'Couched in terms more suited to a sensationalist TV movie, this Australian production unashamedly employs melodramatic symbolism to emphasise the unbelievable truth of its true-life subject. Director Frank Shields secures a full-throttle performance from Ralph Schicha, as the brutal husband who not only subjects wife Kerry Mack to endless domestic violence, but also forces her to participate in the bank raids that sustain his neo-Nazi activities. Although there are references to the Baader-Meinhof group, ultimately the film is clearly less interested in politics than in the tempestuous marriage.'
Source: Radio Times (http://www.radiotimes.com/film/kbbdx/URL). (Sighted: 17/6/2013)
A vicious razorback boar terrorises the Australian outback, beginning with the death of a small child, whose grandfather is tried for his murder but acquitted. An American journalist (who holds strong conservationist views) follows the story and is attacked by two locals, who leave her for the boar to kill. Her husband then comes to Australia, determined to seek the boar who killed his wife (and, incidentally, revenge himself on the two locals).
Written by prolific screen-writer Everett De Roche, the film is based on a novel of the same name by American novelist Peter Brennan (a novel that, apparently, bears little resemblance to the film). The first full-length film directed by Russell Mulcahy, Razorback is a bridge between Mulcahy's early work on video clips and his later, more recognisable genre films, beginning (only two years after Razorback) with Highlander.
According to David Carroll at Tabula Rasa, 'Razorback is perhaps the most recognisable 'horror' film from
Australia. It has a rising young director in the form of Russell
Mulcahy, some reasonably well-known faces, both Australian and American,
and a giant pig. It also has a depiction of the Australian outback as,
Carroll specifies of the way in which the film approaches Australia (as a concept, rather than simply a country) that 'The brothers, their factory, the nightmare landscape and the pig itself, are all presented as a single, coherent malevolence. I have written previously, in more than one place, that the landscape is the defining feature of Australian horror. Razorback extends the idea into expressionism'. He emphasises that 'Of course, all this unnaturalistic splendour could just be attributed to shoddy film-making, but I don't think so. The change in tone and the way things are shot in different locations, such as Sarah's farm and the factory, is very striking, whilst the town itself shifts between the two. There seem to be two different realities, and a slippery border between them.'
Source: Tabula Rasa (http://www.tabula-rasa.info/AusHorror/Razorback.html). (Sighted: 15/6/2012)
'In the gem fields of central Queensland, knockabout young miners Mike and Johnny (Colin Friels and Harry Hopkins) borrow heavily to take on a claim-jumping newcomer (Dennis Miller) who has money and muscle. Help arrives from an unlikely source – a city doctor (Norman Kaye) and his family, passing though on holiday, and a lonely pilot (Simon Chilvers), who sells them a plane. They band together against the enemy, but Mike and Johnny argue over strategy and the doctor’s adventurous daughter (Lisa Peers).'
Source: Australian Screen.
Nineteen-year-old Jimmy finds himself accidentally in debt to local mob boss Pando, after failing to deliver $10,000 to a Bondi woman as promised. Through a series of accidents and with the intervention (often indirect) of Jimmy's dead brother (who acts as a guardian angel throughout the film), Jimmy attempts to work his way out of debt and secure both his own future and that of his love interest, Alex.
In the vein of stranger-comes-to-town westerns, lawyer Asta Cadell (Deborah Lee Furness) is forced to stop in the small country town of Ginaborak to await parts for her motorcycle. The men of the town act very aggressively. The women cower. Asta is offered a place to stay by Tim Curtis (Tony Barry) a local mechanic and learns of the rape of his daughter Lizze (Simone Buchanan) the previous evening. As Asta befriends Lizze, she is horrified to discover that the men repeatedly gang rape the women of Ginborak.
Source: Reading Room, 'Shame', http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/film/dbase/2003/shame.htm (Sighted 7/10/11)
'On a lonely cattle station in the Northern Territory, a newly born Aboriginal baby is adopted by a white woman in place of her own child who has died. The child is raised as a white child and forbidden any contact with the Aborigines on the station. Years later, Jedda is drawn by the mysteries of the Aboriginal people but restrained by her upbringing. Eventually she is fascinated by a full-blood Aboriginal, Marbuck, who arrives at the station seeking work and is drawn to his campfire by his song. He takes her away as his captive and returns to his tribal lands, but he is rejected by his tribe for having broken their marriage taboos. Pursued by the men from Jedda's station and haunted by the death wish of his own tribe, Marbuck is driven insane and finally falls, with Jedda, over a cliff.'
(Synopsis from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School website, http://library.aftrs.edu.au)
'A woman disappears. Four marriages are drawn into a tangled web of love, deceit, sex and death. Not all of them survive. LANTANA is a psychological thriller about love. It's about the mistakes we make, the consequences we suffer, and the attempts we make to fix things up.'
Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 4/12/2013)
Continuum began as a joint initiative between Tom O'Regan at Murdoch University and Brian Shoesmith at Edith Cowan University, Perth. From 1991-5 it was wholly located in the Centre for Research in Culture and Communication at Murdoch University. From mid-1995 it was located in the Department of Media Studies at Edith Cowan University.
Continuum is a thematically based cultural studies journal. The primary focus of the journal is upon screen media, but it also includes publishing, broadcasting and public exhibitionary media such as museums and sites. Journal editors are particularly interested in (1) the history and practice of screen media in Australasia and Asia ; (2) the connections between such media (particularly between film, TV, publishing, visual arts and exhibitionary sites). Each issue is devoted to the exploration of a particular cultural site. Sites have included Indigenous media, television, Asian cinema, media discourse, film style, publishing, photography, radio, 'Screening Cultural Studies', electronic arts in Australia and 'Critical Multiculturalism'. The journal is committed to articulating the energies, fragmentations, and loose coalitions that attend such cultural sites.
(Source : Continuum)
In this sequel to the original Mad Max, Max finds himself involved with a small group of settlers who live around a small working oil refinery, producing that most precious of products in a post-apocalyptic society: petrol.
This sequel to the enormously popular film The Adventures of Barry McKenzie begins where the other ended. While Barry McKenzie and his aunt Dame Edna are flying home to Australia from England, two henchmen of Count von Plasma (a Dracula-type ruler of an isolated and unnamed Eastern European state) mistake Dame Edna for the Queen of the United Kingdom. They kidnap her during a brief stopover in Paris, believing that she will draw tourists to their country. Barry and his mates subsequently mount a rescue.
'Prime Mover is a diesel-charged love story about ambition, pressure, responsibility and the love shared by a man, a woman and his truck.'
Source: Porchlight Films website, http://www.porchlightfilms.com.au
'Pete and Jerry are cousins in their early twenties living together on the outskirts of Sydney. Their life consists of dead-end jobs, getting stoned, hanging out at the local pub and talking about girls. Which is fine until Cheryl enters their lives; she's sexy, confident and dangerous. When they both fall in love with her their lives spiral out of control. Dramatic, tense and explosive, WEST explores what happens when you discover how few choices you have in life...'
Source: Screen Australia.
A light-hearted look at the politics and intrigue of competitive ballroom dancing, the storyline focuses on Scott Hastings, who, his ambitious mother Shirley believes, will become champion with his current partner Liz. When Scott tries to introduce his own steps into their routine (against Pan-Pacific Championship rules), Liz leaves him for a rival partner. Without a partner, Scott eventually agrees to dance with Fran, a shy student at the academy run by his mother. When he meets her father and grandmother, Scott leans how to put passion into his movements, especially through the paso doble. In a last ditch effort to see her son become the Pan-Pacific Champion, Shirley convinces him to partner Tina Sparkle, which he reluctantly does. When he finally realises what he has done, he implores Fran to partner him. When they are disqualified from the competition, the audience (led by Scott's father, Barry) gives them a standing ovation and Scott and Fran go on to perform their version of the paso doble.
[Source: Australian Screen]
On St Valentine's Day 1900, three schoolgirls and a teacher from an exclusive English-style boarding school go missing at the mysterious Hanging Rock in central Victoria. One of the girls is found alive a week later, but the others are never seen again. As morale within the school begins to disintegrate, the headmistress's increasingly incoherent anger is turned towards one student, leading to tragic consequences. Although the police suspect Michael Fitzhubert, a young English aristocrat, and his manservant Albert, who were in the area at the time the girls disappeared, the mystery is never solved. As Paul Byrnes (Australian Screen) notes, the suggested scenarios range from the 'banal and explicable (a crime of passion) to deeply mystical (a crime of nature).'[Source: Australian Screen]
'Nonna Katia, Christina and Josie are three generations of Italian-Australian women living together in a hothouse atmosphere of love, support...and drama on an operatic scale.'
Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 23/10/2012)
A dark portrait of barely sympathetic, disaffected youth, Metal Skin tells the story of four social misfits whose greatest thrill is putting the pedal to the metal and drag racing their problems into oblivion. Against this background of fast cars and empty lives, the four develop a strange and complex relationship. Central to the narrative are Psycho Joe, a petrol-head with limited social skills who lives with his mentally ill father, and the womanising Dazey, whose girlfriend suffers physically and mentally for his hobby. Joe and Dazey first meet at the local supermarket where Joe has just been employed after years of unemployment. Into the mix comes Savina, a Satan-worshipping witch. While interested in Dazey, even though he is 'taken,' Savina finds herself having to fend off Joe's hopeless advances. The nihilism of these young characters, coupled with parental disputes, leads to various tragedies.
Some reviews of Metal Skin suggest that it draws on the tropes of Arthurian legends, linking the film's title to a quotation from John Boorman's 1981 Excalibur.
'Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu's view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the most remote regions on earth. JAPANESE STORY is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.'
Source: Screen Australia.
Mick 'Crocodile' Dundee runs an outback adventure business with his trusted friend and self-proclaimed mentor Walter Reilly. When he survives a crocodile attack, the news travels well beyond the Northern Territory, and a glamorous New York journalist, Sue Charlton, arrives to interview him. He invites her to come with him to the place where he was attacked. When Sue herself is attacked by a croc, Mick saves her. This leads to an invitation for Mick to visit his first ever city: New York City. Mick finds the culture and life in New York City a lot different than his home.
'How do you learn to love again when the pain of the past won't let you go? Tracy Heart has set herself the humble goal of owning her own business. The return of her ex-boyfriend Jonny, the criminal aspirations of her brother Ray and the emotional draw of ex-footy star Lionel create friction for Tracy, and her bond of trust with her mother Janelle is tested. A story about families. About lies. And about learning to love again.'
Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 6/8/2013)
In the early 1900s, the spirited and talented Laura Tweedle Ramsbotham arrives at an exclusive Melbourne ladies' college, only to be greeted with jeers and treated as a country bumpkin. Although she is defiant towards her peers, the pressure almost defeats her. She soon learns, however, to be as ruthless as the other girls. Caught out after inventing an illicit liaison with the handsome new minister, she becomes a pariah until she is taken under the wing of an older girl, the elegant and kindly Evelyn Suitor. Laura subsequently falls in love with Evelyn, causing the latter to leave the school in order to escape Laura's attentions. Laura eventually completes her schooling, winning a two-year music scholarship to study piano.
Source: Australian Screen.
'Samson and Delilah tells the story of two Aboriginal teenagers in a remote community. They live in a sparse environment but one that absorbs all manner of cultural influences, where dot painting and country music exist side by side. Samson gets through his days by sniffing, while Delilah is the caregiver for her nana before taking a moment for herself to listen to Latino music. Their journey ranges across many of the most urgent issues concerning Indigenous people in Australia, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence and substance abuse, but it does so with tenderness, dignity, and even humour.'
Source: Adelaide Film Festival website, www.adelaidefilmfestival.org/ Sighted: 23/02/2009
Shine is the true story of David Helfgott, a brilliant pianist whose musical gift is nearly compromised by the emotional strain of his personal life. A child prodigy whose interpretive genius promised a brilliant career as a concert pianist, David grew up under the tyrannical parenting of his father. Their turbulent relationship almost destroys David's promise and threatens his fragile mental balance. When an unlikely romance with a remarkable woman brings stability to David's chaotic world, he returns to concert performance in triumph. Freed from the difficult legacy of his father's influence, his musical talent prevails.
(Source: Libraries Australia)
Italian sports journalist Nino Culotta is lured to Sydney during the mid-1960s to work for his brother's new magazine for migrant Italians. When he arrives in the country, however, Nino finds out that there is no magazine and that his brother has taken off with the investors' cash. Left in the lurch is his brother's business partner, Kay Kelly. Nino vows to pay off his brother's debt and gets a job as a builder's labourer. In doing so, he learns how to talk, act, and drink like an Australian male. His numerous attempts to woo Kay are repeatedly rebuffed with humorous results, but in the end she falls in love with him. Nino's introduction to the country and its culture finds him bemused but ultimately confident that he has a future here.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image suggests this film is 'very much a product of the assimilationist view dominating Australian immigration policy at the time'.
Inspired in part by some unsolved murders in the Australian outback, and by the gruesome backpacker murders committed by Ivan Milat in NSW during the late 1980s/early 1990s, Wolf Creek tells the story of three young backpackers, Ben Mitchell, an Australian, and Liz Hunter and Kristy Earl, both English. Although the girls don't know Ben all that well, he and Liz fancy each other. After buying a car in Broome, situated in the far north coast of Western Australia, the trio head east with the intention of driving across the top end to Cairns (Queensland). At the end of their first day in the desert, their car breaks down at a deserted tourist site - the large crater of a meteorite. Later that night a truck arrives, driven by a real outback character, Mick Taylor. He tows them to his isolated camp at an abandoned mine site, promising to fix their car. All three tourists fall asleep after Mick drugs them. When Liz wakes up, she is bound and gagged and her friends are missing and the nightmare begins.
O'Regan, Tom (1996) Australian National Cinema. London: Routledge ISBN 0-415-05731-0 An Ebook copy of this text is also available to students via the library catalogue.