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Bliss (Ray Lawrence, 1985) prod. Anthony Buckley for Window III Productions, wr. Peter Carey and Ray Lawrence from the novel by Peter Carey, dp Paul Murphy, music Peter Best, design Owen Patterson, ed. Wayne le Clos; Lynette Curran, Helen Jones, Barry Otto, Tim Robertson, Miles Buchanan, Gia Carides; Eastman colour, 35 mm, 115 min.

The film is extremely audacious, and Lawrence's depiction of the strange world of Harry Bliss (brilliantly portrayed by Barry Otto) mixes astonishing beauty, black humour, and the genuinely bizarre in almost equal proportions. David Stratton: 177.


It is hard to imagine how this film could have been improved. Perhaps it is still a shade too long, and there are a couple of minor problems to do with the narrative structure, but in all other respects Bliss seems to be the movie that we have long been waiting for from the Australian film industry ... Bliss is that rare thing in Australian cinema, a movie of ideas. It is largely about conservation and apathy and the question of collective and individual responsibility, but it's about a lot more besides the institutionalised corruption of the modern family, the morality of capital, the transience and importance of love, the role of religion, in short, a large slice of life's rich tapestry. What is so nice is that the film explores these questions in such an accessible way. This is not a self-consciously 'difficult' film. There is little of the deliberate obfuscation that makes so many 'serious' films into giant riddles to be deciphered. Bliss is a comedy of a very black nature and it's wonderfully funny. Paul Byrnes, The Sydney Morning Herald, as cited in Buckley, Anthony 2009, Behind a Velvet Light Trap: A Filmaker's Journey from Cinesound to Cannes, Hardie Grant Books, Prahran: 262.

Garry Gillard | New: 25 November, 2012 | Now: 7 January, 2020