Tuesday, 27 March 2018

CINEMA REBORN - Frank Moorhouse writes about his first film-making adventures with Michael Thornhill on THE AMERICAN POET'S VISIT (1969)

Editor's Note: This is a very short extract from a long memoir which author Frank Moorhouse has written to accompany the CINEMA REBORN screening of two of his collaborations with director Michael Thornhill, The American Poet's Visit  and Between Wars, on Saturday 5 May at 2.30 pm at the AFTRS Theatre in Moore Park.

The full memoir will be published in the CINEMA REBORN catalogue which will be published to coincide with the festival. Copies of the catalogue will be free to subscribers or $10 to any other buyers. 

It is anticipated that Michael Thornhill and Frank Moorhouse will be attending the screening of the films and will participate in a conversation after the screening. The session will be moderated by Mark Pierce.

Frank Moorhouse
In 1968, Michael approached me about using a short story of mine The American Poet’s Visit for a short movie. He paid me for the rights with a bottle of Moet champagne. He directed and co-wrote it with Ken Quinnell, who was producer, and they made The American Poet’s Visit  which is fairly faithful to the story (1969, 20 mins/16 mins – there is some confusion, maybe two versions (?), 16mm, bw, budget of $900). The 25–year old Russell Boyd shot it and Lloyd Coleman did the sound.

The American Poet’s Visit was set among the Sydney Libertarian Push, some of whom acted or were extras in the film along with some filmniks. The film and story recreate a visit to Australia by the American poet, Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) an anarchist, pacifist, member of the IWW, and labelled ‘Father of the Beats’ by Time magazine. The film satirizes Rexroth and, as well, the embarrassing, immature difficulties we had in socializing with a famous poet. There may be some perverse cultural cringe in it. I hope to god, in reality we treated Rexroth and ourselves, better.
Sandra Grimes, Darcy Waters, The American Poet's Visit
Photo courtesy of Ken Quinnell)
Subscription tickets to CINEMA REBORN are $85 which admits to all films. Subscriptions may be purchased via Eventbrite

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