Tuesday 9 April 2024


Full Program Notes now posted on the Cinema Reborn website

Part of the presentation of Cinema Reborn each year involves the a two stage publication of program notes on our website. When it launched the 2024 season the Cinema Reborn website contained a set of short notes prepared by Organising Committee Member Rod Bishop. What we have now begun to post are longer notes, including full credits and restoration details of all 17 films we are presenting this year. Each of these has been written by a knowledgeable critic or scholar and once again we’re thrilled to have so many prepared to freely give their time to write about our offering.


We’ll send some more links around next time but here are a the first contributions from our remarkable friends and supporters:


Jane Mills on IL GRIDO




Janice Tong on LA CAPTIVE


John Baxter on MIDNIGHT


Le Samourai opens in New York 

One of our favourite cinemas in the world is New York’s Film Forum. We are always keeping an eye on their programming and noting the popular titles. Some of Cinema Reborn’s previous programs, most notably Andrei Tarkovsky’s MIRROR and Jacques Deray’s LA PISCINE  have had long runs there. So we’re very taken with the likely long run of Jean-Pierre Melville’s LE SAMOURAI which opened at Film Forum just last week.  They have done a terrific new poster for it as well (above). Cinema Reborn is one of the first venues after New York to screen the film outside France. It is our biggest ticket seller at the moment. There are two screenings each In Sydney and Melbourne. You can book at the Ritz and the Lido links below. 


The Dupes

Honi Soit reviews of Midnight and The Dupes

The University of Sydney’s student newspaper Honi Soit is publishing a series of critical pieces on some of the key films in the Cinema Reborn 2024 season. The first two set very high standards so if you are curious about the views of young cinephiles then here are some online links to the reviews.


Leanne Rook on MIDNIGHT


Iris Brown on THE DUPES



For the Ritz bookings for the Sydney season from 1-7 May CLICK HERE

For the Lido for the Melbourne season from 9-15 May CLICK HERE


Charitable Donations

And as always… The Cinema Reborn 2024 page on the website of the Australian Cultural Fund enables our supporters to make a tax-deductible donation. All donations great and small are very welcome. The Australian Cultural Fund page can be found If You Click Here

Tuesday 2 April 2024


Jean-Pierre Ameris did a couple of nice Benoît Poelvoorde movies, so his new Marie Line et son juge/Take a Chance on Me deserved attention. It looked like a quirky odd couple movie with now aged Michel Blanc confronted by music video performer Louane Emera in a too short mini skirt that made her legs look stumpy. Well, we got that and quite a bit more – a plausible dissection of privilege, the joyless Le Havre setting and a couple of apparently unlikable characters who become totally endearing.

Waitress Louane Emera’s life is pretty crappy, divided between waiting tables in the port cafe, where she spills his drink over grumpy Blanc’s papers, and looking after her defeated amputee father Philippe Rebbot. Things pick up when she connects wannabe film student Victor Belmondo (grandson of the star.) They go market shopping together and can’t decide whether they want an ugly but comfortable lounge chair. However, when she doesn’t relate to Truffaut, he stops calling. She stalks him and they have a parking lot fight where he ends up in hospital and she finds herself apprehensive in Judge Blanc’s court. Her friendly black court-appointed lawyer Aurélie Léma works up the judge’s sympathy and he goes easy on her – suspended sentence, a no-contact order and a fine. However, fired from the cafe, she can’t even manage a payments program and the slammer looms.

Michel Blanc, Louane Emera, Take a Chance on Me

At this point, the film lifts off with her meeting Blanc in the street and begging for relief and him upholding the legal system but compassionate to the point where he hires her as a driver, while his car is in shop, and finds himself sharing her battered vehicle with the neighbor’s smelly dog. She quotes “People know the law but I know the judge” to him and he attributes it to Coluche, who she’s never heard of. Despite their one hundred and eighty degree differences, they learn about each other and the film pulls off the feat Mr. Blake at Your Service tries for, as their contact enhances both their lives. An interest in his profession is fanned by watching Blanc’s custody case. He pushes a used copy of Le Code Civil into her hands. Add in his failing romance with time-served murderess Nathalie Richard (wasted in Bertrand Mandico films), who he corresponded with after he put her away. Paella, a bulky bunch of flowers and a disk of Jules & Jim are involved.

Dope runner sister Alexandra Gentil shows up with her Slavonic lady friend Ekaterina Rusnak, for a confrontation with dad & they demand she face off with Belmondo despite the court order. This ends resolved at the channel ferry with one of the film’s best pieces of staging.


Performances are endearing and non-judgemental events played in uninviting settings are welcome and not familiar. It is however yet another dim piece where I sit there thinking “Turn on the lights!”

Michel Gondry re-appears with a small scale, satirically autobiographical and suitably weird film 
Le Livre des solutions/The Book of Solutions dominated by Pierre Niney’s manic movie director character Mark Becker, first found battling his producers, including longtime associate Vincent Elbaz (also in Iris et les hommes) They demand a viewing on his film in progress of which all we ever see is a shot of one man pursued by a giant effects department rat.

Pierre’s response is to band up his editing suite followers and steal the hard drives (jokes about winding up leads from both ends) He heads out to the Cevennes and the home of his seventy-year-old aunt Françoise Lebrun - who we discover has had a sustained career since we lost track after her stand out performance in the 1973 La maman & la putain.

In the village, he institutes the reign of terror that his long suffering editor Blanche Gardin is used to - reversing the order of his shots, refusing to see the cut and abusing her hangdog assistant for his coughing fits, when not recording Lebrun and a local under the hose for a shot that will never get to be included.

In with this, he is compiling and illustrating a journal of his Mark Becker Method with maxims like always ignore other people’s advice. An animated segment of his Max le Renard character, along with Lebrun in a farcical cooking video, break up whatever narrative flow the piece has. Niney keeps on waking up his associates to implement crazy ideas including a music recording in a village studio where an impressive score emerges from ego-dominated chaos. Max/Pierre berates his worn down assistant for not calling in Sting to accompany this – which the celebrity then actually does, the boom box track plugged into the sophisticated recording studio. “Ca va aller.”

The lead’s social life struggles ahead (“I hate it when a girl I like wants me to meet her boyfriend”) and he becomes the sash-wearing village mayor, opening a hair salon. His crack brained medical attention to 75 year old Lebrun actually reveals a life-threatening ailment and he decides to reward her with sex, only snapping out when he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. There’s a must-be-fantasy segment where Elbaz appears declaiming that he has ruined him and firing a multi repeating pistol before driving off the road, with no one believing Niney’s account of the meeting.

Gardin has finished the film without him and things go well with the assistant who he gets pregnant. They all pile into the screening of the picture (“I’ll see the film for the first time at the premiere”) setting up an inscrutable ending.

Gondry has chosen to make his return to production with a film from some place beyond Godard, complete with layered disregard for logic and consistency. This all goes on too long but does make a welcome break from what we are usually offered. It’s a massive tribute to Niney that he manages to redeem the lead character by charm. The women, shown unglamorously, also appeal. Production values are conspicuously minimal. 

The festival had a distinctly female feel to it – no leather jacketed agents taking down Arab dope pushers in the mean streets of Marseilles here. The next best thing might have been Vincent Perez’ Une affaire d'honneur/The Edge of the Blade.

Vincent Perez, Edge of the Blade

The aim here is to provide a stove pipe hat duellist piece, where realistic period detail replaces swashbuckling. The account of the Code of Honour among then-illegal Duellists in 1887 post revolution France offers information that we haven’t had before. Revenge is not an acceptable motive, no relatives as seconds, no coaching from the side, wounds from the flat of the blade don’t count - and the rest. This one is into grisly, with a particularly vivid drowning as a lung fills with blood.

It is all right but it comes with built in shortcomings. Real life nineteenth century feminist duellist Marie-Rose Astié de Valsayre intriguingly represented by Dora Tillier (Smoking Causes Coughing) even shows up in a drag disguise, but the character still seems to have been imposed to meet a twenty first century sensibility. We get the Newspaper in-house Salles d’armes, where the grim male members work out and get massages, contrasted with the women’s clubs, whose participants flitter about cheerily. It’s hard to believe that macho journalist Damien Bonnard would ever accept Tiller as an opponent replacement for Roschdy Zem, whose status as a master of arms forbids his participation in duels. 

The encounters themselves are striking, notably the opening demonstration match with the ever admirable Roschdy, facing Spanish champion Pepe Lorente for a society audience (psyching himself up for the encounter, Zem snubs the Prefect of Paris), the epée confrontation in the woods with Zem’s young nephew Noham Edje, who has slapped sadistic Vincent Perez (here pulling double duty as villain and director), the session training Doria Tillier by roping her to Llorente for a finger duel performed like dance. After these, the final stadium sabres on horseback challenge, where military man Perez has the advantage of experience, is an anti-climax.

The mounted face-off with shotguns in the Joel McCrea San Francisco Story worked better, not to mention Stewart Granger’s Scaramouche, Tyrone Power in The Mark of Zorro and the Errol Flynn/Michael Curtiz films. Those pieces are embedded in the collective memory and any determined viewer will sit there comparing what they see in the new film. We also had training girl fencer Assumpter Serena in the 1992 Spanish El maestro de esgrima. The new film’s instruction in holding the sword like a little bird – too loose and it flies away, too tight and it is crushed – repeats Sammo Hung in Baai ga jai /The Prodigal Son.

Perez, once Christian to Depardieu’s Cyrano, has now directed a handful of films. He is very good with actors – choosing them and directing them - but his placing of emphasis is still erratic.

The period detail on this is irreproachable but we are distracted by the historical references. The then recent horrors of war loom over the characters. Showing the Duellist Association panel of uniformed, aged military officers, who saw their duty as being to the king, the nation and honour and now have no king, is more resonant than Roschdy’s family connections. What becomes of Edje’s mother?

Also this is another movie played largely in deep indoors gloom. It’s distracting to note that papers burnt in the distance create a brighter patch than the candles being lit ostentatiously in front of us. Look really, next time they do one of these, if they’ll get a flashlight, I’m willing to stomp up the cost of a couple of packets of Double A batteries. 


And – outclassing the rest - we get Martin (Eiffel) Bourboulon’s two part, four hour Les trois Mousquetaires, a whopping great success in Europe.

I’ve been watching 3 Musketeer movies all my life but this manages to efface the one between my ears, the one where Gene Kelly is backed by Allen Hale, Oliver Reed and Gerard Depardieu in combating Nigel de Brulier’s Richlieu, who deploys Milady Yvette Lebon, while Louis Hayward hovers in the background in an iron mask.

The new Les trois mousquetaires is more lavish, more rooted in history with La Rochelle insurrection prominent, longer and more accomplished. It is also, outside the Cottafavi film, the only one to embrace the viciousness of Dumas, who is usually reduced to a jolly adventure that will do Saturday afternoons.

Les trois mousquetaires (+ 1)

Straight off we learn about the 1627 threat of the Protestant rebellion against Catholic king Louis XIII. While we are pondering that, Francois Civil finds himself in the rain, fencing off shadowy swordsmen before the lady in the coach takes him down with a point blank pistol shot. Despite the fact that this is happening (again) under cover of darkness, there is no question about which dim figure is which, already a virtuoso effort.

And there are more to come Civil’s sustained queue-jumping sustained advance through the grounds where the king’s musketeers are at training with swords and (yes) muskets, an even more dazzling encounter that puts three – no four – against seven of the Cardinal’s guards in an unedited, minutes long confrontation, a surprise ambush when the Duke of Buckingham has been lured into a trap and he faces attackers, sword in hand, as the action moves outside the open door, through which we now glimpse new figures joining him, Vincent Cassell in the barred cart that takes him to the headsman’s axe, finding it engulfed for an encounter that blows the door away, D’Artagnan and Milady Eva Green galloping side by side along the white cliffs and the royal wedding with sniper monks exposed at the last moment “Tireurs!” These scenes are as good as anything of their kind but there is more.

The closed jewel case where Queen Vicki Krieps gambles her life on the royal protocol is as tense as any of the action material and events are constantly opened out into panoramas of street activity, a costumed ball or the crowded Cathedral which will shortly become littered with bodies. In a production where the technical work is so accomplished it’s maybe unfair to single out Thiery Delettre‘s costumes - earth tones which go with having the lead buried with no indication that he has taken a bath afterwards.

Louis Garrel, often a boring performer, aces the royal character. He uses limited screen time to make central and involving someone who has to command without hesitation, whether or not he is equal to the intrigues around him. “The king has no friends, only subjects and enemies.” If the film has a fault, it is that Eric Ruf’s plotting Richelieu is totally eclipsed. I keep on wondering when Dominique Valadié, their Marie de Medici is going to get her moment too.

Maybe Eva Green comes good in part two which I have yet to see but Lyna Khoudri (The French Dispatch) is a best yet Constance, plausibly youthful but equal to her important tasks – and totally winning. There’s the nice bed scene where she and Civil end up under the mattress. I’m not so sure that I’m on board with the notion of stitching up open wounds as foreplay, which we get here and in Une affaire d'honneur.

It was simultaneously a safe bet to field a new iteration of the so often tested Three Musketeers and a gamble to put such a familiar subject into an uncertain market. Note that a simultaneous English language edition with a black D’Artagnan vanished. Martin Bourboulon has beaten the game and gotten a place at the big people’s table. After this one it will be hard to find a project that will not be an anti-climax – please not the next James Bond film!

A Letter from veteran Oz film supporter and enthusiast David Donaldson - NFSA RESTORES WEBINAR, CAPTAIN THUNDERBOLT, THREE TO GO

      Greetings to film friends who may be interested in Restoring old Australian films. 


 The NFSA's Chief Curator Gayle Lake has long been concerned with Restoring at National Film and Sound Archive. Gayle will retire soon. The Friends of the Archive have secured a talk by Zoom on 14 April when Gayle will discuss the Archive's NFSA Restores Program, including how films are selected for the program, the research involved and the restoration process itself. There will be time for a Q&A at the end. Here is a chance to hear what goes on behind-the-scenes and ask the questions you've always wanted to ask.


            The webinar is free but you will need to book to receive the Zoom link.

            WHEN: Sunday 14 April, at 2pm AEST FREE BUT BOOKING ESSENTIAL


For more information about this event, please check the Friends of the NFSA website, here. 


Back in the 1950s, I saw the New England and Sydney production of Captain Thunderbolt at its one-week city release and twice later.  At a session in 2010 at Art Gallery of NSW, the Archive named Captain Thunderbolt as first in its Most Wanted list, since the full release film had been considered lost.

Now, thanks to searching by independent archivist Michael Organ, a full-length print in 35mm was located in Prague. It is currently in Canberra and being examined as to restoration possibilities. 

Treating the film as a theatrical feature, much has been written over the years about some remarkable merits. The annual award of the Australian Directors Guild carries the name of the director, Cecil Holmes. The award of the Australian Cinematographers Society carries the name of Ross Wood. 

Not only, though, is the film significant as a creative outburst in Sydney in that meagre film time of 1951. It came out of essentially a Radio background and Associated Productions further had a pioneering place in Television. No wonder it was chosen as Most Wanted!

To my mind, a re-presentation could take place in the Sydney Film Festival in June 2025 (a 70-year anniversary). ....AND at Armidale where the Australian premiere was held..... AND perhaps at Cockatoo Island, the site of the thrilling escape sequence. Much work and thought will be needed before any of that can happen. Many people and authorities will have to contribute.

Several interesting links appear below. If you would like further information, please Reply to filmart@dodo.com.au with your current email address and your telephone number. I will send you the Fact Sheet by Graham Shirley and then construct a special list of such friends of the film.


Thinking of restorations, Cinema Reborn will return to Sydney and extend to Melbourne in May. There will be a restoration of Three To Go, Gil Brealey’s 1971 production that gave drama-directing opportunity to three young directors. 

Book In Melbourne if you click Cinema Reborn at the Lido

Book in Sydney Cinema Reborn at the Ritz  


Thanks for your interest and hoping you will Reply as a Thunderboltian.

David Donaldson 

08 8267 5069


Discoverer Michael Organ’s comprehensive blog https://postersmo.blogspot.com/2023/09/captain-thunderbolt-1951.html

and reproducing many news pieces 


Graham Shirley’s 2010 article 


David Donaldson’s analysis of a key moment 






Monday 1 April 2024


The Dupes (Tewfik Saleh, Syria, 1972)


Just to bring you up to date as we begin the countdown of four weeks to go before Cinema Reborn 2024 in Sydney and five weeks in Melbourne. As we anticipated when we programmed them into the key Saturday night times  there are already a lot of seats sold for DAYS OF HEAVEN and for LE SAMOURAI but we’ve delighted as well at the interest in the 1972 Syrian film about Palestinian refugees THE DUPES  a film which resonates right off the front pages of today’s news media.



Thanks once again to James Vaughan who has done another superb trailer for this season which you can watch  IF YOU CLICK HERE. Thanks also to Ben Cho, a long time supporter who has badged up and cut together four wonderful trailers from among our film highlights (Actually they are all highlights) so you can get a sample of  DAYS OF HEAVEN, Tilda Swinton’s favourite film   I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING!our tribute to Anna Magnani in THE GOLDEN COACH and to Alain Delon, making his fourth appearance at Cinema Reborn in LE SAMOURAI



Thanks to generous support from the Australia-Korea Foundation, The Korean Film Archive in Seoul and the Korean Cultural Centre in Sydney there will be special emphasis on Korean Cinema at Cinema Reborn 2024. 


Korean director Im Kwon-taek (b. 1936) made over 100 features in a career made resonant with local box office hits, yet he still broke through local censorship taboos, gained break-out international film festival invitations and received western critical attention for Korean cinema, inspiring South Korea’s current generation of international arthouse film making superstars. 

Our 2024 festival screenings of Sopyonje in Sydney and Melbourne begin a short, follow-up season (in Sydney only) showcasing some of Im’s other key films, Jagko/Mismatched Nose (1980), Ticket (1986) and Festival (1996), as well as the dynamic cinema restoration program of the Korean national film archive KOFA (see Webinar below).   

Full details about Cinema Reborn’s Im Kwon-taek season, screening at Ritz Cinemas, Randwick throughout May coming soon.

Friday 3 May from 2:00 PM AET

Join with the Korean Cultural Centre Sydney for a webinar exploring Im Kwon-taek’s career and the Korean Film Archive (KOFA)’s acclaimed program to restore and give global access to Korean filmmaking heritage. Join us online via https://koreanculture.org.au/, with guests including film critic, academic and Korean cinema expert Russell Edwards, and from Seoul, critic and Oscar-winning Parasite subtitler Darcy Paquet. 

Webinar free, but bookings required. See www.cinemareborn.com.au For more details Webinar presented by the Korean Cultural Centre Sydney. 



For the Ritz bookings for the Sydney season from 1-7 May CLICK HERE

For the Lido for the Melbourne season from 9-15 May CLICK HERE


Charitable Donations

And as always… The Cinema Reborn 2024 page on the website of the Australian Cultural Fund enables our supporters to make a tax-deductible donation. All donations great and small are very welcome. The Australian Cultural Fund page can be found If You Click Here

Monday 25 March 2024

THE BIRTH OF THE NATIONAL FILM & SOUND ARCHIVE - Cabinet Documents published by the Friends of the NFSA




To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), the Friends of the NFSA are publishing the original Cabinet documents recording the creation of the institution on 26 March 1984. Nine days later, on 5 April, Arts Minister Barry Cohen would announce this in Parliament.


The new NFSA took over the film and sound archiving responsibilities, collections and staff that had, until then, been part of the National Library of Australia. The film, television and sound communities had long advocated for separate institutional status and greater resources to protect the nation’s audiovisual heritage, matching the model more commonly followed overseas. Conversely, there were also strong voices favoring retention of the status quo. 


Ray Edmondson, then head of the Library’s Film Section, has never forgotten the fervid atmosphere of the time. “By mid-1983 the issue was looming large in the media and Parliament and moving towards a crisis point. I was among those who favoured creating a separate institution.” 


The new Hawke Government embraced the challenge and determined to establish the NFSA, despite dissenting arguments from the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Finance, the Public Service Board, the National Library and Australian Archives. These are all documented in the Cabinet submission, and make interesting reading today. 


Development of the submission over several months was led by the Prime Minister’s Senior Advisor, Bob Hogg, who recalled: “It was a rather instructive period for myself in observing at close hand the bureaucracy working to thwart the clear objective of the Government. Fortunately, in this case their efforts were not productive.” 


Forty years on, the NFSA’s global stature has amply vindicated that original vision.




The documents can be accessed on the Friends website:  http://www.archivefriends.org.au/images/stories/2024/Cabsub-March-1984.pdf


Further information: 

Contact Friends’ President,  Ray Edmondson  Phone  0413 486 849  Email ray@archival.au  

Sunday 24 March 2024


Just to let you know a few news updates about Cinema Reborn 2024.


First we can report that advance bookings are running ahead of 2023 and already a few audience favourites are emerging. Most notably the Saturday evening sessions of Days of Heaven and Le  Samourai are already, as far as we are concerned, in the ‘selling fast’ category. We always expected they would be the most popular films. 


In Melbourne the Saturday evening session Days of Heaven is going to be introduced by Jake Wilson the film critic for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. In Sydney the Saturday evening screening will be introduced by critic and former director of the Sydney Film Festival Lynden Barber.


The Cinema Reborn 2024 trailer

Once again Organising Committee member and highly regarded young film-maker James Vaughan has produced the trailer for Cinema Reborn’s season. You should see it if you attend the Ritz or Lido Cinemas over the next month or so but if you are curious we have uploaded it to YouTube Click on the link to see what James has done. It’s quite a show in 1 minute and 12 seconds.

The Golden Coach

Italy at Cinema Reborn 2024

Way back in 2021 we had our biggest crowd ever come out to see Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard. Since that time Cinema Reborn has been grateful for the support we’ve received from the Italian Institute of Culture to screen our Italian selections. This year is no different and we are pleased to have two superb films from Italy. One is a remarkable co-production with France La carrozza d’oro/Le carosse d’or/The Golden Coach starring the great Anna Magnani (above) and directed by Jean Renoir. The other is Il Grido/The Cry directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. This year our Melbourne screenings of these two great films are being supported by the Melbourne office of The Italian Institute of Culture


Renoir’s film, a story of a troupe of travelling players in 17th century South America and the mayhem caused when the local Viceroy, the local bullfighter and one of the actors all fall for Anna Magnani’s leading lady Camilla, has been called by Francois Truffaut “the noblest, most refined film ever made…maybe Renoir’s masterpiece.”


Il Grido

Il Grido, made in 1957, was the first of the master’s films to demonstrate the distinctive style and content that would become the signature of his illustrious career. It was the Antonioni film made immediately before he became an overnight sensation with his famous trilogy. Some say that on reviewing today it’s just as good as any of them.  


By some coincidence this will be the second time that both Renoir and Antonioni have had their restored works screened at Cinema Reborn. In our first season we screened Renoir’s The Crime of M.Lange and in 2021 we screened Antonioni’s Le amiche/The Girlfriends.


…and don’t take our word for it

To read a report on Cinema Reborn, here’s what critic Silvi Vann-Wall published about us in  Screen Hub


Charitable Donations

And as always… Cinema Reborn’s work over the years has long been sustained by the generosity of our donors who help us make up the shortfall between our income and the costs of obtaining and screening our program. The Cinema Reborn 2024 page on the website of the Australian Cultural Fund enables our supporters to make a tax-deductible donation. All donations great and small are very welcome. The Australian Cultural Fund page can be found If You Click Here