12 July 2017
Deborra-lee Furness to celebrate NFSA restoration of Shame in Melbourne
Actress Deborra-lee Furness will join forces with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) to celebrate the digital restoration of the ground-breaking 1988 film Shame.
Furness will participate in a special Q&A session, following the premiere of the restoration at The Forum, as part of Melbourne International Film Festival. Director Steve Jodrell will also take part in the discussion.
Director Steve Jodrell said he was thrilled by the work done by NFSA to restore Shame: ‘It has an immaculate freshness and luminosity that reminds me of its initial screening almost 30 years ago. There’s a powerful message in the film – sadly, one that is even more relevant today than when it was first released’.
NFSA Senior Film Curator Gayle Lake said: ‘Shame is an empowering film with an unforgettable performance by Deborra-lee. It deals with women’s rights, gender roles and domestic violence; it is thought provoking material, and it will start many conversations in the audience.”
Shame was restored as part of NFSA Restores, an exciting program to digitise, restore and preserve, at the highest archival standards, classic and cult Australian films and documentaries so they can be seen in today’s digital cinemas.
Two more NFSA Restores films will screen at MIFF: Ann Turner’s Celia (1989, world premiere), and Gillian Armstrong’s Starstruck (1982, Melbourne premiere). Both will take part in Q&A sessions on 4 and 11 August, respectively.
Gayle Lake explained: ‘We hope audiences will enjoy seeing these classics back on the big screen. But we have thousands of films in the NFSA collection, waiting to be restored back to life, so we’re asking people to support NFSA Restores. Every donation makes a difference and will allow us to do much more.’
NFSA Restores at MIFF
Celia: 4 August, 6:30pm, The Forum.
Starstruck: 11 August, 6:30pm, ACMI
Shame: 13 August, 4pm, The Forum.
Tickets available from 12 July; go to http://miff.com.au to book yours.
Released on 26 February 1988, Shame won the Film Critics Circle of Australia awards for Best Actress (Deborra-lee Furness) and Best Screenplay (Beverly Blankenship, Michael Brindley).
Director: Steve Jodrell; Producer: Damien Parer, Paul D. Barron
Synopsis: Perth lawyer Asta Cadell (Deborra-lee Furness) crashes her motorcycle near a small town in Western Australia, where a ‘boys will be boys’ culture allows rape and violence against women. Asta tries to help a young woman (Simone Buchanan) who has been gang-raped, inspiring local women to stand up and rally against criminal behaviour that has gone unpunished.
Notes by film critic Richard Kuiper: Independent, intelligent, and tough when required, Asta is one of the great heroines of Australian cinema. Like the drifting cowboy in countless sagebrush sagas, this city lawyer wanders into a small town, discovers its dark secrets and sets about putting things right.
Shame examined Aussie male culture; director Steve Jodrell pulls no punches in his depiction of misogyny lurking beneath Aussie mateship. Delivered without clumsy speeches or dramatic grandstanding, the pro-feminist concerns of Shame made a strong impression on female audiences in Australia.
Co-writer Michael Brindley recalls in David Stratton’s history of 1980s Australian cinema The Avocado Plantation, ‘Women still come up to us and thank us for writing a film that means so much to them, it really did touch a lot of people.’
Celia won the AFI Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Victoria Longley). It also received the Grand Prix at Créteil International Women's Film Festival.
Director: Ann Turner; Producer: Gordon Glenn, Timothy White.
Synopsis: An imaginative and somewhat disturbed young girl (Rebecca Smart) fantasises about evil creatures and other oddities to mask her insecurities while growing up in 1950s rural Australia.
Gillian Armstrong's musical comedy, heavily influenced by the style of early 1980s video clips.
Director: Gillian Armstrong; Producer: David Elfick, Richard Brennan
Synopsis: Teenage cousins Angus (Ross O’Donovan) and Jackie Mullens (Jo Kennedy) live in the Harbour View Hotel, beneath the Harbour Bridge in Sydney’s The Rocks. Jackie is 18 and wants to be a singer; Angus is 14 and writes songs, while avoiding school and dreaming up wacky schemes to get his cousin noticed. The brewery wants to repossess the pub, so the teenagers set out to win a national talent contest, with a cash prize of $25,000.
Notes by film critic Paul Byrnes: Starstruck is an energetic rock musical comedy, with a kitsch aesthetic – somewhere between a celebration of Australiana and an episode of the iconic 1970s TV rock show, Countdown.
The iconography is stridently Sydney, with Brian Thompson’s production design emphasising the then popular graphic possibilities of the Sydney Harbour Bridge at every opportunity. The musical members are very much influenced by the style of early 80s glam-rock video clips, as are the fashions. The antic style of comedy is also strongly influenced by the musical comedies made for The Beatles in the 1960s by Richard Lester (Help! and A Hard Day’s Night).
Gillian Armstrong was very clearly aiming at a feminist revision of depictions of working class and/or masculine Australia. The pub is run by two strong women – Pearl and Nana, the grandmother of Angus. Most of the men who hang around the pub are no-hopers (like Angus’s father, who steals money from the safe) or Max Cullen’s Reg, who’s devoted to his pet cockatoo, Wally. A very funny sequence in a rooftop pool satirises the masculine image of Australian life-savers, in a gay water ballet, choreographed to look like a routine from an Esther Williams musical.
ABOUT NFSA RESTORES
NFSA Restores is an exciting program to digitise, restore and preserve, at the highest archival standards, classic and cult Australian films and documentaries so they can be seen in today’s digital cinemas.
For NFSA Restores, we utilise the best available original picture and sound materials, from both the NFSA collection and around the world. Restored films are migrated every five years to ensure their format remains contemporary and they are available as Digital Cinema Packages (DCP) for screening in today’s cinemas. We are working with restoration partners and copyright owners to ensure that audiences around Australia can enjoy these restored films.
Previous NFSA Restores titles include Proof, Bliss, Storm Boy, and The Year My Voice Broke.