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CANNES REPORT: 1997

DATELINE CANNES 1997:

OUR OVERVIEW OF THE AUSTRALIANS AT THE 50TH CANNES FESTIVAL FESTIVAL - AND MARKET.


MAY 12: Lee Rogers' independently produced first feature Dust Off The Wings (pictured) has received the thumbs up from Variety film reviewer David Stratton in Cannes. Stratton says that although there are indulgent sequences, "...Rogers convincingly portrays the lifestyles of his fun-loving characters, and spectacular scenes shot out in the surf convey the thrill of the sport as few films have since John milius' Big Wednesday almost 20 years ago..."

MAY 11: Geoffrey Rush is relishing his role as Inspector Javert in the dramatic film version of Les Miserables, shooting in Prague. Rush is in Cannes, promoting A Little Bit of Soul, his first feature film since Shine. A Little Bit of Soul is the follow up film for Peter Duncan, whose Children of the Revolution met with critical acclaim.


MAY 11: Doing Time for Patsy Cline (pictured) has been invited to the Nashville Sinking Creek Film Festival. Akubras all round. Written and directed by Chris Kennedy, Doing Time stars Richard Roxburgh, Miranda Otto and Matt Day.


MAY 10: Screening day for two Aussie films: Thank God He Met Lizzie (pictured) with Richard Roxburgh, Cate Blanchett and Frances O'Connor and Under The Lighthouse Dancing, starring Jack Thompson and Jacqueline McKenzie.

MAY 8: Tropfest director John Polson announced in Sydney today plans to take the 1997 Tropicana Short Film Festival to Cannes. Tropfest has experienced rapid growth since it began four years ago. The 98 festival will be linked to 50 or so cafes around the country with the help of Foxtel cable network. Upwards of 30,000 short film lovers are expected to take part in the event nationally.


MAY 1: Oscar winning actor Geoffrey Rush (pictured) will be Australiaís star attraction at Cannes, there to promote his latest Australian film, A Little Bit of Soul, which will be launched not at the festival, but in the accompanying film market. His presence, albeit brief, will help focus attention on the Australians - not that the Aussies are in danger of being ignored, but it being the 50th anniversary, there will be more than the usual hoopla, with a myriad distractions.

Rush will fly in from the set of Les Miserables in Prague, where he is playing Inspector Javert, in Bille Augustís version of the story. He will have a hectic day of media attention on Sunday May 11, to generate interest in the low budget movie from writer/director Peter Duncan (Children of the Revolution), made in Melbourne entirely with private investment, which is being touted to international buyers by Sydney based Beyond Films.

Miranda Otto, who stars in three of the films including the Competition entry The Well, will be in the Cannes crush , as will Pamela Rabe, Ottoís co-star in The Well, together with the filmís director Samantha Lang, and producer Sandra Levy. Stephan Elliott makes his third Cannes appearance with his third and most subversive feature, Welcome to Woop Woop, which has outback roo-meat factory workers sing Rodgers and Hammerstein; typically and definitely late night screening material.

Also going: Chris Kennedy, who wrote and directed Doing Time for Patsy Cline, with his producer John Winter; writer/director Stavros Efthymiou with his new film, True Love and Chaos (he produced Love and Other Catastrophes); producers Al Clark (a Cannes vet, so to speak), Helen Leake and writer/director Craig Lahiff, to support their new drama, Heavenís Burning, which stars Russell Crowe and Youki Kudoh. Crowe is not Canning, but Kudoh is.


Bill Bennett (pictured on set) and Jennifer Cluff will personally parade their new thriller, Kiss or Kill, which stars Frances OíConnor, (she also stars in three of the nine Australian films making their world debuts at Cannes), who will make her second Cannes trip in a row, after last yearís whirlwind visit for the launch of Love and Other Catastrophes.

(See our news pages for the latest news from Cannes.)

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This is Urban Cinefileís alphabetical At-a-Glance overview of all the new Australian films screening outside the Festival at Cannes this year:

ABERRATION: Simon Bossell and Pamela Gidley star in this chiller thriller directed by Tim Boxell with a sense of humour, set in Twin Peaks country. Trapped in a snowstorm in a mountain cabin, they have to deal with a unique creature that seems indestructible.

A LITTLE BIT OF SOUL: Peter Duncanís ultra-low budget Faustian romp, featuring Geoffrey Rush as the rather disturbed Godfrey Usher, Heather Mitchell, David Wenham and Frances OíConnor. Raising money always carries a price.


DOING TIME FOR PATSY CLINE: Richard Roxburgh, Miranda Otto (pictured), and Matt Day in a funny and touching story of a 17 year old boy from the bush setting off to find fame and fortune in Nashville, and finding more than he expected, but less than he dreamt of; from writer/director Chris Kennedy.


DUST OFF THE WINGS: Kate Ceberano, Lee Rogers and Ward Stevens, in a low budget, high energy surfside riot that lets it all hang out on the eve of a wedding. What do men on the eve of marriage really think about?

HEAVENíS BURNING: Youki Kudoh plays an unhappy Japanese bride who fakes her own disappearance and is taken hostage in a bungled robbery, saved by the getaway driver, played by Russell Crowe, who takes her on a dangerous cross country escape, falling in love along the way. Craig Lahiff directs a Louis Nowra script.


KISS OR KILL: Bill Bennettís gripping thriller on the Nullarbor. Stars Matt Day and Francis OíConnor (pictured), with a strong supporting cast including Chris Haywood, Barry Otto, Max Cullen. Two young scam artists start suspecting each other with murders in their wake; how well do we really know each other?


THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE: Richard Roxburgh, Cate Blanchett and Frances OíConnor in a film that questions notions of romance.


TRUE LOVE AND CHAOS: Writer/director Stavros Efthymiouís debut feature; stars Miranda Otto (pictured), Hugo Weaving, and Naveen Andrews, with Ben Mendelsohn, Noah Taylor, Genevieve Picot and Kimberley Davies in support roles. Itís a road movie.

UNDER THE LIGHTHOUSE DANCING: Jack Thompson and Jacqueline Mackenzie star in an uplifting romantic comedy about two unlikely people who find each other - but then fate takes a hand.







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