Gillian Armstrong

Gillian Armstrong on The Last Days of Chez Nous

Guest article by Gillian Armstrong
 Gillian Armstrong
The Last Days of Chez Nous director Gillian Armstrong at the NFSA

It was a surprising delight to revisit The Last Days of Chez Nous at the NFSA and I hope it was for the Canberra audience.

It was an incredible privilege and a little frightening when it was selected by the NFSA for a new preservation print to be made and to be kept for posterity. A little frightening because to think so much time, 20 years, has already raced by and a little frightening to see whether the film now felt like history or if it had stood the test of time.

But seeing the film again reminded me of how wonderful Helen Garner’s script was and how acute, both sad and funny, her observations of people and relationships was and still is. It has definitely stood the test of time.

The film not only captures the beautiful and moving performances of our amazing cast, Lisa Harrow, Bruno Ganz and young Kerry Fox and Miranda Otto, but it showcases the superb work of designer Janet Patterson, deputy producer Geoffrey Simpson, editor Nicholas Beauman and composer Paul Grabowsky. It is still one of my very favourite film scores!

But perhaps the most important reason for preserving this film was it was the producer Jan Chapman‘s first film outside of the ABC. A real start to a brilliant producer’s career!

It was great to spend the day at Arc cinema and show my feature documentary Love Lust and Lies (2010). It was warmly received by the critics (four stars each from David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz) and has been a real hit at the box office. It was great to meet the Canberra audience afterwards for a Q&A and hear their comments first-hand.