Art Films

An inclusive i.e. loose, non-critical list that includes any film which is either regarded as an "art film" or which has been claimed to have any of the characteristics of such a film, or is written or directed by someone regarded as an art film director.

See also: presentation on the art film; Australasian auteurs.


Absolutely Modern (Philippe Mora, 2013) wr. Philippe Mora; Sonia Alexandria, John Apicella, Anni Blackhurst, Anna De Nicola, Sandy Gutman, Georges Mora, Philippe Mora, Tiriel Mora; art film/drama; 100 min.

Alexandra's Project (Rolf de Heer, 2003) Helen Buday, Gary Sweet; wife hatches an unconventional form of revenge against her husband; Metro, 136: 20-25

All Set Backstage (Paul Cox, 1976) short

Apostasy (Zbigniew Friedrich, 1979) Rod McNicol, Juliet Bacskai, Phil Motherwell, Paul Cox; fantasy; 108 min.

Aya (Solrun Hoaas, 1991) Eri Ishida, Nicholas Eadie, Chris Haywood, Tim Robertson; the husband of a Japanese war bride expects her to become Australian; 92 min.

Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer, 1994) Nicholas Hope, Claire Bonito, Ralph Cotterill, Carmel Johnson, Syd Brisbane, Nikki Price; 111 min.

beDevil (Tracey Moffatt, 1993) prod. Anthony Buckley; avant-garde trilogy of ghost stories, first major feature from an Aboriginal director, Tracey Moffatt; Mister Chuck, Choo, Choo, Choo; Lovin' the Spin I'm In; 90 min.

Breathing Under Water (Susan Murphy Dermody, 1992) Anne Louise Lambert, Kristoffer Greaves, Maeve Dermody; review by Adrian Martin in Murray 1995: 333; art film

Broken Highway (Laurie McInnes, 1993) wr. Laurie McInnes, prod. Richard Mason; Aden Young, Claudia Karvan, Bill Hunter, Dennis Miller, David Field, Norman Kaye; b/w; wide screen; review by Adrian Martin in Murray 1995: 379; Qld

Cactus (Paul Cox, 1986) wr. Paul Cox, Bob Ellis & Norman Kaye, Fuji colour, 35 mm, 90 min., prods Jane Ballantyne & Paul Cox for Dofine, dp Yuri Sokol, design Asher Bilou, ed. Tim Lewis; Sheila Florance, Peter Aanensen, Isabelle Huppert, Norman Kaye, Bunduk Marika, Monica Maughan, Robert Menzies; Robert (Robert Menzies) is blind from birth, and interested in cacti

Clay (Giorgio Mangiamele, 1965) aka Argilla; wr. dp. ed. Giorgio Mangiamele; first art movie, according to O'Regan 1996: 171, 223; 85 min.

Dance Me to My Song (Rolf de Heer, 1998) wr. Heather Rose; Heather Rose, John Brumpton; Cannes

Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky, The (Paul Cox, 2002)

Dingo (Rolf de Heer, 1991) Colin Friels (as a trumpeter), Miles Davis, Bernadette Lafont, Helen Buday; review by Raymond Younis in Murray 1995: 337; filmed around Bungle Bungles, WA, and in Paris

Dogwatch (Laurie McInnes, 1999) prod. Richard Brennan; Steven Vidler, Russell Kiefel, John Brumpton, Joel Edgerton, Richard Carter, John Alansu, Yew Glynn; 100 min.

Dr Plonk (Rolf de Heer, 2007) wr. Rolf de Heer; FFC greenlit 2006; starting filming 1 May 2006; Nigel Martin; Adelaide Festival 4 March 2007, Toronto October 2007, general Australian release 27 June 2007; art/comedy

Epsilon (Rolf de Heer, 1997) aka Almost Alien, Alien Visitor; Ulli Birve (She), Syd Brisbane (The Man), Alethea McGrath, Chloe Ferguson, Phoebe Ferguson; drama, thriller, scifi; shot in Flinders Ranges

Exile (Paul Cox, 1993) novel Priest Island by E. L. Grant Watson, dp Nino Marinetti; Aden Young, Beth Champion, Claudia Karvan, Norman Kaye, David Field, Chris Haywood, Barry Otto, Hugo Weaving, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Nicholas Hope; feature went straight to video; Young is exiled to an island in C19 for sheep-stealing; filmed in Tasmania

Golden Braid (Paul Cox, 1991) Chris Haywood, Gosia Dobrowolska, Paul Chubb, Norman Kaye; based on story by Guy de Maupassant, "La chevelure"; 88 min.

Human Touch (Paul Cox, 2004) prod. Mark Patterson, wr. Paul Cox, dp Ian Jones; Aaron Blabey, Jacqueline McKenzie, Chris Haywood, Rebcca Frith; beautiful young woman in an unhappy marriage decides to model nude for an aging, blind, impotent artist (Chris Haywood); with his encouragement, she embarks on an affair with his young wife, while Haywood "watches" them with his hands so that he can then translate their experiences into art; premiere Melbourne Film Festival July 2004; Toronto FF September 2004; FFC budget $2,118,882, box office $24,924; Aust release 14 April 2005; released in Australia by Magna Pacific to DVD rental 8 March 2006; 101 min.

In the Winter Dark (James Bogle, 1998) prod. Rosemary Blight, wr. Tim Winton (novel), James Bogle & James Rasmussen, dp Martin McGrath; Brenda Blethyn, Ray Barrett, Richard Roxburgh, Miranda Otto

Illuminations (Paul Cox, 1976) wr. Paul Cox, prod. Tibor Markus, dp Paul Cox and Brian Gracey, design Alan Srubenrauch, eds Paul Cox, Russell Hurley; Sheila Florance, Norman Kaye, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Gabriella Trsek; Melbourne, colour, 16 mm, 74 min.

Innocence (Paul Cox, 2000) wr. Paul Cox; Charles Tingwell, Julia Blake, Terry Norris, Robert Menzies, Marita Dusseldorp, Chris Hayward; screened Toronto 2000

Inside Looking Out (Paul Cox, 1977) aka Two in the Family; prod. Bernard Eddy, Illumination Films, wrs Paul Cox, Susan Holly Jones, dp Paul Cox, design Alan Srubenrauch, composer Norman Kaye, ed. Paul Cox; Juliet Bacskai, Briony Behets, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Norman Kaye, Elke Neidhardt; Sydney, colour, 35 mm, 88 min.; emotional study of disintegrating marriage, set over the course of a weekend

Island (Paul Cox, 1989) Irene Papas, Eva Sitta

Journey with Paul Cox, A (Gerrit Messiaen, Rob Visser, 1996), doco, broadcast SBS

Kadaicha (James Bogle, 1988) aka Stones of Death (1988) (US title), Zoe Carides, Sean Scully; horror, scifi

Lust and Revenge (Paul Cox, 1996) wr. Paul Cox, John Clarke, dp Nino Martinetti; Nicholas Hope, Claudia Karvan, Chris Haywood, Gosia Dobrowolska, Victoria Eagger, Norman Kaye, Ulli Birve, Robert Menzies, Bryan Dawe, John Hargreaves, Max Gillies, Wendy Hughes, Pamela Rabe; 97 min.; SAFC, FFC

Macbeth (Geoffrey Wright, 2006) wr. Victoria Hill, Geoffrey Wright, prod. Martin Fabinyi, Mushroom Pictures, shot Melbourne June 2005; Sam Worthington, Victoria Hill, Lachy Hulme, Mick Molloy, Gary Sweet, Steve Bastoni; uses the script of Shakespeare's play; set in Melbourne underworld contemporary ganglands milieu; world premiere Toronto Sept 2006

Man of Flowers (Paul Cox, 1983) prod. Jane Ballantyne, Paul Cox for Flowers International, wr. Paul Cox, Bob Ellis, dp Yuri Sokol, design Asher Bilu, ed. Tim Lewis; Norman Kaye (AFI Best Actor), Alyson Best, Chris Haywood, Sarah Walker, Julia Blake, Bob Ellis, Barry Dickins, Patrick Cook, Victoria Eagger, Werner Herzog; Fuji colour, 35mm, 91 min.

Metal Skin (Geoffrey Wright, 1995) wr. Geoffrey Wright, prod. Daniel Scharf, Southern Star; Aden Young (Joe), Tara Morice (Savina), Ben Mendelsohn (Dazey), Nadine Garner (Roslyn), Chantal Contouri (Savina's mother); drama, thriller; psycho Joe, urban misfit, craves the respect of his peers on the streets and the love of a nice girl who secretly practises black magic

My First Wife (Paul Cox, 1984) prod. Jane Ballantyne, Paul Cox, wr. Paul Cox, Bob Ellis, dp Yuri Sokol, design Asher Bilu, ed. Tim Lewis; John Hargreaves (AFI Best Actor), Wendy Hughes, Lucy Charlotte Angevin, David Cameron, Robin Lovejoy, Betty Lucan, Charles Tingwell, Lucy Uralon; Fuji colour, 35mm, 100 min.

Old Man Who Read Love Stories, The (Rolf de Heer, 2000) Richard Dreyfuss, Timothy Spall, Hugo Weaving; shot in French Guiana, South America; Australian release March 2004 Melbourne; Ali Sharp, "The old man and the jungle: an interview with Rolf de Heer", Metro, 140, 2004: 32-35; might be 2001; brief review of DVD release: Matthew Goodwin, Empire, 43, October 2004: 102

Oscar and Lucinda (Gillian Armstrong, 1997) prod. Robin Dalton, wr. Peter Carey (novel), Laura Jones; Ralph Fiennes, Cate Blanchett, Ciaran Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Richard Roxburgh; 132 min.

Palisade (Laurie McInnes, 1988) wr. Laurie McInnes, short

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975) prod. Jim & Hal McElroy, prod. Patricia Lovell, wr. Cliff Green from novel by Joan Lindsay, dp Russell Boyd; Kirsty Child, John Fegan, Vivean Gray, Dominic Guard, John Jarratt, Anne Lambert, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Ingrid Mason, Garry McDonald, Helen Morse, Rachel Roberts, Martin Vaughan, Jacki Weaver; thriller

Plains of Heaven, The (Ian Pringle, 1982) prod. John Cruthers for Seon Films, wr. Ian Pringle, Doug Ling, Elizabeth Parsons, dp Ray Argall, composer Andew Duffield, design Elizabeth Stirling, ed. Ray Argall; Adam Briscombe, Jenny Cartwright, Reg Evans, John Flaus, Gerard Kennedy, Richard Moir; Fuji colour, 16 mm, 80 min.

Prisoner of St Petersburg, The (Ian Pringle, 1990) dp Ray Argall; Noah Taylor, Solveig Dommartin; Noah's character thinks he's in a novel by Dostoevsky

Quiet Room, The (Rolf de Heer, 1996) wr. Rolf de Heer, prod. Rolf de Heer, Domenico Procacci, Sharon Jackson, Fiona Paterson; Paul Blackwell, Celine O'Leary, Chloe Ferguson, Phoebe Ferguson; little girl withdraws into silence as a reaction to her parents threatening to separate; 93 min.

Refracting Glasses, The (David Perry, 1993) experimental

Salvation (Paul Cox, 2007) Natalia Novikova, Bruce Myles, Wendy Hughes, Kim Gyngell, Alex Menglet, Richard Piper, Maggie Miles, Chris Haywood, Terry Norris, Bud Tingwell, Julia Blake, Deidre Rubenstein, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Rodney Afif, Loene Carmen, Hamish Michael, Barry Humphries

Skin Deep (Geoffrey Steven, 1978) NZ, Phase Three Film Productions Ltd, prod. John Maynard, wr. Piers Davies, Roger Horrocks, Geoffrey Steven, idea by Geoffrey Steven, dp Leon Narbey; Ken Blackburn, Deryn Cooper, Alan Jervis, Grant Tilly; 110 min.

Strata (Geoffrey Steven, 1983) NZ, Phase Three Films Ltd, Prod. John Maynard, wr. Ester Krumbachova, Geoff Steven, Michael Havas, dp Leon Narbey; Nigel Davenport, John Banas, Judy Morris, Tom Brennan, Roy Billing; art film; 110 min.

Streetsweeper (Neil Mansfield, 2007) wr. Neil Mansfield, Marin Mimica; loner who finds poetry in the ordinary; 75 min.

Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989) wr. Jane Campion, Gerard Lee, dp Sally Bongers; Genevieve Lemon, Karen Colston, Tom Lycos, Jon Darling, Dorothy Barry, Michael Lake, Paul Livingston

Ten Canoes (Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr, 2006) wr. Rolf de Heer, prod. Rolf de Heer, Julie Ryan; was to be co-directed by Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil, but the latter pulled out; performed entirely in the Ganalbingu language of Gulpilil's Yolngu people in Arnhem Land, according to the FFC it is "one of the few Australian feature films to rely on English subtitles"; surreal tragi-comedy; Australian release 19 March 2006, DVD available 24 January 2007

That Eye the Sky (John Ruane, 1994) prod. Peter Beilby, Grainne Marmion, wr. Tim Winton (novel), John Ruane & Jim Barton; Peter Coyote (Henry Esau), Lisa Harrow, Amanda Douge, Mark Fairall, Alethea McGrath, Jamie Croft, 101 min.

Till Human Voices Wake Us (Michael Petroni, 2002) wr. Michael Petroni, dp Roger Lanser; Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham-Carter, Lindley Joyner, Frank Gallacher, Brooke Harman, 97 min., national release 12 September 2002

Tracker, The (Rolf de Heer, 2002) wr. Rolf de Heer, dp Ian Jones; David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Damon Gameau, Grant Page; national release 8 August. David Gulpilil won Best Actor AFI Awards 7 November 2002; songs performed by Archie Roach; 98 min.

Unfolding Florence (Gillian Armstrong, 2006) aka A Colourful Life [working title]; Judi Farr, Felicity Price, Hannah Garbo; dramatised documentary about design pioneer Florence Broadhurst

Vincent (Paul Cox, 1987) aka Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh

Visitors (Richard Franklin, 2003) wr. Everett de Roche; Radha Mitchell, Susannah York, Ray Barrett

Well, The (Samantha Lang, 1997) wr. Elizabeth Jolley (novel), Laura Jones; Pamela Rabe (Hester Harper), Miranda Otto (Katherine), Paul Chubb (Harry Bird), Frank Wilson (II) (Francis Harper), Steve Jacobs (Rod Borden), Genevieve Lemon (Jen Borden), Simon Lyndon (Jock); drama, thriller; Hester is obsessed with Katherine

Woman's Tale, A (Paul Cox, 1991) Sheila Florance (AFI Best Actress), Gosia Dobrowolska, Norman Kaye, Chris Haywood


Garry Gillard | New: 24 April, 2005 | Now: 10 February, 2017