Australasian feature films involving some aspect of Jewishness

Strike Me Lucky
Roy Rene (right) in Strike Me Lucky (Ken G. Hall, 1934)

Jewish humour has never occupied centre stage in Australian comedy, though Roy Rene brought his 'Mo' character to the screen in Ken Hall's Strike Me Lucky (1934) and Alan Finney (later Village-Roadshow's Marketing Manager) played a Jewish tailor in Tim Burstall's Stork (1971). Stratton: 329.

See the work (in IMDb) of directors Mark Joffe, Rivka Hartman, Monique Schwarz, Michael Rymer, Craig Rosenberg, Ben Lewin, producer/director Yoram Gross and his wife and partner Sandra, producer Margaret Fink, writers Morris Lurie, Yael Bergman, actors Austen Tayshus (Sandy Gutman), Jan Friedl, and cinematographer Jackie Farkas.

Relevant films in alpha order

$9.99 (Tatia Rosenthal, 2008) Tatia Rosenthal was born in Tel Aviv; now works as an animator in New York; animated film; 78 min.

Bachelor Girl (Rivka Hartman, 1987) aka Once Upon a Wedding; Kym Gyngell; Jewish comedy; 86 min.

Bells, The (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) from the play Le Juif Polonais

Bitter Herbs and Honey (Monique Schwarz, 1996) doco about Jews in Carlton

Burgomeister, The (Harry Southwell, 1935) aka Hypnotised [previously made as The Bells] from the play Le Juif Polonais - both of the films based on the play apparently (both are lost) pandered to racial stereotypes

Dead Europe (Tony Krawitz, 2012) Ewen Leslie, Marton Csokas, Kodi Smit-McPhee; drama

Dunera Boys, The (Ben Lewin, 1985) mini-series; prod. Bob Weis; also released on tape as a film; many of the characters are Jewish; both Lewin and Weis are sons of Holocaust survivors

Environment (Gerald Hayle, 1927) - includes villain Abe Halstein, an agent provocateur

Father (John Power, 1990) wr. Tony Cavanaugh, Graham Hartley, dp Dan Burstall, prod. Damien Parer, Tony Cavanaugh, Graham Hartley, Paul D. Barron; Barron Films, Leftbank Productions, Transcontinental Films, music Peter Best; Max von Sydow, Carole Drinkwater, Julia Blake, Steve Jacobs, Simone Robertson, Kahli Sneddon, Nicholas Bell, Tim Robertson, Bruce Alexander; Joe Mueller (Max von Sydow) may have committed war crimes related to the Holocaust as Franz Kessler, an SS officer, in 1945; reviewed Jan Epstein, Cinema Papers, 81, December 1990: 28-31

Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger (Cathy Randall, 2008) coming-of-age Jewish comedy

Jewboy (Tony Krawitz, 2005) 52 min.; set in Sydney's Hassidic community; 'young orthodox man searches for his place within his family and the rest of the world'; official website

Mamadrama: The Jewish Mother in Cinema (Monique Schwarz, 2001) doco

Mini-Skirted Dynamo, The (Rivka Hartman, 1996) doco about Hartman's doctor mother Dora Bialestock

Norman Loves Rose (Henri Safran, 1982) prod. Basil Appleby, Henri Safran for Norman Films, wr. Henri Safran, dp Vincent Monton, design Darrell Lass, ed. Don Saunders; Carol Kane, Tony Owen, Myra de Groot, David Downer, Barry Otto, Sandy Gore, Warren Mitchell; comedy; Jewish 13-yr-old falls in love with sister-in-law who falls pregnant; Eastman colour, 35mm, 98 min.

Palace of Dreams (Denny Lawrence, Geoffrey Nottage, Graham Thorbum, David Goldie & Richard Pellizzeri, 1985) 10 part mini-series, prod. Sandra Levy for ABC

Partisan (Ariel Kleiman, 2015) prod. Anna McLeish, wr. Sarah Cyngler, Ariel Kleiman; Vincent Cassel, Nigel Barber, Jeremy Chabriel, Florence Mazzara, Timothy Styles; 98 min.; Kleiman's Jewish parents emigrated from Odessa

Russian Doll (Stavros Kazantzidis, 2000) romantic comedy, David Wenham, Hugo Weaving, Natalia Novikova, Sacha Horler; 90 min. Natalia Novikova (aka Natasha Novak) plays a Russian mail-order bride; Sacha Horler plays a Russian

Sentimental Bloke, The (Raymond Longford, 1919) - includes the character Steeny Isaacs

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

Soldiers of the Cross (Joseph Perry & Herbert Booth, 1900) - includes The Stoning of Stephen, 1 min.

Stork (Tim Burstall, 1971) Alan Finney plays a Jewish tailor

Strike Me Lucky (Ken G. Hall, 1934) vehicle for Roy Rene (Harry Van der Sluice aka Henry van der Sluys) as Mo McMackie; Roy Rene's father was a Dutch Jew and and his mother Anglo-Jewish

Two Brothers Running (Ted Robinson, 1987) wr. Morris Lurie (who is Jewish); Tom Conti, Elizabeth Alexander, Ritchie Singer; comedy about two Jewish brothers; Conti plays writer Moses Borenstein

Welcome to the Waks Family (Barbara Chobocky, 2002)

Films in chronological order

Soldiers of the Cross (Joseph Perry & Herbert Booth, 1900)
Bells, The (W. J. Lincoln, 1911)
Sentimental Bloke, The (Raymond Longford, 1919)
Burgomeister, The (Harry Southwell, 1935)
Environment (Gerald Hayle, 1927)
Strike Me Lucky (Ken G. Hall, 1934)
WW2 ... Oz Film Revival ...
Norman Loves Rose (Henri Safran, 1982)
Dunera Boys, The (Ben Lewin, 1985)
Palace of Dreams (Denny Lawrence, Geoffrey Nottage, Graham Thorbum, David Goldie & Richard Pellizzeri, 1985)
Bachelor Girl (Rivka Hartman, 1987)
Two Brothers Running (Ted Robinson, 1987)
Father (John Power, 1990)
Bitter Herbs and Honey (Monique Schwarz, 1996)
Mini-Skirted Dynamo, The (Rivka Hartman, 1996)
Mamadrama: The Jewish Mother in Cinema (Monique Schwarz, 2001)
Uncle Chatzkel (Rod Freedman, 2002)
Welcome to the Waks Family (Barbara Chobocky, 2002)
Jewboy (Tony Krawitz, 2005)
$9.99 (Tatia Rosenthal, 2008) Israel-Australia co-production; stop-motion animation; Josef Ber, Roy Billing, Geoffrey Rush
Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger (Cathy Randall, 2008)
Dead Europe (Tony Krawitz, 2012) Ewen Leslie, Marton Csokas, Kodi Smit-McPhee; drama

References

Epstein, Jan 1999, 'Jewish representation', in Brian McFarlane, Geoff Mayer & Ina Bertrand, The Oxford Companion to Australian Film, Oxford University Press, Melbourne: 237-240.

Freiburg, Freda 1994, 'Lost in Oz? Jews in the Australian Cinema', Continuum: The Australian Journal of Media & Culture, 8.2, 189-196.


Garry Gillard | New: 5 November, 2011 | Now: 13 July, 2017