This program presents key works made by filmmakers associated with the Sydney Filmmakers’ Co-operative in the 1970s and ’80s, touching on an alternative history of filmmaking in this rich period and covering films of political activism, social protest, personal expression, sexual liberation and technological and cultural change (Melbourne will be the focus of a follow-up program in 2016).
6:30PM – MY LIFE WITHOUT STEVE
Gillian Leahy (1986) 53 mins PG
Leahy’s celebrated short feature is a passionate exploration of the inner life and everyday world of an “unseen” woman suffering the ache of romantic loss. Brilliantly shot in a Sydney apartment, and situated somewhere between Marguerite Duras and Max Ophuls, it is a “journey into the dazzling dark night of the romantic soul” (Peter Kemp).
Jeni Thornley (1978) 28 mins.
Combining home movies, photographs and footage from films she had acted in and worked on, Thornley’s highly influential work creates a poetic and incisively critical “found” footage essay on liberation, sexual equality and the public exploration of family life and history. Please note the earlier 6.30pm start time for this program.
8:15 PM – THE LOVE LETTERS FROM TERALBA ROAD
Stephen Wallace (1977) 50 mins
Wallace stumbled upon a series of letters in a Sydney flat in 1972, written by a man living in Newcastle in 1959. The letters chronicle the man’s persistent plea for forgiveness after having severely beaten his wife, and serve here as the structural narrative against which the screen drama is set. Though the real-life woman, tracked down by a journalist, initially threatened to sue Wallace, she later changed her mind after seeing the film and its treatment of issues of domestic violence. With Kris McQuade and Bryan Brown.
9:20 PM – AGAINST THE GRAIN: MORE MEAT THAN WHEAT
Tim Burns (1980) 76 mins
Burns’ remarkable, dystopic and challenging activist film charts the journey and movements of Ray Unit, a contradictory figure who provides a fascinating conduit through which to survey a range of hot-button issues including home-grown terrorism, woodchipping, national security and the effects of technology on individual freedom.
Helen Grace (1983) 28 mins.
Grace and Erika Addis’ groundbreaking, montage-driven and formally dexterous film playfully explores contemporary politics, screen theory, and images of masculinity and femininity to provide an open-ended argument about history and identity.