Traps - screener

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Film by John Hughes

Year: 1985, 96 mins
Code: JH-Traps
ISBN: 978-1-921895-16-6

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In 1983 the Hawke Labor government came to power, establishing an administration of 'consensus' and was re-elected in '85. Carolyn Howard plays a fictional journalist pursuing investigative political stories through actual tally rooms and newsrooms, meeting journalists, politicians and artists. Evoking histories of the Cold War and the events of November 11, 1975, Traps is a provocative blend of fact and fiction, news and disinformation, conspiracy theory and the packaging of politics.

Director: John Hughes
Writers: Paul Davies, John Hughes

Cast: Paul Davies, Carolyn Howard, Gwenda Wiseman (as herself)

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).

Paul Davies graduated from UQ in 1972 with a BA (Hons) and MA in English Literature, and two years later trained as a script editor at Crawford Productions, where he arrived in time to witness the killing of Homicide and the birth of many Sullivans. He has since written for a dozen different drama series, including Stingers, Blue Heelers, and Something in the Air. Two plays, Storming St. Kilda by Tram (Currency Press) and On Shifting Sandshoes, received Awgies (Australian Writers Guild Awards), as did Return of the Prodigal, an episode of the ABC series, Something in the Air. Storming Mont Albert by Tram was first produced by Theatre Works, and was performed on many trams for more than a decade in both Melbourne and Adelaide, helping to pave the way for other site-specific plays, including: Breaking up in Balwyn (1983) on a riverboat, Living Rooms (1986) in a family mansion, and Full House/ No Vacancies (1989) in a former boarding house. Paul was a foundation member of Theatre Works, and co-director of the celebrated low budget short drama Exits, 50 minutes, 1981. He has worked on a number of John Hughes’ projects.


Invited Mannheim & Tyneside Film Festivals 1985,
Theatrical release Melbourne/Sydney/Perth/Hobart

"Traps… explores with deadly accuracy the political atmosphere in Australia today… (Traps) has probed its subject just about as far as it can go.” David Statton, Variety, June 1985

“Traps encourages us to question, not the truth of the story, but its provenance, relevance, purpose and pleasure… Traps is not so much an exposé, more an essay on the rhetoric of telling secrets.”  Tim Rowse, Filmnews, February-March 1986

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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