World Cinema Series: Exploring the Australian Outback
||In this special installment of the World Cinema Series, the historical and mythological landscape of the Australian Outback will be explored through a joint presentation and film screening.
||9 August 2011 (Tuesday), 3 pm
||National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road
Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot. Free seating. Note that seats are limited. We will only distribute tickets to the screening AT THE BEGINNING of this programme and not in between.
In this special installment of the World Cinema Series, the historical and mythological landscape of the Australian Outback will be explored through a joint presentation and film screening.
Outback on Screen: Physical Space / State of Mind (90 min), a presentation by Graham Shirley, historian with Australia's National Film and Sound Archive, traces the rich diversity of cinematic representations and interpretations of the outback within the history of Australian Cinema. This will be followed by the screening of Ken Hannam's Sunday Too Far Away (94 min), a quintessential outback film situated at the birth of the Australian New Wave.
Outback on Screen: Physical Space / State of Mind
A presentation by Graham Shirley
The outback is a vast and remote geographical feature of the Australian landscape that has been evoked and interpreted in many ways within the history of Australian cinema. Through an innovative documentary of film excerpts with live narration, Outback on Screen tracks the historical trail and explores the diverse thematic interpretations of outback films over the last century.
Outback on Screen illustrates how these films depict the history of the nation, from the Indigenous relationship with the land to the instincts of early white settlers in stratifying and inhabiting the inhospitable landscape as a living and working environment. It will also look at how the outback has reflected upon the utopian imaginations and fears of Australians.
The films that will be explored range from silent films such as The Sentimental Bloke (1919), early talkies like The Squatter's Daughter (1933), films from the 70s such as Walkabout (1971) and Sunday Too Far Away (1975), and recent films such as Crocodile Dundee (1986) and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994).
Graham Shirley, an historian with Australia's National Film and Sound Archive, has written and directed a broad range of historical documentaries and worked as a researcher for a string of documentaries on the history of Australian cinema. He is also the co-author of the definitive book, Australian Cinema: The First 80 Years.
Sunday Too Far Away
by Ken Hannam
1975 | Australia | 94 min | 35mm | PG
Wrapped within the lethargic heat of the Australian outback, Sunday Too Far Away paints an effortless portrait of a company of shearers over the course of a working season at a rural sheep shed in 1955. It follows Foley the brawny protagonist, played by the charismatic Jack Thompson, and his hard-drinking mates as they battle the rough and lonely environmental conditions of the outback and threats to their profession by the entrance of non-unionised labour.
The film empathetically illuminates the subtleties and peculiarities of comradeship and rivalry that very much characterises the masculine psyche and sociality of an outback male employee - a mythological pioneering figure within Australian history. Within a setting of lonesome parched landscapes shot in glaring red hues, Hannam tells the story of a labouring community of men without women who toiled within in the vast inhospitable landscape of the outback and paved the way for the development of the Australian economy.
Despite being warmly received in Cannes and winning three 1975 Australian Film Institute awards beating Picnic at Hanging Rock in the Best Film category, Sunday Too Far Away is often neglected due to Hannam's short history as a feature filmmaker which is overshadowed by more prolific directors such a Peter Weir. Nevertheless, Sunday Too Far Away is an important cinematic gem borne out of the Australian New Wave. It indisputably invokes an essentially Australian character and lays testament to the will and spirit of the working-class within Australia's history.