Unknown Pleasures: Australian independent cinema is a series of semi-regular screenings curated and presented by Chris Luscri & Bill Mousoulis, featuring the best of Australian indie cinema, both new and old, narrative and non-narrative, with discussions with most of the filmmakers, presented at Long Play Cinema. read more





318 St. Georges Rd, Nth. Fitzroy

Long Play is a boutique Cinema & Bar
in Melbourne that has a bar up the front,
and a small dedicated cinema at the back.




UPCOMING SCREENINGS in 2020

(for Previous 2020 screenings, click here)
(for Archive of 2019 program, click here)

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the following screenings have been postponed.
They will now be held in the last part of the year, Sep to Dec.







INFO FOR ALL SCREENINGS:

As seats are limited, please book by emailing
Bill Mousoulis at bill@innersense.com.au
The venue is at 318 St. Georges Rd, Nth. Fitzroy.
Do not go to St. Georges Rd, Thornbury.
All sessions start at 7:30 pm.
Door charge of $5. Cash only.

Facebook Unknown Pleasures page

Listen to Chris Luscri and Bill Mousoulis
talk about "Unknown Pleasures" with Peter Krausz
on the "Movie Metropolis" radio show.

Listen to Chris and filmmaker Dirk de Bruyn talk with Peter on Mar 7, 2020.
Listen to Bill talk with Peter on Feb 8, 2020.




Date (Sep-Dec 2020 sometime) to be advised.
$5 entry. To book a seat, email bill@innersense.com.au

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 (Sep-Dec 2020 sometime) to be advised.
$5 entry. To book a seat, email bill@innersense.com.au

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




Date (Sep-Dec 2020 sometime) to be advised.
$5 entry. To book a seat, email bill@innersense.com.au

Vacant Possession
(1995, 96 mins, Margot Nash)

Intro and Q&A with Margot Nash (from Sydney)

We are pleased to welcome Margot Nash, one of Australia's most legendary independent filmmakers, to UNKNOWN PLEASURES, direct from Sydney, to present her major narrative feature work Vacant Possession. A new HD master will be screened. Nash's film is one of Australia's most powerfully, rigorously articulated films about the sometimes imperceptible collisions of race, class, property and lineage. It is also ravishingly beautiful both visually and sonically. (Chris Luscri)

Premiere screening of a new HD digital remaster of the film

Leading Australian film-maker, writer, director, essayist, teacher and academic, the multi-hyphenate Margot Nash has carved out a career distinctive for its wide-ranging social analyses and commitment to forging new cinematic territory across documentary, experimental and narrative feature film-making, pointedly working with feminist and Indigenous subject matters at a time when concepts of intersectionality were still on our regressive cultural drawing board. Vacant Possession remains her most widely known work with its star performance from a brilliant Pamela Rabe as Tessa, a woman uncovering secrets in the family home after her mother's death but is also one of our most powerfully, rigorously articulated films about the sometimes imperceptible collisions of race, class, property and lineage. Internationally awarded (it was nominated for 4 AFI Awards including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and won a Speciale Mention du Jury at the 1996 Films De Femmes festival in Créteil), Vacant Possession is also ravishingly beautiful both visually and sonically, conveying a state of undulating haptic sensuality that imbibes the narrative's explorations of personal and national self-images with the full weight of a re-emergent Australian Gothic. Chris Luscri

Vacant Possession is a film about an empty house, an inheritance inhabited by dreams and memories.

 

Growing up in Australia I never saw, much less met, Aboriginal people until I was an adult. The history books didn't tell the stories of dispossession and destruction of the land, the stories of injustice and racism. While Aboriginal people live with the devastating consequences of colonisation, many of them pity white people because we have no 'place', no dreaming. We don't know where we belong.

 

I wanted to explore notions of house, home, land, place, family and belonging from a white point of view. I wanted to explore the image of the house as a container for dreams and memories and as psychological space that could be possessed and I wanted to tell a story of a dysfunctional white family ripped to shreds by alcohol and the effects of war.

 

I saw the breakdown of family relationships, particularly the mother/daughter relationship, as a metaphor for the breakdown of relationship to land, country and place." Margot Nash

 

"There are moments in Vacant Possession when the past becomes a material presence.... There are stylistic shifts between the more conventional optical representation, where the viewer watches from a safe critical distance, and the kind of tactile looking that resonates with Laura Marks’ concept of “haptic visuality”. Within this theoretical model, our eyes sometimes ‘stand in’ for the sense of touch; images on screen transcend their status as purely visual objects. This offers 'contact between perceiver and object represented… vision itself can be tactile, as though one were touching a film with one’s eyes.'” Gabrielle O'Brien, Sensing the Past: Margot Nash’s Vacant Possession, Senses of Cinema, March 2016.

 

"The film is concerned with the future of black and white relations in this country, not just the past... Each of the main characters is haunted by similar regrets. No-one in this movie is unscarred by the past, but the ones who live here have reached a state of acceptable denial. Tessa hasn’t been able to do that, because she’s been overseas, making a meagre living as a professional gambler. Vacant Possession is an attempt at a new beginning for her character, but not just her’s. The violent storm that ends the film destroys the house, but also brings the races together. Possession, in that sense, has been declared ‘vacant’ once more." Paul Byrnes, Vacant Possession, Australian Screen, accessed 2nd February 2020.

 

“One of the most striking and assured Australian feature debuts of recent years... Above all it is a surrealist-inspired 'dream film' that evokes history of women’s cinema running from Maya Deren to Susan Dermody’s Breathing Under Water (1991)…. Often brilliantly directed – with superb cinematography from Academy Award winner Dion Beebe and a compellingly atmospheric sound track – Vacant Possession is a truly exciting piece of cinema…” Adrian Martin, Vacant Possession, The Age, June 1995.

 

Vacant Possession on Margot Nash's personal website



Date (Sep-Dec 2020 sometime) to be advised.
$5 entry. To book a seat, email bill@innersense.com.au

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)

“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.


 



PREVIOUS SCREENINGS in 2020
(for Archive of 2019 program, click here)






Sunday, February 16, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
$5 entry. To book a seat, email bill@innersense.com.au SOLD OUT

Yackety Yack
(1974, 78 mins, Dave Jones)

Intro & Q&A with actor John Flaus, conducted by Bill Mousoulis

American academic Dave Jones arrives at the film department of Latrobe Uni in the early '70s and sets off this firecracker of a meta-counter-cultural satire. Peddling but also mocking all the obvious low-budget film philosophies, Yackety Yack is a unique, bizarre and entertaining film, putting another "self" before the words "self-reflexive"! Features local legend John Flaus in his first major acting role, he himself just having arrived in Melbourne from Sydney. (Bill Mousoulis)

With thanks to Cinema Reborn / Geoffrey Gardner, and also Gordon Glenn and Rod Bishop.
New scan from release print held by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Restoration funded by the Library at University of Technology, Sydney, instigated by Margot Nash.

 
   

"A dark, black and very funny comedy, Yackety Yack consistently challenges the political correctness of its times ... There really is nothing like it – a unique mash-up of brutal Monty Pythonesque parody, intellectual barbarity, film buffery and political satire ... An underground masterpiece.” Rod Bishop (Assistant Director on the film), notes for Cinema Reborn, 2018.

“The Hellzapoppin' of poor cinema, a frequently hilarious spoof on the low budget film ... a sheer delight.” David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, 1980.

Yackety Yack is a brilliant, scattershot satire on the dreams and delusions of radical filmmaking, referencing all the intellectual obsessions of the period: Godardian counter-cinema with its long tracking shots and droning monologues; cinephile reveries on beloved genres and auteurs (courtesy of the legendary critic John Flaus); feminist interventions. In fact, Yackety Yack does for militant film culture what Godard’s La Chinoise did for student Maoism, irreverently contradicting its pious aspirations with authoritarian realities. It is all very politically incorrect, driven by a splendidly absurdist, even ‘screwball’ sense of humour. Australia has not produced another film like it!” Adrian Martin, A Secret History of Australian Cinema (1970-2000), 2003, republished in Pure Shit website, 2018.

Yackety Yack, a dead-pan spoof of counter-cultural film making, is one of the most dryly amusing films to have been made in Australia a kind of Godard-meets-Warhol-Downunder ... Made with Dave Jones’s Latrobe Uni film students as crew the result is an absurdist delight with Jones mercilessly lampooning the pretensions of art film makers. Flaus and Carmody are excellent as his embattled associates unable to extricate themselves from the folly in which they are embroiled.” Bernard Hemingway, Yackety Yack review, Cinephlia website.

Great info about the film at Oz Movies website.


Photo gallery of the screening (on Facebook)


Video of the Q&A discussion at the end:




Sunday, March 8, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
$5 entry. To book a seat, email bill@innersense.com.au SOLD OUT

Conversations with my Mother
(1990, 100 mins, Dirk de Bruyn)

Intro and Q&A with Dirk de Bruyn

Melbourne's extraordinary film-maker Dirk de Bruyn charts an encounter with his equally extraordinary mother, journeying through the crevices of a contested memory to relive the traumatic years of Dirk's childhood, his emigration to Australia, his father's illnesses, the turmoil of financial and social struggles, their shared sense of isolation and estrangement. Some will find the film intensely moving or disturbing, others unbearable or even perhaps "artless". (Chris Luscri)


The past as foreign country, everywhere-all-at-once. The abyss from one time to the next, from parents to children. Hanging heavy... suspended, yet absent. Conversations with my Mother is nothing in itself but a record of these contradictions. At their heart lies a confusion. These are conversations, yes, but not really. A relationship, a past, a shared commons between self and other, personhood and society... yes, the film is all of these things. It is also about their negation, relationships one present, one absent - riven with liminal anxieties, half gestures, barely exchanged glances... whispers. Some viewers will find Dirk's Conversations intensely moving or disturbing, others unbearable or even perhaps "artless", as Melbourne's extraordinary experimental film-maker Dirk de Bruyn charts an encounter with his equally extraordinary mother, journeying through the crevices of a contested memory to relive the traumatic years of Dirk's childhood, his emigration to Australia, his father's illnesses, the turmoil of financial and social struggles, their shared sense of isolation and estrangement. One thinks of Eustache's film Numéro zéro (1971-5), about his aunt, or Akerman's No Home Movie (2015), about her own mother, all sadly lost. These are films, yes, but not really. Chris Luscri

 

"For me the film is about memory and how it directs your life, how it can affect your inner life now, who you are now. I also discovered that feelings discarded long ago seem to be somehow lodged in the sites where they unfolded. Is this where/how the mythologies of "ghosts" develop in our culture?

 

As a male in a culture increasingly more influenced by feminist initiatives, it is important to explore your feelings in an uncompromising way. I do not think it is a coincidence that some of most interesting discussions about the work have been with women. Even though I was directing and producing the film, ostensibly in control of events, I became really immersed in what unfolded. It gained its own momentum. Yet I also became aware that all film is fiction, no matter how fine the tuning, encapsulation, editing, short-cuts you take. The sentiment had to be uncompromisingly true to what developed." Dirk De Bruyn

 

"For many people, especially those immigrants from war-ravaged Europe, the suburban home provided sanctuary from a traumatic past... However, not every family managed to “feel at home” in the Australian suburbs. For some migrants, these spaces felt familiar in some ways, but disorienting in others, as de Bruyn’s film intimates, for the Australian suburbs can be uncanny in the Freudian sense – spaces of dread haunted by a myriad of ghosts. In psychoanalysis, the uncanny experience is marked by a sense of anguish and foreboding... For me, de Bruyn’s film is a suburban ghost story: it summons the spectre of de Bruyn’s deceased father and resonates with the psychoanalytic formulation of the uncanny." Glenn D'Cruz, Uncanny Suburbia, Hauntology and Post-Traumatic Poetics: Conversations with Dirk de Bruyn’s Conversations With My Mother (1990), Senses of Cinema, November 2017

 

"In “Uncanny Suburbia, Hauntology and Post-Traumatic Poetics: Conversations with Dirk de Bruyn’s Conversations with my Mother”, Glenn D’Cruz’s reflective essay stages a poignant and personal conversation with Dirk de Bruyn’s autobiographical film, Conversations with my Mother (1990), in order to foreground the importance of Melbourne’s working class Western suburbs in articulating the filmmaker’s migrant identity. D’Cruz suggests that the Melbourne suburbs, as de Bruyn’s film intimates, are uncanny in the Freudian sense – spaces of dread haunted by a myriad of ghosts that generate a sense of anguish and foreboding. The essay also draws on Derrida’s concept of hauntology to situate the film within wider debates about experimental film practice, identity politics and the suburban spaces Robin Boyd once described as the ‘Australian Ugliness’." Sean Redmond and Glen Donnar, Introduction: Screening Melbourne, Senses of Cinema, December 2017.

 

Available through Artfilms

 

Dirk's Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Profile





Go to Archive of 2019 screenings