Sophie Lowe

BLAME: DVD release and LAFS screening

Production still from BLAME

A tough-going but intelligent revenge thriller shot in the Perth hills, Blame stars a fistful of up-and-coming Australian talent (including Sophie Lowe and Kestie Morassi) and is the impressive feature debut of writer/director Michael John Henry. The set-up is relatively familiar – a group of friends intent on vengeance travel to a secluded home to carry out ‘the perfect murder’ – but when their seemingly straightforward plan is botched, the group are forced to confront both the victim and their own web of deceit. Made on a shoestring budget, the film is as economical on-screen as it is off.

UK DVD cover for BLAMEFollowing an Australian theatrical release in mid-2011 and festival screenings around the globe, Blame is finally reaching British audiences next week thanks to a DVD release from High Fliers.

In conjunction with this release, the London Australian Film Society present a screening of the film at the Shortwave Cinema in Bermondsey on May 17. For further information, join the LAFS Facebook group or email to reserve a seat at the screening. But be quick, seats are filling fast!

In the meantime, visit the official Blame website or check out the trailer below.

Blame is released on DVD through High Fliers on May 14.

Griff the Invisible and Blessed out now on DVD/Blu-Ray

Having previously brought Beautiful Kate and Bitter & Twisted to UK audiences, Matchbox Films -those fine purveyours of Antipodean (and other) delights – have just released two more Australian titles in the UK.

Appearing shortly after the much-lauded Kick-Ass, Griff the Invisible (2010) no doubt suffered a similar fate to fellow super(anti)hero black comedy Super – with endless comparisons between these tales of ordinary guys turned (not particularly) super. In this iteration, Griff is a highly disfunctional office worker who spends his days being relentlessly harassed by his co-workers. At night, however, he dons a cape and roams the streets, protecting the neighbourhood from thugs and lowlifes until he finally meets his match – a girl called Melody who shares his aptitude for daydreaming.

Despite being faintly damned as ‘twee’, ‘shaggy’ and ‘uneven’, many critics praised this Aussie superhero rom-com for being ‘cheefully offbeat’ with ‘moments of pure magic’. Produced by Jan Chapman and providing the feature directorial debut for Aussie actor Leon Ford, the film features True Blood star Ryan Kwanten in the lead role alongside Maeve Dermody (Black Water, Beautiful Kate).

Griff The Invisible is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

UK artwork for Blessed (2009)Also out now on Matchbox is Blessed (2009), the latest feature from Ana Kokkinos, the talent behind the brilliantly unrelenting features Head On (1998) and The Book of Revelation (2005). Relating the interweaving tales of a handful of kids living on the streets of Melbourne, the film is adapted from Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?, a tough theatrical portmanteau borne from a collaboration between a quintet of Australia’s finest writers – Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irine Vela.

Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Frances O’Connor, Miranda Otto, Deborra-Lee Furness, William McInnes and Sophie Lowe, Blessed plays out on the meaner streets of Melbourne over a 24 hour period, and builds upon a moody (some might say ‘gloomy’) atmosphere to provide a lingering portrait of the difficulties faced by children and parents alike as they struggle to cope on the fringes of society.

Blessed is out now on DVD.

ON TV: The Slap (BBC Four)

Still from The SlapComing to BBC Four tonight is the first episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s mini-series adaptation of Christos Tsolikas’ controversial bestseller The Slap, which traces the aftermath of a tense incident at a barbeque from varying perspectives.

Although it may sit slightly out of The Far Paradise‘s ‘Australian cinema’ remit, this eight-part drama has plenty of filmic pedigree, starring an ensemble cast which includes Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Dirty Pretty Things), Melissa George (Triangle, 30 Days of Night), Alex Dimitriades (The Heartbreak Kid, Head On – which was based on Tsolikas’ novel Loaded), Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate, Blame) and Anthony Hayes (The Square, The Boys). There’s plenty of talent behind the camera too, with four directors – Tony Ayres (Walking on Water, The Home Song Stories), Robert Connolly (The Bank, Balibo), Jessica Hobbs (So Close to Home) and Matthew Saville (Noise) – each taking the lead on two episodes.

If you’ve ever read one of Tsolikas’ books, you’ll know how uncompromising a figure he can be, but if you need more proof just listen to his controversial, yet apt assessment of Australia’s ‘society of selfishness’, expressed in an interview for BBC Hardtalk when promoting The Slap. All reports from Australia suggest this vivid, compelling series is one to watch (and to stick with until the end), so make sure you tune in to BBC Four at 10pm tonight (October 27) for the first episode. Directed by Jessica Hobbs, it focuses on Hector (Jonathan LaPaglia) whose birthday party is ruined when a man slaps the child of another couple.