Why I Love…

Back in the mid 90’s when I lived in Louisville, KY, one of the local video stores still carried a pile of Aussie films. I was able to indulge in “Efficiency Expert”,  “Flirting”   & other greats from catalogs of the  likes of John Waters etc.

I took home “Newsfront” one night on the theory that Bill Hunter was worth a watch & Bryan Brown is generally reliable watching.  It starts off with WWII era news reels in B&W.  My strongest memory was getting to a point with fireworks & realizing it had changed to colour a la Wizard of Oz.  Out of curiosity I rewound the VHS (yes, really) & realized that change had occurred 20 minutes prior & I was so interested in the story I hadn’t noticed.  Seriously.

It’s remarkable for a few things. Chris Haywood’s breakthrough performance is a thing of wonder & required watching. There’s a scene of his I’ll discuss all day with anyone who’s viewed it.  And all through it, the always remarkable & reliable Wendy Hughes more than holds her own against the boys. It’s a helluva cast. Just read those names again. Toss in Gerry Duggan. Angela Punch. Gerard Kennedy.  An Australian acting Hall of Fame.

She was brilliant in that & so many more groundbreaking roles.Maybe some have not stood the test of time but in perspective for when they were made so so brave. And always Wendy taking on a challenge. So funny and beautiful & smart and matter of fact.  I think of her as the first woman of Australian film & always will. She paved the way for the likes of Cate Blanchett & Rachel Griffiths & so many strong women artists.

Watch “Not Quite Hollywood” to hear her contribute about the early rough days of cinema down under. Drink in “Careful He Might Hear You” like bourbon on a hot day & immerse yourself in discomfort.  And  see an actress make you feel sympathy for a seemingly unlikable human. Heck, watch an ep of “Snowy River” to see her & Guy Pearce flirt & joke & act circles around the material.

You hear words like classic, legend, etc to the point where they lose meaning. She was really truly one of a kind. I’m sorry she was never as known over here. She’s always been a favourite of mine & will remain so. I will recommend her films to anyone interested in cinema in any way.
She should be honoured and remembered for the hero she is. For the ground she broke for strong women and the voice she gave them in Australia and in the arts and throughout the world.

She was a talent to be reckoned with & remembered. A wife, partner, mum, grandma, friend and much more than we knew.

Good Night, Wendy. I’ll  miss you.  the arts will miss you. Peace to you and all who loved you.


~ by ShortFilmSunday on March 8, 2014.

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