Skip to content

	Image: still from Some like it hot (1959) Courtesy Roadshow

Film series: Pop cinema

Iconic stars and cultural revolution on screen

Cinema was a prime source of the imagery of pop art. Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley lent their famous faces to the painters and printmakers of the era. Icons from Hollywood’s golden era of animated cartoons such as Mickey Mouse were appropriated by pop artists who injected them with biting irony and paradox.

The pop culture phenomenon occurred in the context of bigger social and political issues such as the African-American civil rights movement, the space race, the feminist movement, the Vietnam War, the Kennedy administration and the gay rights movement.

This collection of feature films, documentary and animation celebrate the influence of cinema on pop art. It explores the social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s when the popular counter-culture sparked a social revolution throughout much of the Western world.

Screening in conjunction with Pop to popism exhibition, Pop cinema is part of an extensive program of feature films, documentaries and shorts capturing the authentic flavour of the era.

Institut Français is the agency for the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs with responsibility for cultural activity outside France. It works to promote artistic exchange and dissemination of the French language, books and knowledge. Institut Français also complements the role of UniFrance Films in promoting French patrimonial cinema, the non-commercial screening of recent films, and showcasing its professionals. And Institut Français supports world cinema through the Cinémas du Monde pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, the Cinémathèque Afrique, and Fonds Sud Cinéma for the funding of films, which Institut Français manages alongside the National Centre for Cinematography and the Moving Image.

Image: still from Some like it hot (1959) Courtesy Roadshow

Various Wednesdays and Sundays
29 October 2014 - 1 March 2015
See listing for details


Films start at the advertised time. Doors open 30 minutes before. Tickets are issued at the Domain Theatre one hour before. Latecomers not admitted.

This is a specialist program designed for mature audiences and is generally not suitable for children under the age of 15. We cannot admit anyone under the age of 18 to films with an R classification or without classification. Babes in arms not permitted. All pagers and mobile phones must be switched off. It is a condition of entry that behaviour does not disturb other audience members.

Related film series:
Pop artists on screen
Pop Saturdays

Location: Domain Theatre

Related exhibition: Pop to popism

National Film & Sound Archive Embassy of France Institut Français

Red hot Riding Hood / Jailhouse rock

Red hot Riding Hood
Dir: Tex Avery 1943 (US)
8 mins 16mm Colour Rated PG
The great American animator, Avery produced cartoons during the golden age of Hollywood, mostly for Warner Bros and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. His modernist approach to drawing and layout, and love of exaggeration parody and satire, became part of the zeitgeist of 1940s America. During this period, Avery conceived a series of rebellious retellings of the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale which updated the stories and brought an adult sensibility to animation. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Jailhouse rock
Dir: Richard Thorpe 1957 (US)
96 mins 35mm B&W Rated PG
Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler
According to Mark Deming, critic for AllRovi, this is ‘one of [Presley’s] few vehicles which really caught his raw, sexy energy and sneering charisma on film’. Convicted of manslaughter, Vince Everett (Presley) is released from the penitentiary and, using skills honed while in the Big House, rapidly becomes a pop-music idol. Life imitated art as Jailhouse rock simultaneously shot a young Elvis to superstar status with the nation’s lucrative, newly invented citizen: the 'teenager’. This MGM musical contains a fanciful sequence, widely acknowledged as the prototype for the modern music video, in which Presley performs the title track with fellow inmates in a television studio.


Wednesday 29 October 2014 2pm – 3:44pm

Wednesday 29 October 2014 7:15pm – 8:59pm

Sunday 2 November 2014 2pm – 3:44pm

Swing shift Cinderella / Some like it hot

Swing shift Cinderella
Dir: Tex Avery 1945 (US)
8 mins 35mm Colour Rated PG
In this sequel to Red hot Riding Hood, Avery once again re-imagines the classic fairytale in which – in an outlandish parody of male lust – the Wolf decides to pursue Cinderella. In this version, Cinderella goes to the ‘ball’, updated to a 1940s nightclub. She then has to leave in order to be home in time for her swing shift at an aircraft base.

Some like it hot
Dir: Billy Wilder 1959 (US)
121 mins 35mm B&W Rated PG
Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon
Set in the Depression era, Wilder’s celebrated comedy is the story of two men (Curtis and Lemmon) whose lives become endangered when they accidentally witness a gangland slaying. They masquerade as members of all-girl jazz band in order to evade the gangsters who are now trying to silence them permanently. The film features comedian Joe E Brown as the amiable, wealthy playboy who develops an attraction for the bewildered, cross-dressing Lemmon. It also features a signature comedic performance by legendary sex symbol Monroe. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Wednesday 5 November 2014 2pm – 4:09pm

Wednesday 5 November 2014 7:15pm – 9:24pm

Sunday 9 November 2014 2pm – 4:09pm

Little rural Riding Hood / A hard day’s night

Little rural Riding Hood
Dir: Tex Avery 1949 (US)
8 mins 16mm Colour Rated PG
In the final, ingenious installation of Avery’s infamous Red Riding Hood parodies, the country wolf visits his city cousin, who attempts to impart the rudiments of civilised behavior: ‘Here in the city we do not shout and whistle at the ladies.’

A hard day’s night
Dir: Richard Lester 1964 (GB)
85 mins 35mm B&W Rated G
The Beatles, Wilfrid Brambell
Rushed into production to capitalise on Beatlemania as it was happening, Lester’s film is a series of raucous, comedy sequences covering 36 hours in the lives of the Beatles. The Liverpool lads must contend with the difficulties of sudden fame as they travel to London for a live television broadcast. On the cusp of the Swinging Sixties, the film captures the moment when the band officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Wednesday 12 November 2014 2pm – 3:33pm

Wednesday 12 November 2014 7:15pm – 8:48pm

Sunday 16 November 2014 2pm – 3:33pm

Duck amuck / Breathless

Duck amuck
Dir: Chuck Jones 1953 (US)
8 mins 16mm Colour Rated G
Jones revolutionised animation, leaving behind a legacy that continues to enthrall. His work during the 1940s and 1950s resulted in the creation of iconic characters such as Bugs Bunny and the insecure, ego-driven Daffy Duck. Deemed culturally significant by the US Library of Congress, the extraordinary Duck amuck is often credited with inventing postmodern comedy in its examination of film and identity. The short-tempered Daffy becomes increasingly humiliated and harassed as the backgrounds, costumes, soundtrack, even his physical form, shifts and changes at the whim of a sadistic off-screen animator. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Dir: Jean-Luc Godard 1959 (Fr)
90 mins 35mm B&W Rated PG
Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg
French with English subtitles
Godard’s low-budget, mostly improvised Breathless came to be regarded as one of the boldest and most influential achievements of French new-wave cinema. The film gave voice to, and diagnosed, the rising generation. Belmondo plays the role of a young hoodlum – dashing, daring, cynical, narcissistic – modelling himself on the screen persona of Humphrey Bogart. Godard endowed the film with a casual-seeming fluidity and spontaneity in keeping with the character of the protagonist, throwing off the decorum of ‘quality cinema’ by using a handheld camera and real-life settings. The cameraman, Raoul Coutard, was originally a documentary cameraman for the French army’s information service in Indochina. He was chosen because Godard wanted the film to be, as much as possible, shot like a documentary. Print courtesy French Embassy and Institut Français.


Wednesday 19 November 2014 2pm – 3:38pm

Wednesday 19 November 2014 7:15pm – 8:53pm

Sunday 23 November 2014 2pm – 3:38pm

The band concert / Don’t look back

The band concert
Dir: Wilfred Jackson 1935 (US)
9 mins 35mm Colour Rated G
The first Mickey Mouse animation produced in colour remains one of the most highly acclaimed of the Disney shorts. The story is about a small orchestra conducted by Mickey which struggles through a distraction-filled public performance. In a 1994 poll of animators, film historians and directors by animation historian Jerry Beck, this cartoon was rated the third greatest of all time. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Don’t look back
Dir: DA Pennebaker 1967 (US)
96 mins 16mm B&W Rated M
One of the pioneers of Direct Cinema – the observational filmmaking style which came to prominence in the early 1960s – Pennebaker is known for his unobtrusive approach, capturing his subjects using handheld 16mm cameras and available light. Creating a new form of documentary on the fly, Don’t look back is the director’s candid portrait of folksinger/songwriter Bob Dylan on his 1965 tour of England. The tedium of travel and pressures of performance result in Dylan fending off reporters who are trying to ‘understand’ and pigeonhole his music. Pennebaker also discreetly captures relaxing moments of impromptu, hotel-room music-making with fellow travelers Joan Baez, Alan Price and (briefly) Donovan. The entourage includes Dylan’s gruff, poker-faced manager, Albert Grossman, who provides drama as he manipulates situations to inflate his client’s concert fee or bullies hotel staff. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Wednesday 26 November 2014 2pm – 3:45pm

Wednesday 26 November 2014 7:15pm – 9pm

Sunday 30 November 2014 2pm – 3:45pm


Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni 1966 (GB)
111 mins 35mm Colour Rated MA15+
David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave
Antonioni’s first English-language film is a hypnotic and mystifying meditation on what is and is not real. On the surface, the story concerns a fashion photographer (Hemmings) who believes he has inadvertently photographed a murder. As he ‘blows-up’ the evidence to a greater scale, reality becomes pure abstraction. Blow-up was partially based on a Sunday Times Magazine article describing the milieu of British fashion photography. Amidst the freedom and iconoclasm of 1960s mod London, photographers were among the new celebrities.


Wednesday 3 December 2014 2pm – 3:51pm

Wednesday 3 December 2014 7:15pm – 9:06pm

Sunday 7 December 2014 2pm – 3:51pm


Dir: Jean-Luc Godard 1965 (Fr/It)
98 mins 35mm B&W Rated MA15+
Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina
The plot of Alphaville is pure sci-fi comic strip. At some time in the future, secret agent Lemmy Caution (Constantine) travels through intergalactic space from the Outer Countries to the city of Alphaville where his mission is to destroy Dr Von Braun. Von Braun is the inventor of Alpha 60, the computer that runs a desensitised, lobotomised society. Godard uses the comic strip model, with its economy and sudden shifting of scene, to create a parable about alienating effects of technology. He deployed corners of contemporary Paris (no sets) to evoke the future without recourse to special effects or additional film lighting. Making use of textures, darkness, reflections and neons, Godard and cinematographer Raoul Coutard suggest, with sinister elegance, the alienation of a totalitarian city, reminding us that the futuristic world of Alphaville is already with us. Print courtesy French Embassy and Institut Français.


Wednesday 10 December 2014 2pm – 3:38pm

Wednesday 10 December 2014 7:15pm – 8:53pm

Sunday 14 December 2014 2pm – 3:38pm

The sorcerer’s apprentice / 2001: a space odyssey

The sorcerer’s apprentice
Dir: Ben Sharpsteen 1940 (US)
11 mins 35mm Colour Rated G
With music written by Paul Dukas, The sorcerer’s apprentice – part of Walt Disney’s 1940 hand-drawn animation masterpiece Fantasia – is Mickey Mouse’s most famous role. Mickey went on to become one of the most recognisable cartoon characters in the world, appearing in over 130 films and countless comic strips. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

2001: A space odyssey
Dir: Stanley Kubrick 1968 (GB)
141 mins 35mm Colour Rated MA15+
Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
Kubrick’s most famous and influential film was an all-consuming experience that dazzled audiences upon release in 1968. It transformed science-fiction cinema, transcending the generic boundaries and permanently altering audience expectations. Kubrick chose to keep 2001: a space odyssey mysterious and enigmatic, offering a mythic vision of the relationship between humanity and technology. With an extremely slow pace and elusive narrative, this is the rarest of cinematic achievements: a big-budget, non-narrative spectacle which makes an original and personal statement about the human condition. Released at the height of the space race between the USSR and the US, it was embraced by counter-cultural audiences for its psychedelic, mystical and mind-bending elements.

Note: there is no 7.15pm screening on Wednesday 17 December as the Gallery will close at 5pm


Wednesday 17 December 2014 2pm – 4:32pm

Sunday 21 December 2014 2pm – 4:32pm

Malcolm X

Dir: Spike Lee 1992 (US)
202 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett
Lee’s most passionate film is also his greatest. In chronicling the life of the black activist Malcolm X from his Harlem gangster years to his 1965 assassination at the age of 39, Lee pays scrupulous attention to detail. Criticised in some circles as being too conventional and commercial, the film offers a radical black perspective counter to the often-racist portrayals of African-Americans in US cinema to this point. At the heart of the film is Washington’s sublime performance in the lead role, set against an epic background of historical settings and superb supporting characters. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Note: Sunday screening starts at 1pm, not 2pm. There is no Wednesday screening.


Sunday 4 January 2015 1pm – 4:22pm


Dir: Oliver Stone 1991 (US)
189 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman
Stone’s engrossing three-hour-plus examination of the assassination of President John F Kennedy seeks to disprove the contention that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone killer. Costner leads a remarkable cast, playing Jim Garrison, the New Orleans district attorney who attempted to prosecute a local businessman for conspiracy in the 22 November 1963 murder. This tragic day, which changed the course of American history, galvanised artist Andy Warhol who, transfixed by the media spectacle, incorporated it into his art. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Note: Sunday screening starts at 1.30pm, not 2pm


Wednesday 7 January 2015 2pm – 5:09pm

Wednesday 7 January 2015 7:15pm – 10:24pm

Sunday 11 January 2015 1:30pm – 4:39pm

Full metal jacket

Dir: Stanley Kubrick 1987 (GB)
116 mins 35mm Colour Rated R (18+)
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin
Kubrick’s return to filmmaking after a seven-year hiatus crystallises the experience of the Vietnam War by concentrating on a group of raw Marine volunteers. Full metal jacket follows the recruits through a brutal boot camp to the nightmare of combat in Hue City during their tour of duty. To reveal the dehumanising process that turns people into trained killers, Kubrick cast an 11-year-veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Ronald Lee Ermey, as the brutal drill sergeant. Unsettling, with unusual shifts in tone, the visual style of the film is characterised by judicious use of prowling Steadicam – a handheld camera stabiliser.


Wednesday 14 January 2015 2pm – 3:56pm

Wednesday 14 January 2015 7:15pm – 9:11pm

Sunday 18 January 2015 2pm – 3:56pm

Elvis: that’s the way it is

Dir: Denis Sanders 1970 (US)
108 mins 35mm Colour Rated G
This brilliant 2001 re-edit of the 1970 Elvis Presley concert/documentary movie depicts the pop star returning to his roots as a live performer, encompassing a wider range of material and reaching beyond his rock-star following. The cameras follow The King – a unique phenomenon in pop music – as he prepares for a momentous appearance in Las Vegas.


Wednesday 21 January 2015 2pm – 3:48pm

Wednesday 21 January 2015 7:15pm – 9:03pm

Sunday 25 January 2015 2pm – 3:48pm


Dir: Julian Schnabel 1996 (US)
108 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott
An insider’s look at the hyped-up New York art world, told through the life story of Jean-Michel Basquiat. A black, 19-year-old graffiti artist who was catapulted to superstardom with his hybrid, topical paintings, Basquiat rubbed shoulders with the likes of Schnabel and Andy Warhol before burning out permanently at the age of 27. Schnabel, himself a celebrated figure in the 1980s art world, made his directing debut with this film, which was shown in competition at the 1996 Venice Film Festival.

Note: after the 7.30pm screening on Wednesday 28 January there will be a special screening of 'Jim Dine, London’ and 'Edward Ruscha’ in our 'Pop artists on screen’ program. Find out more


Wednesday 28 January 2015 2pm – 3:48pm

Wednesday 28 January 2015 7:30pm – 9:18pm

Sunday 1 February 2015 2pm – 3:48pm


Dir: Nicholas Roeg, Donald Cammell 1970 (GB)
105 mins 35mm Colour Rated R (18+)
Mick Jagger, James Fox
Jagger, the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, stars in this bizarre film as Turner, a decadent rock musician who decides to switch identities with a hunted London hit man (Fox). Co-directed by Roeg and Cammell, Performance is a chilling, disorienting and profoundly disturbing cinematic nightmare about the dark side of man’s consciousness. During this period, Roeg was rubbing shoulders with many of Swinging London’s demi-monde including the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. It was through these associations he met Cammell – a prominent figure in the Chelsea Set – who drew on his familiarity with the London underworld when writing the screenplay.


Wednesday 4 February 2015 2pm – 3:45pm

Wednesday 4 February 2015 7:15pm – 9pm

Sunday 8 February 2015 2pm – 3:45pm

Easy rider

Dir: Dennis Hopper 1969 (US)
95 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper
As a period souvenir of late 1960s America, Easy rider was the archetypal psychedelic road-trip. While the Hollywood establishment dismissed the rising genre of motorcycle movies as a low-budget fad, this film was an unexpected hit when it opened across the USA in September 1969. It was the official US entry at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the award for best film by a new director (Hopper). Mesmerising audiences with its paranoid look at America, it remains influential for its camerawork, cinematic shorthand and 60s rock soundtrack. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Wednesday 11 February 2015 2pm – 3:35pm

Wednesday 11 February 2015 7:15pm – 8:50pm

Sunday 15 February 2015 2pm – 3:35pm

King-size canary / Boogie nights

King-size canary
Dir: Tex Avery 1947 (US)
8 mins 35mm Colour Rated PG
A mangy cat on the verge of starvation finds a tiny canary and a bottle of Jumbo-Gro fertiliser, which gives him a brilliant idea. Heavily inspired by the phenomena of popular culture, the urban setting and frenzied repetition lead to grotesque exaggeration.

Boogie nights
Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson 1997 (US)
155 mins 35mm Colour Rated R (18+)
Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore
Idealistic porn producer Jack Horner (Reynolds) who aspires to elevate his craft to an art form. Horner discovers Eddie Adams (Wahlberg), a hot young talent working as a busboy in a nightclub, and welcomes him into the extended family of movie-makers, misfits and hangers-on. Adams’ rise from nobody to a celebrity adult entertainer, Dirk Diggler, is meteoric. Anderson received critical and commercial success for his break-out film which is set in 1977 during the 'golden age of porn’.


Wednesday 18 February 2015 2pm – 4:43pm

Sunday 22 February 2015 2pm – 4:43pm

Pink flamingos

Dir: John Waters 1972 (US)
95 mins 35mm Colour Rated R (18+)
Divine, Mink Stole, David Lochary
Regarded as the most disgusting film ever made (for good reason), Pink flamingos is the story of Babs Johnson (Divine), the ‘filthiest person alive’, and Connie and Raymond Marble (Stole and Lochary), two challengers who are jealous of Babs’ notoriety. Trading on the film’s sensationalism, Waters used its gross-out reputation to pave the way for more respectable movies such as Hairspray and Cry-baby. Notes for the recent Water’s retrospective at the Lincoln Center in New York describe his most controversial film as ‘a defiant laugh in the face of convention’.

Warning: some viewers may find aspects of this film disturbing


Wednesday 18 February 2015 7:15pm – 8:50pm

Bad luck Blackie / Rocky horror picture show

Bad luck Blackie
Dir: Tex Avery 1949 (US)
8 min 16mm Colour Rated PG
Avery’s brilliant animation about a bulldog who sadistically torments a little white kitten, surely has one of the most surreal, inventive and insane conclusions of any MGM cartoon.

Rocky horror picture show
Dir: Jim Sharman 1975 (GB)
101 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon
The film version of Richard O’Brien’s surreal send-up of science-fiction-horror flicks is set to an infectious rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. Australian director Sharman made five feature films between 1972 and 1981. Initially bombing at the box office, this one became an extraordinary international hit, said to have had the longest theatrical run in history. A straight-laced couple are forced to take refuge in a rundown mansion when their car has a flat tyre during a storm. The two are thrust into the world of their strange host, Dr Frank N Furter. Print courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Wednesday 25 February 2015 2pm – 3:49pm

Wednesday 25 February 2015 7:15pm – 9:04pm

Sunday 1 March 2015 2pm – 3:49pm