.
Sunday, January 27, 2:00pm
BACKROADS (1977) 60m, DCP
Director: Phillip Noyce
Long before establishing himself as a master of the Hollywood action blockbuster (with Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and the recent Salt), Phillip Noyce studied filmmaking as part of the inaugural class of Australia’s National Film and Television School, where he made several acclaimed and award-winning short films. Upon graduating, he embarked on this remarkable debut feature starring Bill Hunter (Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding) as a racist drifter who sets off on an impromptu joyride with a young Aboriginal man (famed activist Gary Foley) just released from a night’s prison stint. Traversing the New South Wales outback in a stolen Pontiac, this unlikely duo make their way towards the coast, collecting other wayward travelers (including a French tourist and the bored wife of a gas station owner) as they go, while the police close in and interpersonal tensions simmer to a boil. Strongly influenced by such iconic road movies as Easy Rider, Two-Lane Blacktop and Wim Wenders’ Kings of the Road, as well as the work of John Cassavetes, Backroads tears across the screen with feverish filmmaking energy and inspired performances, while turning a critical mirror on Australian society’s deeply entrenched racial divisions.
GOD KNOWS WHY, BUT IT WORKS (1976) 49m, 16mm
Director: Phillip Noyce
After his student film Castor and Pollux won the prestigious Rouben Mamoulian Award at the 1974 Sydney Film Festival, Noyce was approached by Film Australia to direct a documentary about the Australian physician Archie Kalokerinos, known for his pioneering work in the reduction of the high death rate among Aboriginal children. Instead, Noyce delivered a highly stylized blend of traditional documentary and dramatic reenactment, complete with the real Kalokerinos commenting on the work of the actor playing him in the dramatic scenes.
Director Phillip Noyce in person!
Saturday, January 26, 9:30pm
THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH (1978), 108m, 35mm
Director: Fred Schepisi
Director Fred Schepisi (Roxanne, A Cry in the Dark) made his international breakthrough with this powerfully disturbing adaptation of the Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List). Inspired by true events, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith traces the tragic fate of a boy born to a white father and Aboriginal mother at the turn of the 20th century, who, despite his best efforts to conform to the pressures of white society, spirals towards an explosively violent outburst. Presenting Blacksmith as neither a simple nor blameless victim of oppression, Schepisi’s provocative, gorgeously made film raises large, unresolved questions about oppressed peoples time and the world over. Although a box office disappointment at home, Jimmie Blacksmith achieved widespread acclaim at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival and was ultimately responsible for instigating Schepisi’s prolific Hollywood career.
Monday, January 28, 4:00pm
THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (1976) 107m, 35mm
Director: Fred Schepisi
One of the leading figures of the Australian film renaissance, Fred Schepisi (Roxanne, A Cry in the Dark) made his feature directing debut with this striking, semi-autobiographical story of a 13-year-old boy coming of age in a Catholic seminary where the Brothers and pupils alike find themselves torn their between vows and human desire. Schepisi himself trained for the priesthood in the early 1950s, and his experiences inform those of 13-year-old Tom Allen (Simon Burke), a serious young man at the threshold of puberty, wracked with Catholic guilt over the strange feelings now coursing through his body. Whatever will the stern Brother Francine (Arthur Dignam), who prowls the halls looking for evidence of “the undisciplined mind,” have to say? (Little does Tom know that, on his day off, Brother Francine goes peeking at women in the locker room of a public pool.) And so it goes in Schepisi’s lyrical, mordantly funny memory film about the age-old struggles of mind, body and spirit.
Friday, January 25, 9:00pm
DON’S PARTY (1976) 90m, 35mm
Director: Bruce Beresford
As a drunken election-night party wears on, the disillusionment of the attendees rises to the fore in Bruce Beresford’s accomplished film version of David Williamson’s corrosively satirical play.
Sunday, January 27, 8:45pm
THE FJ HOLDEN (1977) 101m, 35mm
Director: Michael Thornhill
The time is the late 1970s, the place Bankstown in the suburbs of Sydney, where best mates Kevin (Paul Couzens) and Bob (Carl Stever) work in a wrecking yard by day and spend most of their free time cruising around in the titular babe magnet–a staple of the Oz roadways produced locally by GM in the 1950s. When Kevin falls for Anne (Eva Dickinson), a shopgirl raising her two younger brothers and caring for her dissolute father (the excellent Ray Marshall), it threatens his bromance with Bob as well as his carefree lifestyle. Fueled by a classic Oz rock soundtrack (including Ol ‘55, Skyhooks and Renee Geyer) and featuring the screen debut of future leading lady Sigrid Thornton (The Getting of Wisdom), The FJ Holden is an uncommonly acute distillation of a particular time and place, care of screenwriter Terry Larsen and director Michael Thornhill.
Director Michael Thornhill in person!
Tuesday, January 29, 6:15pm
THE GETTING OF WISODM (1978) 101m, 35mm
Director: Bruce Beresford
A headstrong country girl clashes with the staid traditions of a haughty Melbourne boarding school in this handsome adaptation of Henry Handel Richardson’s 1910 novel.
Saturday, January 26, 4:30pm
MAD MAX (1979) 88m, 35mm
Director: George Miller
ER doctor turned filmmaker George Miller’s hell-on-wheels vision of the future notched a novel international action hit for the burgeoning Australian cinema, while giving new meaning to the notion of a “road movie.” The battle-ready cars, ravaged landscapes, and punkish road warriors make for one of the defining dystopias visualized in cinema. In the soon-to-be-tetralogy’s first installment, a young and strapping Mel Gibson stars as Max Rockatansky—skilled and loyal patrolman in an Australia overrun with bands of motorcycle-mounted psychopaths. Danger is not confined to the roads, however, and when mounted marauders go after those near and dear to Max, something in him changes. With a richly imagined cast of characters and inspired car chases, Mad Max is at once a playfully wild ride and an acute expression of one man’s blinding, inarticulate rage.
Wednesday, January 30, 6:00pm
MONEY MOVERS (1978) 92m, 35mm
Director: Bruce Beresford
Bruce Beresford followed the girls-boarding-school drama The Getting of Wisdom with this complete about face: a searing, edge-of-your-seat heist picture that can hold its own with the best film noirs of Hollywood’s golden age. The crackerjack plot revolves around a brazen plan to rob the counting house of an armored-car company—a plot hatched by three of the company’s own employees. Eric (Terence Donovan) has been carefully plotting the job for years, much to the chagrin of his short-tempered brother (Bryan Brown). But when an anonymous note tips off the head of the company that an inside job is in the works, the brothers are forced to accelerate their plan, while trying to steer clear of the crime boss (legendary character actor Charles “Bud” Tingwell) who wants in on the action. Tautly paced and punctuated by sudden, unexpected bursts of violence, Money Movers was a clear influence on such latter-day Aussie crime dramas as Chopper and Animal Kingdom.
Sunday, January 27, 6:15pm
Thursday, January 31, 4:15pm
MY BRILLIANT CAREER (1979) 100m, 35mm
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Women figured prominently in the Australian Film Revival both in front of and behind the camera, most notably in the case of this remarkable debut feature from Gillian Armstrong, a graduate of the same inaugural class at the national Film and Television School that included Phillip Noyce and Chris Noonan (Babe). Based on a popular novel by the feminist Australian writer Miles Franklin, adapted for the screen by Eleanor Whitcombe (The Getting of Wisdom), My Brilliant Career features the extraordinary Judy Davis (in her first starring role) as Sybylla Melvyn, a headstrong young woman of no particular means sent to live with her wealthy grandmother at the turn of the 20th century. There, she enters into a flirtation with Harry (Sam Neill), a childhood friend and neighboring property owner who seems prepared to give Sybylla everything a young woman of the time might desire. Except that what Sybylla wants most of all is to experience the world on her own terms, and perchance to become a writer. Selected for competition at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival, My Brilliant Career was a major international success that launched Armstrong and Davis on their own brilliant moviemaking careers.
Thursday, January 31, 8:30pm
NEWSFRONT (1978) 110m, 35mm
Director: Phillip Noyce
Phillip Noyce followed up the auspicious Backroads with this huge leap forward in terms of scope and scale—a stirring tribute to the valor and dedication of Australian newsreel cameramen in the decade leading up to the introduction of television. Based in part on the real-life rivalry between the Australian-owned Cinesound company and American-owned Movietone (a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox), Newsfront follows brothers and newsreel competitors Len (Bill Hunter) and Frank (Gerard Kennedy) Maguire across 10 years of tumultuous Australian history that includes Communist witch hunts, the nation’s first Olympic games, and the devastating Maitland floods. Along the way, their lives and those of their employees are irrevocably altered by the events upon which they turn their cameras. Ingeniously blending real period newsreel footage with dramatic recreations decades before the likes of Forrest Gump, Noyce’s meticulously directed, beautifully acted drama (co-starring Wendy Hughes and Bryan Brown) raised the bar yet again for the new Australian cinema.
Director Phillip Noyce in person, Saturday, January 26!
Saturday, January 26, 6:45pm
Tuesday, January 29, 4:00pm
THE ODD ANGRY SHOT (1979) 92m, 35mm
Director: Tom Jeffrey
Australia’s answer to M*A*S*H, director Tom Jeffrey’s popular military comedy (based on author William Nagle’s acclaimed, autobiographical novel) was the first film to address the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War. John Jarratt (Picnic at Hanging Rock) stars as Bill, a 21-year-old recruit with the Australian Special Air Service who arrives for his tour of duty only to find a lot of card playing, bad food and fruitless reconnaissance missions in friendly territory. While waiting around for the “real” war to begin, Bill forms a strong sense of camaraderie with his fellow soldiers, including hard-drinking Rogers (Bryan Brown), pragmatic Dawson (Alvin Purple star Graeme Blundell), easygoing Bung (John Hargreaves) and grizzled, cynical corporal Harry (famed Aussie TV presenter Graham Kennedy). Then the first enemy shots ring out, and the men’s training and ability to cope is put to the test. A controversial film upon its release, accused by some pundits of failing to take a strong enough political stance, The Odd Angry Shot is by nature not a political film but rather an acutely observed, powerfully acted portrait of men in the combat zone.
Monday, January 28, 8:30pm
PETERSEN (1974) 107m, 35mm
Director: Tim Burstall
Following the success of Alvin Purple, director Tim Burstall turned his attention to more serious fare with this superb character study of a champion ex-footballer turned electrician Tony Petersen (Jack Thompson, in his first leading role), who tries to elevate his status in society by gaining a college degree. Along the way, he enters into an affair with his English professor’s wife (Wendy Hughes, in her screen debut), gets caught up in a campus feminist group’s free-love campaign, and tries to keep the peace on the homefront, where his loving wife Susie (Oscar-nominated Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook star Jacki Weaver) secretly fears she may lose her husband if he becomes too educated. Based on an original screenplay by David Williamson (Don’s Party), Australia’s leading playwright, Petersen brilliantly captures the complexities and contradictions of Australian society in the early 1970s, from the sharp-edged class divisions to the burgeoning sexual revolution.
Sunday, January 27, 4:00pm
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975) 107m, 35mm
Director: Peter Weir
In Peter Weir’s defining work of the Australian New Wave, a field trip to the Australian bush goes hypnotically awry. The students and staff of Mrs. Appleyard’s all-girls boarding school, suffering from the usual thinly veiled tensions and discontent, go away for the day to Hanging Rock. Then, the disappearance of four students completely shatters their psychological equilibrium. Eerie and ambiguous, Weir’s expert manipulation of the unearthly landscape is complemented by an equally haunting score.
Thursday, January 31, 6:15pm
THE PICTURE SHOW MAN (1977) 99m, 35mm
Director: John Power
The love of cinema is palpable in this Aussie Cinema Paradiso starring the great John Meillon (best known for his later role as Crocodile Dundee’s resident sidekick, Walter Reilly) as a traveling film projectionist journeying from one small backwater in the 1920s, dreaming of someday opening his own permanent cinema. “Pym’s Traveling Picture Show” is the name of the business—a father-and-son operation, though young Larry (Harold Hopkins) seems eager to break away and fend for himself in the world. And then there’s the brash Texan Mr. Palmer (Rod Taylor, an Aussie playing an American), Pym’s chief rival, and a man for whom show business is altogether more business than show. But can any of them survive the coming cinematic revolution: talking pictures?
Tuesday, January 29, 8:30pm
SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY (1975) 35mm
Director: Ken Hannam
Jack Thompson (in the role, along with Petersen, that cemented his stardom) gives a torrential performance as a hard-living professional sheep shearer in director Ken Hannam’s evocative debut feature—the first Australian film to achieve widespread international recognition, when it premiered at the 1975 edition of the Directors Fortnight in Cannes. The year is 1955, and Foley (Thompson) has just joined a new team at a shearing station somewhere in the remote outback. Almost immediately, Foley finds himself in conflict with the station owner and in fierce competition with his fellow shearers—a motley crew that runs the gamut from fresh-faced new recruit to grizzled old drunk—until a looming strike against a government-imposed pay reduction gives everyone something to rally behind. A Hawksian portrait of male camaraderie, shot through with pungent outback atmosphere and gallows humor, Sunday Too Far Away remains one of the indisputable triumphs of the new Australian cinema.
Monday, January 28, 6:30pm
Wednesday, January 30, 4:00pm
THEY’RE A WEIRD MOB (1966) 112m, 35mm
Director: Michael Powell
This rarely screened madcap comedy was the first of two films made in Australia by the great British director Michael Powell (The Red Shoes, Peeping Tom), here working from a script by his frequent collaborator Emeric Pressburger. Based on a novel by “Nino Culotta” (a pseudonym of the novelist John O’Grady), They’re a Weird Mob casts a satirical light on Australian attitudes towards so-called “New Australians”—in this case, Italian immigrants—as personified by Nino (Bellissima star Walter Chiari), who arrives down under expecting to work for his cousin as a sports reporter for an Italian-language magazine. But as Nino quickly discovers, his cousin his skipped town leaving a trail of debts in his wake, leaving Nino to pick up the pieces, and learn how to talk and act like a “real” Australian in the process. Featuring a veritable cavalcade of Australian actors and entertainers, including the legendary Chips Rafferty (the leading Aussie screen star of the 1940s and ‘50s), stand-up comic Slim DeGrey and future Crocodile Dundee sidekick John Meillon, They’re a Weird Mob broke local box-office records and pointed the way towards the coming new wave.
Saturday, January 26, 12:00pm
THREE TO GO (1971) 90m, 16mm/35mm
Directors: Brian Hannant, Oliver Howes and Peter Weir
Frustrated by the dormant state of the Australian film industry, Gil Brealy and Richard Mason—producers with the government-backed, documentary-producing Commonwealth Film Unit—decided to commission a three-episode feature film to show off the talents of several emerging young directors, including future six-time Oscar nominee Peter Weir. Made under the working title Youth, the project was intended to depict the lives of young Australians of the era, with Weir’s intensely stylized contribution, “Michael,” focusing on a man from a conservative family background who finds himself being drawn to the burgeoning hippie culture. In director Oliver Howes’ “Toula,” a Greek-Australian woman finds herself torn between family tradition and her desire to live a modern life. And in “Judy,” director Brian Hannant (who would go on to co-author the screenplay for The Road Warrior) follows a girl (future film star Judy Morris) who leaves her small country town to try on life in the big city.
Saturday, January 26, 2:30pm
PUBLIC SCREENING SCHEDULE
The Film Society of Lincoln Center – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam
Friday, January 25
6:15PM THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH (108m)
9:00PM THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (107m)
Saturday, January 26
12:00PM THEY’RE A WEIRD MOB (112m)
2:30PM THREE TO GO (90m)
4:30PM THE GETTING OF WISDOM (101m)
6:45PM NEWSFRONT (110m)
(Q&A with director Philip Noyce)
9:30PM BACKROADS (60m)
(Q&A with director Philip Noyce)
Sunday, January 27
2:00PM ALIVIN PURPLE (95m)
4:00PM PETERSEN (107m)
6:15PM MONEY MOVERS (92m)
8:45PM DON’S PARTY (90m)
Monday, January 28
4:00PM THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH (108m)
6:30PM SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY
8:30PM THE ODD ANGRY SHOT (92)
Tuesday, January 29
4:00PM NEWSFRONT (110m)
6:15PM THE FJ HOLDEN (110m)
(Q&A with director Michael Thornhill)
8:30PM THE PICTURE SHOW MAN (99m)
Wednesday, January 30
4:00PM SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY (94m)
6:15PM MAD MAX (88m)
Thursday, January 31
4:15PM MONEY MOVERS (92m)
6:15PM PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (107m)
8:30PM MY BRILLIANT CAREER (100m)
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Robert Koehler, Year Round Program Director, works to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Among its yearly programming of film festivals, film series and special events, the Film Society presents two film festivals in particular that annually attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, led by Program Director Kent Jones, which just celebrated its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Sidney Poitier. The Film Society presents its year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational and transmedia programs and specialty film releases at the famous Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com and follow #filmlinc on Twitter.
For Media specific inquiries, please contact:
John Wildman, (212) 875-5419
David Ninh, (212) 875-5423