Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph
 
     


Paul Cox
b. April 16, 1940, Venlo, Limburg, Netherlands.

BIOGRAPHY:   Born in Holland and settled in Melbourne, Paul Cox is an auteur of international acclaim. He is one of the most prolific makers of films in Australia, with numerous features, shorts and documentaries to his name. He is the recipient of many special tributes and retrospectives at film festivals across the world, including a major retrospective at the Lincoln Centre in New York in 1992, and he is the subject of Alexander Bohr's 1997 documentary Ein Fremder In Der Welt (A Stranger in the World).

 

He migrated to Australia in the mid-'60s, had training in photography, and taught photography for many years at Prahran Technical College. His first films were short impressionistic pieces. In the mid '70s he began making low-budget features, and has fiercely stuck to the ideals of low-budget and artistic filmmaking.

Throughout his career, Cox has received numerous international awards. These include Best Film at the 1982 Australian Film Industry Awards for Lonely Hearts; Best Film & Best Director at the 1985 Houston Film Festival; Best Director at the 1984 Rio de Janeiro Film Festival; and Best Director, Actor and Screenplay at the 1984 Australian Film Industry Awards for My First Wife.

Man of Flowers premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984, and went on to win Best Film at the 1984 Valladolid Film Festival as well as Best Foreign Film at the 1991 Warsaw Film Festival. Cactus premiered in Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 and Vincent, his docudrama on the life and death of Vincent Van Gogh (narrated by John Hurt), won the Jury Prize at the 1988 Istanbul International Filmdays.

A Woman's Tale won the Grand Prix at the 1992 International Flanders Film Festival in Ghent as well as being selected for the 1992 Tokyo International Film Festival and Exile screened in competition at the 1994 Berlin International Film Festival.

More recently, Cox's highly acclaimed feature Innocence (2000) won massive audience and critical acclaim, including the Grand Prix of the Americas (Best Film) and the People's Choice Award at the 2000 Montreal World Film Festival; the FIPRESCI Critics Award at the Taormina International Film Festival; Best Film at both the Vlissengen and Saint-Tropez Film Festivals; third prize in the Toronto International Film Festival's People's Choice Awards and 5 Australian IF awards including Best Film, Independent Filmmaker of the Year for Paul Cox, and Best Actress for Julia Blake. The film was also awarded the Marquee Audience Favourite Award at the CineVegas International Film Festival 2000.



 
 
Lonely Hearts

CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   Paul Cox is one of the most important filmmakers to come out of Australia ... he is a filmmaker of incredible energy, persistence and vision - all qualities which are crucial to survive as a filmmaker. He is also uncompromising in fulfilling his vision which is almost always achieved with comparatively small budgets of about $1 million. As a director, he has an ongoing screen relationship with many of Australia's greatest actors. The themes in his films - isolation, faith, hope, love, survival - remain the same and reoccur over and over, but above all else his films are about human frailty ... The visual style of his films is simple. Paul Cox films are not about and do not contain special effects. They do not generally involve complicated production set-ups. There are rarely crane shots - a simple tracking shot is usually about as complex as it gets. It is worth recalling the 540-degree opening shot Cactus (1986). As a director, he is more concerned with story telling and capturing the performance of his actors. Light is often a strong motivating element in any Paul Cox film. His cinematography often uses strong shadows and he is not afraid to include considerable darkness in the frame. Many Paul Cox films also contain repeating motifs, such as the use of grainy Super 8 footage of someone's point-of-view looking up through the treetops towards the sky.

Philip Tyndall, "Paul Cox - Filmmaker", Senses of Cinema (see reference below)


FILMOGRAPHY:

 
 
Cactus

Matuta (1965, 23 mins, 16mm)

Time Past (1966, 10 mins, 16mm)

Skindeep (1968, 40 mins, 16mm)

Marcel (1969, 7 mins, 16mm)

Symphony (1969, 12 mins, 16mm)

Mirka (1970, 20 mins, 16mm)

Calcutta (1970, 30 mins, 16mm, documentary)

Phyllis (1971, 35 mins, 16mm)

The Journey (1972, 60 mins, 16mm)

All Set Backstage (1974, 22 mins, 16mm, documentary)

Island (1975, 10 mins, 16mm)

 

We Are All Alone My Dear (1975, 22 mins, 16mm)

Illuminations (1976, 78 mins, 16mm)

Ways of Seeing (1977, 24 mins, 16mm)

Inside Looking Out (1977, 90 mins, 35mm)

Ritual (1978, 10 mins, 16mm)

Kostas (1978, 100 mins, 35mm)

For a Child Called Michael (1979, 30 mins, 16mm, documentary)

The Kingdom of Nek Chand (1980, 22 mins, 16mm, documentary)

Underdog (1980, 53 mins, 16mm, documentary)

 
 
Innocence

Lonely Hearts (1981, 95 mins, 35mm)

Man of Flowers (1983, 91 mins, 35mm)

Death and Destiny (1984, 120 mins, 16mm, documentary)

My First Wife (1984, 97 mins, 35mm)

Handle With Care (1985, 75 mins, 16mm)

Paper Boy (1985, 53 mins, 16mm, Children's TV film)

Cactus (1986, 95 mins, 35mm)

The Secret Life of Trees (1986, 25 mins, 16mm, Children's TV film)

Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh (1987, 95 mins, 35mm)

The Gift (1988, 90 mins, 16mm, Children's TV film)

Island (1989, 95 mins, 35mm)

 
 
Human Touch

Golden Braid (1990, 91 mins, 35mm)

A Woman's Tale (1991, 93 mins, 35mm)

The Nun and the Bandit (1992, 92 mins, 35mm)

Touch Me (1993, 29 mins, 35mm, part of TV series "Erotic Tales")

Exile (1994, 96 mins, 35mm)

Lust & Revenge (1996, 90 mins, 35mm)

The Hidden Dimension (1997, 43 mins, IMAX - 3D)

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1998, 120 mins, Super 35mm)

Innocence (2000, 91 mins, 35mm)

The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (2001, 90 mins, 35mm)

Human Touch (2004, 102 mins, 35mm)

Salvation (2008, 98 mins, 35mm)


SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY:

"Kostas", by Keith Connolly, Cinema Papers, no. 22, July-Aug 1979.

"Lonely Hearts", by Kathe Boehringer, Filmnews, Nov-Dec 1982.

"Man of Flowers", by Helen Greenwood, Cinema Papers, no. 44-5, April 1984.

"Paul Cox", interview with Debi Enker, Cinema Papers, no. 46, July 1984.

"My First Wife", by Ross Gibson, Filmnews, Aug-Sep 1984.

"Cactus", by Adrian Martin, Filmnews, September 1986.

"A Woman's Tale", by Alissa Tanskaya, Cinema Papers, no. 85, November1991.

"Paul Cox - Filmmaker", by Philip Tyndall, Senses of Cinema, Issue 9, Sep-Oct 2000.

"An interview with Paul Cox", by Richard Phillips, World Socialist Web Site, January 6, 2001.

"The Diaries Of Vaslav Nijinsky: the culmination of a career", by Philip Tyndall, Senses of Cinema, Issue 20, May-June 2002.


Bill Mousoulis, Paul Cox, Mark Patterson, Philip Tyndall, March 2005.
Profile compiled by Bill Mousoulis, with assistance from Paul Cox and Mark Patterson. Thanks also to Philip Tyndall.

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Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis