Long time Collingwood Football Club supporter David Williamson adapted his own play The Club for the cinema in the late 70s. It was an interesting time for Aussie rules footy, as it was in a state of flux having moved from a semi-professional state, where most of the players had day jobs, into a modern, professional and franchised structure. The Australian Football League of today is a very different place to what’s depicted in The Club, but cleverly Williamson uses a device to drive the film that resonates today.
After paying a high price for a new football recruit from Tasmania (John Howard) who doesn’t perform well, the club’s devout Coach (Jack Thompson) looks set for a fall after a long, glittering career. The back room arguments are rife, as everyone is equally passionate and equally ‘right’ about the future of the club. Also, the players refuse to just stand by and watch.
The President (Graham Kennedy) gets himself into a tricky situation with a stripper and knives are drawn as various board members scheme behind his back. A pressure cooker effect causes tempers to flare and the loyalty of everyone involved is pushed to the limit for the club they love. –Dungog Film Festival
Perhaps the least lionized of the Australian New Wave filmmakers, Bruce Beresford has developed a reputation for drawing extraordinary performances from his actors, as well as enjoying great success making stage plays work on film. Much-acclaimed for historical dramas of social and moral conflict, he surprisingly first made his name with low comedy, delighting in juvenile scatology that horrified critics while regaling the Australian public. Though he had always wanted to make films, he had to leave his native country to do so, and when England proved inimical, he applied for and got a job as a film editor (and sometime cameraman) in Nigeria, remaining there until the Nigerian civil war broke out in 1967. Returning to England, he secured a position as a films officer for the Production Board of the British Film Institute, but on a visit to Australia in 1971, he found its film community in a state of high excitement over the formation of the Australian Film Commission. Within a matter… read more