Rolf De Heer came up on stage to collect his Best Director’s Award for Charlie’s Country, a masterpiece and perhaps his best ever film, barely able to contain his rage. He was accepting the Award on the day that the Prime Minister had announced, somewhere in Western Australia, that Aboriginals living in remote outback communities do so as a lifestyle choice and should not expect funds from the taxpayer to support them. Rolf’s gentle rage, internalised until then but now expressed with grace, contrasted with yet another bovver boy statement from a Prime Minister displaying more and more signs of suffering the delayed effects of a youthful over-exuberant boxing career. Like punch drunk fighters who want to get up and keep wading into their opponents, the Prime Minister cant stop himself and cant stop embarrassing the nation. (Then again when you think about it, moving the Aboriginal nations on has been pretty much the sole policy pursued with any vigour for the last 240 years and for some it must be hard to give up the old way of doing things.)It was quite an electric moment and the crowd, perhaps the biggest ever to attend a Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards night, stood and clapped and cheered. Rolf came back a short while later to accept the Award for Best Picture as well. He beat perhaps the strongest field in years, the other nominees being The Water Diviner, The Babadook, Tracks and Predestination.
Otherwise the evening belonged to Russell Crowe, wearing trade mark casuals and a hoodie, who got the gong for Best Actor for his work on his own film The Water Diviner and saw two of his other charges, Jacqueline McKenzie and Yilmaz Erdogan, take away both of the Best Supporting Actor gongs. All gave gracious speeches but the crowd will remember Yilmaz forever for his deft interweaving of Turkish bread, Turkish Delight and making an Australian movie.
Elsewhere, a remarkable doco, made over the course of a decade by Nick Torrens, China’s 3 Dreams won its category. Once again, as with almost all those attending, Nick gave a wonderful acceptance speech and reminded everybody that if you let people talk, rather than try and stop them with time limits you get to hear some fine sentiments expressed.An evening put together with a lot of love but one which produced a sombre moment amidst all the joy. Cinephilia got a good look in as well.
For a more extensive report and a full list of the prize-winners go to Russell Edwards article at http://screenz.co.nz/crowe-flies-at-fcca-bash/.