Archibald Prize 2011 film program
Screening in conjunction with the 2011 Archibald Prize, this series of features and documentaries explores the essential elements of humanity – questions of self-image, individuality and psychological identity. What are the sources of identity? Is it your name, your status, your career, your environment? In engaging with those questions, these films delve into mistaken identity, memory loss, deception and gender-bending, in stories of espionage, crime, theatre, politics and romantic love.
Image: The man without a past (25 & 29 May)
North by northwest
Dir: Alfred Hitchcock 1959 (US)
136 mins 35mm Colour Rated G
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint
The plot of Hitchcock’s celebrated thriller-cum-black-comedy concerns espionage and identity. A self-absorbed advertising executive (Cary Grant) becomes the chance victim of mistaken identity and, suspected of espionage and murder, is hounded across America with his life at stake. He is eventually forced to assume another man’s identity and, in so doing, discovers hidden aspects of his own.
Wednesday 27 April 2011 2pm – 4:16pm
Wednesday 27 April 2011 7:15pm – 9:31pm
Sunday 1 May 2011 2pm – 4:16pm
The Manchurian candidate
Dir: John Frankenheimer 1962 (US)
126 mins 35mm B&W Rated M
Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey
The original 1962 version of the cold-war black comedy continues to be topical, chilling and confronting. Frank Sinatra gives a superbly controlled performance as a Korean War veteran who begins to suspect that the honoured heroics of a former member of his squad, Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), may be the product of brainwashing by an enemy with sinister designs. Raymond Shaw then begins to face questions of his own identity while his mind is made to obey alien commands that compel him to destroy the democratic structure of the United States. Director John Frankenheimer maintains a delicate balance between hilarity and horror in this groundbreaking, controversial film.
Wednesday 4 May 2011 2pm – 4:06pm
Wednesday 4 May 2011 7:15pm – 9:21pm
Sunday 8 May 2011 2pm – 4:06pm
Dir: Christopher Nolan 2000 (US)
113 mins 35mm B&W/Colour Rated MA15+
Guy Pierce, Carrie-Anne Moss
Christopher Nolan’s psychological thriller is an intriguing experiment based on the theory that memory defines identity. Leonard Shelby sustains a head injury when he tries to prevent his wife’s murder. Robbed of the ability to form new memories, he searches for the perpetrator of the crime. The only information he has retained after the incident are notes, Polaroid photos, and an assortment of odd tattoos. In this unique film, using two narrative strands, director Nolan invents a character, robs him of his capacity to form memories and observes how that affects his concept of identity: one story line moves forward in time while the other tells the story backwards.
Wednesday 11 May 2011 2pm – 3:53pm
Wednesday 11 May 2011 7:15pm – 9:08pm
Sunday 15 May 2011 2pm – 3:53pm
Paris is burning
Dir: Jennie Livingston 1990 (US)
71 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
This joyous, witty and poignant documentary is a tribute to the community of New York’s minority drag queens – gay black and Latino men who invented the dance style of ‘vogueing’. Pop star Madonna appropriated and streamlined vogueing, whose movements are based on fashion magazine poses. Paris Is burning shows where it all began: in the community halls of Harlem, where contestants from rival ‘houses’ would gather to compete in makeshift dress-up contests. Some of the competitors present themselves as elegant, glamorous women in designer outfits, while others adopt a more mundane persona: college student; military man; Wall Street businessman; aristocrat. The criterion by which all this make-believe is judged is that of ‘realness’. Inviting us behind the scenes, director Jennie Livingston presents an exhilarating portrait of a society of outcasts which seems to have found an effective way of defying the world that scorns them.
Wednesday 18 May 2011 2pm – 3:11pm
Wednesday 18 May 2011 7:15pm – 8:26pm
Sunday 22 May 2011 2pm – 3:11pm
The man without a past
Dir: Aki Kaurismäki 2002 (Finland)
97 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen
M is a man who has suffered amnesia after being beaten and robbed while sleeping on a park bench in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. He does not remember his name or know anything about his past. Instead of searching for his lost identity, he simply goes with the flow of life. Director Aki Kaurismäki’s simple, charming masterpiece contains not one false note. He uses the character’s dilemma to reveal an incontrovertible truth: that the identity of each of us derives from our place in a community of people.
Wednesday 25 May 2011 2pm – 3:37pm
Wednesday 25 May 2011 7:15pm – 8:52pm
Sunday 29 May 2011 2pm – 3:37pm
The shop around the corner
Dir: Ernst Lubitsch 1940 (US)
97 mins 35mm B&W Rated PG
Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan
Remade as the 1949 musical In the good old summertime, starring Judy Garland, and again in 1998 as You’ve got mail, The shop around the corner is a delicate and moving comedy about a romance conducted by mail. Matuschek’s is a modest corner gift shop and one of its staff members is Alfred Kralik, a likeable young man who falls in love with a woman he has never met, whose name he doesn’t even know. The verbal humour and visual wit associated with the films of Ernst Lubitsch are nowhere more evident than in this graceful, fluid film.
Wednesday 1 June 2011 2pm – 3:37pm
Wednesday 1 June 2011 7:15pm – 8:52pm
Sunday 5 June 2011 2pm – 3:37pm
The Lady Eve
Dir: Preston Sturges 1941 (US)
94 mins 35mm B&W Rated PG
Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda
After completing a zoological expedition in the South American jungle, Charles Poncefort Pike (Henry Fonda), an ophiologist and heir to the Pike’s Pale Ale fortune, boards an ocean liner headed for the East Coast. This eligible bachelor only has eyes for his book of snakes and is oblivious to the young female passengers. However, Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck), a cardsharp “working” the ship with her father, manages to ensnare him with her feminine wiles. When Charlie learns that they are notorious con artists, he rejects Jean. Love-struck, she concocts an alternative identity to exact her revenge: she becomes Lady Eve Sidwick. The performances are all first-rate in this romantic comedy, brilliantly written and directed by Preston Sturges.
Wednesday 8 June 2011 2pm – 3:34pm
Wednesday 8 June 2011 7:15pm – 8:49pm
Sunday 12 June 2011 2pm – 3:34pm
Dir: Alfred Hitchcock 1960 (US)
109 mins 35mm B&W Rated M
Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh
Hitchcock’s masterpiece, described by the director as a gruesome black comedy, depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), hiding in a secluded motel after embezzling money, and the motel’s disturbed owner and manager, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). The themes of split personality and multiple identity lie not so much in the Grand Guignol plot, as in the tellingly complex visuals, which hint at the unending, elemental battle between good and evil. Hitchcock’s belief that a character’s identity is always determined by an ‘other’ becomes a major theme in Psycho, in which Bates’ devotion to his invalid mother costs him his own, entire self.
Wednesday 15 June 2011 2pm – 3:49pm
Wednesday 15 June 2011 7:15pm – 9:04pm
Sunday 19 June 2011 2pm – 3:49pm
Eyes without a face / Les Yeux sans visage
Dir: Georges Franju 1960 (Fr)
88 mins 35mm B&W Unclassified 18+
Pierre Brasseur, Edith Scob
French with English subtitles
Georges Franju, one of the underrated heroes of French cinema, creates an austerely beautiful horror film about a plastic surgeon who, in systematic experiments, removes the faces of beautiful young women while attempting to graft them onto his daughter, whose own face was ruined in a car accident. Cinematography by Eugen Shuftan and music by Maurice Jarre are unique and outstanding contributions to the suggestive poetry of this elegant masterpiece.
Wednesday 22 June 2011 2pm – 3:28pm
Wednesday 22 June 2011 7:15pm – 8:43pm
Sunday 26 June 2011 2pm – 3:28pm