When a man discovers a golden braid hidden inside an antique he has purchased, he becomes obsessed with the fantasy of a love affair from time passed and the woman he imagines the braid belonged to.
Director: Paul Cox
Producer: Santhana K. Naidu, Paul Cox, Paul Ammitzboll
Writer: Paul Cox, Barry Dickins
Cinematographer: Nino Gaetano Martinetti
Cast: Chris Haywood, Gosia Dobrowolska, Paul Chubb, Norman Kaye
Born in Holland and settled in Melbourne since the mid-‘60s, Paul Cox is an auteur of international acclaim, having received numerous international awards. He is one of the most prolific makers of films in Australia, with numerous features, shorts and documentaries to his name. He is the recipient of many special tributes and retrospectives at film festivals across the world, including a major retrospective at the Lincoln Centre in New York in 1992.
His films of the early and mid ‘80s – Lonely Hearts (1981), Man of Flowers (1983), and My First Wife (1984) – were highly acclaimed both locally and internationally.
Man of Flowers premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984, and went on to win Best Film at the 1984 Valladolid Film Festival as well as Best Foreign Film at the 1991 Warsaw Film Festival.
Cactus premiered in Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 and Vincent won the Jury Prize at the 1988 Istanbul International Filmdays.
A Woman's Tale won the Grand Prix at the 1992 International Flanders Film Festival in Ghent and Exile screened in competition at the 1994 Berlin International Film Festival.
More recently, Cox's highly acclaimed feature Innocence (2000) won massive audience and critical acclaim, including Best Film and the People's Choice Award at the 2000 Montreal World Film Festival; and 5 Australian IF awards including Best Film, Independent Filmmaker of the Year for Paul Cox, and Best Actress for Julia Blake.
Cox’s career continues currently, with features such as Human Touch (2004) and Salvation (2008).
Quoting IMDb: If you are not familiar with Paul Cox's works such as Man of Flowers and Cactus, this film might be too hard to digest. Setting up the familiar Cox scenario of an emotionally insecure and reclusive protagonist dealing with an obsession, the film follows the introverted life of an antique clock shop owner and repairer, Bernard (played by Cox regular Chris Haywood) who finds a braid of hair in a clock. This sets off a series of events in which Bernard becomes 'entagled' with the braid on a number of levels much to the confusion of his lover. The film is loosely based on a Guy de Maupassant story called Le Chevelure but this is very much Cox's rendition on obsession. Cox's direction, as usual, is detached, allowing Haywood to invest Bernard's character with a subtle depth that avoids histrionics. Despite being an Australian film, the tone is very much of a European art-house film but more offbeat.
Paul Cox is one of the most important filmmakers to come out of Australia ... he is a filmmaker of incredible energy, persistence and vision - all qualities which are crucial to survive as a filmmaker. He is also uncompromising in fulfilling his vision which is almost always achieved with comparatively small budgets of about $1 million. As a director, he has an ongoing screen relationship with many of Australia's greatest actors. The themes in his films - isolation, faith, hope, love, survival - remain the same and reoccur over and over, but above all else his films are about human frailty ...
Philip Tyndall, "Paul Cox - Filmmaker", Senses of Cinema
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