What I Have Written - screener

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What I Have Written

Film by John Hughes

Year: 1996, 98 mins
Code: JH-What
ISBN: 978-1-921895-12-8

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She knows this much. Her husband is lying in a coma. He is not expected to recover. She is reeling from the shock of reading his unpublished novella. The text reveals to her a life betrayed. A startling revelation. The story of a man at the end of a loveless marriage. His intensely erotic association with another woman. Fiction and reality have become indistinguishable, and yet she determines to somehow unravel this mystery. Her husband's colleague gave her the manuscript ... can he shed any light on the affair?

The film includes a number of extras, including writer and director commentary, cast commentary, commentary from cinematographer Dion Beebe, cinema trailer and stills gallery.

Director: John Hughes
Writer:  John A. Scott
Cast:  Martin Jacobs, Gillian Jones, Jacek Koman, Angie Milliken

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).

John A. Scott is the author of fourteen books of poetry and prose. His works have been published in the USA and the UK and have appeared in French, German and Dutch translation.

He has received Victorian Premier's prizes for both poetry (St Clair, 1986) and fiction (What I Have Written, 1994). The film version of What I Have Written, for which he wrote the screenplay, was selected for competition at the 1996 Berlin and Stockholm Film Festivals and was winner of the International Mystery Film Festival in Bologna. The script received an AFI nomination and an AWGIE award for best screenplay adapted from another source.

Scott's Selected Poems (1968-90) appeared in 1995. His sequence of five short novels, Before I Wake, was shortlisted for the NBC Banjo and the Miles Franklin awards and the Victorian Premier's Prize.

His novel The Architect (2001), was shortlisted for the 2002 Miles Franklin Literary Award, and for the 2002 Adelaide Festival Award for Literature (Fiction). His Warra Warra: A Ghost Story, was published in 2003.


Winner, Best Film, Mystfest, Italy, 2006.
Winner, Best Feature Film – Adaptation (John A. Scott), AWG Awards, 1996.
Winner, Best Cinematography (Dion Beebe), Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, 1997.
Nominated, Golden Bear Award, Berlin International Film Festival, 1996.
Nominated, Bronze Horse Award, Stockholm International Film Festival, 1996.

“What I Have Written is an exceptional film in the annals of Australian cinema.” Cinephilia.net.au

“…visually and narratively compelling…” Joshua Smith, OZ Cinema.com, 1998.

“What I Have Written conjures, marvelously, but with a lethal undertone, a story about storytelling. Yet this is what the film prompts me to ask: Is the cinema, for all the flickering ephemerally of its images, itself thin air? And is there some “real” that exists before, and outside of, the cinematic experience?… At its most exciting, the cinema can generate new relationships that turn upside down all our predictable ways of conceiving time and presence. It does this not through representing ideas, but through an enactment, through apprehending the senses, through the matter of cinema. What I Have Written does this sensationally through conjuring, out of thin air, something that matters.” – Lesley Stern, “Severed Intensities”, Cinema Papers, February 1996.

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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