Wednesday 18 December
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Melbourne University Film Society (MUFS), and 40 years since the first screenings of its successor, the Melbourne Cinémathèque, at RMIT in late February 1984, we conclude the year with a fully stuffed screening of a fascinating trove of films funded by MUFS and/or made by key members of the organisation in the 1960s and early 1970s. This era saw very little feature or independent filmmaking in Australia and this varied group of films represent a significant contribution to the local film culture both in terms of quantity and in terms of the free-spirited nature of the movies themselves. MUFS reached its peak of success in the 1960s as modernist art cinema and the appreciation of Hollywood auteurism became significant touchstones for programming as well as the films key figures like Brian Davies, Peter Carmody and David Minter would go on to make. Coined the “Carlton ripple” by Bruce Hodsdon, these films reflected the increased availability of 16mm equipment, the influence of the diverse movies screened by MUFS, the importance of the critics-cum-filmmakers of the nouvelle vague, and the filmmakers’ desire to document and transform their immediate surroundings. Each of these films – from the Alan Finney-starring Hey Al Baby (1968) to the John Duigan-starring Brake Fluid (1970), – provides us with a fascinating glimpse of the burgeoning Melbourne film culture of the time, the playful realities and fantasies of university life, the rich subcultures of Carlton taking root at La Mama Theatre and MUFS itself, and a set of aesthetic provocations and challenges that are still relevant today.
7:00pm NOTHING LIKE EXPERIENCE
Peter Carmody (1970) 50 mins – Unclassified 15+
This playful mix of documentary and fiction provides a vibrant record of the Second University Arts Festival held at the University of Melbourne in May 1969. It is also a fascinating time capsule of late 1960s Bohemian Carlton featuring actors from La Mama Theatre as well as various figures from the local scene including Tim Burstall, Brian Davies, Nigel Buesst and Arnold Zable.
Preceded by Watt’s Last Voyage Brian Davies (1965) 7 mins – Unclassified 15+. A satirical comedy starring Graeme Blundell and Robin Laurie. And Hey Al Baby David Minter (1968) 35 mins – Unclassified 15+. An energetic, almost real-time portrait of student life in Carlton featuring Jerry Lewis obsessive and film identity, Alan Finney, in its title role.
8:50pm BRAKE FLUID
Brian Davies (1971) 51 mins – Unclassified 15+
Davies was one of the key figures of MUFS in the 1960s as a critic, programmer and filmmaker. This self-funded verité comedy starring John Duigan is something of a swan song for the “Carlton ripple” and reflects the movement’s characteristic vacillation between intensely local and distantly international influences.
Preceded by The Girl-Friends Peter Elliot (1968) 25 mins – Unclassified 15+. A sometimes-exuberant satirical comedy of student life starring playwright Jack Hibberd and channelling the pop culture playfulness of the nouvelle vague. And Monash ’66 Chris Maudson (1967) 31 mins – Unclassified 15+. A series of Resnais-like tracking shots are interspersed with candid interviews with “freshers” by Maudson and co-writer Robin Laurie.