Disability

Australasian films representing disability of some kind


Amy (Nadia Tass, 1998) prod. Nadia Tass, David Parker; wr. David Parker; dp David Parker; Rachel Griffiths, Alana de Roma, Ben Mendelsohn, Nick Barker, Kerry Armstrong, Jeremy Trigatti, William Zappa, Sullivan Stapleton, Torquil Neilson, Mary Ward, Susie Porter; little girl won't speak after the sudden death of her father, and will only communicate in song; she ceases to speak as a result of family trauma: her father, a rock musician, dies on stage as she watches

Angel Baby (Michael Rymer, 1995) wr. Michael Rymer; John Lynch, Jacqueline McKenzie, Colin Friels, Deborra-Lee Furness; schizophrenics don't take their medication (when she gets pregnant), go 'mad', suicide; 100 min.

Annie's Coming Out (Gil Brealey, 1984) aka A Test of Love; prod. Don Murray for Film Australia, wr. Chris Borthwick, John Patterson; Eastman colour, 35 mm, 96 min.; based on true story of and book by Rosemary Crossley & Anne McDonald, dp Mick von Bornemann, music Simon Walker, design Robbie Perkins, ed. Lindsey Fraser; Simon Chilvers, Wallas Eaton, Drew Forsythe, Ray Meagher, Monica Maughan, Angela Punch McGregor, Liddy Clark, Tina Arhondis (as Annie O'Farrell); physically disabled child wrongly diagnosed as mentally retarded, social worker (McGregor) rescues her; melodrama

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

Black Balloon, The (Elissa Down, 2008) wr. Elissa Down & co-prod. Jimmy Jack, prod. Tristram Miall, Jimmy Jack; Toni Collette, Gemma Ward, Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Erik Thomson; family melodrama; Toni Collette is the pregnant mother of two sons, one of whom is autistic

Captain Johnno (Mario Andreacchio, 1988) telemovie; John Waters, Damien Walters, Rebecca Sykes, Michele Fawdon, Joe Petruzzi, Elspeth Ballantyne; deaf boy is befriended by Italian fisherman

Cosi (Mark Joffe, 1996) wr. Louis Nowra (also play); prod. Richard Brennan, Timothy White; Barry Otto (Roy), Ben Mendelsohn (Lewis), Toni Collette (Julie), Pamela Rabe (Ruth), Jacki Weaver (Cherry), Paul Chubb (Henry), Colin Hay (Zac), David Wenham (Doug), Colin Friels (Errol), Aden Young (Nick), Rachel Griffiths (Lucy), Kerry Fletcher (OT person), Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Robin Ramsay (the Minister); set in asylum; based to some extent on Louis Nowra's own experience - but he produced Trial by Jury

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

Hammers over the Anvil (Ann Turner, 1993) wr. Peter Hepworth, Ann Turner, novel Alan Marshall, dp James Bartle, prod. Ben Gannon; Charlotte Rampling, Russell Crowe; point of view is that of a crippled boy (based on novel by Alan Marshall, who had polio)

I Can Jump Puddles (1981) TV mini-series; story of Alan Marshall

Lilian's Story (Jerzy Domaradzki, 1996) prod. Marian Macgowan, novel Kate Grenville 1984, based on Bea Miles; Ruth Cracknell, Barry Otto, Toni Collette; we see Lilian's father having sex with her; review by Peter Malone in Cinema Papers, no. 110, June 1996; (cf. NZ film The Heart of the Stag, where there is less or no trauma; cf. also another film with Cracknell, The Singer and the Dancer); Collette won Best Supporting Actress AFIs 1996

Malcolm (Nadia Tass, 1986) dp David Parker; Colin Friels (Malcolm), John Hargreaves (Frank) (AFI Best Supporting Actor), Lindy Davies (Judith), Chris Haywood (Willy), Charles Tingwell (Tramways Supervisor); 85 min.

Mull (Don McLennan, 1989) aka Mullaway (video); Nadine Garner, Bill Hunter, Mary Coustas, Nick Giannopoulos; "Mull" is the nickname of main character 17-year-old Phoebe Mullens (Nadine Garner) whose mother contracts Hodgkinson's disease; rites-of-passage story and social drama; Melbourne

Never Tell Me Never (David Elfick, 1998) Claudia Karvan as Janine Shepherd, skier whose legs are injured in traffic accident; broadcast Channel 10, May 1998, 19 December 2001

Phobia (John Dingwall, 1990) Gosia Dobrowolska, Sean Scully; agoraphobic wife; reviewed Ross Harley, Cinema Papers, 81, December 1990: 58-59; commercial failure

Piano, The (Jane Campion, 1993) prod. Jan Chapman; Holly Hunter, Anna Paquin, Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel, Kerry Walker, Genevieve Lemon, Tungia Baker; main character has aphonia; 121 min.

Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1991) Hugo Weaving, Genevieve Picot, Russell Crowe, Heather Mitchell; main character is blind; 86 min.

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: aphonia again; 93 min.

Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996) wr. Jan Sardi; Geoffrey Rush (AA), Noah Taylor, John Gielgud, Googie Withers, Lynn Redgrave; Academy Award; 130 min.; young David Helfgott is traumatised by martinet father

Somersault (Cate Shortland, 2004) aka More Than Scarlet (working title); prod. Anthony Anderson, Jan Chapman, dp Robert Humphreys; Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington, Lynette Curran, Erik Thompson, Anne Louise Lambert; premiere MIFF Wed 21 July 2004; discovery of the difference between sex and love in Jindabyne, an Australian winter ski resort town; minor character has Asperger's Syndrome

Sound Of Love (John Power, 1978) John Jarratt, Celia de Burgh, George Ogilvie, Don Barker; Eileen and Dave meet when their affliction brings them together in a clinic for the deaf

Sugar Factory, The (Robert Carter, 1998) wr. Robert Carter; Rhondda Findleton, Michaela Noonan, John Waters, Tony Hayes; Best Film Hollywood Film Festival 1998; Matt Day as a mentally disturbed teenager, Harris, tormented by guilt over the death of a child; his half-sister, Christine, was taken away by her mother: he "fretted" and went crazy; also, he shut Rhondda Findleton's daughter in the fridge, playing hide-and-seek, and she died; but he ends up with RF; he tries to make things better, sitting under the house, making bags of "sugar" out of crushed stone

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

Tim (Michael Pate, 1979) prod. Michael Pate for Pisces Productions, wr. Michael Pate, novel by Colleen McCullough, dp Paul Onorato, music Eric Jupp, design John Carroll, ed. David Stiven; Mel Gibson, Piper Laurie, Pat Evison, Deborah Kennedy, Alwyn Kurts; social realism; Tim is intellectually handicapped; Eastman colour, 35mm, 100 min.

27A (Esben Storm, 1974) prod. Hayden Keenan, Smart Street Films, wr. Esben Storm, dp Michael Edols, design Peter Minnett, ed. Richard Moir; Robert McDarra, Bill Hunter, Graham Corry, James Kemp, Richard Moir, Max Osbiston; alcoholic imprisoned under section of Qld Mental Act; Melbourne, colour, 16mm 86 min.

Vacant Possession (Margot Nash, 1995) 95 min.; Pamela Rabe (Tessa), John Stanton (Frank), Toni Scanlan (Joyce), Linden Wilkinson (Kate), Rita Bruce (Auntie Beryl), Olivia Patten (Millie); Millie provides the commentary on the actual relationship of white and black; John Stanton, the father, has PTSS or 'shell-shock', following WW2 air crash with loss of crew; 95 min.


New: 1 August, 2009 | Now: 17 January, 2014 | garrygillard[at]gmail.com