Island - screener

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Film by Paul Cox

Year: 1989, 95 mins
Code: PCO-Island
ISBN: 978-1-921882-83-8

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Island is a film about women and their struggle with fate.

Three women – an Australian (Eva Sitta), a Sri Lankan (Anoja Weerasinghe) and a Greek (Irene Papas) – meet on a Greek island in the Dodecanese.  All are exiles of some kind, escaping from their own personal tragedies.  Their lives become inextricably linked by their common desires and mutual fear of the outside world.  Ultimately it is the island itself and the generosity and warmth of the islanders which leads all three women into revelations about themselves and their place in the world.

Exploring a spectrum of emotions ranging from extreme passion to abject fear, leading to murder, from loneliness to wanton sensuality, this powerful psychological drama confirms Paul Cox’s reputation as a most thoughtful and provocative director.

“Although set in the ancient world of a small island somewhere between Greece and Turkey, Island deals with contemporary issues.

The destruction of individuality in Western society for instance, or the confusion, madness and brutality of the political situation in Sri Lanka.

Island is about arriving and departing, about home and homesickness, about east and west, and of course about love” – Paul Cox

Director: Paul Cox
Producer: Santhana K. Naidu, Paul Cox
Paul Cox
: Michael Edols

Cast: Irene Papas, Eva Sitta, Anoja Weerasinghe

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:
I personally found this film to be an excellent story of three women thrown together by life on a small Greek island. I was very impressed by the acting abilities of all the women and the villagers who played most of the other roles. In this regard, I was especially moved by a scene between some real villagers in their home and Eva. They were not professional actors but they were obviously wonderful people. The film is full of such wonderful moments.

I was also moved by the tender care shown to Eva by a deaf-mute handyman on the island and by the splendid understanding that developed between the three women. The ending was deeply moving.

The music and the cinematography were magnificent. I recommend this film. (8 out of 10)

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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