AUSTRALIANS AT CANNES 2005
For the first time, two Australian films will be screened as a single program in Un Certain Regard, the Cannes sidebar devoted to the filmmaker’s personal vision: Jewboy, a 52 minute feature by director Tony Krawitz, and Yellow Fella, a 25 minute documentary by award-winning director Ivan Sen, will screen as one feature-length program. Clara, a stop-motion animation by director Van Sowerwine, will screen in the Shorts Competition, and Greg McLean’s thriller, Wolf Creek, screens in Directors Fortnight.
The two films screening back to back in Un Certain Regard provide a unique and appropriately symbolic pairing in which the subjects search for a place in the world through their past: one is a Rabbi’s son, the other is an Aborigine of mixed heritage.
Some other new Australian films are also screening at Cannes, in the enormous Marché (Market), amongst hundreds of other films that flood the cinemas of Cannes for two weeks each year, previewed for buyers from around the world. The Marché du Film 2005 will welcome 9,000 buyers, sellers and producers. The number of films on offer, and the number of screenings especially, has increased significantly this year: a sign of vitality in world production, says the organisers.
For a country with relatively low population like Australia, international sales are critical to not only enhance reputations, but recoup some of the budget.
OFFICIAL FESTIVAL SELECTION
Jewboy – short drama
Stars: Ewen Leslie, Naomi Wilson, Saskia Burmeister, Leah Vandenberg.
Jewboy is the story of Yuri Kovner, the 23-year-old son of a Rabbi, whose father's death triggers his return from Israel to the strict Hassidic community of Jewish Sydney. Losing his faith in Judaism, he rejects his former girlfriend Rivka and starts driving taxis. Jewboy is a film about a young man’s search for his place in the world, his family and his faith.
Writer/Director: Tony Krawitz
Producers: Liz Watts and Libby Sharpe
Director of Photography: Greig Fraser
Production Designer: Melinda Doring
Editor: Jane Moran
Sound Designer: Sam Petty
Costume Designer: Jodie Fried
Composer: Decoder Ring
Yellow Fella - documentary
Featuring: Tom E Lewis and Angelina George.
Yellow Fella looks at the life of Tom Lewis, star of Australian feature The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978), which coincidentally premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year. The life of the character he played was hauntingly close to his own: a young, restless man of mixed heritage, struggling for a foothold on the edge of two cultures. Tom's mother is a traditional Indigenous woman of southern Arnhem Land, his father a Welsh stockman he never really knew. Yellow Fella traces Tom’s journey across the land and into his past, as he attempts to find the resting place of his father and finally confronts the truth of his feelings, love and identity.
Director: Ivan Sen
Writers: Tom E Lewis and Fleur Parry
Producer: Citt Williams
Editor: Alison Croft
Cinematographer: Ivan Sen
Sound Recordist: Kuji Jenkins
Composer: Alister Spence
Clara – animation (7 mins)
A stop-motion animation about a 12-year-old girl whose world has just changed forever. Struggling with a massive change in her life, 12-year-old Clara is disoriented and confused. Her efforts to remedy the situation and make sense of her new world are thwarted when flowers attack her and ants invade her home. Her enchanted childhood has changed forever and things will never be the same.
Writer/Director: Van Sowerwine
Animator: Isobel Knowles
Producer: Philippa Campey
Director of Photography: Jon Bilington
Additional D.O.P.: Isobel Knowles
Sound Designer: Jennifer Sochackyj
Model & Armature Maker: Scott Ebdon
Editor: Cassandra Tytler
Character Creation & Wardrobe: Fiona Edwards
Wolf Creek – 95 minutes Thriller/Horror (Arclight Films)
Writer/Director: Greg McLean
Stars: John Jarratt, Cassandra McGrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips
Based on true events, Wolf Creek tells the chilling story of three backpackers travelling in remote outback Australia. When their vehicle breaks down they accept help from a friendly local. It soon dawns on them that he has no intention of fixing their vehicle, or of them leaving... ever again.
(Australian release not yet scheduled; Miramax/Dimension Films in flux due to split from Disney.)
Blue Tongue – 7 minutes
Writer/Director: Justin Kurzel; producer: Tim Jolley.
On the fringes of a housing estate a girl seduces a boy with a secret she will only share in exchange for his love. When the boy fails to honour the pact, what he holds close is threatened by the girl’s desire for revenge.
Blue Tongue was Kurzel and Jolley’s 2004 graduation film from the Victorian College of The Arts. Justin Kurzel’s prior short film Meeting Misty Rain was awarded 2nd place at Tropfest in 2000. The Critics’ Week each year selects seven features and seven short films from first or second time directors.
This is the first Australian short film to screen in Critics’ Week. The last Australian film to screen in their program was a Special Screening of the feature film Soft Fruit, directed by Christina Andreef in 2000.
A selection of Australian film selling in the Market:
Oyster Farmer – 100 minutes Melodrama/Romantic Comedy (Beyond UK)
Writer/Director: Anna Reeves
Stars: Kerry Armstrong, David Field, Jim Norton, Alex O'Lachlan, Diana Glenn, Jack Thompson. When 23-year-old Jack Flange robs the fish markets to help his sister out of trouble, he doesn't expect the money to go missing after posting it to the secluded environs of the Hawkesbury River. Travelling north to recover the money, Jack discovers a world of tight knit eccentrics including Pearl, a local girl with a reputation to whom Jack becomes irresistibly attracted.
(Opens in Australia June 30, 2005.)
The Proposition – 110 minutes Period Drama (Pictures in Paradise)
Writer: Nick Cave Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, John Hurt, David Wenham, Emily Watson.
Set in the 1880s, the film opens in the middle of a frenzied gunfight between the police and a gang of outlaws. Charlie Burns and his brother Mikey are captured by Captain Stanley. Together with their psychopathic brother Arthur, they are wanted for a brutal crime. Stanley makes Charlie a seemingly impossible proposition in an attempt to bring an end to the cycle of bloody violence.
(No Australian release date scheduled as yet.)
Rapid Fear – 90 minutes Action/Thriller (IFM Films)
Producer & Director: Geoff Cox
Stars: Steven Grives, Peter Kent, Guy Edmonds, Remi Broadway.
After ten years in jail for armed robbery, James has been ordered to spend a weekend in the forest with 6 street kids who are one step away from prison. Their rafting adventure quickly turns into a nightmare of raging floodwaters, missing people and a menacing presence hiding in the woods. Someone or something doesn’t want them to make it down the river and only James knows the reason why.
(No Australian theatrical release.)
Three Dollars – 110 minutes Drama (Becker Ent)
Writer/Director: Robert Connolly
Stars: David Wenham, Frances O’Connor, Sarah Wynter
Based on Elliot Perlman's award winning novel, Three Dollars tells the story of an honest, compassionate man who finds himself, at the age of 38, with a wife, a child and three dollars.
(Opened in Australia April 21, 2005.)
Published May 5, 2005
Email this article
CANNES PREVIEW 2005