Gillian Armstrong operating a film camera
Stories & Ideas

Fri 18 Feb 2022

Wildflowers: dancing, desire and freedom in the films of Gillian Armstrong

Film Melbourne Cinémathèque Retrospective
Melbourne Cinematheque icon

Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society

Notes for the 12 – 27 April 2022 Melbourne Cinémathèque program.

One of Australia’s most successful and important directors, Gillian Armstrong (1950– ) has built a significant profile as a filmmaker in her home country, in addition to maintaining a career internationally. Entering the industry in the 1970s, Armstrong was more than just an important part of the Australian cinema revival – with My Brilliant Career in 1979 she was the first woman to direct a 35mm feature film in Australia for over four decades, going on to contribute significantly to the national landscape with some of its most impressive, brilliantly modern films.

Spread across the realms of commercial and independent cinema, fiction and documentary, Armstrong’s films exercise a consistently sensitive sympathy and solidarity with women and issues that affect them. It is this emotional and feminist trajectory, continued throughout her career, that further defines her importance as a filmmaker. However, with work that spans a number of genres, it is not only Armstrong’s thematic insight that should be celebrated, but also her outstanding aesthetic skills as a director – she has a sharp sense of story, design, acting, music and rhythm. As Felicity Collins writes, her work “participates fully in the aesthetic force-field of Australian naturalism and arthouse realism”.

This season of mostly celluloid prints endeavours to pay tribute to the extraordinary breadth and longevity of Armstrong’s career, and includes early shorts made while still a student, famous and underseen features, and a selection of documentaries.

– Melbourne Cinémathèque


Wildflowers: dancing, desire and freedom in the films of Gillian Armstrong

My Brilliant Career (1979) – Wed 13 Apr, 7pm
Certain Women: three films by Gillian Armstrong – Wed 13 Apr, 9pm
High Tide (1987) – Wed 20 Apr, 7pm
Unfolding Florence: the many lives of Florence Broadhurst (2006) – Wed 20 Apr, 8.50pm
Starstruck (1982) – Wed 27 Apr, 7pm
Little Women (1994) – Wed 27 Apr, 8.55pm

Person laying on sand, with their face reflected in a puddle

Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

Learn more | View the 2022 program | See membership options