For the love of it: Curator picks for 2024


On the last Wednesday of each month of 2024 the Australian Cinémathèque curatorial team present ‘For the love of it: A curator’s pick’ These films which have shaped the way they think about cinema — unbounded by theme, genre, or era, this eclectic selection ranges from guilty pleasures to Palme d’Or winners, most of which have never screened at QAGOMA.

On 27 March, Rosie Hays will present Underground (1995), Emir Kursturica’s raucus, circus-esque reflection on survival in times of war, which follows a community who move underground in war-torn Sarajevo.

In an equally vibrant screening, Rob Hughes has selected The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984). This pinnacle of Hong Kong action cinema features one of the most extraordinarily choreographed fight sequences in cinema history, and will screen on 24 April.

Amanda Slack-Smith’s pick for 29 May is Boaz Yakin’s neo-noir Fresh (1994). Set in the slums of New York City, this gritty film applies the logic of chess to find a path through the injustices faced by contemporary African-American communities.

By mid-year, Lynne Ramsay’s, mesmeric Morvern Callar (2002), will be introduced by Sophie Hopmeier on 26 June. This enigmatic tale of mourning and reinvention is a tour de force of sensory cinema.

March | Underground (1995) M

Emir Kursturica’s meditation on war and the whirlwind of being caught in its tumult beats with a raucous and ecstatic heart. In Sarajevo, in the former Yugoslavia, a band of people head underground to live in a cellar seeking safety from the political corruption and conflict raging through the ravaged city. A moment of refuge becomes 20 years of life as they are convinced the war has not ended. Weddings, celebrations, parades and all the highs and lows of the human condition continue on in their self-imposed exile. The film is driven by Goran Bregović’s unruly, vital score that blends Gypsy and Balkan brass with punk sensibilities. A tour de force of the brutal, bombastic and beautiful motivations between people, Underground won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995.

6.30pm, Wednesday 27 March 2024

Production still from Underground (1995) / Director: Emir Kusturica / Image courtesy: Newen Connect

April | The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984) M

Partway through the production of this martial arts epic from the legendary Shaw Brothers studio, lead actor Alexander Fu Sheng was killed in a car accident. Filming was halted and the script re-written by its pioneering director-choreographer Lau Kar-leung, who shaped the film into an enthralling treatise on rage, vengeance and mourning – culminating in arguably the most extraordinary action climax ever captured on celluloid. One of the highest peaks of Hong Kong cinema, The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is a stunningly choreographed, potently realised showcase of the depths of the soul and the upper limits of what the human body can achieve.

6.30pm, Wednesday 24 April 2024

Production still from The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984) / Director: Lau Kar-Leung / Image courtesy: Celestial Pictures

May | Fresh (1994) MA15+

Boaz Yakin’s Fresh is a coming-of-age story and gritty tale of crime and retribution in the slum neighbourhoods of New York City. Fresh (Sean Nelson) is a tough 12-year old who plans on surviving his current situation. While living in foster care with his Aunt and sister Nichole (N’Bushe Wright), he deals drugs for local gangster Esteban (Giancarlo Esposito) and saves the money. Wise beyond his years, Fresh decides to use the logic of chess learnt from his estranged father (Samuel L Jackson), to form a strategy that might help him achieve his ultimate goal. Incisive and packing an emotional pull, Fresh is a riveting and entirely unique neo-noir that situates the genre within a contemporary African-American experience.

6.30pm, Wednesday 29 May 2024

Production still from Fresh (1994) / Director: Boaz Yakin / Image courtesy: Studio Canal Australia

June | Morvern Callar (2002) M

Lynne Ramsay’s enigmatic adaption of Alan Warner’s novel traces the actions of Scottish supermarket worker Morvern Callar (Samantha Morton) following the death of her boyfriend. Moved according to her own strange logic and (a)moral code, Callar is a serene and inscrutable figure. Whilst Morton’s stripped back performance highlights a state of disconnection, we are drawn in through her character’s rich sensory world. Ramsay’s exquisitely shot and soundtracked film is a masterwork of visual atmosphere, touching us though the substance and texture of images, which envelop us in sensations which make us experience the world around us anew.

6.30pm, Wednesday 26 June 2024

Production still from Morvern Callar 2002 / Director: Lynne Ramsay / Image courtesy: Company Pictures

July | The Taste of Tea (2004) 18+

August | The Heartbreak Kid (1972) M

September | P’tit Quinquin (2014) 15+

December | Visages Villages (Faces Places) (2017) G

The Australian Cinémathèque
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at 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 by local musicians or on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.

Featured image: Production still from Fresh (1994) / Director: Boaz Yakin / Image courtesy: Studio Canal Australia