Filmography: Australian Directors and Asian Context


If you know of films that could be added to this list, please send details to Carolyn Brewer


Bob Connolly & Robyn Anderson

First Contact (Robyn Anderson & Bob Connolly, 1982)

Joe Leahy's Neighbours (Bob Connolly & Robyn Anderson, 1988)

Black Harvest (Bob Connolly & Robyn Anderson, 1992)

David Bradbury

Frontline (David Bradbury, 1980)
documentary concerned with war cameraman Neil Davis and his work in Vietnam and Cambodia: he shot the girl who had been bombed with napalm, and the VC tank crashing through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.

John Darling

Lempad of Bali (John Darling, 1980).

Bali Triptych (John Darling, 1987).

Bali Hash (John Darling, 1989).

Below the Wind (John Darling, 1994).

The Healing of Bali (John Darling, 2003) broadcast on The Cutting Edge, SBS, Tuesday 7 October 2003.

Chris Hilton and Gauthier Flauder

Advertising Missionaries (1996)
In Papua New Guinea where over three quarters of the population cannot be reached by regular advertising media, markets are being developed by other means. A theatre group travels the remote highlands performing soap operas devised around advertising messages for products like Coca Cola, Colgate and Mortein.

Solrun Hoaas (more information)

Green Tea and Cherry Ripe (1988)
AFI nomination Best Director in Documentary Cinema du Réel (Competition). Available on DVD

Sacred Vandals (1983)
Highly Commended ATOM awards Jury Special Prize, Uni-Japan Competition for films on Japan, Tokyo, 1984 recently screened in 2008: Okinawan Film Festival, Tokyo. Available on DVD

Pyongyang Diaries (1998)
International Forum, Berlin , IDFA (Amsterdam), PICAF (Pusan) TV broadcasts worldwide. US distributor. Available on DVD

Rushing to Sunshine (2001)
premiered Insa Art Space, Seoul. Chungmuro International Film Festival, Seoul, 2007. US distributor. Available on DVD

Frank Hurley

Pearls and Savages (1921) documentary about Anglican missions in Papua; with additional footage expanded to become

With the Headhunters in Papua, (1923). Hurley presented both films lecturing from the stage (Pike & Cooper 1998: 131-33).

Joris Ivens

Indonesia Calling (Joris Ivens, 1946)

Gary Kildea (Lifetime Achievement Award! 2006 Festival Jury of the American Anthropological Association)

Trobriand Cricket (with Jerry Leach) (1979)
A multi-award winning film, Trobriand Cricket is a fascinating document about cultural creativity among the people of the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea.

Celso and Cora: A Manila Story (1982)
Celso And Cora is a feature-length film about a young couple and their two children living in a squatter settlement in the Philippine capital, Manila.

Valencia Diary (1992)
Valencia Diary is the chronicle of a Southern Philippine village at a time when daily life was charged with tension at the impending collapse of the Marcos regime.

Clara Law

Letters to Ali (Clara Law & Eddie Fong, 2004)
premiere Melbourne Film Festival June 2004; Toronto September 2004.

Les McLaren & Annie Stiven

Taking Pictures, 1996
Taking Pictures is a thoughtful look at the way Western cameras have represented the lives of Papua New Guineans. It features interviews with a variety of Australian filmmakers who have worked extensively in PNG, including Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson, Chris Owen, Dennis O'Rourke and Gary Kildea.

Chris Owen

Bridewealth for a Goddess (with anthropologist Professor Andrew Strathearn) (2000)
The Kawelka people live on tribal land near Mount Hagen in the Wahgi Valley, in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.
This film by Chris Owen, an Australian residing permanently in PNG, and one of PNG's leading filmmakers, is a remarkable record of a ritual that took years to prepare and may never be performed again.

Tom Zubrycki

Molly and Mobarak (Tom Zubrycki, 2003)
Mobarak is a refugee, and Molly and her mother befriend him.

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Solrun Hoaas (more information)

AYA (1990)
received six AFI nominations in 1991, CICAE award for Art and Innovation in Torino Film festival, 1991 and Best Actress Award for Eri Ishida in Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Taipei. This film screened in over twenty international film festivals, including Tokyo, Montreal (competition), Toronto, Shanghai, Hong Kong and sold to TV worldwide, incl. Channel Four (UK). Theatrical release in Australia and Japan. Available on DVD

Frank Hurley

The Hound Of The Deep (1926) aka Pearl of the South Seas; Stoll Picture Productions

The Jungle Woman (1926) Stoll Picture Productions; shot in New Guinea

Clara Law

Floating Life (Clara Law, 1996)
Clara Law [born Macau, she came to Australia from Hong Kong in 1996] has also made some interesting films, Farewell, China (1990) probably the pick of them. Her work is saturated with themes of displacement, and she herself now lives and works in Australia, where she made Floating Life (1996).[1]

The Goddess of 1967 (Clara Law, 2000) Rose Byrne;
started shooting November 1999; the story of a Japanese man who comes to Australia to buy his dream car; filmed in Sydney, Lightning Ridge and Tokyo; screened Toronto 2000.

Autumn Moon [Qiuyue],
Cast: Masatoshi Nagase, Pui-Wai Li, Colour, 108 minutes, Cantonese/Japanese/English, Hong Kong, Japan, 1992.

Phillip Noyce

Echoes of Paradise (Phillip Noyce, 1988) aka Shadows of the Peacock;
wr. Jan Sharp, dp Peter James, exec prod Jan Sharp, prod. Jane Scott; Wendy Hughes, John Lone, Rod Mullinar, Peta Toppano, Steven Jacobs, Gillian Jones, Claudia Karvan. 'Maria's seemingly secure world collapses - her senses numbed, she escapes to exotic Thailand to examine her past and her future. Soon she meets a mysterious and handsome Balinese dancer and what begins as a friendship turns into a passionate and all-consuming love affair.' (video box); 92 min.

The Quiet American (Phillip Noyce, 2002)


Arigato Baby (Greg Lynch, 1990)
wr. A. J. Klitz, dp Jaque Rubin; Yoko Atsumi, Nicci Lane, Adrian Wentworth, Mishi Maracos; an anti-Asian Vietnam vet is attracted to Japanese woman; R cert. adult; 80 min.

Blood Oath (Stephen Wallace, 1990)
Bryan Brown, George Takei, ... John Polson, Russell Crowe, ... Jason Donovan; war-crimes trials in Ambon.

Brothers (Terry Bourke, 1982) aka Hounds of War;
Chard Hayward, Ivar Kants, Margaret Laurence, Alison Best; based on true story of five Australian journalists shot in Timor in 1975; two journalist brothers escape death but find it hard to settle in small town in NZ even after four years.

Far East (John Duigan, 1982) wr. John Duigan,
dp Brian Probyn; Bryan Brown, Helen Morse, John Bell, Sinan Leong, Raina McKeon, Henry Duval, Bill Hunter; a couple come to a South East Asian country where they meet again with a former lover of the wife; their relationships are played out again the political background; 107 min.

The Finished People (Khoa Do, 2003) homeless in Cabramatta.

The Golden Cage (Ayten Kuyululu, 1975)
prod. Ilhan Kuyululu, wr. Ayten Kuyululu and Ismet Soydan, dp Russell Boyd; Michelle Fawdon, Ron Haddrick, llhan Kuyululu, Sayit Memisoglu, Kate Sheil; colour; story of two Turkish men in Australia and their tragic events.

Illustrious Energy (Leon Narbey, 1988) aka Dreams of Home;
Chan, a Chinese prospector in the NZ goldfields in the 1860s and his father-in-law work a gold claim in a racist climate.

In a Savage Land (Bill Bennett, 1999),
wr. & prod. Bill Bennett, Jennifer Bennett; Maya Stange, Martin Harrison, Rufus Sewell, John Howard, Max Cullen; AFI Nomination 1999; IF: Married anthropologists' voyage to a PNG island to study sexual behaviour of the locals. An interesting, gutsy first half trips its way into the second, which leans at times toward a storyline more befitting of a Mills and Boon novel. Still, a tale told well. Bill and Jennifer Bennett have written an intelligent role for just the right woman, unearthing a star in Maya Stange.[2]

Japanese Story (Sue Brooks, 2003)
wr. Alison Tilson, prod. Sue Maslin, ed. Jill Bilcock; Gecko Films; Toni Collette; set and shot in Perth and the Pilbara; screened at Cannes in the section of the Festival called Un Certain Regard; won Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography AFIs 2003; well-connected Japanese executive comes to Western Australian to inspect iron-ore mining and is driven in the bush by a geologist; this is the story of their relationship.

Koya No Toseinin [The Drifting Avenger] (Junya Sato, 1968)
Japanese western shot but not released in Australia

Like a Dream (Clara Law project beginning in 2004; relationship between American man and Chinese woman;
co-produced with US; to be shot in New York and Shanghai.

Love in Ambush (Carl Schultz, 1997)
wr. Carl Schultz; Jacques Perrin, Gary Sweet, Sigrid Thornton, Grant Piro, James Tolkan; political romance; Shelly Kincaid leaves her unhappy marriage for Cambodia, where her brother is accused of deserting the army in Vietnam.

Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett, 1996)
Miranda Otto, Rebecca Frith, George Shevtsov, John Alansu (Albert Lee) runs the local Chinese restaurant; 101 min.; two sisters compete for the attentions of DJ new to small town; the younger works in the Chinese restaurant

Midnite Spares (Quentin Masters, 1983)
wr. Terry Larsen; dp Geoff Burton; Max Cullen, Bruce Spence, David Argue, John Clayton, Tony Barry, Terry Camilleri, introducing Gia Carides, Jonathan Coleman, James Laurie (Steve), Graeme Blundell; 'B' grade crime movie: the stolen car industry; anti-Viet racism.

Moeru Tairuku [Blazing Continent] (Shogoro Nishimura, 1968)
Japanese romance shot but not released in Australia.

No Worries (David Elfick, 1993)
Amy Terelinck, Geoff Morell, Susan Lyons, John Hargreaves, Steven Vidler, Ray Barrett, Harold Hopkins, Ngoc Hanh Nguyen (Binh); family has to leave the farm in hard times and come to the city, where the daughter makes a new, Vietnamese friend.

The Odd Angry Shot (Tom Jeffrey, 1979)
wr. Tom Jeffrey; Graham Kennedy, John Hargreaves, John Jarratt, Bryan Brown, Graeme Blundell, Richard Moir, Ian Gilmour, Graham Rouse, John Allen, Tony Barry, Brandon Burke, John Fitzgerald, Mike Harris, Johnny Garfield, Ray Meagher, Frankie J. Holden, Roger Newcombe, Brian Evis, Rose Ricketts, Chuck McKinney, Freddie Paris, Sharon Higgins; 88 min.

Sebastian and the Sparrow (Scott Hicks, 1989)
children's film, set in Adelaide, friendship between two boys, one Euro-Australian, the other from Vietnamese background.

Southern Cross (Mark DeFriest, 2001)
prod. Paul D. Barron, remake of A Waltz Through the Hills (Frank Arnold, 1988) from the novel by Gerry Glaskin; Heath Bergersen, Bill Kerr, Michael Loney, Geoff Kelso; two Vietnamese children escape from an institution for refugees, and make their way to Perth.

Traps (Pauline Chan, 1994)
wr. Robert Carter, Pauline Chan, novel Kate Greville, dp Kevin Hayward, ed. Nicholas Beauman; Saskia Reeves, Robert Reynolds, Sami Frey, Jacqueline McKenzie, Kiet Lam; filmed on location in Vietnam; Chan's feature debut; English couple come to French Indo-China, 1950, to do photo-journalism story on rubber plantation, and become involved in political developments.

Vietnam (John Duigan & Chris Noonan, 1987) mini-series

The Year of Living Dangerously (Peter Weir, 1982)
wr. David Williamson, music Maurice Jarre, prod. Jim & Hal McElroy; Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver; 115 min.

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[1] Bill Mousoulis, 'Some films of the '90s,' in Senses of Cinema, 2000.

[2] Independent Filmmaker, October 1999, p. 17.


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