VOX POP: The Babadook

Production still from The Babadook (Source: Icon)

It may be a dying art these days, but anyone of a certain age will likely remember those advertorials where punters were asked what they thought of a film as they left a screening. Well, our semi-regular Vox Pop column is updating that notion for the 21st century by attempting to gauge the mood of the Twitterverse about Australian films in the UK, putting it somewhere between criticism by consensus and an opinionated free-for-all.

Jennifer Kent’s pop-up book scarefest The Babadook landed in British and Irish cinemas on Friday (in what constituted the widest release of an Australian film here for some time). The critics may have lauded it with four and five star reviews, and early indications suggest that it has had a strong opening weekend, but lets see what the punters thought.


IN CINEMAS: Mystery Road

Production still from Mystery Road

To celebrate the UK cinema release of Ivan Sen’s potent, highly-charged slow-burn western Mystery Road, this review (of sorts) meanders in search of the film’s place within forty-odd years of through lines in the Australian film industry.


Vox Pop: 100 Bloody Acres at FrightFest

Morgan's Organics - 100 Bloody Acres

So, I’m not long back from the UK premiere of the Cairnes Brothers’ splatter comedy 100 Bloody Acres, which had an enthusiastic reception from the ever-excellent crowds at Film4 FrightFest, Britain’s biggest (and best) celebration of all things horror and genre.


Friday Flashback: Florrie Forde

Friday Flashback is a semi-regular feature drawing on recent news stories to delve into the archives, looking back on oft-neglected corners of Australian film history.

Earlier this week, the National Film and Sound Archive announced their annual round of additions to the wonderful Sounds of Australia registry, honouring audio achievements of cultural, historical or aesthetic importance to the Australian nation, all nominated by members of the public.

Amongst this year’s additions was a fabulous little ditty by Australian music hall artiste Florrie Floyd, whose Hold Your Hand Out Naughty Boy is a classic of music hall entendre. But despite her Australian roots, Forde actually spent most of her working life in Britain, where she moved at the tender age of 21 for a life spent in the footlights.


Wandering back into The Eye of the Storm

Having made its UK premiere at FilmFest Australia last year, veteran Australian director Fred Schepisi’s adaptation of Patrick White’s much-loved novel, The Eye of the Storm, plays in cinemas across Britain and Ireland throughout May, June and July. To celebrate the release, The Far Paradise takes a look at a novel, and a film filled with homecomings, both on the page and off the screen…

Production still for THE EYE OF THE STORM

A knight and a princess, returning to the foreign shores of their homeland. How could they not disappoint?’


A History of Diggers on the Big Screen

Still from Gallipoli (1981)

As well as a full morning of ceremonies and events, Anzac Day in London this year will be marked by a special screening of Peter Weir’s WWI classic Gallipoli (1981) at the Hackney Picturehouse. Hosted by the London Australian Film Society, the screening begins at 9pm with a special introduction by Dr. Ian Henderson from the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at King’s College, London.

Now, just about anyone who’s studied at an Australian high school since the mid-1980s will have seen this classic at some stage, and along with Breaker Morant and The Lighthorsemen, the film also holds a place as an established classic of Australia’s new wave. But, just as films like Breaker Morant attest, there is more to the Anzac spirit than those brave souls who landed on the beaches at Gallipoli and more to films about diggers than Peter Weir’s perennial classic. So, to celebrate the screening and mark the day that Australians and New Zealanders remember their fallen, The Far Paradise takes a look back at soldiers in Australian films before the new wave of the 1970s…


Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell: Australian screen icon

Charles 'Bud' Tingwell

Yesterday (January 3rd) would have been the 90th birthday of Australian screen legend Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell. As a tribute, here is an article I wrote shortly after his death in 2009 (originally published on Suite101):