David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema – A Watch List

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Every Sunday evening, for the last few weeks, I’ve been live-tweeting along to David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema (you can revisit the threads here: episode 1 / episode 2 / episode 3).

While the theatrical cut played at the BFI London Film Festival back in 2016 (and again at a London Australian Film event in 2017), only now has the full, three-part documentary series – produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – finally got an airing on BBC Four in the UK. If you missed it, you can catch up via BBC iPlayer where it will remain for the next twelve months.

In the series, David Stratton – Australia’s leading British-born film critic and long-standing fixture of the Sydney Film Festival (for which he served as director from 1966-1983) – presents a fascinating and jolly (if, understandably patchy) jaunt through Australian cinema, with episodes themed around ‘Game Changers’, ‘Outsiders’, and ‘Family’.

In conversations about the series on social media, quite a few people have lamented the fact that – unlike other shows of this ilk – the BBC have elected not to show a relevant film after each episode. Others have noted that Stratton’s documentary has given them a whole new bunch of films to add to their watch-lists, especially since the UK remains on lockdown due to Covid-19.

So, without further ado, and to help you on your way to (re)discovering some of the delights that Australian cinema has to offer, here is my brief round-up of how British audiences might go about tracking down some of the films featured in the series.

The films below are listed in the order they are featured in each episode, and I’ve only included films that are covered in some detail. For everything else, I’d direct you to JustWatch.com, but if that doesn’t help, you can leave a comment for me below or get in touch via Twitter and I’ll see what I can find.

DS-ep1

A readable version of my Twitter thread relating to the following films, and the rest of Episode 1 of David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema can found on Threadreader.

Strictly Ballroom (d. Baz Luhrmann, 1992)
Available to buy or rent via iTunes

Romeo + Juliet (d. Baz Luhrmann, 1996)
Available via various SVOD platforms

Moulin Rouge (d. Baz Luhrmann, 2001)
Available via most SVOD platforms

The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie (d. Bruce Beresford, 1972)
Available to buy or rent via Amazon (or FREE with Prime)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (d. Peter Weir, 1975)
Available via BFI Player (subscription – free trial available)

Breaker Morant (d. Bruce Beresford, 1980)
Available via iTunes/YouTube/Google Play

Crocodile Dundee (d. Peter Faiman, 1986)
Available via Netflix/NowTV (subs) and major SVOD platforms

Jedda (d. Charles Chauvel, 1955)
Available on (all region) DVD via Umbrella
<Not available digitally in the UK>

Samson & Delilah (d. Warwick Thornton, 2009)
Available to rent or buy via iTunes

Turkey Shoot (d. Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1981)
Available via Shudder (subs – free trial available)

Mad Max (d. George Miller, 1979)
Available via most SVOD platforms

Mad Max: Fury Road (d. George Miller, 2015)
Available via most SVOD platforms

My Brilliant Career (d. Gillian Armstrong, 1979)
Available on Criterion Collection (UK) Blu-ray
<Not available digitally in the UK>

Shine (d. Scott Hicks, 1996)
Available on DVD/Blu-ray via Art Haus (Germany)
<Not available digitally in the UK>

 

DS-ep2

A readable version of my Twitter thread relating to the following films, and the rest of Episode 2 of David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema can found on Threadreader

Muriel’s Wedding (d. PJ Hogan, 1994)
Available on most SVOD platforms

They’re A Weird Mob (d. Michael Powell, 1965)
Available on YouTube/Google Play/iTunes/AppleTV

Ten Canoes (d. Rolf de Heer / Peter Djiggir, 2013)
Unavailable (but going cheap at CEX)
<Not available digitally in the UK>

The Overlanders (d. Harry Watt, 1946)
Streaming on Amazon OR available on DVD/Blu-ray via Network

The Man From Snowy River (d. George T. Miller, 1982)
Available on various SVOD platforms

Australia (d. Baz Luhrmann, 2008)
Available on various SVOD platforms

Wake in Fright (d. Ted Kotcheff, 1971)
Available on SVOD platforms OR DVD/Blu-ray via Eureka

Evil Angels [aka A Cry in The Dark] (d. Fred Schepisi, 1988)
Unavailable (but going cheap at CEX)
<Not available digitally in the UK>

Walkabout (d. Nicolas Roeg, 1971)
Available via BFI Player/Amazon OR limited edition Blu-ray via Second Sight

Bran Nue Dae (d. Rachel Perkins, 2009)
Available to rent or buy on iTunes

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (d. Stephan Elliott, 1994)
Available on YouTube/Google Play/Amazon

 

DS-ep3

A readable version of my Twitter thread relating to the following films, and the rest of Episode 3 of David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema can found on Threadreader

The Castle (d. Rob Sitch, 1996)
Available on Blu-ray import (also currently on YouTube)

Rabbit Proof Fence (d. Phillip Noyce, 2003)
Available on iTunes or Amazon

The Devil’s Playground (d. Fred Schepisi, 1976)
Available to rent or buy on YouTube or Umbrella (Vimeo on Demand)

Romper Stomper (d. Geoffrey Wright, 1992)
Available on various SVOD platforms (or FREE on Amazon Prime)

Head On (d. Ana Kokkinos, 1998)
Available on Netflix (subs – free trial available)

Innocence (d. Paul Cox, 2000)
Available via ArtFilms (Vimeo on Demand)

Lantana (d. Ray Lawrence, 1999)
Unavailable (but going cheap at CEX)

Animal Kingdom (d. David Michôd, 2010)
Available via various SVOD platforms

Snowtown (d. Justin Kurzel, 2011)
Available via various SVOD platforms

Chopper (d. Andrew Dominik, 2000)
Available to rent or buy via Amazon

The Story of the Kelly Gang (d. Charles Tait, 1906)
Currently available on YouTube

Ned Kelly (d. Gregor Jordan, 2003)
Available on Netflix (subs) and various SVOD platforms

Newsfront (d. Phillip Noyce, 1978)
Available on region-free DVD from Blue Underground (US)

 

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If David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema has given you a taste for film-related documentaries, here’s a (very) small list of related films that are readily available to stream for UK viewers:

A Century of Australian Cinema [aka 40,000 Years of Dreaming] (d. George Miller, 1996)
George Miller (Mad Max, Happy Feet) takes us on a whirlwind ride through Australian film history in this 68-minute documentary made as to celebrate the ‘Centenary of Cinema’.
Available on BFI Player

Gulpilil: One Red Blood (d. Darlene Johnson, 2002)
A documentary portrait of one of Australia’s finest actors, David Gulpilil (Walkabout, Rabbit Proof Fence, Charlie’s Country).
Available to rent or buy from Ronin Films via Vimeo on Demand

Following the Rabbit Proof Fence (d. Darlene Johnson, 2002)
Behind the scenes on one of Australia’s most important feature films.
Available on YouTube

The Kids are Alright [Australian Story] (ABC TV, 2019)
A short documentary outlining how the life and career/s of PJ Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding) and Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof, The Dressmaker), two of Australia’s most prominent filmmakers, has been affected by autism.
Available on Facebook Videos

The Madness of Max (d. Gary McFeat/Tim Ridge, 2015)
Feature-length documentary about the making of Mad Max (1979).
Available on various SVOD platforms

Not Quite Hollywood (d. Mark Hartley, 2009)
Subtitled ‘the wild, untold story of Ozploitation!’, this documentary offers a breakneck spin through Australia’s tax break-inspired boom in exploitation cinema in the 1970s and 80s.
Available on Amazon/iTunes


David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema will be available on BBC iPlayer until May 2021, and you can read my Twitter thoughts via Threadreader – episode 1 / episode 2 / episode 3 – and join in the conversation via #StrattOnBBC

UPDATED: 24 August 2020

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