5 films to take you on a cinematic journey to Tibet

 

From tales of love to stories of exile, to sweeping landscapes, the current free film program from 7 October – 23 November 2022 at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA offers a journey through ‘The cinema of Tibet’. A filmmaking region that outputs only a small number of films, the quality of films and documentaries produced are outstanding and offer a rich insight into daily life both inside Tibet and of Tibetans in exile. Here are five films that present a window into Tibetan filmmaking.

#1
Amala – The Life and Struggles of the Dalai Lama’s Sister 2022

Join us for the Australian Premiere of this exciting new documentary. As Spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama is the figurehead of Tibetan culture, yet less is known of his sister – the indomitable Jetsun Pema known as Amala (mother). This engaging look at a generous and courageous woman is a masterclass in solidarity, a life of service and the deep need for expression of identity.

Production still from Amala – The Life and Struggle of the Dalai Lama’s Sister 2022 / Director: Geleck Palsang / Image courtesy: Geleck Palsang / Now screening in ‘The cinema of Tibet’

#2
Balloon 2019

Set on the stunning Tibetan steppes, Balloon follows a loving family as they navigate the challenges of their conservative farming community, spiritual obligations and China’s one-child policy with dignity and kindness. Dargye (Jinpa) and Drolkar (Sonam Wangmo) are parents to two cheeky boys, whose innocent discovery of a condom causes a stir in their rural community, to the embarrassment of the family. Tibet’s foremost director Pema Tseden deftly explores constraining gender roles and the frisson between tradition and modernity, crafting a gentle film told with humanity and humour.

Production still from Balloon 2019 / Director: Pema Tseden / Image courtesy: Rediance Films / Now screening in ‘The cinema of Tibet’

#3 
Bringing Tibet Home 2013

Bringing Tibet Home is a dramatic, observational documentary that follows New York-based artist Tenzing Rigdol in an ambitious undertaking for his next art project. He proposes to transport 20 tonnes of soil from Tibet across three countries to a final installation in Dharamsala, India. His motivation? Not only to bring awareness to the constraints of Chinese rule in Tibet and their influence across the region but to give Tibetans in exile the much dreamed of chance to set foot on native Tibetan soil. Bringing Tibet Home is infused with Rigdol’s longing for his homeland, nail-biting moments during contentious border crossings and bold dreams that artmaking can bring people together in new ways. Bringing Tibet Home captures the Tibetan refugee experience with vivid intensity and the warmth of human connection.

Production still from Bringing Tibet Home 2013 / Director: Tenzin Tsetan Choklay / Image courtesy: Journeyman Pictures / Now screening in ‘The cinema of Tibet’

Bringing Tibet Home 2013 / Director: Tenzin Tsetan Choklay / Now screening in ‘The cinema of Tibet’ 

#4
Wangdrak’s Rain Boots 2018

Wangdrak dreams of gumboots to keep the squelching mud from his sodden feet and the cruel taunts of his schoolmates at bay. Unfortunately, his family’s financial situation can’t stretch that far and a new scythe for the impending harvest rather than new shoes are his father’s priority. A sweet and stunningly shot film by cinematographer and first-time director Lhapal Gyal, Wangdrak’s Rain Boots eloquently captures daily life in rural Tibet and the simple and raw longings of childhood.

Production still from Wangdrak’s Rain Boots 2018 / Director: Lhapal Gyal / Image courtesy: Lhapal Gyal / Now screening in ‘The cinema of Tibet’

Wangdrak’s Rain Boots 2018 / Director: Lhapal Gyal / Now screening in ‘The cinema of Tibet’ 

#5
Royal Café 2016

Paris-based Fashion Designer and Filmmaker Tenzin Dasel is one of very few Tibetan women making films. In Royal Café she meditates on the filmmaking process and through candid conversations with a series of characters in cafes and bars examines the freedom and constraints of being a Tibetan living in Paris.

Also screening, Seeds is Dasel’s first short film shot on 8mm in India and combines dream sequences with a verité style of filmmaking. The film offers a fresh perspective on the restlessness of youth capturing both the inertia and big dreams of the refugee experience.

Production still from Royal Café 2016 / Director: Tenzin Dasel / Image courtesy: Tenzin Dasel

Event
Be The Mountain: Music and Conversation with Tenzin Choeyal
Ticketed

On Saturday 5 November from 1.00pm join us for an afternoon of live music and conversation with Grammy nominated musician and film composer Tenzin Choegyal, one of the world’s finest musicians with Tibetan lineages. Tenzin combines his soaring vocals and traditional folk mastery with contemporary music imaginings, his collaborations with artists throughout Australia and worldwide include Phillip Glass and Laurie Anderson.

Following the music performance, Tenzin will discuss the art of composing and capturing the emotional resonance of a film. This special music event is ticketed.

Tenzin Choegyal

The cinema of Tibet

View the program

Dreaming Lhasa 2005
The Silent Holy Stones 2005
The Search 2009
Old Dog 2011
Bringing Tibet Home 2013
The Sacred Arrow 2014
River 2015
Tharlo 2015
Pawo 2016
Royal Cafe 2016
Seeds
2016

Wangdrak’s Rain Boots 2018
The Sweet Requiem 2018
Balloon 2019
Lhamo and Skalbe 2019
Amala – The Life and Struggle of the Dalai Lama’s Sister 2022

Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA

‘The Cinema of Tibet’ is a free film program screening from 7 October – 23 November at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA. View the ongoing Cinema Program.

QAGOMA is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) provides an ongoing program of film and video that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations 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: Production still from Lhamo and Skalbe 2019 / Director: Sonthar Gyal / Image courtesy: Rediance Films
#QAGOMA

Top 5 films of Federico Fellini – where to start?

 

The current film program at the Australian Cinémathèque in GOMA is a complete retrospective of all the films made by Italian master filmmaker Federico Fellini. It’s a tough choice for which films to see, where do you start? There are some Fellini films that just cry out to be seen on the big screen, here’s my top 5 Fellini films not to be missed.

1 La Dolce Vita

The seductive yet damning La Dolce Vita 1960 follows journalist Marcello (played by the infinitely cool Marcello Mastroianni) as he drifts across Rome on assignment and through complicated romantic entanglements. The film stars some of Fellini’s most notable acting collaborators including Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée and Anita Ekberg playing film star Sylvia Rank, who famously wades into the Trevi fountain in a ballgown, coaxing Marcello after her.

Production still from La Dolce Vita 1960 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Janus Films

2 Nights of Cabiria

Actress Giulietta Masina, and wife of Federico Fellini, delivers an exquisitely expressive and layered portrayal of Cabiria, a sex worker in the back alleys of Rome. Through betrayal and disappointment Cabiria’s resilience and good heart shines. Masina won the Best Actress prize at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival and Nights of Cabiria won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film the same year. 

Production still from Nights of Cabiria 1955 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Studio Canal

3 La Strada

One of Fellini’s most highly influential and acclaimed films, La Strada 1954 follows a small travelling circus in this poetic tale that meditates on the possibilities of sweetness or cruelty in life. Celebrated actress Giulietta Masina is a revelation as Gelsomina, the innocent and melancholy clown sold into servitude to the travelling strongman, Zampanò, played by Anthony Quinn.

Production still from La Strada 1954 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

4 Fellini’s Satyricon

Fellini’s Satyricon 1969 is based on the collection of stories by Petronius (one of Emperor Nero’s advisors) and is the director’s interpretation of ancient Rome through the lens of what he termed ‘science fiction’. The scale of Fellini’s cinematic vision, achieved with elaborate production design and costuming, is staggering. Brimming with sexual liberation and experimentation — orgiastic banquets, gilded bodies, minotaurs — the film’s extravagance and decadence is both a magnetic spectacle and a damming critique of excess.

Production still from Fellini Satyricon 1969 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Park Circus

5

The iconic 8 ½, made in 1963, is Fellini’s masterpiece. An exploration of filmmaking and the creative spark, it examines the terror of a director out of ideas, with a team of film professionals waiting on him for a project to commence. Marcello Mastroianni brilliantly acts as Fellini’s alter ego, Guido, in a turmoil of romantic confusion, bombarded by intrusive memories and outrageous fantasy sequences.

Production still from 8 ½ 1963 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

RELATED: More 5 film suggestions to watch 

6 (Our wild card) Juliet of the Spirits

Can you imagine making a film — the premise of which is about your innermost thoughts, draws from your own dreamscapes, you’re being directed by your husband (a famous filmmaker) and the story is primarily about your husband’s adulterous nature? This is what the phenomenal actress Giulietta Masina did. Juliet of the Spirits 1965 is a lavish and wild film in hyper-colour that was written specifically for Masina which does actually draw from her own dreams and memories. Juliet of the Spirits is a deeply brave undertaking by a radiant and strong Masina. 

Production still from Juliet of the Spirits 1965 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Janus Films

The films of Federico Fellini

View the program

Luci Del Varietà (Variety Lights) 1950
Lo Sceicco Bianco (The White Sheik) 1952
I Vitelloni
1953
Agenzia Matrimoniale (A Marriage Agency) 1953
La Strada 1954
Il Bidone (The Swindle) 1955
Le Notti Di Cabiria (Nights Of Cabiria) 1957
La Dolce Vita 1960
Le Tentazioni del Dottor Antonio (The Temptations of Doctor Antonio) 1962
8 ½ 1963
Giulietta Degli Spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits) 1965
Toby Dammit 1968
Fellini Satyricon 1969
Fellini: A Director’s Notebook 1969
I Clowns (The Clowns) 1970
Roma 1972
Amarcord 1973
Casanova 1976
Prova D’orchestra (Orchestra Rehearsal) 1978
La Città Delle Donne (City of Women) 1980
E La Nave Va (And The Ship Sails On) 1983
Ginger E Fred (Ginger and Fred) 1986
Intervista (Interview) 1987
La Voce Della Luna (The Voice of The Moon) 1990

Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA

‘The Films of Federico Fellini’ is at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA from 16 August until 2 October 2022.

QAGOMA is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) provides an ongoing program of film and video that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations 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: Production still from La Strada 1954 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment
#QAGOMA

Beautiful confusion: The films of Federico Fellini

 

The Australian Cinémathèque presents a retrospective of celebrated Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini — a larger-than-life persona whose grand and fantastical cinematic visions are grounded in social critique and a bold exploration of humanity.

A comprehensive survey of Federico Fellini’s filmography, running until 2 October 2022, charts the striking stylistic changes throughout the director’s career and features many recent restorations that highlight his extravagant aesthetic and bold storytelling. From the self-aware comedy drama 1963 and the seductive yet damning La Dolce Vita 1960, to the Academy Award-winning La Strada 1954, the hyper-real Juliet of the Spirits 1965 and the flamboyant Fellini Satyricon 1969, the film program showcases each of Fellini’s features and omnibus films.

‘I didn’t choose to become a filmmaker: it was the cinema that chose me.’
Federico Fellini

Fellini launched his directing career in the form of a co-directing credit with Alberto Lattuada on the 1950 film Variety Lights, which follows a troupe of vaudeville performers. Reflecting on this experience, Fellini has remarked that Lattuada did all the work while he learnt the craft. Variety Lights had only a modest box office and critical response, but through it, Fellini secured backing to make the films I Vitelloni 1953 (illustrated) and Il Bidone (The Swindle) 1955. His early cinematic style was formed by the influential film movement of Italian Neorealism: a response to the cultural shift brought about by the end of World War Two and the demise of the fascist Mussolini government, Neorealism — and Fellini’s films — explored the human condition with an unflinching eye.

Production still from I Vitelloni 1953/ Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Janus Films

One of Fellini’s most highly influential and acclaimed films of this time was La Strada 1954 (illustrated). Actress Giulietta Masina plays Gelsomina, the innocent and melancholy clown sold into servitude to the travelling strongman, Zampanò, played by Anthony Quinn. Masina, who married Fellini in 1943, was a key creative partner with the filmmaker throughout their careers, often playing the character that represented the emotional or moral heart of a film.

Production still from La Strada 1954 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

In the 1960s, Fellini became more introspective, incorporating personal memory and dreamlike fantasy into his films. One of Fellini’s most beloved films, La Dolce Vita 1960 (illustrated), stars some of Fellini’s most notable acting collaborators: Marcello Mastroianni, a suave yet failed writer who has become a tabloid journalist to make ends meet; the mysterious love interest — Anouk Aimée as Maddelena, and Anita Ekberg playing film star Sylvia Rank, who famously wades fully clothed into the Trevi fountain, coaxing Marcello after her. La Dolce Vita set Fellini on the path of superstardom as a director, affording him more creative freedom.

Production still from La Dolce Vita 1960 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Janus Films

The iconic , made in 1963 (illustrated), is Fellini’s masterpiece. An exploration of filmmaking and the creative spark, it examines the terror of a director out of ideas, with a team of film professionals waiting on him for a project to commence. Marcello Mastroianni brilliantly acts as Fellini’s alter ego, Guido, in a turmoil of romantic confusion, bombarded by intrusive memories and outrageous fantasy sequences. The 1960s also marked Fellini’s foray into colour. Juliet of the Spirits 1965 (illustrated) was his first feature film in colour and was written for his wife, Giulietta Masina. A highly personal story, the film includes fantastical elements and sequences drawn from Masina’s actual dreams alongside a storyline in which the character she plays, to her dismay, discovers her husband’s infidelity. A vividly colourful and bold film from Fellini, Juliet of the Spirits is also a revealing and deeply brave undertaking by Masina.

Production still from 8 ½ 1963 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

During the late 1960s and into the 1970s, Fellini delved further into visual extravagance. His baroque sensibility saw the director incorporate a painterly style into his filmmaking, creating ornate and highly detailed sets and flamboyant costuming, and infused his films with spectacle. Exercising his penchant to combine the sacred with the profane, in this period, Fellini critiqued the Church, revisited his beloved Rome in story, and blended fiction with fantasy. Fellini Satyricon 1969 (illustrated) is based on the collection of stories by Petronius (one of Emperor Nero’s advisors) and is the director’s interpretation of ancient Rome through the lens of what he termed ‘science fiction’. The scale of Fellini’s cinematic vision, achieved with elaborate production design and costuming, is staggering. Brimming with sexual liberation and experimentation — orgiastic banquets, gilded bodies, minotaurs — the film’s extravagance and decadence is both a magnetic spectacle and a damming critique of excess.

Production still from Fellini Satyricon 1969 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Park Circus

With Roma in 1972 and Amarcord in 1973 (illustrated), Fellini reminisces about his two homes. Roma is a meld of documentary and fiction; a memory-based film that juxtaposes vulgarity and rebellion — brothels and leather clad bikies — with the fierce rebuke of religion. The rural setting of Amarcord, by contrast, is inspired by the filmmaker’s childhood in the seaside village of Rimini. Bawdy yet romantic, and told with nostalgia for the town’s seasonal rituals alongside adolescent fantasies about the village’s most beautiful women, Amarcord is one of Fellini’s most successful films internationally and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film in 1974.

Production still from Amarcord 1973 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Roadshow Entertainment

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Fellini turned his attention to three mediums of storytelling that, for him, loomed large: cinema, opera and television. Released in 1983, And the Ship Sails On is set on a boat that unexpectedly takes on a group of refugees on its way to a funeral. Intervista 1987 is about Cinecittà, the Italian film studio much loved by Fellini, who spent most of his working life on its sets. The director ended his career with The Voice of the Moon 1990, which stars acclaimed Italian actor Roberto Benigni.

Over the course of his long career, Fellini’s films are incredibly varied. However, some distinct threads run through these works. Many of the director’s films draw on personal memories or dreams and contain a sense of the theatrical, including performers ranging from clowns to dancers. The themes of erotic fantasy and infidelity are often present and — though many would argue that it is self-obsession — so, too, is his self-awareness. Federico Fellini is a larger-than-life persona whose grand and fantastical visions of cinema are grounded in social critique and a bold exploration of humanity. His fascination for spectacle, parties and parades are balanced by a yearning for innocence or the simple pleasures of life: food, connection to fellow human beings and an appreciation of beauty in all forms.

Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA.

The films of Federico Fellini

View the program

Luci Del Varietà (Variety Lights) 1950
Lo Sceicco Bianco (The White Sheik) 1952
I Vitelloni
1953
Agenzia Matrimoniale (A Marriage Agency) 1953
La Strada 1954
Il Bidone (The Swindle) 1955
Le Notti Di Cabiria (Nights Of Cabiria) 1957
La Dolce Vita 1960
Le Tentazioni del Dottor Antonio (The Temptations of Doctor Antonio) 1962
8 ½ 1963
Giulietta Degli Spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits) 1965
Toby Dammit 1968
Fellini Satyricon 1969
Fellini: A Director’s Notebook 1969
I Clowns (The Clowns) 1970
Roma 1972
Amarcord 1973
Casanova 1976
Prova D’orchestra (Orchestra Rehearsal) 1978
La Città Delle Donne (City of Women) 1980
E La Nave Va (And The Ship Sails On) 1983
Ginger E Fred (Ginger and Fred) 1986
Intervista (Interview) 1987
La Voce Della Luna (The Voice of The Moon) 1990

Production still from Juliet of the Spirits 1965 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Janus Films

‘The Films of Federico Fellini’ is at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA from 16 August until 2 October 2022.

Featured image: Production still from Juliet of the Spirits 1965 / Director: Federico Fellini / Image courtesy: Janus Films
#QAGOMA

Museums in heist films

 

The Art of the Heist’ film program has begun, and some classic crime stories are unfolding. What better way to delve into the program with some juicy heist scandals set in art museums?

RELATED: The heist: Cinema’s most beloved crime subgenre

In How to Steal a Million, the interior of the fictitious Musée Kléber-Lafayette was constructed in a studio, however scenes on the street outside the museum were shot in front of the Musée Jacquemart-André, a private museum in Paris. The museum was created in the home of Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart to display the art they collected during their lives.

A key scene in Bande à Part (Band of Outsiders) is a dizzying dash to break the world record for running through the Louvre Museum, Paris. The narrator informs viewers that their time was 9 minutes and 43 seconds, which broke the record set by Jimmy Johnson of San Francisco at 9 minutes and 45 seconds.

Topkapi is set on location in the grounds of Topkapı Palace, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey, with the interior recreated in a studio. From the 15th century the palace served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans.

How to Steal a Million

How to Steal a Million 1966 stars Peter O’Toole and the ever stylish and elegant Audrey Hepburn is Nicole Bonnet the daughter of famed art collector Charles Bonnet. Bonnet’s prized sculpture the Cellini Venus is about to be displayed in a prestigious art museum. The only hitch: it’s a fake. Bonnet senior has a dark secret – for all his wealth and outstanding collection of bonafide artworks – he loves to dabble in forgery himself. It would mean terrible embarrassment and jail time if the art world found out the real story and Hepburn decides the only way to protect her father is to ‘steal’ the sculpture from the high security museum. Hepburn finds herself hiding in a broom cupboard of the Parisian museum with cat burglar Peter O’Toole in a madcap plan to retrieve the illicit artwork. The film is full of charm and great fashion by Givenchy.

Production still from How to Steal a Million 1966 / Director: William Wyler / Image courtesy: Park Circus

Bande à Part (Band of Outsiders)

The French New Wave master Jean Luc Godard’s 1964 film Bande à Part (Band of Outsiders) is a super stylish and free-wheeling robbery set in Paris. Anna Karina stars as Odile, a young woman who meets two restless and magnetic young men who propose a robbery in Karina’s own home. It’s just the daring she’s looking for as an antidote to her sheltered and stuffy life. A romantic, melancholic and bold re-imagining of the gangster film.

Production still from Band of Outsiders 1964 / Director: Jean Luc Godard / Image courtesy: Gaumont

Topkapi

Topkapi 1964 deserves to be better known than it is. A fabulously entertaining heist, the film is directed by Jules Dassin who made another iconic heist Rififi 1955. The object of desire in this film is a bejewelled dagger. The leader of the gang of crooks is Elizabeth Lipp played by the indomitable Melina Mercouri oozing Euro-chic. Keep your eye out for the suspenseful and gravity defying scene in the museum that will be very familiar to anyone who has seen Tom Cruise suspended by a wire in Mission: Impossible 1996.

Ah…they don’t make trailers like this anymore (more’s the pity). You have to take a look at this 1960s marvel. Only the divine Mercouri has the poise to so deftly pull this off.

Production still from Topkapi 1964 / Director: Jules Dassin / Image courtesy: Park Circus

The Art of the Heist

‘The Art of the Heist’ is a ticketed film program screening from 29 April to 26 June at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA. Visit the website to purchase tickets.

1950s
The Asphalt Jungle 1950 / Dir: John Huston

Armoured Car Robbery 1950 / Dir: Richard Fleisher
The Lavender Hill Mob 1951 / Dir: Charles Crichton
Rififi 1955 / Dir: Jules Dassin
To Catch a Thief 1955 / Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
Bob le Flambeur 1956 / Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville
The Killing 1956 / Dir: Stanley Kubrick
1960s
Bande à part
(Band of Outsiders) 1964 / Dir: Jean-Luc Godard

Topkapi 1964 / Dir: Jules Dassin
Cruel Gun Story 1964 / Dir: Takumi Furukawa
How to Steal a Million 1966 / Dir: William Wyler
The Thomas Crown Affair 1968 / Dir: Norman Jewison
The Italian Job 1969 / Dir: Peter Collinson
1970s

Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle) 1970 / Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville
The Sting 1973 / Dir: George Roy Hill
The Friends of Eddie Coyle 1973 / Dir: Peter Yates
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 1974 / Dir: Joseph Sargent
Dog Day Afternoon 1975 / Dir: Sidney Lumet
Raining in the Mountain 1979 / Dir: King Hu
1980s

Thief 1981 / Dir: Michael Mann
Malcolm 1986 / Dir: Nadia Tass
1990s

Reservoir Dogs 1992 / Dir: Quentin Tarantino
Heat 1994 / Dir: Michael Mann
Mission: Impossible 1996 / Dir: Brian De Palma
Bottle Rocket 1996 / Dir: Wes Anderson
2000s

Sexy Beast 2000 / Dir: Jonathan Glazer
Oceans 11 2001 / Dir: Steven Soderbergh
The Hard Word 2002 / Dir: Scott Roberts
2010s

Fast Five 2011 / Dir: Justin Lin
Drive 2011 / Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn
Victoria 2015 / Dir: Sebastian Schipper
Logan Lucky 2017 / Dir: Steven Soderbergh
Widows 2018 / Dir: Steve McQueen 
Hustlers 2019 / Dir: Lorene Scafaria
2020s

Kajillionaire 2020 / Dir: Miranda July

Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque.

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

QAGOMA acknowledges the generous assistance of the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra; and the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, Taipei in providing materials for this 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: Production still from How to Steal a Million 1966

#QAGOMA

William Yang: Landscapes

 

If you know the work of Australian photographer William Yang, it’s usually his photographs of people and communities that you will be familiar with. Yang captures joyous, confessional and deeply human stories that are heartfelt and intimate in many of his portraits, often writing the narrative about his subject or the moment captured on film directly on to the image.

The major survey exhibition ‘William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen’ aims to bring the varied thematic explorations of William Yang together with a particular emphasis on landscape photography. Yang began taking shots of landscapes from very early in his career and while his studies of people tend to take the limelight, his landscapes are just as mesmerising and revelatory.

DELVE DEEPER: Read more about the work of William Yang

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Dawn Central Australia 1996 / Inkjet print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag / 110 x 200cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Boranup Karri Forest #1 2018 / Inkjet print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag / 50 x 150cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

Yang applies a similar process to both his landscape photography and his portraiture — he records a personal connection and is closely attentive to his subject. Often shooting in the heart of the bush or forest, his camera’s viewpoint is embedded deep within the scene, gazing up into a canopy, closely studying the bark of a tree, or looking out from under leaves across a lake.

The natural landscape is integral to Yang’s practice. His emotional connection to the landscape is often scribed onto his images of the natural world and reflects the artist’s diaristic approach to his work. These narratives are often when he is at his most philosophical, reflecting on his connection to place and how his immersion in the natural world evokes a contemplative, if not spiritual, state.

“When I became Taoist I came to appreciate nature in the form of landscape as a source and a driving force behind everything that existed. It was constantly changing and renewing itself. Everything about nature was beautiful because it was essentially always itself.” The Tree and I William Yang 2010

Come and experience his large scale, sweeping landscapes in the free exhibition‘William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen’ at the Queensland Art Gallery until 22 August 2021.

Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA, and Curator of ‘William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen’

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Tree #2, Coromandel. NZ 1994 / Inkjet print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag / 110 x 200cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Tree, Lake Waikaremoana. NZ 2017 / Inkjet print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag / 66 x 100cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

Buy the publication

The accompanying publication William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen explores the artist’s prolific practice. The 220-page hardcover monograph features reproductions of over 200 photographs, tracing Yang’s career from his heady early days as a social photographer in the 1970s documenting Sydney’s queer scene, family ties, sexual and cultural identity, and the Australian landscape. It also examines his deep connections to Queensland / RRP $49.95 / Special limited edition with signed print RRP $300.00 / Available from the QAGOMA Store and online

Know Brisbane through the QAGOMA Collection / Delve into our Queensland Stories / Read more about Australian Art / Subscribe to QAGOMA YouTube to go behind-the-scenes

Featured image: William Yang / The Tree and I 2010 / Inkjet print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag / 34 x 50cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang
#WilliamYang QAGOMA

William Yang: The beach

 

William Yang, like many of his fellow Australian photographers, cannot help but be fascinated with the beach. In 1969, Yang left Brisbane for the bright lights of Sydney, and he fell in love with the city. At a distance from his family and Queensland’s conservatism, Sydney provided an opportunity for reinvention.

It was here that he combined his two photographic passions — landscape and people. Yang embraced the bleached allure of the city’s eastern beaches and took many iconic photographs of Bondi, Tamarama and Clovelly.

DELVE DEEPER: Read more about the work of William Yang

Bondi

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / I Was Happy Here 1984 / Inkjet print on Innova Softex paper / 29 x 37cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / The Pool at Bondi #1 1987 / Gelatin silver photographs / 23.3 x 41.5cm (two parts, overall) / Purchased 2001 / Collection: The University of Queensland / © William Yang

Tamarama

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Tamarama Lifesavers 1981 / Inkjet print on Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl / 39 x 70cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

Clovelly

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Great Wave off Clovelly 2005/2016 / Inkjet print on Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl / 40 x 40cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

Australian photography and the beach ultimately calls to mind Max Dupain’s Sunbaker 1937 (illustrated). Yang regularly took portraits of photographers in order to champion the artists behind the camera that Yang felt were often overlooked. Yang photographed Max Dupain (illustrated) in 1991 one year before Dupain’s death.

Yang’s beach images present a refreshingly different framing of the typical Australian beach scene. The usual shots of bronzed female bodies or recreational pursuits take a backseat. Instead, Yang takes immense joy in the male figure, and his works represent a desirous male gaze on desirable male bodies.

Max Dupain

Max Dupan, Australia 1911-92 / Sunbaker 1937, printed early 1970s / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / 39.1 x 42.5cm (comp.) / Purchased 1995. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Max Dupain/ Copyright Agency

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Max Dupain. Studio 1991 / Inkjet print on solid substrate Kapaplast / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang

The beach captured Yang’s eye from early in his career. At the time he started exploring the beach in his new Sydney home, Yang was also a jobbing social photographer, capturing celebrities and the ‘beautiful people’ behind the scenes at A-list parties for magazines. His approach to this work was in the photo-journalist style of capturing the unguarded moment. 

Of his passion for taking images of the beach, Yang is a romantic at heart and has said:

There’s an impulse in me that makes me go for the runny make-up, the unguarded moment, the Freudian slip. I mean I could photograph the plastic bags in the water, the rolls of fat, but the beach brings out the romantic in me. I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of it — the space, the surf, the sand and all that flesh. I’ve never gotten beyond the obvious.

Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA, and Curator of ‘William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen’

William Yang, Australia b.1943 / Golden Summer 1987/2016 / Inkjet print, gold leaf on Innova Softex paper / 40 x 30 cm / Purchased 2021 with funds from Cora Trevarthen and Andrew Reeves through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © William Yang

Buy the publication

The accompanying publication William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen explores the artist’s prolific practice. The 220-page hardcover monograph features reproductions of over 200 photographs, tracing Yang’s career from his heady early days as a social photographer in the 1970s documenting Sydney’s queer scene, family ties, sexual and cultural identity, and the Australian landscape. It also examines his deep connections to Queensland / RRP $49.95 / Special limited edition with signed print RRP $300.00 / Available from the QAGOMA Store and online

Know Brisbane through the QAGOMA Collection / Delve into our Queensland Stories / Read more about Australian Art / Subscribe to QAGOMA YouTube to go behind-the-scenes

Featured image: William Yang / Lifesavers #3 1987 / Inkjet print on Hahnemühle Fie Art Metallic Pearl / 32 x 49.5cm / Collection: William Yang / © William Yang
#WilliamYang QAGOMA