Film Screening 11th November, 2006

Poster for Kokoda


8:00 PM, 11th November, 2006
No Guests

  • M
  • 92 mins
  • 2006
  • Alister Grierson
  • Alister Grierson, John Lonie
  • Jack Finsterer, Travis McMahon, Simon Stone, Luke Ford

The story of the Kokoda trail will be new to nobody - yet surprisingly it wasnt until 2006 that Australia saw the first feature to focus on this important part of our history. Put together by a young group of AFTRS graduates, most making their feature debuts, and led by Grierson (following up his successful Tropfest entry Bomb), Kokoda is an extremely impressive effort which pays due tribute to the courage and importance of the 39th Battalion Australian Infantry.But this is not a glossy, heart-warming portrayal of mateship and heroism against the vague backdrop of a war. Grierson drags us deep into the jungle, the mud and the violence. Glory and heroism take a backseat to survival as a core group of ten young, relatively untrained men find themselves cut off from their line and up against the highly drilled and ruthless Japanese war machine.The film does not attempt to portray the longer history of the Kokoda campaign; rather it uses its tight 90-minute runtime to tell this one story among many. We follow the young group through their trials leading up to the bloody final battle at Isurava. Along the way we are spared no punches - the war violence is graphically depicted, and is not for the faint of heart.While the handheld camera work does help in drawing the audience in, it does add to the common problem of the war movie - following 10 characters in an action scene when all are dressed identically and covered in mud is not easy. At times this makes the action difficult to follow, but the energy is usually enough to cover this minor flaw. A very impressive first offering from a talented young group of filmmakers, and a fitting tribute to a group of Australia's rare, non-sporting, heroes.

Poster for Ten Canoes

Ten Canoes 

10:32 PM, 11th November, 2006

  • M
  • 92 mins
  • 2006
  • Peter Djigirr, Rolf de Heer
  • Rolf de Heer
  • Richard Birrinbirrin, David Gulpilil, Jamie Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr

A grand opening sequence provides a stunning aerial sweep over the Arafura swamp region in north-east Arnhem land where Ten Canoes is filmed and set. The scene is set wonderfully for what follows.Ten Canoes is a quite remarkable piece of traditional storytelling told in the traditional language of Ganalbingu; the predominant use of an Aboriginal language in a feature film being a first for Australian cinema. We are taken back in time about 200 years by our English narration storyteller (David Gulpilil) who brings his warmth, humour and character in telling this traditional story.Dayinda (Jamie Gulpilil, son of David) covets one of the wives of his older brother. To teach him a lesson as to what is right, he is told a mythical story of wrong love, kidnapping, revenge gone wrong, and other tales which lead into the moral to the story...Ten Canoes is great Australian cinema; it is refreshing that the recent inhabitants of this land do not make an appearance. Its use of humour, traditional scenes, props, and the involvement of the indigenous peoples (from acting, scene location, story development, and construction of the canoes etc) of this region makes for a fine cultural experience.Ten Canoes won a special jury prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Keith Rowe