Thursday, January 24, 2013

At the FSLC -- THE LAST NEW WAVE: Celebrating the Australian film revival

One of the more unusual and interesting of film series opens tomorrow here in NYC, courtesy of The Film Society of Lincoln Center and its new programming director Robert Koehler. THE LAST NEW WAVE: CELEBRATING THE AUSTRALIAN FILM REVIVAL will give some of us film buffs a return to movies that delighted us back in the 1970s, when this Aussie wave took off. From tomorrow, Friday, January 25, through Thursday, January 31, 21 films will screen -- full- and short-length -- including a precursor to to Aussie new wave from two of my favorite filmmakers, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. This is one of the team's lesser-known efforts (on these shores, at least): They're a Weird Mob starring Walter Chiari (shown, left, in the photo above).

TrustMovies has a special place in his heart for many of these movies because, as a younger writer covering films, he journeyed down under to do one of the first lengthy articles published in America that covered the burgeoning Aussie film industry during the 1970s, written (see above) for the late and lamented (in some circles) After Dark magazine. While in Australia, he interviewed everyone from actors and directors (he watched Peter Weir editing Picnic at Hanging Rock on a Movieola!), met screenwriter/
playwright David Williamson (and his swell family), talked to PR and marketing people and immersed himself in film after film after film. What a joy and a learning experience it was. He also met the Aussie star of the moment, Jack Thompson, whom we still see making interesting movies -- at home and abroad.

So, for me, the chance to view so many of these films again, nearly 40 years later, is a gift. For the rest of you, particularly the younger crowd, I suspect you may be surprised at how well the movies hold up. If you've never seen Fred Schepisi's The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (above), it's one the darkest, near unbearable movie "musts" ever made. Also a terrific movie -- funny, pointed, and on-the-mark for its day -- is Petersen (shown below), written by Mr. Williamson, directed by Tim Burstall, and starring Mr. Thompson (in what may be his best role), the beautiful and talented Wendy Hughes, and Jacki Weaver (who's still cranking 'em out at home (Animal Kingdom) and over here (The Five-Year Engagement and Silver Linings Playbook).

Phillip Noyce is represented by a couple of films (and one short) and will be present for a Q&A on one of them, Newsfront, on January 26. Two films represent Bruce Beresford, Mr. Weir, Mr. Schepisi and Mr. Burstall. Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career, which arrived in 1979, will also be screened, along with some films, like the sheep-shearing epic Sunday Too Far Away (also starring Thompson), that you probably will not have heard much about.

Whether it's the x-rated sex romp Alvin Purple or the Cinema Paradiso-predecessor, The Picture Show Man (above), there is a wealth of film history and entertainment here, so click the link, take a look at what's coming, and make your choice(s). Most of the films will screen at the FSLC's Walter Reade Theater, but occasionally a movie will be shown in one of the other three theaters, so be sure to check the venue before you show up.

Note: though two of the films' stills appear 
above in black-and-white, I'd swear 
that the films themselves are in color.

No comments: