UC Berkeley Library

Australia & New Zealand

Mad Max (Australia, 1979)

Directed by George Miller. Cast: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Roger Ward, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Hugh Keays-Byrne. This first of the Road Warrior films is set in the desolate near future in Australia where motorcycle gangs combat the police. Max is a gung-ho cop, the best of his squad, but when his best friend is killed Max hangs up his guns, taking his wife and young child across the country on vacation. But when the renegade gang kills his family Max climbs into a souped-up racing machine to seek his bloody revenge. 93 min.

Moulin Rouge! (Australia / USA, 2001)

Director, Baz Luhrmann. Cast: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, Kerry Walker. Christian, an idealistic and impoverished young writer newly arrived in Montmartre, is haphazardly inducted into a circle of young bohemians led by Toulouse-Lautrec. A comedy of mistaken identities ensues, quickly enmeshing the young poet in a love triangle involving the unobtainable and consumptive Satine, queen courtesan of the Moulin Rouge, and the foppish Duke of Roxbury, his villainous rival for her affections.

My Brilliant Career (Australia, 1979)

Directed by Gillian Armstrong. Cast: Judy Davis, Sam Neill, Wendy Hughes, Robert Grubb, Max Cullen, Aileen Britton, Peter Whitford, Patricia Kennedy. Sybylla Melvyn struggles with the conflicts that we all have between ambition, family, love, and guilt in a most remarkable manner. Sybylla grows to understand that life is a series of trade-offs, and that no one can have it all, and that no one can please everyone. Simple yet universal themes told with charm, wit, and vulnerability. 100 min.

Newsfront (Australia, 1978)

Directed by Phillip Noyce. Cast: Bill Hunter, Wendy Hughes, Gerard Kennedy, John Ewart, Chris Haywood. The newsreel cameramen were unsung heroes who raced to beat headlines and defied dangers to capture moments on film for moviegoers. They captured historic moments but when a new technology called television arrived, their days were numbered. Tells the story of two such Australian journalists who filmed the historical events of two turbulent decades. 110 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (Australia, 1990)

Directed by Tracey Moffatt. Cast: Marcia Langton, Agnes Hardwick, Jimmy Little. A fictional story in which a middle aged Aboriginal woman resents the responsibility of caring for her old white mother. Her memories and dreams invade her routine until the old woman dies and we share the daughter's sense of loss. 17 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Once Were Warriors (New Zealand, 1994)

Directed by Lee Tamahori. Cast: Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell. In a poor suburb of Auckland, Jake and Beth Heke live a life defined by drunken parties, unstable friendships, and confrontations with authorities. Jake, a complex man with a rascal's charm, is weighted down by a quick temper, alcoholism, and an evil streak of male entitlement. Beth's beauty has been scarred by broken dreams and Jake's beefy fists. Yet her inner strength and desire to save her family make her the solid center around which this story of tragedy and hope is constructed. 102 min.

Passionless Moments (Australia, 1983)

Director, Jane Campion. A voice says, "There are 1,000,000 moments in your neighborhood; each has a fragile presence which fades almost as it forms." Ten such moments are dramatized, from a chubby man exercising and realizing that "sex" and "thing" go together to an ill, bored child discovering that most pieces of paper fit on top of a Scotties box.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Australia, 1979)

Directed by Peter Weir. Cast: Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Helen Morse, Jacki Weaver, Anne Lambert, John Jarrett. In 1900, a group of Australian schoolgirls prepare for a Valentine's Day picnic at Hanging Rock. They depart for their outing, and four of them disappear and are never found. 107 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Praise (Australia, 1998)

Directed by John Curran. Cast: Peter Fenton, Sacha Horler. This comedy from Australia looks at the frustrations of Cynthia, a nymphomaniac, as she tries to have an affair with Gordon, a phlegmatic poet. Cynthia is pining for sex, but Gordon cannot get excited. Based on the novel by Andrew McGahan. 98 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Rabbit-proof Fence (Australia, 2002)

Directed by Phillip Noyce. Cast: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Laura Monaghan, David Gulpilil, Ningali Lawford, Myarn Lawford, Deborah Mailman, Jason Clarke, Kenneth Branagh. Based on true events tells the story of three half-caste children from Western Australia who were taken from their parents under government edict in 1931 and sent to an institution, where they were taught to forget their families, their culture, and re-invent themselves as members of "white" Australian society.