Mangiamele - Melbourne's first "underground" filmmaker,
circa mid 1950s.
independent filmmakers - a retrospective
years of underground filmmaking in Melbourne
by Bill Mousoulis
Melbourne Underground Film Festival, George Cinemas, St.Kilda,
July 8 - 18, 2004
Harvie Krumpets and Cannes awards, yr silly comedies and romantic
comedies, and yr one-joke short films, the real action in the
Melbourne filmmaking scene over the years has been with a bevy
of iconoclastic, visionary filmmakers working away passionately,
with hardly any money, and yet producing a stack of work that
has imagination and integrity, and will undoubtedly stand the
test of time.
solitary, other-worldly (literally, having arrived on ship with
other migrants) Giorgio
Mangiamele in the '50s, Melbourne has produced many underground
filmmakers that only occasionally get the recognition they deserve.
drew together a major slab of that work, with full-session profiles
of John Cumming, Michael Lee and Chris Windmill, and two other
sessions compiling films from a variety of people.
1: Saturday, July 10, 5:00 pm - '50s to '80s
Program 2: Sunday, July 11, 7:00 pm - Michael Lee
Program 3: Tuesday, July 13, 9:00 pm - John
Program 4: Thursday, July 15, 7:00 pm - '90s
Program 5: Friday, July 16, 7:00 pm - Chris
review of the event:
Mousoulis vision of independence", by Jake Wilson,
RealTime OnScreen #63 Oct/Nov, 2004.
1: Saturday, July 10, 5:00 pm, George Cinemas.
(1958, 20 mins, 16mm)
Wr: Robert Clarke and Ian Howard; Music: Cid Ellwood.
Ettore Siracusa, Victor Pandorf, Stewart McIntyre, Harry Graham.
study: the father seeks his happiness in alcohol, and does not
wish to support the eldest son who needs some money to get married.
The younger brother will do anything to help his older brother.
Forgotten Loneliness (1965, 9 mins, 16mm)
Ken Lui, Howard Wong.
A young Chinese
student living in Chinatown, Melbourne wanders aimlessly through
the city streets observing the people, traffic and shops. Seeing
a group of young companions having fun together, he appears out
of place and alone.
Short Story (1970, 8 mins, 16mm)
DOP: Tony Paterson.
A night shift
worker, at home, then at work and then in a train, where he enacts
an imaginary space of his own making. Noteworthy for the filmmaker's
interest in spatial narratives and urban settings, and for actor
Peter Cummins' first film role.
of the Japanese (1980, 16 mins, 16mm)
Sound and Lighting: Ric Dobson, Kathie Armstrong, Nigel Buesst,
Howard Stanley, Roger Pulvers.
stuffed budgies to Japan, an Australian businessman tries to understand
the Japanese mind. A satire on Western images of 'the Japanese'
and the economic agenda that underpins cultural relations.
Dance of Death (1983, 8 mins, 16mm)
Satire linking TV game shows and violence. Best non-feature animation
1983 AFI Awards.
Play (1984, 7 mins, 16mm)
Dir/Prod/Wr: Dirk de
Bruyn; Music: Michael Luck.
play of light, colour, geometric shapes and patterns synchronised
with synthesised music.
Looks at Something (1986, 18 mins, video)
Wr: Philip Tyndall and Peter Tyndall; DOP: Dennis K. Smith; Sound:
Greg Gurr; Music: Original Live Recordings (1980) by Mick Earls,
Arne Hanna, Peter Tyndall and Steve Burke.
pacy reflexive documentary about the approach and works of internationally
renowned Australian artist, Peter Tyndall. (Winner Best Documentary,
1987 Australian Video Festival.)
Day (1987, 12 mins, 16mm)
DOP: Mark C. Zenner; Sound: Mark La Rosa.
Lloyd Fleming, Monica Mousoulis.
A film about
everyday life; the objects that surround people, and the people
themselves. Suggesting that life passes through, beside and beyond
the universe as a whole.
2: Sunday, July 11, 7:00 pm, George Cinemas.
Lee came to Melbourne in 1968 to study at Swinburne College,
then the only film-making school in Australia. He became involved
in the blossoming avant-garde film scene in Melbourne. He was
a member of the founding board of the Melbourne Filmmakers Co-operative
and later served on the board of the Modern Image Makers Association.
He has produced over a dozen 16mm films.
Rose (1976, 65 mins, 16mm)
combines several animation techniques with live action and found
footage. It is based on the structure of the Catholic mass and
deals with themes of sexual repression, guilt and apostasy.
of the Cross (1989, 27 mins, 16mm)
Michael Lee; Music: Ollie Olsen, John Murphy, Choir of St Francis.
Peter Adams, Catherine Lucas, Jack Liistro.
also uses a variety of techniques. The filmmaker's intention was
to produce a cinematic "icon", which is an image designed to stimulate
meditation upon a sacred mystery - in this case the crucifixion
"The Mystical Rose was my first major effort at filmmaking
and grew out of the confusion I experienced in my early 20s when
the values of my strict Catholic upbringing in Brisbane were challenged
by the bohemian atmosphere I found myself in when I came down
to Melbourne. A Contemplation of the Cross, made a dozen
years later, is an expression of my mature religious faith."
- Michael Lee.
Q & A followed screening.
3: Tuesday, July 13, 9:00 pm, George Cinemas.
Cumming is a Melbourne based independent filmmaker. His
work has screened internationally and is held by the National
Library of Australia. John was an active member of the Independent
Film Action Committee in the early 1980s. Since 1985 he has taught
film and video at institutions including the UTS, La Trobe, and
the VCA. He now lectures at both the University of Melbourne and
at Deakin in Melbourne. John's film work is marked by a strong
interest in form, often resulting in films that are interesting
hybrids of various elements. As a director, his hand is both (to
quote Godard) "soft and hard", as he effortlessly moves
from narrative to essay to documentary, from analysis to poetry
(1985, 24 mins, 16mm)
John Cumming; Music: Eric Gradman.
John Cumming, Anna Kannava (voice).
A high performance
film about the mechanics of desire and socialisation, stasis and
motion. An insistent, speeded-up montage of car bodies and disassembled
(1986, 21 mins, 16mm)
John Cumming; Art Directors: John Elliot and cast; Music: David
Hykes and the Harmonic Choir.
John F. Howard with Catriona Anderson, Steve Bingham, Kate Dalling,
Mathew Flinn, Jane Francis, Mary Gallic, Aija Grauze, Bill Haskett,
Stephen Hope, Caroline Holmstrom, Claire Madsen, Hisao Nakamura,
Helen Simondson, Graeme Stephen and John Thompson.
hero and a wandering group of people confront oblivion and are
transformed by the landscapes they pass through.
(1987, 16 mins, 16mm)
John Cumming; DOP: Calum Hogg; Sound: Sue Goldman; Editor: Jane
Jane Madsen, Lee Smith, David Cox, Andrew Taylor, Siobhan Tuke.
What is Sabotage:
dogma, action, inaction, deception, hypocrisy, incompetence, detachment,
John also screened and discussed excerpts from some of his other
4: Thursday, July 15, 7:00 pm, George Cinemas.
(1991, 4 mins, Super-8/35mm)
A short kinetic
film where bright colors zoom in at the audience. Drawings, patterns,
slides and negatives are animated.
Pale Black (1992, 13 mins, Super-8/16mm)
Sound/Eds: Marie Craven, Chris Windmill.
Louise Fox (voice-over).
Super 8, diary footage blown up. Twenty six images. Six or seven
dreams told as if they are happening now. Portrait of a phantom
Sheep Gather No Moss (1997, 12 mins, 16mm)
Dir/Prod/Wr: Nigel Buesst;
Narration: Gabby Brennan.
of a family history. A vision of Melbourne from long ago, yet
reflecting our lives today. Part dream, part soap opera.
Blink (1998, 18 mins, 16mm)
Prod: Maria Simonetto; DOP: Con Filippidis; Music: Jo Goodman.
Victor Bizzotto, Maria Simonetto, Graham Barker.
portrait of schizophrenia. An absurdist experimental narrative
exploring neurological disorders, suicide and grief. A short film
about silence, solitude and the intermittent darkness.
(2001, 12 mins, video)
Sound/Music: Leigh Achterbosch.
Featuring: Grant Meredith, Paul Goossens, Leigh Achterbosch, Rod
war of freedom against the terrifying genetically-altered rubber
glove Udds. A tribute to the great post-nuclear sci-fis of the
'50s and '60s.
Work (2003, 30 mins, video)
DOP: Richard Greenhalgh; Music: Colin Trott.
Adam Scott, Chris Bidlo, Louise Steele, Melanie Stevens, Suzanne
A low key
naturalistic drama which revolves around Dale, a pretty aimless
16 year old. His mother Leanne pressures him into a part time
job with Barry, a local man who needs some gardening done.
(2004, 4 mins, video)
DOP: George Kastoun; Music: Juggernautxx; Lyrics: Pamela Karitinos.
Dino Bernardone, Carl Coulson.
about stumbling, feeling stolen, being broken and trying to move
5: Friday, July 16, 7:00 pm, George Cinemas.
Windmill studied film at three local institutions: Rusden
College, Swinburne, and the Melbourne Super 8 Film Group, the
latter being the most productive learning environment. He thanks
their eminent professors. He has made over 20 films, some of which
have received that great and transient prize: the audience seemed
to like them. Adrian Martin has described Chris' films as: " ...
Quietly mad, his films begin from the charming, irritating minutiae
of everyday experience - shopping, cleaning shoes, hanging out
the washing, going for a picnic in the park - and enlarge them
into magnificent, terrifying obsessions ... Windmill is a surprising,
original mix of primitivism and sophistication ... he offers us
a homegrown surrealist revolution."
Birthday (1980, 5 mins, 16mm/video, B&W)
Chris Windmill; DOP: Roger Plant; Music: Ian Eccles-Smith, Chris
Windmill and Elizabethans.
(2) demeans one of her working-class subjects on her birthday.
of Evil (1984, 10 mins, 16mm/video)
Chris Windmill; DOP: Mandy Walker; Music: Ian Eccles-Smith.
Daryl Pellizer, John Flaus, Anthony Morgan (also sound recordist!),
Helen Kennedy, Janet Shaw, Barry Foldner, Keely Macarow.
young gardener, the Candide of the horticultural world, is oppressed
by evil, bearded men. He is driven towards ultimate desolation,
while being burdened by a vast aggregation of suitcases.
Love (1985, 5 mins, 16mm)
Chris Windmill; Music: Chris Windmill, Michael Mordaunt.
H.L.Harper, Michael Mordaunt.
A Woman falls
in love with the guy next door, The Pope. A Big Mistake.
Shoes (1990, 8 mins, 16mm/video)
Chris Windmill, Ian Eccles-Smith, Mark Freeman.
of lovely, shiny shoes that sometimes talk, and also pics of ugly
(1994, 7 mins, video)
Chris Windmill; Prod: Sarah Zadeh; DOP: Peter Falk; Music: Robin
Noel Dunstan, Noel's nephew Don John, Dave Mackay, Alvin Dyson,
Stan Garland, Ray Olsen and Lenny Farey.
the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes demonstrate their rituals,
discuss their history, and fears of imminent extinction, in a
modern world where men's lodges are an anachronism.
do a Magnificent Tune (1996, 28 mins, 16mm)
Chris Windmill; Prod: Sarah Zadeh; DOP: Peter Falk; Music: Robin
Andrew Blackman, Angela Twigg, Malcolm Robertson, Alexis Anthopoulos,
couple, Bernard and Pinry, only see one another on weekends, when
they engage in mutual worship through devotional rituals involving
tidying their home.
is Doing the Dishes (1999, 15 mins, 16mm, B&W)
Chris Windmill; Music: Robin Casinader.
Kath McKenzie, Nicola Harrison.
washing dishes when she receives an unexpected visit.
Machine (2000, 5 mins, 16mm/video, B&W)
Chris Windmill; Wr: Chris Windmill, Jennifer Ross.
Stephen Carleton, Tiffany Carter.
A man with
a terrible cold has run out of handkerchiefs. They remain wet
on the clothesline. His neighbour wants to use the clothesline.
She has terrible taste in music, an evil temperament, and a 1984
Nissan Pulsar hatchback.
Q & A followed screening.
to Melbourne independent filmmakers index page