Unknown Pleasures:
Australian independent cinema


A series of regular screenings curated and presented by Chris Luscri & Bill Mousoulis, featuring the best of Australian independent cinema, both classic and contemporary, with discussions with the filmmakers.

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Upcoming screenings for 2021

INFO FOR ALL SCREENINGS:

Our 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.

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Stay tuned for details of upcoming screenings in 2021


The following 2 screenings (originally scheduled for 2020)
will happen at some point in 2021, along with others:




NOTE: The HD-restored screening of Margot Nash's
VACANT POSSESSION that we had planned
(see the program notes we published about it originally),
is not going ahead by us, as it will be screened in a bigger
context in Melbourne in the coming months
(a screening we are happy about).
We hope to have Margot Nash present
another film or films of hers for us later this year.



Sunday, December 12, at La Mama

On December 12, we will be programming a
La Mama Cinematica! screening.
We will play several retrospective films
with a connection to Carlton and/or La Mama.
More details later in the year.

 



Past screenings in 2021






Tuesday, April 27, 8:30 pm.
Thornbury Picture House, house prices. Tickets here. SOLD OUT

Boundless
(2018, 70 mins, Mark La Rosa)

Intro and Q&A with Mark La Rosa, by Jake Wilson (The Age).

This criminally neglected film from a couple of years back is the debut feature (after a number of mini-features) from the modest and underrated Melbourne indie filmmaker Mark La Rosa. A fascinating and beautiful film set in the Australian outback, it has a jigsaw narrative reminiscent of modernist directors like Resnais and Roeg (and indeed thematic parallels with Roeg's Walkabout). There is an understated joy but also sadness in this quite unique film. (Bill Mousoulis)

Starring Ciume Lochner and Jordan Fraser-Trumble

Boundless is a deceptively good film. It is an experiment of sorts, in line with various modernist films of the '60s and '70s by directors such as Nicholas Roeg and Alain Resnais, where the film would set something up, only to disrupt the flow with time-shifts or narrative-shifts. Boundless revels in such cinematic and formal play. On the one hand, the narrative of a young couple getting lost in the Australian outback is simple and clean, but on the other hand, La Rosa reconfigures it constantly as the film goes along. So we are left scratching our heads, as we follow the ambiguous narrative, with the main question "do they get found or do they remain lost?" hanging, and then, transcendentally, resolved in a metaphysical and cosmic way. Parallel stories? Alternate stories? Dream/nightmare flashes? In the end, it doesn't matter, as the film hits magnificent moments of beauty, joy and sadness, rich in their individual resonance. We may all end up specks of dust in this infinite universe, but each speck is a wondrous world in itself, in its brief flourishing. Bill Mousoulis.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: A few years ago, I began reading about the odd behaviour of the smallest observable things, how they can exist in multiple locations at the same time, and follow multiple paths at the same time. Since we are comprised of such particles, it follows that these bizarre goings on may be happening with our own lives, perhaps across multiple dimensions or universes. I began to wonder how a simple story could then be reshaped to reflect this new reality. Film lends itself to this theme particularly well, and there have been many fine examples over the years. Boundless is my contribution, something lyrical and mysterious, made with minimal means.Mark La Rosa.

Jake Wilson interviews Mark La Rosa on Boundless, published in Pure Shit: Australian Cinema.

Bill Mousoulis talks with Peter Krausz about Boundless, Movie Metropolis radio show, April 2021.


Photo gallery of the screening (on Facebook)



Tuesday, February 23, 8:20 pm.
Thornbury Picture House, house prices. Ticket booking here.

Four of a Kind
(2009, 115 mins, Fiona Cochrane)

Intro and Q&A with Fiona Cochrane

Fiona Cochrane directs this dense and edgy psychological thriller with intelligence and clarity, making the wordy script (by Helen Collins, adapted from her own stage play called Disclosure) come alive in unexpected ways. Greatly assisted by the cast, Cochrane creates chilling portraits of sophisticated but ruthless women. Four of a Kind is an unusual mix of realism and dramatic subject matter, and is bold formally (a narrow structure) and thematically (breaking cliches). (Bill Mousoulis)

Hear Fiona Cochrane speak to David Griffiths on Heavy Cinema website, Feb 20, 2021.

Hear Fiona Cochrane speak to Peter Krausz on Movie Metropolis radio show, Feb 20, 2021.

“The actors — Louise Siverson, Leverne McDonnell, Gail Watson and Nina Landis — make the most of strong but demanding roles. There is something naturalistic about the surface of Four of a Kind, but it is also quite stylised, with a quietly dark vision of human capacities. A dialogue-driven work made on a low budget, there is nevertheless something effective about these constraints; Cochrane has used and embraced them to bring out the disturbing implications that underpin the tales.” Philippa Hawker, Four of a Kind review, The Age, June 11, 2009.

“The narrative structure starts to interweave flashbacks into what happened (or what the characters claim happened) and a gradual slow-burn develops, making for intriguing watching, as we try to piece together the truth. As each scene leads cleverly to the next, showing the characters in a different role, the threads entwine and add layers to the story."Bernard Hemingway, Four of a Kind review, Cinephlia website.

“Performances are all excellent, especially McDonnell's Gina who allows us to understand the journey from victim to perpetrator with great clarity. Universal in its appeal, but with special resonance to women, this seemingly simple film is deceptively complex, and lingers accordingly."Louise Keller, Four of a Kind review, Urban Cinephile website.


Photo gallery of the screening (on Facebook)




Coming in 2021


Date (2021 sometime) to be advised.
Stay tuned for venue, ticket & booking info.

Short films by Mischa Baka & Siobhan Jackson
(2007-2016, total duration 87 mins)    MA15+

Intro and Q&A with Mischa Baka & Siobhan Jackson

Before they co-directed the low-budget feature You Can Say Vagina in 2018, Mischa Baka and Siobhan Jackson had made numerous short films, separately. Their work is refreshingly individual, in turns experimental, quirky, surreal, edgy, emotional, musical. You won't know what's coming next. A number of their shorts will screen, including Jackson's Donkey in a Lion’s Cage (2013, 13 mins) and Baka's Last Beautiful Friend (2009, 25 mins). (Bill Mousoulis)

This session is MA15+, persons under 15 to be accompanied by an aduit.
Warning: explicit nudity in the short film I like to photograph girls naked.

Part 1: Siobhan Jackson

Burn  (2016, 1 min)
Sweet Beast  (2014, 3 mins)
Night Night Pretty  (2014, 7 mins)
Float  (2016, 3 mins)
1, 2, 3  (2009, 15 mins)
Donkey in a Lion’s Cage  (2013, 14 mins)                TOTAL duration 42 mins

Siobhan Jackson: Burn / 1, 2, 3 / Donkey in a Lion's Cage

Part 2: Mischa Baka

Walking Shadows  (2014, 4 mins)
Gestures   (2014, 6 mins)
Always, so suddenly, all the time (2015, 4 mins)
I like to photograph girls naked  (2007, 4 mins)
Clothes Dance   (2014, 2 mins)
Last Beautiful Friend  (2009, 25 mins)                    TOTAL duration 45 mins

Mischa Baka: Clothes Dance / Always, so suddenly, all the time. / Last Beautiful Friend



Date (2021 sometime) to be advised.
Stay tuned for venue, ticket & booking info.

Two films by John Ruane
Queensland (1976, 52 mins) & Feathers (1987, 60 mins)

Intro and Q&A with John Ruane and editor Ken Sallows

Two of the quintessential, widely acclaimed Australian films of the '70s and' 80s, John Ruane's superb diptych Queensland and Feathers builds upon the structures and possibilities of the miniature to ultimately craft something more mysterious and radically open-ended. Linked across the span of almost a decade by the presence of legendary actor, broadcaster and critic John Flaus, Ruane adeptly uncovers everyday drudgery and quiet desperation. (Chris Luscri)


Two of the quintessential, widely acclaimed Australian films of the '70s and' 80s, John Ruane's superb diptych Queensland and Feathers builds upon the structures and possibilities of the miniature to ultimately craft something more mysterious and radically open-ended. Linked across the span of almost a decade by the presence of legendary actor, broadcaster and critic John Flaus, essaying the same role across both films (a lead in one and a cameo in the next), Ruane adeptly uncovers the peculiar sense of everyday drudgery and quiet desperation that characterise the lives of many working men and women. Tonally precise yet seemingly affectless, the films indelibly capture through recurrent, attenuated detail what the director has called a ‘vanishing breed of Australians', a world more rigid, less bound to happenstance and chance than they are to the vagaries of the almost invisibly oppressive Australian cultural logic. From fractured affective relations to the lure of the big, coastal city with its promise of endless sunshine and a laidback lifestyle the struggles of Ruane's characters are eminently relatable. To seek an 'elsewhere' however tenuously is ultimately an heroic-pathetic goal. Theirs are as much acts of hope and defiance as they are silent, desperate screams against the unyielding, punishingly cyclical train of life. It is no coincidence that Feathers is based on a 'minor' Raymond Carver short story Ruane seems to have learnt that the smaller the scope, the more pronounced the sense of existential anomie. Chris Luscri

 

 

On Queensland --

 

"Ruane's characters are familiar Australians on the screen, acted upon rather than acting, waiting for something to happen: Doug and Aub, sad workmates dreaming of making the break from the Melbourne grind to Queensland sun. It is the romantic lure of escape that occupies so many '60s and '70s "road" films... Ruane's wistful theme is the fragility of relationships, goals and dreams. With the help of some excellent playing by John Flaus, Bob Karl, Alison Bird and others, he touches his people with a quality almost Chekhovian at the no-hopers' end of the social scale. We are actually made to care." Colin Bennett, The Age, 26th July 1976

 

"A great example of down-beat everyday realism, of struggling ordinary people. Made by the then student John Ruane (who went on to make Death in Brunswick and other films), this also set the template for the "hour-long" indie films that existed in Australian cinema for the next 20 years or so. The actor John Flaus would also continue to work on student productions after this one as well, generously." Bill Mousoulis, The alternate canon of "great Australian films", Pure Shit: Australian Cinema, 2018.

 

Queensland's profile on OzMovies



On Feathers --

 

"The latter [FEATHERS] achieved mini-cult status after the AFI Award screenings in July and is already sharply dividing audience opinion. The former is a Film and Television School graduation film. While from very different sources, the two films have a number of common threads — a concentration on the most ordinary and seemingly insignificant moments of life, an exploration of the possibilities of love and of the thousand small accommodations that love demands, and unexpectedly similar versions of a form of masculinity that is locked partly into eternal boyhood." - Liz Jacka, Filmnews, December 1987.

 

"The invisible structures of society lurk in the sub-text of Raymond Carver's American short story, now a short (48 minutes) Australian movie. Writer-director John Ruane preserves the insights, cultural relevance and sardonic tone of the original in his translation to another country and another medium, with fine performances from his principals." - John Flaus & Paul Harris, The Age, 5th February 1988.

 

Feathers' profile on OzMovies



 


Archive of previous programs - 2018 / 2019 / 2020