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Communication / Culture > World / Australia

Film-Work / Menace

Films by John Hughes

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Film-Work / Menace


DVD Price $250

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Disc 1. Film-Work (1981, 43 minutes)
Films created by the Australian Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit (1952-58) constitute a highly significant contribution to an Australian cultural heritage of working class cultural production often overlooked by both film and labour historians. During a period when filmmakers were denied work, because their insights or associations were deemed subversive, the Waterside Workers Federation provided support for the WWF filmmakers to advocate on behalf of trade unions and their members.
Between 1953 and 1958 the Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit made eleven documentary films. Film-Work examines scenes from four of these films and discusses their cultural and historical significance with the film units’ members Norma Disher, Keith Gow and Jock Levy.

Disc 2. Menace (1976, 68 minutes)

The early cold war years in Australia were characterized by attempts to suppress political dissent including banning of the Communist Party. In Menace we see the experience from the perspective of those who defended democratic freedoms.

Director: John Hughes

John Hughes is one of Australia’s most respected documentary (and drama) film directors, his work having won many awards. The films are usually Australian in orientation, examining art, cultural politics and history.  The work is often intensely research driven; the films are serious investigations into their material. Also they have cinematic creative flair.  His credits are numerous, starting in the early ‘70s with short films such as Nowhere Game, through to acclaimed documentaries in the ‘80s such as Film-Work, to the narrative feature What I Have Written in the ‘90s, and onto the recent award-winning documentaries The Archive Project (2006) and Indonesia Calling: Joris Ivens In Australia (2009).

Hughes was honored with Film Australia’s coveted Stanley Hawes Award, for Achievement In Documentary in 2006, and the inaugural Joan Long Award from the Australian and New Zealand Film History Association (2006).

-- Winner, ATOM Awards, 1982.
Finalist, Greater Union Awards, 1982.

Menace – “This openly partisan recollection of Right-wing extremism and security checks, anti-unionism and suppression of anything Left-of-centre, is a timely eye-opener to all who are too young to remember and to many who have conveniently forgotten how close Australia came to emulating the fascism it had recently fought.” - Colin Bennett, The Age, Monday, June 6, 1977.

John Hughes has a unique film style.He layers images and texts using a Dadaist technique to provoke a critical reading of the film.  This makes his films complex to watch because they work outside a familiar film language and do not meet our expectations.  Hughes likes to challenge the viewer on all levels.” – Catherine Gough-Brady, Dox Magazine, Winter 2009.

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