Melting into Air – Five unmissable films


Presented in conjunction with the Gallery of Modern Art’s blockbuster ‘Air’ exhibition, ‘Melting into Air’ (26 November 2022 – 23 April 2023) is the new, free cinema program at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA. It explores screen depictions of this essential element from over the past century, showcasing hidden mysteries within deep fogs, the sublime potential of natural phenomena, and the transformative power of the invisible world around us.

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With nearly 60 films over more than 110 screenings, ‘Melting into Air’ curator Robert Hughes picks five of his unmissable films from within the program.

The Turin Horse 2011

The Turin Horse is set on a barren farm, inhabited by an aging stableman, his daughter and their horse. Forever beset by violent gales, they live a meagre and repetitive existence. Over six days, the world around them steadily falls apart, seemingly on the cusp of complete apocalyptic collapse. One of the great cinematic achievements of the new millennium, Béla Tarr’s film is a mesmerising meditation on the nature of human existence.

The Turin Horse will screen from a rare, imported 35mm print
6.30pm Wed 7 Dec 2022 & 2.00pm Sat 18 Feb 2023

Production still from The Turin Horse 2011 / Dir: Béla Tarr / Image courtesy: Luxbox

Diamantino 2018

The perfect film to enjoy during the World Cup weeks. After hunky soccer superstar Diamantino misses a crucial penalty in a World Cup final, he finds himself a public pariah and at the mercy of his cruel twin sisters. A wildly original and blisteringly funny surrealist satire, the film features unforgettable sequences inside Diamantino’s mind – where the splendour of the football field is filled with giant Pekingese puppies and pink clouds of elation.

8.00pm Wed 14 Dec 2022 & 6.00pm Wed 22 Feb 2023

Production still from Diamantino 2018 / Dir: Daniel Schmidt, Gabriel Abrantes / Image courtesy: Charades

Sorcerer 1977

After the groundbreaking success of The Exorcist 1973, director William Friedkin took on what would become his most ambitious project to date: an adaptation of the French novel ‘The Wages of Fear’. The tale of four criminals on a treacherous expedition to guide trucks full of dynamite across inhospitable terrain, Friedkin’s film stands among the premier American films of the 1970s. It is an immersive and unbearably tense journey into the abyss, driven by a propulsive synth score from Tangerine Dream.

8.00pm Wed 15 Feb & 8.30pm Fri 10 Mar 2023

Production still from Sorcerer 1977 / Dir: William Friedkin / Image courtesy: Park Circus

The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner 1974

Made early in the career of now-legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog, The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner is a remarkable documentary portrait of world champion ski jumper Walter Steiner. A poetic study of the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of a man whose dream of flight has carried him to the pinnacle of his sport, the film is filled with incredible images and insights that one can only obtain from the singular mind of Werner Herzog.

The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner will screen from an imported 16mm print.
1.30pm Sat 25 Feb & 2.45pm Sat 1 Apr 2023

Production still from The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner 1974 / Dir: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin

Kanał 1957

Deep in the sewers below the streets of Warsaw in 1944, a group of Polish soldiers and civilians retreat from the encircling German army. Lost in the labyrinth of tunnels, they search for a safe exit, desperately trying to escape before they succumb to the slow suffocation of the sewers’ methane gas. The second in director Andrzej Wajda’s thematically-connected War Trilogy, Kanał is one of the masterpieces of mid-century Polish cinema – a gripping tale of resistance that immerses the audience in its nightmarish underground odyssey.

3.30pm Sat 4 Mar & 6.00pm Wed 19 Apr 2023

Production still from Kanał 1957 / Dir: Andrzej Wajda / Image courtesy: Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych

The Wind 1928 (Our wild card) Live music & film

Directed by Victor Sjöström (The Phantom Carriage 1921) and starring early Hollywood icon Lillian Gish, The Wind tells the story of Letty, a young woman who relocates to her cousin’s West Texas farm. Upon her arrival, her relationship with her extended family is immediately strained and the incessant gales that beset her new home seem poised to drive her to the edge of madness.

The Wind | Tickets on sale
6.30pm, Friday 17 February 2023

One of the great cinematic achievements of the late silent era, The Wind is an atmospheric and often nightmarish depiction of isolation. Gish gives among her most powerful performances as Letty – her legendarily expressive face acting as a guiding light amidst the storm of tragedy around her.

The film will screen from a 35mm print provided by the Warner Archive, Los Angeles.
Experimental band Corporate Vibes will provide live musical accompaniment to the screening.

The Wind 1928

Production still from The Wind 1928 / Dir: Victor Sjöström / Image courtesy: Roadshow Films

Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA

Hidden beneath the stage of the purpose-built Australian Cinémathèque, and only revealed for special screenings is our much loved 1929 Wurlitzer Style 260 Opus 2040 Pipe Organ, its original home Brisbane’s Regent Theatre which opened on 8 November 1929

It is a rare opportunity to be able to view silent films on the big screen some hundred years since ‘talkies’ became a theatre sensation — thus ending the silent film era — however our Wurlitzer brings these films back to life as they were intended to be enjoyed.

Melting into Air

View the program

A Tale of the Wind 1988
A Touch of Zen 1971
Aerograd 1935
Air Conditioner 2020
Air Doll 2009
Andrei Rublev 1966
Anne at 13,000 Ft 2019
Bad Boy Bubby 1993
Blue Velvet 1986
Brewster McCloud 1970
Death by Hanging 1968
Demon Wind 1990
Diamantino 2018
Fata Morgana 1971
Figures in a Landscape 1970
First Reformed 2017
Good Morning 1959
In the Realm of the Senses 1976
Kanał 1957
Mayak 2006
Mist 1967
On the Beach 1959
Only Angels Have Wings 1939
Police Story 3: Supercop 1992
Porco Rosso 1992
Red Desert 1964
Safe 1995
Session 9 2001
Sleep Has Her House 2017
Sorcerer 1977
Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds 1987
Ten Skies 2004
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988
The Bamboo Flute 2000
The Boy and the Wind 1967
The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner 1974
The Human Vapor 1960
The Man from Hong Kong 1975
The Mist 2007
The Pink Cloud 2021
The Red Balloon 1956
The Shout 1978
The Stolen Airship 1966
The Trollenberg Terror 1958
The Turin Horse 2011
The Wind 1928 Live Music & Film / 6.30pm, Fri 17 Feb 2023 / Tickets on sale now
The Wizard of Oz 1939
Total Recall 1990
Videodrome 1983
Whistle and I’ll Come to You 1968
Willow and Wind 1999
Wings 1927 / Live Music & Film / 1.30pm, Sat 10 Dec 2022
Written on the Wind 1956
earthearthearth 2021 (short)
Hedgehog in the Fog 1975 (short)
Ki or Breathing 1980 (short)
Violin Fase 1986 (short)

Robert Hughes is Assistant Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA

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 Wings 1927 / Dir: William A Wellman