This post is in respone to monalisa's "It's Really Something" blog post in which she listed all her favourite movies (nearly all of them Japanese). Being an Australian screenwriter and a regular compiler of my own Top 20 list (see the current version in My Profile), I'm sad to say there aren't many Australian films in there, especially as I've been working in the Australian film industry for ten years now and have probably seen more than most. So while I'm not going to make a habit of publishing my lists, for monalisa's benefit and hopefully to inspire some others to watch some good Australian films, here are the first five of my ten favourite Australian films (in no particular order).
BLUE MURDER (1995) dir. Michael Jenkins
Technically a TV mini-series (but recently we learned from one of our AFTRS lecturers there were once plans to give it a theatrical release). It counts among its fans screenwriter Robert Towne (CHINATOWN), who said of it: "I don't think anything has impressed me more than Blue Murder."
The true story of the relationship between Detective Roger Rogerson and criminal Neddy Smith, it so closely follows the facts of the case that it was not allowed to be shown in New South Wales for years as it could potentially have affected the outcome of Neddy Smith's trial for murder. It shows the fine line between (some) police and criminals and chronicles the passing of an age where police were the ultimate enforcers of the law. It's the best Scorcese movie that Scorcese never made.
FORBIDDEN LIE$ (2007) dir. Anna Broinowski
Norma Khouri opened the world's eyes to honour killings in Jordan and became a bestselling author when she wrote a book telling the story of her Muslim friend who was killed for dating a Christian man. But when the veracity of her claims came into question, she was denouced as a liar and publication of her book FORBIDDEN LOVE ceased. This doco spends time with an astonishing women as her writing and her entire past are called into question.
One of the best documentaries I have ever seen.
LANTANA (2001) dir. Ray Lawrence
I normally hate "interwoven storylines" in narrative features, but this is one of the better examples, as it never seems forced or conceited. A woman goes missing on her way home after an argument with her husband (Geoffrey Rush), while the detective investigating (Anthony Lapaglia, fantastic in the film) is dealing with his own marital crisis. A story of trust and fidelity in all relationships, the script is wonderful and the performances from all involved are marvellous.
THE PLUMBER (1979) dir. Peter Weir
What if you couldn't get a tradesman to leave your house? This simple idea is the basis for a wonderful psychological thriller that would have cost next to nothing to make, but is really very affecting.
SAMSON AND DELILAH (2009) dir. Warwick Thornton
At time of posting, this is still in theatrical release in Australia. A heart-breaking story of a different kind of addiction: petrol-sniffing, a widespread problem amongst Australia's indigenous population. An Aboriginal boy and girl flee their reservation to try to make a fresh start in Alice Springs, but their demons follow and they must draw on resources they never knew they had to overcome them.
Lets call this a Part One. There are others that I would have to watch again to better describe. This should get you started though.