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One of the most creative and celebrated periods in international cinema is, without a doubt, the Australian New Wave in the early 70s. With film production in the country stalled for years due to lack of funding, the Australian film industry experienced a revival in 1971 with the creation of the Australian Film Development Corporation. This period of creativity and artistic freedom brought budding auteurs such as Peter Weir, Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford, and George Miller to the attention of international audiences. Their films introduced stars such Mel Gibson, Bryan Brown, Judy Davis, Jacki Weaver, and Bill Hunter whose careers were launched during this renaissance.
So head uptown to the Film Society of Lincoln Center and brave the cold to see or re-see these exceptional films and to enjoy the special guests—directors Michael Thornhill and Phillip Noyce to name two—who will be at at least half of the screenings throughout the week long event. The influential Aussie filmmakers in attendance will be holding Q&As after select screenings of movies from their filmography. Director Fred Schepisi (A Cry in the Dark, The Russia House) will kick off the series this Friday, January 25, at the showings of two of his earliest films, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Devil’s Playground.
The revival will feature obscure titles worthy of your time —such as Bruce Beresford’s Money Movers about a heist gone bad and Philip Noyce’s iconic Austrialian road movie, Backroads— alongside familiar titles that you can see in glorious 35 mm. Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock with its lush photography should be particularly spectacular on the big screen. This masterpiece about a field trip of young female students gone horribly awry was last shown at Film Society in early 2011 at their all too-brief series, Voyager: The Films of Peter Weir.
Not to be missed is George Miller’s post-apocalyptic opus, Mad Max, which features one of cinema’s most iconic anti-heroes, the aptly named Mad Max Rockatansky (played by a young and at the time sane Mel Gibson). Miller is returning to the franchise that made him famous with next year’s Mad Max: Fury Road starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron sporting a vicious buzz cut.
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