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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

From the Nation archives - A spray at Tim Burstall that went badly wrong

I reviewed films once a month for George Munster's esteemed fortnightly Nation, all the way back in 1969. Cinephile and record keeper Gary Andrews has unearthed my contributions and I'm most grateful to be reminded of the boyish enthusiasms on display. I published an earlier example, extolling Jean-Luc Godard and Peter Bogdanovich most enthusiastically. Here's another, published after the film's run had come to the end of its two week season, discussing Tim Burstall's ill-fated Two Thousand Weeks (Australia, 1969). Now its fair to say that Tim's film was pilloried by the reviewers of the day and what I wrote didn't come out in any defence of the film.

Tim Burstall hardly spoke a civil word to me again.

As a result of the disastrous Melbourne season, no offers to screen the film elsewhere emerged until David Stratton programmed it at the 1970 Sydney Film Festival. The reception there was terrible. Lead actress Jeanie Drynan told me many years later that she had never seen the film until the SFF screening and about half an hour in she fled from the theatre.

Two other Oz movies were noted in my Nation piece, both of them little films thrown up by what Bruce Hodsdon famously called the Carlton Ripple. Nigel Burst's Squizzy Taylor  and David Minter's Hey Al Baby!  remain fond in the memory to this day.

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