Bliss: Restoring the 1985 classic

Bliss: Restoring the 1985 classic
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The NFSA restoration of Bliss premiered at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival.

Harry Joy (Barry Otto) dies – for four minutes – after a heart attack. When he is revived, he suspects he’s living in hell. His wife Bettina (Lynette Curran) is having an affair with his business partner Joel (Jeff Truman), his son David (Miles Buchanan) sells cocaine and Harry’s advertising agency promotes products that cause cancer. 

Harry turns over a new leaf when he meets a North Coast hippie, Honey Barbara (Helen Jones), and begins the long process of earning her trust, and his own redemption.

There are three versions of Bliss, Ray Lawrence’s bold satire that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to win the AFI Awards for Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Once the NFSA confirmed that the interpositive and final mix of the original theatrical version in the national collection matched, we digitally preserved and restored this version that had become a cult hit with Australian audiences in 1985. 

Director Ray Lawrence (Lantana, 2001; Jindabyne, 2006) and producer Anthony Buckley, along with our restoration partners Frame Set Match, contributed to the restoration process of Bliss

Lawrence said, ‘It’s an honour to have your first film preserved like this. I’d only ever seen it with a lot of scratches; this restoration is the best print of the film I’ve seen in 30 years!’.