The movie Dons Party is about a wild house party in a suburban Australian neighbourhood. Don Henderson convinces his wife to have another party so that their friends can gather to watch the... See full summary »
Filmed in the Clare Valley, Gladstone and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, this prison movie was inspired by the true life prison riot at Bathurst Jail in 1974 and its subsequent Royal Commission into New South Wales Prisons.
John Grant, a bonded teacher, arrives in a rough outback mining town planning to stay overnight before starting his holiday. But one night stretches to several and with the aid of alcohol he plunges headlong toward his own destruction.
An advertising executive dies and goes to hell... except nothing changes. Well, his daughter is buying drugs with sexual favours from her brother, and the number of cancer-causing products ... See full summary »
Nino Culotta is an Italian immigrant who arrived in Australia with the promise of a job as a journalist on his cousin's magazine, only to find that when he gets there the magazine's folded,... See full summary »
When dwindling membership and increasing overheads makes a local bowling club and prime candidate for a takeover, it's all hands on deck to save the club, in what turns into an epic battle ... See full summary »
I am glad that I can sometimes revisit Australia as it once was through films like "Sunday Too Far Away" and "Newsfront". At the time of their making, we still had the faces and voices that rang true to the 50's - 60's prior to the influence of television that forever changed the way we talk and even the way we walk. Jack Thompson and the rest of the male cast moved in the way Australian men and, in particular, shearers moved. Compare this with the cast of "Kokoda". As my mother commented, Australian men of the 1940's just didn't look so muscular or move with such rigidity. They were a Depression generation - wiry with a casual slouch born of being raised on lean rabbits and fish and hardships that knocked pretentiousness sideways.
However, "Sunday Too Far Away" is far more than a sentimental journey. It is a view of life that is at once tragic and humorous. It also has genuinely touching moments when seemingly hard and practical men display their concern for each other in an understated manner that is indicative of their rejection of overt displays of sentimentality. They all know that they are probably going to end up like old Garth if they remain shearers. "That's shearing for you, Foley" says Garth as he muses about the fact that he has hardly seen his wife and son for over 30 years. Garth's death is symbolic for all the shearers and their indignation at the undertaker not providing "the proper vehicle" to bear his body on his final journey reflects their insistence upon their dignity as shearers. As in the strike action, "it wasn't so much about the money as the bloody insult."
But I intellectualize too much. I love this film for many reasons but most of all because it could have been made for people like me in mind. It is about yarns that my uncles told and characters who were like my father who had been a "rousie" on a shearing floor after leaving school at the end of year eight even though he had been the dux! Times were such that work was valued above all else - life was work.
In the 1980's, I once rented a farmhouse when I taught in rural Australia. One of the conditions of my tenancy was that shearers would share the house in the shearing season. These shearers were tough, smelled of lanolin no matter how they washed and ate mountains of food all cooked up in a giant iron skillet. And they argued about everything
who was a gun and who was not, which cocky had treated them the
worst, which type of sheep were the easiest to shear. However, when I asked them about the authenticity of "Sunday Too Far Away", they always agreed that it was the best evocation of the life of a shearer they had ever seen - praise indeed for the film.(Not that they would have used the word "evocation")
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