Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & the Arts co-ordinator, Neil Mitchell, provides an oversight to the film sector of this year’s programme. With offerings that range from the the world’s first full-length feature film to enduring Australian and New Zealand classics and recent award-winning cinema, this is a programme with something to offer everyone.
Film buffs can purchase three tickets for the price of two.
The film strand of this year’s Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts provides a snapshot of the themes that have dominated cinema from South Country. Tales of triumphant underdogs, family loyalties and indigenous culture rub shoulders with those addressing individual and national identity, and the mysteries of the outback and crime, both real and imagined. Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave bring an unsettling mysticism to the divides between opposing cultures and physical spaces, while The Dead Lands, Boy and the internationally renowned Once Were Warriors look at Māori life from very different perspectives. Success against the odds, often bittersweet and not without consequence, can be seen in The Dark Horse and All This Mayhem, two real life tales recounted in memorable fashion in fictional and documentary form respectively.
The remaining footage of Charles Tait’s ground-breaking silent classic, The Story of the Kelly Gang (the world’s first feature length film) will be fascinating for lovers of social and film history alike. Similarly, Geoff Murphy’s riotous Kiwi road movie Goodbye Pork Pie focuses on more ‘legendary’ crimes, in the shape of the comedic and entirely imaginary ‘Blondini Gang’. Secrets, lies and the pressures of modern life are at the fore of the ambitious portmanteau adaptation of Tim Winton’s collection of short stories, The Turning, which features an award-winning turn by Rose Byrne.
Finally, The Waler: Australia’s Great War Horse, provides a fascinating account of the 130,000 Waler horses that served during the Great War, and sheds light on why none came home.