In 2004, Somersault, a drama of youthful coming to terms with life’s challenges, scooped the pool at the Australian Film Institute’s annual awards. It was a melancholy comment on the state of the local industry that no other films could compete with this affecting but scarcely remarkable work. How different the situation will be in 2009.
Whether one film walks off with all the major awards or not, there has not been such a line-up of notable Australian films in a single year since the 1970s revival began with Wake in Fright, now screening to considerable acclaim in a new print. I haven’t seen every Australian film this year, but those I have suggest it is an annus mirabilis. Run your eye over this list: Mary & Max, Samson & Delilah, Disgrace, Blessed, My Year Without Sex, Bastardy, The Cedar Boys, Last Ride, Beautiful Kate and Balibo. Any one of these deserves serious notice; taken as a job lot, they are extraordinary.