Unknown Pleasures:
Australian independent cinema


A series of regular screenings featuring the
best of Australian independent cinema,
both classic and contemporary,
with discussions with the filmmakers.

Curators/presenters: Chris Luscri, Bill Mousoulis
Guest programmers: Dirk de Bruyn, Digby Houghton
Assistant/videographer: Colin Hodson


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Upcoming screenings for 2024


INFO FOR SCREENINGS:

Our main venue is the Thornbury Picture House,
at 802 High St, Thornbury.
Tickets are at regular house prices,
and must be booked online at the venue's website.
Check particular info for each session down the page.

Facebook Unknown Pleasures page



Donation Drive

Unknown Pleasures is self-funded by Chris Luscri and Bill Mousoulis. It receives no government funding and it has no sponsors. Please help it survive and thrive. Donation Drive page is through the Australian Cultural Fund, all donations are tax-deductible. Click here..

 




Tuesday, March 12, 6:25 pm
Thornbury Picture House, house prices. Tickets on sale Feb 27.

Meet the Lowensteins...
Guest programmed by Digby Houghton
Q&A with Richard Lowenstein, moderated by Digby Houghton

We present two of Richard Lowenstein's half-hour short films, works connected to the life and work of his historian/author mother Wendy Lowenstein (1927-2006) — his debut film the docu-drama Evictions (1979, 25 mins), about social conditions in the 1930s in Melbourne, and Don't Be Too Polite Girls (2023, initial version, 25 mins), a biography of Wendy Lowenstein and historian/activist Shirley Andrews, for which Lowenstein is currently seeking funding to expand it to feature length via Documentary Australia. (Digby Houghton)


 
   

Richard Lowenstein is a Melbourne based filmmaker who first started off making music videos for the likes of INXS where he met Michael Hutchence. Hutchence would play a pivotal role in Lowenstein’s iconic 1986 post-punk homage to Richmond squalor Dogs in Space.

 

His debut feature film Strikebound (1983) explored the Wonthaggi miners’ strike and was based on his mother Wendy Lowenstein’s unpublished book Dead Men Don't Dig Coal.

 

Lowenstein has continued to mix the comical with the political in films like He Died with A Felafel in His Hand (2001) concerning a young man enduring a quarter life crisis as he backpacks across the east coast of Australia.

 

More recently, documentaries have concerned famous Australian musicians like Michael Hutchence (Mystify, 2019) and Rowland S. Howard (Autoluminescent, 2011).

 

Currently, Lowenstein is preparing a feature-length version of a film (Don’t Be Too Polite Girls) about his mother Wendy Lowenstein (1927-2006), an important member of the folk movement in Australia and author of oral histories like The Immigrants, and Shirley Andrews (1915-2001), a dance historian and pioneering Indigenous rights activist. We present a half-hour teaser for Don’t Be Too Polite Girls.

 

We will also screen his very first film, the short film Evictions (1979), newly restored to HD digital. Evictions is based on Lowenstein’s mother’s oral history from 1978 Weevils in the Flour. It is a doco-drama set in Melbourne during the Great Depression and looks at the organisation of the unemployed as they combat police enforcement.

 

Digby Houghton, guest programmer



 

Evictions


 

Don't Be Too Polite Girls

Don't Be Too Polite Girls

 

Crowd-funding campaign for the film is here.

 







Subsequent screenings for 2024


Tue Apr 16 - FLAUSFILM by Peter Tammer

Tue May 14 - program TBA



Past 2024 screenings

Tuesday, Feb 13, 8:20 pm
Thornbury Picture House, house prices. Tickets here.

Nick Ostrovskis Flashback
Guest programmed by Dirk de Bruyn
Retrospective screening (1982 - 2001, 93 mins)
Intro and Q&A with Dirk de Bruyn & Nick Ostrovskis

Nick Ostrovskis is an experimental filmmaker who was prolific in the 1980s and 1990s with Super 8 mainly, but also 16mm, animating single image rushes and timelapse, documenting family life and the western suburbs landscape in a unique style. He has produced a series of visually stunning kaleidoscopes of rushing images, colours, photographs and gestural movements, all with great technical virtuosity. We present 11 of his films, newly Restored to HD digital. (Dirk de Bruyn)


Content/Trigger warning: This program includes single frame animation that can induce a strobe-like effect.


 
  Nick Ostrovskis

Nick Ostrovskis Flashback
Guest programmed by Dirk de Bruyn

Restored films from Super 8 originals, transfers by MemoryLab
as part of “The Shoring Project” initiated by
Jim Bridges and Dirk de Bruyn

 

Films in screening order:

 
Backyard
(Super 8, 20 mins, 1982, Silent)

Family Album (Super 8, 7 mins, 1983, Silent)

Brain Surge (16mm, 16:30 mins, 1992, Music by Chris Knowles)

Flower Animation
(Super 8, 4:30 mins, 1988, Silent)


Man in A Window (Super 8, 8:30 mins, 1989, Silent)

Monteith Street (Super 8, 4 mins, 1983, Silent)

Slide Images (Super 8, 6 mins, 1983, Silent)

Lens Spasm (16mm, 3 mins, 1995, Music by Chris Knowles)

Spacetrips Somersaults Blue Dogs Blow Flies (Super 8, 3 mins, 2001, Silent)

Westgate Bridge (Super 8, 6:30 mins, 1984, Silent)

City By A River (Super 8, 14 mins, 1986, Silent)


Backyard

BrainSurge
City By A River

Nick Ostrovskis is an experimental filmmaker who has been animating single image rushes and timelapse, documenting family life and the western suburbs landscape in a unique style. He has produced a series of visually stunning kaleidoscopes of rushing images, colours, photographs and gestural movements, all with great technical virtuosity.

His work is documented in the Melbourne Super 8 Film Group from the 1980s on and he “progressed” to making some short 16mm films funded through the Australian Film Commission.


This program transferred a group of still available films in Nick’s shed to digital as part of a project “The Shoring Project” initiated by Jim Bridges and Dirk de Bruyn to retain elements of an invisible Melbourne Film Culture that would otherwise be forever lost.

 

Dirk de Bruyn, guest programmer


Nick Ostrovskis profile page on Melbourne Independent Filmmakers site

 

Dirk de Bruyn and Bill Mousoulis Zoom video interview
by Peter Krausz, Movie Metropolis, WYN-FM, January 26, 2024

 

Dirk de Bruyn radio interview
by Patrick O'Brien, O' Tomorrow, 3RRR-FM, February 6, 2024

 

Dirk de Bruyn and Bill Mousoulis radio interview (from 25 minute mark)
by Melinda O'Connor, On Screen, 3CR, February 10, 2024



City By A River

Family Album
Family Album

“I wish more personal work by animators like Nick Ostrovskis had been screened. Such people see their work as a serious art form instead of the industry work that constantly presents tiresome visual tricks and gimmicks.”
Michael Buckley, MIMA Newsletter, 1989

 

“It's been exciting to see Nick Ostrovskis' silent films which are so daring and yet elegantly put together (using in Super-8 re-photographed slides). The success of these films is partly in the pace of changes and the intrepid use of saturated hues. Because there is no auditory experience, I for one tune into something which is not music but is a kind of meta-music when I see Nick's films...”
Maeve Woods, Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter No.63, October 1991

 

Brain Surge by Nick Ostrovskis newly blown up to 16mm in San Francisco and now with a soundtrack by Chris Knowles is the best colour Super-8 blow up I've ever seen, colour saturation excellent, but my memory somehow misses those deep greens, blues and impenetrable blacks, or is it my memory that's missing?”
Jim Bridges, Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter No.89, March 1994

 

“On Lens Spasm: Frenetic, pulsating black-and-white reeling to spectrum-coloured configurations and animated scratched emulsion images.”
Tony Woods, MIFF Catalogue, 1995



Lens Spasm

Man in A Window
Man in A Window





Photos of the screening (full gallery on Facebook)


Video of the Q&A discussion at the end:



 


Archive of previous programs - 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021 / 2022 / 2023