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You Beauties BFI season of New Australian Cinema runs until 27 Feb

You Beauties BFI season of New Australian Cinema runs until 27 Feb

The BFI, YOU BEAUTIES: NEW AUSTRALIAN CINEMA, is a selection of features, shorts and moving-image works coming to BFI Southbank from 3-27 February. The programme curated by ACMI – Australia’s national museum of screen culture – shines a spotlight on new independent Australian cinema in all its diversity: friendly, strange, Blak, queer, bad, mad and beautiful. YOU BEAUTIES: NEW AUSTRALIAN CINEMA is a legacy programme as part of the UK/AU 2021-22 season, a major programme of cultural exchange between the two nations; a joint initiative led by the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This BFI Southbank programme follows on from a season of British films programmed by the BFI, which screened at ACMI in Melbourne in 2022.

(L to R) Sara Klimoska stars as “Nevena” and Anamaria Marinca stars as “Maria” in director Goran Stolevski’s YOU WON’T BE ALONE, a Focus Features release. Credit: Branko Starcevic / Focus Features

YOU BEAUTIES: NEW AUSTRALIAN CINEMA showcases some of the most exciting, innovative and incisive emerging voices in Australian Cinema as chosen by ACMI programmers, with features curated by Ghita Loebenstein, shorts by Treise Armstrong, and a programme of moving image artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, selected by Kate ten Buuren (Taungurung).

ACMI Film Curator, Treise Armstrong, said: “You Beauties: New Australian Cinema and So Called Australia: Blak Art on Film are contemporary programs curated by ACMI, Australia’s national museum of screen culture. Bringing strange, Blak, queer, bad, mad and beautiful features, shorts and moving image works to BFI Southbank, ACMI’s programming provides an unmissable opportunity for UK audiences to sample new and diverse voices in Australian Cinema.”

BFI Head of Programme and Acquisitions, Stuart Brown, said: “After the BFI was provided the opportunity of programming a season of recent British films that reflect the rich complexity of British identity for audiences at ACMI last year, we are delighted to reciprocate in this cultural exchange by giving UK audiences, courtesy of our guest programmers, the chance to explore diverse and emerging voices in Australian cinema”



Starring Noomi Rapace, Goran Stolevski’s visionary debut, YOU WON’T BE ALONE (2022), is gothic, graphic and ferociously feminist folktale. Set and shot in Stolevski’s native Macedonia, this 19th-century tale follows a Wolf-Eateress, or witch, and her young, reluctant progeny, Nevena, who bloodily shapeshifts into the bodies of her prey to experience humanity and inadvertently exact revenge. A matriarchal folklore as horrific as it is mesmerising.

Bruce Gladwin’s SXSW-winning hybrid drama SHADOW (2022) centres on a fiery town meeting between intellectually disabled activists. As they debate the impact of artificial intelligence on their collective identity, they provoke each other’s individualist tendencies. Featuring a cast and crew who mostly live with a disability, Back to Back Theatre’s provocation into AI’s intrusion on disability is an inventive experiment in community-led filmmaking and in AI’s power to ‘other’ us all.

Described as the new Australian ‘mumblecore’, James Vaughan’s FRIENDS AND STRANGERS (2021) is a gleeful, self-effacing contemplation of colonialism, privilege and existential ennui. Alice (Emma Diaz) and Ray (Fergus Wilson) are on a road trip home to Sydney. From salty seasides to glinting Harbour views, the film casually invites us into a beatific corner of white Australia for a deadpan grilling of white privilege.

No one and no topic escape the lash of satirical barbs in Kane Senes and Hannah Barlow’s SISSY (2022), a horror-com splattered with Aussie humour and influencer culture as the key target. The filmfollows Cecilia, the titular Sissy (Aisha Dee), a wellness influencer with a body-count problem who reconnects with childhood friend Emma at a Hen weekend where all filters are off.

Inspired by a journey once taken by writer-director Jub Clerk, SWEET AS (2022) is a dusty coming-of-age road trip that follows a Nyul/Yawuru woman from the Kimberley in Western Australia. Fiercely independent Murra (Shantae Barnes-Cowan) is gifted a photo safari through the remote Australian outback with other at-risk teens, in this wild adventure of friendship, first crushes, and growing up sweetly.


A transformative night out with a stranger alleviates Morgan’s gender-questioning isolation in GEM (2022), Jim Muntisov’s shapeshifting, personal short inspired by the French New Wave. A captivating performance from Zoe Terakes (ELLIE AND ABBIE) anchors Lillian Paterson’s CALL HISTORY (2020), a tale of a new love among the ashes of an old relationship. Dani paints her Nanna’s pergola on a hot Melbourne day in LIME PARFAIT (2022), Pat Mooney’s charming exploration of memory and intergenerational relationships. Chloe de Brito’s PINK REEF (2022) is a visually hypnotic experimental short focuses on an isolated mermaid pondering her identity. In Tanith Glynn-Maloney’s FINDING JEDDAH (2021) two friends audition for the lead role in Jedda, and the chance to leave St Mary’s Home in Alice Springs forever.


Canvassing memory, inheritance and invasion, this programme of shorts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander creatives is a melodic tribute to Indigenous strength and the poetic subversion of colonial amnesia. The selected artists address issues of state-sanctioned violence, child removals, stolen wages, land rights and the reclamation of language and archives.

A man abandons temptation and follows the songs of his Old People in Fiona Foley’s (Batjala) short, OUT OF THE SEA LIKE CLOUD (2019). Christian Thompson (Bidjara) sings back to the silencing of colonisation in DEAD TONGUE (2015). Julie Gough (Trawlwoolway) exposes dark histories by recovering records of stolen children in THE SILENCED (2020). In JAARA NYILAMUM (2021, directors Dr Lou Bennett AM (Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta) & Romaine Moreton (Goenpul Yagerabul Minjungbal Bundjalung) offer healing to the place an Aboriginal baby’s remains were taken from. Directors Natalie Harkin (Narungga), Ali Gumillya Baker (Mirning), Faye Rosas Blanch (Yidniji/Mbarbarm) and Simone Ulalka Tur’s (Yankunytjatjara) film, FOR ALL OUR WOMEN OF THE SUN (2021), is a homage to Aboriginal women who were forced into labour. A dancer contrasts the differing ideologies of the ‘Western’ and ‘Indigenous’ Archive in Daniel Riley (Wiradjuri)’s MULUNMA – INSIDE WITHIN (2021).

Screening as a double bill alongside the Blak Art on Film programme, sample art misfits Soda Jerk’s second feature TERROR NULLIUS (2018), is a blistering, badly behaved, mythological mash-up, a sample-based film which confronts the horrors of Australia’s national mythologies. A political revenge fable that binds canonical interrogation with speculative muckraking, TERROR NULLIUS was commissioned by and premiered at ACMI in 2018. Five years later, its provocation is as dark, hopeful and urgent as ever.

See Also

UK-wide audiences will have the opportunity enjoy a New Australian Cinema themed collection on BFI Player, with a selection of titles available to subscribers and rental titles from the start of February including:

·         The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson (2021, Leah Purcell)     [from 26 Jan]

·         My Name Is Gulpilil (2021, Molly Reynolds)

·         Another Country (2015, Molly Reynolds)

·         Toomelah (2011, Ivan Sen)

·         Beneath Clouds (2022, Ivan Sen)

·         Goldstone (2016, Ivan Sen)

·         Mystery Road (2013, Ivan Sen)