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Friday Night Spotlight - Australian Cinema
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Australian Cinema

The popular TCM franchise Friday Night Spotlight continues in May with an examination of the film industry in Australia, where pioneering efforts in cinema began in the late 1800s and continues to flourish today. Our festival concentrates on Australia's New Wave movement of the 1970s and '80s, during which many strikingly photographed films focused on survival of one type or another amid harsh yet beautiful landscapes. The series is hosted by two-time Oscar®-nominated Australian actress Jacki Weaver, best known for her Academy Award®-nominated performance in 2010's Animal Kingdom and her role in 2012's Silver Linings Playbook. Each Friday night Weaver will introduce the first three films from her native land.

The "Spotlight" contains no less than 10 TCM premieres from major Australian auteurs working in a great variety of genres. They include Gillian Armstrong (Starstruck, 1982, a frothy musical), Jane Campion (An Angel at My Table, 1990, a poetic biopic of author Janet Frame), Fred Schepisi (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, 1978, a powerful drama about racism), Bruce Beresford (Don's Party, 1976, an edgy comedy), Phillip Noyce (Newsfront, 1978, an absorbing docudrama about newsreel photographers) and Ken Hannam (Sunday Too Far Away, 1975, a naturalistic study of sheep shearers).

A salute to American-born, Australian- raised filmmaker Mel Gibson includes four films from his early Australian period as an actor including an early success in Tim (1979, also a TCM premiere), in which Gibson plays a mentally challenged young man; and the movie that helped turn him into an international superstar, Peter Weir's romantic thriller The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). Weir is also represented by four movies from the 1970s including his breakthrough films Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), a drama about schoolgirls falling under the influence of a mystical location; and The Last Wave (1977), a study of the interactions between Aboriginal and European cultures that features Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil in a leading role.

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