Race, sexuality and Scorsese seasons

BY LOUISE SHEEDY

Louise Sheedy, Film Programmer and Community Engagement Officer, introduces the upcoming winter season of film screenings at the NFSA’s Arc cinema.

Roy Scheider looking in a mirror in a scene from All That Jazz

Roy Scheider in All That Jazz (1979)

After months of work, the resulting winter program is something that hopefully reflects both the incredible scope of the NFSA collection and the varied tastes and sensibilities of the thousands of Canberrans that will come through our big wooden doors. Proudly, the vast majority of the Arc screening calendar is made up from treasures from the NFSA vaults.

Working with the themes of sex and sexuality in June and race in August meant mining the collection (ours and a few important others) for many different screened incarnations and interpretations of these broad but juicy topics.

For me, the most exciting aspect of our new programming streams is the Films on Film program. Starting the first weekend in June, Arc will celebrate celluloid every Sunday afternoon – throughout winter and beyond. Aligning with the Quentin Tarantinos and Paul Thomas Andersons of this world, we wanted to carve out a space for the distinctive crackle, grain, and all those other textures and resonances that come from screening films on actual film.

I love that the only cinema in Canberra able to screen 35mm film is also the only one that is 4K capable. While there is always a Sunday slot set aside to kneel at the altar of film, as well as other 35mm screenings scattered throughout the winter calendar, I will also be showing off our 4K capability wherever possible.

In July we’ll be showcasing the work of Martin Scorsese, one of the most influential and revered directors of American cinema. Our Scorsese by Stratton program is double the size of the season at ACMI and the Sydney Film Festival, filling an entire month at Arc with work that Scorsese made or loved. On Friday nights we’re showing all kinds of big and small screen delights, from sexploitation to philosophical animation, late-night cult screenings and films you’ll want to dance to.

 

Having ogled the NFSA collection from afar for much of my adult life, the chance to play with it, and to work out ways to show it off in Canberra and around Australia, was an opportunity worth an interstate move. Since arriving in January, this city has delighted daily, with its crumbling modernist architecture, the omnipresent forests and politics and a cavernous film and sound archive in the middle of it all.

The NFSA collection is more bountiful than I could have imagined, the curatorial and preservation teams’ knowledge and passion, truly humbling. And Arc cinema – my goodness, what a magic place to see a movie. It’s a good time to be a cinephile in Canberra.