Guest Column: Three Australian Movies You Need To See By Convent Guilt’s Ian Belshaw

Here are three movies show down under, set in Australia, that have become cult classics in that country

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After Dustin Boltjes of Skeletonwitch contributed a column on must-see horror flicks, we decided to open the topic up to the members of other bands. Why? Well, in addition to loving music and literature, we’re huge movie buffs and feel maybe your life could similarly benefit from a big screen broadening.

So here for you now is a new column written by Convent Guilt singer and bassist Ian Belshaw; the band’s from Australia, and so are the following movies.

The seminal Australian biker film, it features a bunch of generally unknown local actors and a supporting cast of hot bikes and Sydney scenery. This movie became something of an alternative culture classic. The dialogue is often so cheesy it’s hilarious and the acting will never win awards. But the whole thing is just so heavy and honest.

A killer soundtrack featuring Doug Parkinson propels the whole thing speeding down the freeway like the legendary biker funeral featured early in proceedings. Being the ‘70s, you get that brilliant grainy colour which just adds to the atmosphere. Anyone wanting to see how beautiful Sydney and its surrounds can be should give “Stone” a ride.

War films, when done properly, transcend mere tales of conflict. They become explorations of human interactions, of responses to turmoil and bravery in the face of insurmountable odds. They also hold a mirror to a nation’s identity and consciousness. “Gallipoli” does this and more. The landing at Gallipoli is probably the most decorated and eulogized incident in Australia’s young history. Basing a movie on this event was a risky task, but in the hands of Peter Weir it is sensitively and carefully done.

There’s quite a bit of back story rather than just blood and guts on the front line — and being the early ‘80s we’re not dealing with ultra-violence just yet. To be honest, that makes it all the more powerful. Well worth checking out for anyone wanting a strong story that runs deep to the heart of a nation.

Wake In Fright
This is probably the ultimate Australian cult film that has grown in importance and reverence with time. It wasn’t exactly a smash hit when released in the early ‘70s, but with time has been hailed as a groundbreaker in Australian cinema.

The story isn’t too complicated (school teacher goes to the outback and things turn nasty) but the emphasis here is on the atmosphere. It’s not a horror film in the typical sense, but there is a real sense of unease and discomfort that is plain for all to see. The movie features a who’s who of Australian actors from the time and a star turn from the rugged outback landscape.

“Wake In Fright” is a tough and brutal movie dealing with isolation and its effects on the human psyche. It sure had an effect on Convent Guilt, our image and our lyrics.

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