Penelope - screener

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Year: 2009-2011, 80 mins
Code: APR-Penelope
ISBN: 978-1-922007-00-1

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The film is a lyrical treatment of Homer’s tale of Penelope, depicting her psychological struggle as she waits twenty years for her husband to return from the Trojan War.
It draws on the long-take filmmaking style of film directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky (The Mirror), Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) and Bela Tarr (Werckmeister Harmonies). Director Ben Ferris and Director of Photography James Barahanos also embrace this style in their short films Ascension and The Kitchen.
In Ferris’ mythical tale of Penelope, the technique is used as a dramatic device that experiments with time and space to build the tension and sense of nostalgia experienced by the waiting heroine. Penelope presents performances that have been choreographed to a hauntingly beautiful score by renowned film composer Max Richter (Shutter Island, Stranger Than Fiction, Waltz With Bashir).
The film premiered at the 4th One Take Film Festival in Zagreb Croatia as the Opening Night film, following in the footsteps of Alexander Sukurov’s long-take masterpiece Russian Ark which opened the inaugural festival in 2003. Penelope screened at the 56th Pula Film Festival in 2009 and was awarded the Van Gogh Award for Best Fantasy Film at the 2010 Amsterdam Film Festival. Ben has previously won awards for his one-take short films, winning the Grand Prix at the 2004 One Take Film Festival and the Grand Prix at the Inaugural Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Festival in Tokyo in 2005.

Penelope, starring Natalie Finderle in the lead role and Croatian actor Frano Maškovic as Odysseus, is the first Australian-Croatian co-production.

Language: Croatian (with English subtitles)

Rated: MA 15+



Ben Ferris is an Australian film writer/director who has won major international awards, including the Grand Prix at the Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Festival in Tokyo, Japan for his short film "The Kitchen" (2003) and the Grand Prix at the One Take Film Festival in Zagreb, Croatia for his short film "Ascension" (2004). He has written and directed the feature film "Penelope" (2009) which screened in National Competition at the 56th Pula Film Festival and the doco-drama feature "57 Lawson" (2016) which was given 4/4 stars by The Age, and listed as a Top 5 Film by the Sydney Morning Herald.


“Hypnotic, moody, melancholy and very beautiful, Ferris’s Penelope sits somewhere between art gallery installation, experimental film and box office”, Rosalie Higson, The Australian, Australia

“a film that warrants patient attentiveness to yield its subtleties and pleasures”, Keith Gallasch, Realtime Magazine, Australia

“Blurring the lines between dreams and reality, as well as the boundaries separating the past, present and future, Ferris creates an immersive world, which succeeds in transporting the audience into the anguished headspace of the female protagonist”, Cara Nash, Filmink Magazine, Australia

“Ferris gives the Penelope of Homer a new meaning, closer to contemporary female roles: the woman who tends the bow and faces misery with her own arrows, without losing sensitivity and the longing to be loved”, Melissa Navarro, Mexican Film, Mexico

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