Thursday, 6 May 2010

Australian Perspectives Shock Docs

The 10 Conditions of Love
The 10 Conditions of Love
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents four controversial Australian-made documentaries in a special series of our weekly Australian Perspectives program.

The program brings together four films that tackle important and contentious subject matter; paedophilia in the art world, one women's fight for human rights against the Chinese government, a rare peek at Hitler's private moments and a candid look at the Australian underground music scene in the 1970s and 1980s.

Film Programmer James Nolen says, "Last year's Melbourne International Film Festival reminded us of the potency of documentaries when the Chinese government attempted to prevent the screening of an Australian documentary, The 10 Conditions of Love. This is the backdrop for our season of selected Australian documentaries which have caused something of a stir, which includes an investigation into paedophilia and the art world in A Loving Friend, a look at the Melbourne punk scene of the '70s and '80s with We're Living on Dog Food, the rediscovery of a banned '70s documentary by Australian filmmaker Philippe Mora, Swastika, as well as an opportunity to see just what all the fuss was about in The 10 Conditions of Love."

The season of controversial Australian documentaries opens with the premiere screening (this time in its entirety) of A Loving Friend (2009) which tackles the topical subject of paedophilia and the Australian art world. In 2006 the National Library of Australia posthumously published diaries of renowned Australian artist Donald Friend who died in 1989. In these diaries Friend describes having sex with the "house boys" he employed during the 12 years he spent in Bali in the 1960s and '70s. In this provacative documentary, filmmaker Kerry Negara travels to Bali to talk to the boys who worked for and lived with Friend and sets out to confront Friend's colleagues and associates who have attempted to protect his reputation following the publication of these journals as well as the the culture of evasion in the Australian art world and the notion of a 'culturally acceptable pedophile'.

The 10 Conditions of Love (2009), a film about Rebiya Kadeer, ruffled more than a few feathers (to put it mildly) when it premiered at the 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival and the Chinese Government demanded that it be withdrawn from the festival. Naturally the film screening went ahead as planned and a media frenzy ensued. The film, directed by Jeff Daniels, details the life, career and advocacy work of Chinese 'enemy of the state' and leader of a Muslim minority group the Uyghur people, Rebiya Kadeer.

Kadeer has fought a long political battle against the Chinese Government in support of rights for her oppressed people. Originally born into poverty she later became the richest woman in China, but after openly speaking out against the Chinese government was imprisoned and later exiled to the United States. Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Kadeer continues her human rights campaign which has resulted not only in accusations of terrorism by the Chinese government but also the imprisonment of her sons to ongoing solitary confinement in a Chinese prison.

Philippe Mora's Swastika (1973/2009) has remained virtually unseen since its premiere at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, after which fights broke out and a chair was thrown at the screen, subsequently seeing it banned in Germany until late 2009. The controversy at Cannes was its 'humanistation' of Hitler through sequences such as cuddling a dog, playing with his children and discussing Gone With the Wind. The film's impressionistic tour of Nazi culture was made possible when Mora uncovered a motherload of German newsreels, propaganda footage and rare colour home movie of Adolf Hilter's somewhat banal home life (shot by Eva Braun) held at the Pentagon archives. Expertly edited down from hours of footage, the film is un-narrated so as not force any interpretation on the viewer.

We're Living on Dog Food (2009) is Richard Lowenstein's documentary on the behind-the-scenes action on the set of Dogs in Space (1986). This documentary is more than a making-of; it's also a snapshot of the post-punk music scene in Melbourne in the early 1980s. We're Living on Dog Food features interviews with the late Roland S. Howard, the Primitive Calculators Ollie Olsen, Phillip Brophy, Alannah Hill and many others who all recall the sights, sounds and smells of the Melbourne underground music scene in this frank and forthright documentary.

Full Program:

Sat 5 June, 4pm, Panel Discussion to follow
Sat 12 June, 4pm
A Loving Friend (unclassified 18+)
Kerry Negara, 52 mins, Australia, 2009, Digital Betacam. Source Negara Film and Television

Sat 19 June, 4pm, Panel Discussion to follow
Sat 26 June, 4pm
The 10 Conditions of Love (M)
Jeff Daniels, 53 mins, Australia, 2009, Digital Betacam. Source Common Room Productions

Sat 10 and 17 July, 4pm
Swastika (15+)
Philippe Mora, 113 mins, UK, 1973/2009, 35mm. Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Courtesy: Philippe Mora

Sat 31 July and Sat 14 August, 4pm
We're Living on Dog Food (MA 15+)
Richard Lowenstein, 85 mins, Australia, 2009, Digital Betacam. Source: Ghost Pictures

All tickets $8 per session
For sessions details please visit:


Further information

Samatha Chater
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 655
Facebook icon   Twitter icon   Contact Us Terms of Use Privacy Site Map   Share and Print   Victorian Government Website