Natalie Imbruglia can apparently act.

One of the difficulties of marketing Australian films is that we don’t really have an auteur culture. A fair amount of Australian films get released every year but a lot of them come from first-time directors whom nobody knows. For the kind of cinephile audience that will actually think about seeing an Australian film, the phrase “from the Director of quality film X” in the marketing campaign probably has more chance of convincing them of seeing a film than having a famous star from Neighbours in the cast. Unfortunately, even quality Australian films don’t really make money and good directors aren’t given a chance to make a marketable name for themselves.

For example, where the hell is Ivan Sen the director of the fairly solid Beneath Clouds? It’s been a long time since that film but if I saw on a trailer “from the acclaimed director of Beneath Clouds I would be at the box office overnight. Now, the director of upcoming Australian film Closed For Winter James Bogle isn’t a first-time director but the principle applies: I don’t know anything about him so I’m less inclined to see the film. An Imdb search shows that he directed some episodes of Lockie Leonard which I suppose isn’t a bad thing but it’s certainly not a drawcard either.

However, as far as trailers for Australian films go, this one surprisingly didn’t make me groan. This is despite the fact that Natalie Imbruglia is cast in the lead. Casting an Australian pop star doesn’t seem the best way to rope in art house cinema patrons but I suppose she is as cool as an Australian pop star can get. She actually looks like a solid actress from this trailer (though not quite as impressive as Mariah Carey). The film itself doesn’t look or sound particularly exciting but it’s not embarassingly bad as many Australian trailers tend to be. I wouldn’t mind checking this one out. Website is at



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3 responses to “Natalie Imbruglia can apparently act.

  1. It may come as a surprise, but Australia does have auteurs: Alkinos Tsilimidos and Rolf de Heer come straight to mind. Not that their names, nor the names of their previous films are necessarily drawcards. The gems are out there.

    I’m looking forward to Mary and Max, a film that should do exceptionally well for a local film (see, we always have to qualify ourselves with Australian films). Why? Because it’s been well-received overseas. See, the cultural cringe is well and truly alive.

    • Brad

      I agree that there ARE a handful of Australian directors we can call auteurs (Ana Kokkinos, Ray Lawrence?), but for the most part auteur theory doesn’t play a big role in the way we consume Australian cinema. Even the directors you mentioned aren’t really discussed in terms of any particular authorial stamp. Rolf de Heer is great but because his work is all over the shop, it’s hard to talk about a Rolf de Heer sensibility and hence it’s kind of hard to market him.

      I’m actually excited about Mary and Max, believe it or not, from an auteur perspective. That is, because I’m a big fan of all his short films. There is an obvious singular voice that runs through them and I’m very interested to see how that translates to a feature film.

  2. for the most part auteur theory doesn’t play a big role in the way we consume Australian cinema

    Absolutely. I agree that de Heer is hard to pin down, though the same can’t be said for Tsilimidos (who happens to be my favourite Australian director).

    FWIW, Harvey Krumpet is screening tomorrow afternoon at ACMI and Mary and Max is screening Sunday at the Rivoli. I’m planning to attend both.

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