Thursday, 23 August 2012

Honey, I'm Home: Visions Beyond the White Picket Fence

The Queen of Versailles 18 & 28 Oct @ ACMI
The Queen of Versailles Courtesy Submarine Entertainment

ACMI is proud to present the upcoming film program Honey I'm Home: Visions Beyond the White Picket Fence. We all have our notions of 'home' and what this means is personal, subjective and is by its nature, has a moving definition. This season, ACMI explores these definitions and how they adapt depending on change of circumstance.

Opening the program is the much anticipated The Queen of Versailles by director Lauren Greenfield. Following the lives of self-made billionaire couple David and Jackie Siegel, Greenfield won the Documentary Director Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. With 8 children and 19 domestic staff the Siegel family were growing out of their current home. Inspired by their travels to France and Las Vegas, they embarked on building their dream home - a final measure of 90,000 sq metres and dubbed Versailles. This was in 2007, and in 2008 the GFC struck. With a fortune made on Time-share apartments, the GFC affected their fortune drastically. Admitting he hadn't saved for his children's future as he thought he would never have to worry, the family lifestyle had to be curtailed, including the sale of Versailles. Jackie, a former model, has to find ways around the house to accommodate a financially downsizing; flying commercially rather than on the private jet, taking the limo to Wallmart rather than to Gucci. A sympathetic approach and what Greenfield sees as an "allegory about the overreaching of America and . symbolic for what so many of us went through at different levels" (Vanity Fair, 2012). Screening 18 and 28 October as preview screenings in association with BIFFDOCS, the Brisbane International Film Festival documentary competition.

Still in America and winner of Best Editing Documentary at Sundance is Detropia. Making its Australian premiere at ACMI, directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady join forces again (The Boys of Baraka¸ Jesus Camp and Freakonomics: The Movie) to bring us a compelling insight into the once powerhouse city of Detroit. In 1930, Detroit was the fastest growing city in the world[1], its population has decreased by 25% in the last 10 years, and The Detroit News puts the unemployment rate at 50%. Approximately 40,000 abandoned homes and 100,000 vacant residential lots[2] are available, and according to The Wall Street Journal the average house price is $7,100[3]. Regardless of this, Ewing and Grady find the hope in the city through the stories of those who refuse to be defeated by the seemingly desperate position of Detroit. How will this 'Motor City' survive? Using their skills deftly, Ewing and Grady cast a wide lens and explore the multiple voices of city. Screening 20 and 28 October.

Panel discussion will follow the screening on Saturday 20 October featuring Geoffrey London, Victorian Government Architect and John Flaus, film academic and cinephile and Dr. Flavia Marcello from the Department of Architecture, Deakin University.

Medianeras also screens within this program - a modern day rom-com set in downtown Buenos Aires. Martin and Mariana live in the same street, opposite buildings. Inhabiting the same public spaces, they never notice each other. How can they / anyone meet in a hectic crowded city like Buenos Aires? Set around the four pillars of Cities (with an obvious relationship to Architecture), Urban Loneliness/ Collective Neurosis, Isolation and Encounters / Failures: The Search for Love, director Gustavo Taretto treats us to a modern day romance, as complex as modern day life. Screening 20 and 27 October.

Exploring the notion of what it means to be an adult and what part nostalgia plays in shaping us, director Azazel Jacobs brings us the film Momma's Man - filmed in his parents' house with his parents, experimental film makers Ken and Flo Jacobs, playing Mum and Dad to Mikey, a thirty-something year old new dad who stays the night after his plane is delayed, and refuses to leave the next day. Mikey explores his adolescence and relives many of its fine moments - reading comic books in bed, talking to ex girlfriends. He also explores what it would be a like to be the 'cool' kid... buying alcohol for the underage kids. Eventually realising you can't turn the clock back, and 'home' is more a feeling than a tangible thing, Mikey heads home to his wife and child. Screening 20 and 27 October.

King Vidor's thrilling adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead sees Gary Cooper playing an architect of uncompromising vision. Exploring the iconic notion of 'home', the much loved 1939 Victor Fleming film The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland determined to find her way home. Henry Ford and Jane Darwell star in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's epic novel of 'the land of milk and honey' and the search for a place to call home in The Grapes of Wrath.

Jack Nicholson in arguably one of his most defining rolls as Jack Torrance brings the screen to life in Kubrick's classic The Shining. Following the theme of relocating one's home, is Ursula Meier's film Home - a tale of a family who live by a disused freeway and refuse to move when the road abruptly reopens.  Jacques Tati stars as Monsieur Hulot in a satire of designer living - Mon Oncle is a visual delight whose director believed "geometric lines do not produce likeable people".

Concluding the program is the annual screening of Gus Van Sant's cult film My Own Private Idaho. On Wednesday 31st of October, you can see River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves setting out on a road trip from Portland to Rome and finally to Idaho in a search for a place to call home.

Honey, I'm Home: Visions Beyond the White Picket Fence runs from 18 to 31 October and screens in association with the 2012 Melbourne Architecture Annual. For more tickets or further information on dates and time please visit

For more information on the 2012 Melbourne Architecture Annual which runs from 22 - 28 October, please visit

[1] The Guardian (as referenced in the Detropia media kit, 2012)

[2] The New York Times (as referenced in the Detropia media kit, 2012)

[3] The Wall Street Journal (as referenced in the Detropia media kit, 2012)          


Further information

Donna Hillier
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498

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