Cult horror classics


Nearly all of the films being screened during ‘Gothic, Giallo, Gore: Masters of Italian Horror’ have arrived on 35mm prints shipped over from Italy and America. To present this collection of cult horror classics The Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA reached out to national archives, private collections, and key individuals across the globe in order to more fulsomely share these lurid thriller and gruesome gorefests with our audience.

As the last cinema in Queensland to have a permanent 35mm projector set-up, we endeavour to screen films from 35mm prints where possible to best present titles as per the filmmakers’ original intentions. Some of the films in this program are no longer available on print, with only the original camera negative surviving to provide material to create further digital copies and restorations. Others have never received proper digital conversion, so no Digital Cinema Package (DCP) can be sourced for screening.

Each of the three filmmakers highlighted in this program – Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci – ended up requiring some special manoeuvring in order to obtain the very rare materials that are available internationally.

Dario Argento

Dario Argento on the set of Opera 1987
Dario Argento (far right) on the set of Opera 1987
Production still from Inferno 1980 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Park Circus

For Dario Argento, the most prized screening material sourced for the program is Argento’s personal print of his giallo masterpiece Opera 1987. This print is one of the few prints (perhaps the only copy) of the director’s cut left in the world. It required direct and personal approval from Argento himself, who gave personal permission for it to be screened at GOMA. The 20th Century Fox archive have also been very kind and have found a rare print copy of the director’s Inferno 1980 in their archives, which they are shipping to us from California.

Mario Bava

Blood and Black Lace
Production still from Blood and Black Lace 1964 / Director: Mario Bava / Image courtesy: Compass Film

For the films of Mario Bava, we worked directly with Mario Bava’s long-time producer Alfredo Leone to supply beautiful Italian Technicolor prints of six of the seven Bava titles included in the program. The final Bava film, Blood and Black Lace 1964, is extremely hard to find on 35mm and is coming from a private collection in America. The print actually no longer has the last few seconds of the film still attached to the reels, so we will be screening the missing footage from a digital copy once the print runs out of frames to make sure this key classic is seen in its entirety.

Lucio Fulci

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Production still from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971 / Director: Lucio Fulci / Image courtesy: First Line Films
Don’t Torture a Duckling
Production still from Don’t Torture a Duckling 1972 / Director: Lucio Fulci

And finally, for Lucio Fulci, we have managed to secure an uncompressed digital version of the luscious restoration of Fulci’s psychedelic giallo masterwork A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971. This digital restoration was sourced by the generous work of the rights holder First Line Films and the producer of the BluRay release of the film Mondo Macabro. It is an extremely rare presentation of the film and we are very excited to be able to share it. A copy of Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling 1972 has arrived from La Cineteca Nazionale in Rome without subtitles, so we will be live-subtitling that screening with the help of our wonderful Italian translator.

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA

Dip into our Cinema blogs / View the ongoing Australian Cinémathèque program

QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque presents curated programs, genre showcases and director retrospectives covering the world of film from crowd-pleasing fan favourites and cult classics to hard-to-find international cinema, rare 35mm prints and silent films with live musical accompaniment on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.

Featured image detail: Production still from Inferno 1980


Through a Glass, Darkly: The Films of Ingmar Bergman


Ingmar Bergman is one of the true luminaries of post-war European cinema. In a career lasting more than half a century, he crafted films with a passion and potency matched by few other directors. His films are known for their explication of deep religious concerns, their heartfelt understanding of the intricacies of human relationships, and for their arrestingly beautiful imagery.

Production still from 'Fanny and Alexander' 1982 / Director: Ingmar Bergman / Image courtesy: National Film and Sound Archive
Production still from ‘Fanny and Alexander’ 1982 / Director: Ingmar Bergman / Image courtesy: National Film and Sound Archive

Through a Glass, Darkly: The Films of Ingmar Bergman’ is a free cinema program running from Wednesday 1 March to Sunday 19 March 2017. It explores a selection of Bergman’s key directorial works, illustrating the development and breadth of his oeuvre. These films are presented alongside a special, ticketed screening of Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage 1921, the single greatest influence on Bergman’s cinematic output, on Friday 3 March at 8.00pm.

Production still from 'The Best Intentions' 1992 / Director: Bille August / Image courtesy: Park Circus
Production still from ‘The Best Intentions’ 1992 / Director: Bille August / Image courtesy: Park Circus

Outside of Bergman’s work, the program also includes a screening of Trespassing Bergman 2013 on Wednesday 1 March at 6.00pm, a terrifically entertaining documentary which features a veritable galaxy of stars discussing the enduring legacy of Bergman’s films, while documenting their visits to his home on the Swedish island of Fårö. Also featured is a rare presentation of Bille August’s The Best Intentions 1992 on Sunday 12 March at 1.30pm. The Palme d’Or winning film was written by Bergman himself and acts as a study of the early years in the relationship between his parents. The Best Intentions was filmed by August after Bergman had announced his retirement (from which he would later return for Saraband 2003, screening on Saturday 18 March at 3.00pm), but is no mere imitation of the great director – it exists as its own exemplary achievement of grand familial drama.

Production still from 'Trespassing Bergman' 2013 / Director: Jane Magnusson, Hynek Pallas / Image courtesy: First Hand Films
Production still from ‘Trespassing Bergman’ 2013 / Director: Jane Magnusson, Hynek Pallas / Image courtesy: First Hand Films

After an initially inauspicious start in the Swedish film industry, Bergman found critical acclaim and burgeoning attention from audiences with films such as the erotically charged Summer with Monika 1953 (Saturday 4 March 1.00pm). Subsequently, the grand triumph of Smiles of a Summer Night 1955 (Saturday 4 March 3.00pm) further cemented his international reputation as a director of note. He followed up this success with the release of two films, The Seventh Seal 1957 (Friday 3 March 6.00pm and Wednesday 15 March 7.45pm) and Wild Strawberries 1957 (Wednesday 15 March 6.00pm and Sunday 19 March 11.00am), that would establish the thematic path he would follow for much of the rest of his career.

From this point onwards, Bergman focused intently on writing and directing films that dealt honestly (sometimes painfully so) with the ideas that so preoccupied his thoughts: God and faith, aging and mortality, the relationships between men and women, filial love, and the wandering escape of childhood.

Production still from 'The Seventh Seal' 1957 / Director: Ingmar Bergman / Image courtesy: National Film and Sound Archive
Production still from ‘The Seventh Seal’ 1957 / Director: Ingmar Bergman / Image courtesy: National Film and Sound Archive

However, Bergman was not a mere pedagogue and his cinematic talents were great. He could mix the harshness of realism with the logic of dreams; he could enrich surrealism with brutal sincerity. Along with his cinematographers (in particular his long-term collaborator Sven Nykvist), he produced some of the iconic images of cinema: from the two faces blending together in Persona 1966 to the knight and Death playing chess on the beach in The Seventh Seal.

His recurring repertory of actors – including Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin, among others – gave life to his words with consistently powerful and moving performances. They inhabited Bergman’s characters, understanding the critical subtleties needed to render complex portraits of life. Their success was rewarded with accolades from around the world, along with four Academy Awards for Bergman as director.

This program will draw out the themes that recurred over the course of his career and explore the cinematic sphere of the great filmmaker – his work, his influences, and his continuing legacy.

Production still from 'The Phantom Carriage' 1921 / Director: Victor Sjöström / Image courtesy: National Film and Sound Archive
Production still from ‘The Phantom Carriage’ 1921 / Director: Victor Sjöström / Image courtesy: National Film and Sound Archive

8.00pm Fri 3 March 2017 | GOMA Cinema A

Join us on Friday 3 March 2017 for a screening of Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage 1921, featuring live musical accompaniment from Brisbane band Blank Realm. The film will be screened from an archival 35mm film print, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.