Sunday 3 July 2022

An Overlooked Australian Film - THE GOLDEN CAGE (Ayten Kuyululu, 1975)

The Golden Cage

New York MoMI’s tribute to Australian women film-makers opens the page up with:


"In 1979, Gillian Armstrong premiered her debut fiction feature, My Brilliant Career, at the Cannes Film Festival. Incredibly, it was the first Australian feature directed by a woman since those made by the McDonagh sisters in the early 1930s" 


Perhaps even more incredibly, that’s not true. In fact the first feature length dramatic film made by a woman in Australia after the work of the McDonagh sisters ended in the 30s was The Golden Cage  directed by Ayten Kuyululu. It was made in 1975 and featured in its cast David Elfick, Michele Fawdon, Anna Simone Scott, Salt Memisoglu, Ron Haddrick and Ilhan Kuyululu. 

Just for info here’s part of the very short Wikipedia entry:

The Golden Cage is a 1975 Australian film about two Turkish migrants in Australia made by the husband and wife team Ayten  and Ilhan Kuyululu. It was the first Australian film directed by a woman since the 1930s. 

The film was shot in March and April 1975, with the aid of $22,500 from the Film, Radio and Television Board of the Australia Council  It failed to achieve commercial distribution

The film is mentioned in David Stratton’s The Last New Wave (p.281) and Pike and Cooper’s Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 291 

As far as I can work out the materials required for restoring, digitizing and bringing the film back to a public are sitting quietly in the NFSA storage in Canberra.


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