Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Australia Rewinds Film Classics

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Australia Rewinds Film Classics

Article excerpt

WITH director Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia inspiring theatregoers, why not revisit some other great Aussie film classics?

The first eddies of an Australian cultural wave began lapping at foreign shores through such films as My Brilliant Career, The Last Wave and Mad Max. Of course, it all climaxed in an orgy of kangaroo commercialism with Men at Work's Down Under, Olivia Newton-John's Koala Blue stores and more shrimp on the barbie than Paul Hogan could shake a platypus at.

But that didn't smother the original sense of discovery that a country long ignored on the world scene was finding its voice in film, music, literature and art.

Here's a selection from the cream of Australia's cinematic crop:

* The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) - Not a great film by any means but an ebullient one, whose energy is infectious. The story of a transsexual and two drag queens who journey to a remote Outback town to perform, it not only features a sing-a-long soundtrack (ABBA, CeCe Peniston) but two actors who have gone on to global success: Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential) and Hugo Weaving (The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix).

* Jindabyne (2007) - Featuring knockout performances by non-Aussies Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne, Jindabyne updates a story by American writer Raymond Carver that recounts what happens when the body of an Aboriginal woman is found near a small Australian town. (Trivia note: The same Carver story is the basis for a song, So Much Water, So Close to Home by Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly).

* The Last Wave (1979) - Peter Weir's unnerving study of a white, yuppie Sydney lawyer (Richard Chamberlain) who begins to have visions of the Aboriginal apocalypse (the world destroyed by water) is a stirring mood piece.

*Muriel's Wedding (1995) - Like Priscilla, Muriel's Wedding gets by on energy and ABBA. It's also the first time most Americans got to see Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Brothers & Sisters).

* Proof (1992) - Easily one of the best films to come out of Australia, Proof - about a blind amateur photographer (Hugo Weaving), his embittered housekeeper (an amazing Genevieve Picot), and the busboy he hires to tell him what his photos look like (a young Russell Crowe) - is a searing commentary on friendship, trust and obsession. …

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