Daring or Dangerous? Are Co-Productions the Future of Australian Films?

“I don’t know an Australian would have made this film” Andrew Mason (Producer)

I previously watched this film and was completely blown away by the tender provocativeness of the storyline and honest vulnerability of the characters, complemented by the stunning landscape of the NSW coastline. It was unlike any other Australian film I had seen before so I had to do a bit of research on this film. It turns out that Adore (also known as Two Mothers, Perfect Mothers and Adoration) is a French – Australian film that was released at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 (Bodey, 2013). Australians love French cinema which is proven through the success of the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival ,in its 27th year in 2016 and the biggest festival of French films outside of France.

Culturally, France is renowned for their unapologetic romance and passion. Bodey explains that they know how to feel and if you love something, go for it’ (Bodey, 2013). The movie And as the producer Andrew Mason confesses ‘I don’t know an Australian would have made this film.’ The film is based on a short story by British author, Doris Lessing and was directed French director, Anne Fontaine. Yet the film features predominantly Australian actors and is set in Seal Rocks on the coast of Australia. This neat fusion of culture and cinematic ideas, create a hybrid film.

I have previously explored the importance of landscape in Australian films (check it out here), and this film is no exception. Bodey states that the isolation of the location – a small coastal town, plays on the idea that it is an Australian film and apart from a few references to Sydney, could be any coastal town in the world.

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Adore. Source

To co produce with France also offers enormous benefits in audience reach, financial support and box office success. France has an extremely strong and unique film industry. In 2013, ‘270 feature films were produced with a combined expendituare of €1.25 billion’ (Screen Australia, 2014). Along with having a significantly larger budget, France also has a huge cinema watching audience. With a population of 66million and 196.3million annual cinema admissions, France is a strong country to co produce with (Screen Australia 2014). France and Australia have a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) which was signed in 1986 and since then have co produced over 32 productions with a total budget of $265million (Screen Australia, 2014). The Australian minimum is 40% but the French minimum is 20% (Screen Australia, 2014) which illustrates the Australian film industry’s need to exercise tight control over our national industry and identity. The benefits of co producing with France are economically and culturally viable and beneficial to both nations.

Critics have said that co-produced films are ‘oriented towards global agendas and systems’ (O’Regan & Potter, 2013) and we could risk losing our national film identity. They are also concerned that internationalising a national film industry can lead to ‘loss of creative freedom and contribute to film distribution, production, post-production and visual effects also being internationalised’ (O’Regan & Potter, 2013). However, others believe that co productions are the key to the future and success of the Australian film industry, with unique and changing stories that can capture rich appreciate from audiences (Dillon, 2013)

A film like Adore contains significant Australian content, it just has a fresh French squeeze drizzled over it. It seems however, that Australian audiences aren’t ready to embrace such a big change in our national film industry just yet.

 

References

Bodey, M 2013, ‘Sons and lovers unite in French-Australian drama Adoration‘, The Australian, 16 November, viewed 14 January 2016, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/sons-and-lovers-unite-in-french-australian-drama-adoration/story-fn9n8gph-1226759727586

Dillion, J 2013, ‘On Australian Screens’, Scrope Screen Industry Views, Metro, Communication & Mass Media Complete, 176, pp. 112 – 119, viewed 17 January 2016

Screen Australia, 2014 ‘Co-Pro Program Partner Countries Profile: France’, Screen Australia, viewed 14 January 2016, https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/coproductions/partner_countries/france

O’Regan, T Potter, A 2013, ‘Globalisation from within?: The de-nationalising of Australian film and television production’ Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 149, Nov 2013

Parlez-vous français?

French. The language of love. Featuring in T.V shows like Madeline since we were little, kick starting my obsession with everything French. And I know what you’re thinking ‘oh you’re just like every other girl who loves the idea of France and Paris…’ well… I’m different (of course). After visiting Paris 3 times last year, it’s only enhanced my love affair with the City of Lights more. I’m currently studying French at university and one day, want to speak it fluently! So, this is a way for me to a. share with you some reasons that I love the French language and all things French, b. to write some more in my blog, and c. a major form of procrastination (my french exam is next week). So this is what I LOVE about the french language!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvyMG0z0FZY The Music – Carla Bruni is definitely my pick when it comes to French music. Sweet melodies and meaningful lyrics (once you decipher them), I always have her music playing in the background and find myself humming along! If your music style is a bit more upbeat… try Stromae (to party and dance to), or Yelle (the French equivalent to Katy Perry). Listening to French music helps familiarise yourself with certain vocabulary and you sound pretty cool if you can sing a song in another language!

A Jazz band I saw at a Brasserie. The guy playing the trumpet kept taking swigs of something from his flask. Very entertaining!
A Jazz band I saw at a Brasserie. The guy playing the trumpet kept taking swigs of something from his flask. Very entertaining!

The Films – French films are renowned for their romance and quirkiness. Amelie is one of the most well known French films, highlighting the beauty of Paris and French cinema’s unique traits. Les Intouchables is a lovely feel good movie with drama and comedy, Un Secret is about the Nazi Occupation of France and Amour,  a beautiful love story where you’ll use a whole box of tissues.  These French films are some of my favourite and I’d highly recommend them. Watching French films helps you become familiar with the phrases, speed and intonations, all of which you can’t really learn in a classroom. The Drinks – Whilst one would assume that France (Paris) has good coffee, you are seriously mistaken! Instead, don’t miss out on happy hour cocktails! Usually 5 euros and they’re delicious! The more cocktails you drink, the more confident you get in your French speaking skills, an opportunity not to be missed!

Lovely cocktail in my favourite brasserie, Le Chat Noir, Montmartre
Lovely cocktail in my favourite brasserie, Le Chat Noir, Montmartre

The Food – If you order food/drinks in French, you’re waiter will be a million times nicer to you than someone who points at what they want. And if your waiter is nice to you, then the whole experience just becomes delightful! Also, don’t forget to tip! When You’re Lost – The amount of times a bit of basic French helped me get out of sticky situations, losing my way around Montmartre, can’t find the exit in the Metro, and asking how to get to x, has saved me a lot of confusing time! Make sure you scrub up on your directions before going! Les garçons! – And of course don’t forget about the most important reason why you’ll need your French skills up to scratch, the number of cute French guys you’ll see around.

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Some Common Phrases You Might Need

Hello = Bonjour

Goodbye = Au Revoir

I would like = Je voudrais… (you can then point or pronounce what you’d like to order)

Please = S’il vous plaît

Thankyou (very much) = Merci (beaucoup)

The bill please = L’addition s’il vous plaît

I’m lost = Je suis perdu

You’re cute (for the french boys) = Tu es mignon!

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? (just kidding)

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So if those spectacular reasons don’t motivate you to start learning French I don’t know what will?!

Bisous x

A

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My favourite Eiffel Tower picture to date. Taken from the Sacre Coeur, Montmartre