THE GODDESS OF 1967Κ

Alice Kavanagh 2003

 

COMMENTS

 

Neither silent or moving

Neither perceivable or imperceptible,
Neither nothing or everything
A state of mystery, paradox, ambiguity
That is what I tried to capture in this film

Clara Law, Director.

γAs moody spectacle, The Goddess Of 1967 is a fascinating, superbly crafted work. It occasionally threatens to turn into a conventional mystery-thriller, but deliberately defuses these expectations ... The Goddess Of 1967 is undoubtably one of the most exciting and groundbreaking Australian movies of the year.δ
Adrian Martin, The Age.

γ Outstandingly original in both conception and realization·. the direction and acting are excellent, and Byrneβs mesmerizing performance as B.G brilliantly inflected and unpredictable. γ
Roderick Conway Morris, International Herald Tribune

 

γThe Goddess of 1967 is touched everywhere by Clara Lawβs wonderful whimsy, her gorgeous cinematic aesthetics, her ability to deal with unlikely characters and her unerring sense of structureδ
Kay Armatage, Toronto Film Festival.

 

FILM DETAILS
 
Specifications

 

RuntimeΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 119 minutes

LanguageΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ English

ColourΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Colour

CertificationΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ MA (Australia)

 

Production Companies

 

New South Wales Film & Television Office

 

Distributors

 

PalaceΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Australia

Fandango ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Italy

Golden Scene ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Hong Kong

Kairos FilmverleihΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Germany

 

Additional Support

 

Panavision Australia Pty Ltd ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Camera equipment

The Australian Film Finance CorporationΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Funding

 

 

Cast and Crew

 

DirectorΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Clara Law

 

WritersΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Eddie Ling-Ching Fong & Clara Law

 

CastΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Rose Byrne as BG (Blind Girl)

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Rikiya Kurokawa as JM (Japanese Man)

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Nicholas Hope as Grandpa

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Elise McCredie as Marie

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Tim Richards as Drummer Boy

 

Executive ProducersΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Wouter Barendrecht

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Akiko Funatsu

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Helen Loveridge

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Peter Sainsbury

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Michael J. Werner

 

ProducerΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Eddie Ling-Ching Fong

 

Original MusicΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Jen Anderson

 

CinematographerΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Dion Beebe

 

EditorΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Kate Williams

 

Casting ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Anousha Zarkesh

 

Production DesignΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Nicholas McCallum

 

Costume DesignΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Annie Marshall

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Helen Mather

 

Assistant DirectorΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Chris Webb

 

Construction CoordinatorΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Geoff Howe

 

Music Score EngineerΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Ross Cockle

 

Dialogue EditorΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Livia Ruzic

 

Post-production AssistantΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Billy Browne

 

Promo Reel EditorΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Laurie Butler

 

Assistant CameraΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Sally Eccleston

 

 

Release Dates

 

Italy ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 2nd September 2000 ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Venice Film Festival

CanadaΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 8th September 2000ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Toronto Film Festival

USAΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 7th November 2000ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Hawaii Film Festival

SwitzerlandΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 21st December 2000ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ (German speaking region)

NetherlandsΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 25th January 2001ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ International Film Festival Rotterdam

ItalyΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 26th January 2001ΚΚΚΚ

Hong KongΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 14th April 2001ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Hong Kong International Film Festival

AustraliaΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 25th April 2001

NetherlandsΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 17th May 2001

Czech RepublicΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 8th July 2001ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Karlovy Vary Film Festival

FranceΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 18th July 2001

BrazilΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 24th August 2001ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ

Hong KongΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 5th September 2001ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Australian Centenary Film Festival

AustraliaΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 5th September 2001ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ (Video Release)

Hong KongΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 13th September 2001

BelgiumΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 19th September 2001

Germany ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ 4th April 2002

 

Box Office

 

Australia- Opened on 5 screens week ending 30/04/01 $31 425

US Gross- $12 677

 

Awards

 

Art Film Festival 2001

Clara Law

Golden Key Award

Best Direction in Art Fiction

 

Chicago International Film Festival 2000

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Clara Law

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Silver Hugo

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Best Director

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ

Tromso International Film Festival 2001

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Clara Law

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Fipresci Award

 

Venice Film Festival 2000

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Rose Byrne

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Volpi Cup

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ Best Actress

ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND FILM RESOURCES

 

Film and Cast Information

 

Official Palace website

http://www.palace.net.au/goddess/goddess.htm

 

Event listings and film info from

http://www.popcorntaxi.com.au/Events.asp?Event_ID=78

 

Event Listing Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion Cinema (VIC) 20/12/2002

http://www.if.com.au/tools/find.taf?fn=detail&id=3299

 

News from In Film Magazine γItalian Producer & Australian Directors Set Up New Film Companyδ 06/03/2002

http://www.if.com.au/tools/find.taf?fn=detail&id=0497

 

Urban Cinefile

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=4792&s=Reviews

 

Internet Movie Database, cast, production, reviews, awards

http://us.imdb.com/Plot?0255195

 

Internet encyclopedia of cinematographers

http://www.beer1.freeler.nl/PaginasDoPh/beebe.htm

 

International Cinematographers guild

http://www.cameraguild.com/

 

Clara Law Biography

http://www.mostradelcinemadivenezia.com/cinema_e.html?main=ENGXYZfiles57XYZgoddess.html

 

Awards info

http://www.artfilm.sk/info2001/awards.html

 

Synopsis and Director information

http://www.artfilm.sk/artfic2001/goddess.htm

 

Director Biography

http://www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/2003/en/person/697.html

 

Cast info on Rose Byrne, Infilm Magazine 14/01/2003, press release

http://www.if.com.au/tools/find.taf?fn=detail&id=3362

 

Interviews

Elise McCredie γClara Law: an impression of permanenceδ in Realtime Arts http://www.realtimearts.net/rt43/mccredie.html

Kathryn Millard, Interview with Clara Law in Senses of Cinema, Issue No. 13, Apr-May 2001
editorial for Issue 13ΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚΚ http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/01/13/law.html

David Stratton, Interview with Rose Byrne, audio file available on sbs website.

http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/interviews.php3?id=24

 

David Stratton, Interview with Clara Law, audio file available on sbs website.

http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/interviews.php3?id=21

 

No author listed, Cast quotes from iF Magazine http://www.if.com.au interviews inΚ

http://www.popcorntaxi.com.au/Events.asp?Event_ID=78

 

No author cited, Interview with Clara Law on Palace films official site

http://www.palace.net.au/goddess/goddess.htm

 

 

Boxoffice

 

Bruce Nash, The Numbers.

http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2001/0GDDS.html

 

Box Office Summary 30/04/2001

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/boxoffice.asp

 

 

Reviews

 

Kay Armatage from Toronto Film Festival

http://www.palace.net.au/goddess/goddess.htm

 

Marcus Chan γthe Goddess of 1967δ 2002

http://www.naturalbornviewers.com/archive/g/goddessof1967/review.htm

 

Mark Deming

http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll

 

Brad Green 07/06/2001

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=4792&s=Reviews

 

Rick Groen γLoves Labouredδ 27/04/2001
http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/movie/MOVIEREVIEWS/20010427/RVGODD

 

Richard James Havis in The Hollywood Reporter

http://www.palace.net.au/goddess/goddess.htm

 

Claus Horn

http://us.imdb.com/Plot?0255195

 

Andrew Howe in Film Written Magazine 09/05/2001

http://www.filmwritten.org/reviews/2001/goddessof1967.htm

http://efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5154

 

Bruce Kirkland γWe don't have faith in this film Goddessδ
Toronto Sun 27/04/2001

http://www.canoe.ca/JamMoviesReviewsG/goddessof1967_kirkland-sun.html

 

Richard Kuipers 07/06/2001

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=4792&s=Reviews

 

Steve Kulak in The New Internationalist

http://www.palace.net.au/goddess/goddess.htm

 

Rob Lowing γGoddess takes a familiar routeδ in The Sun Herald

http://old.smh.com.au/news/0104/29/features/features10.html

 

Tom Lyons γCitroen vehicleβs no lemon, The Goddess of 1967δ in eyeWeekly

http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_04.26.01/film/onscreen.html#1

http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_09.07.00/film/festival.html

 

Adrian Martin in The Age

http://www.palace.net.au/goddess/goddess.htm

 

Roderick Conway Morris γSeeking a Goddess in the Outbackδ in the International Herald Tribune

http://www.palace.net.au/goddess/goddess.htm (excerpt)

http://www.iht.com/IHT/RCM/00/ (full text

 

Carmine Pascuzzi γThe Goddess of 1967δ

http://www.mediasearch.com.au/film/showreview.asp?id=212

 

Richard Phillips γConfused and cold-hearted The Goddess of 1967, directed by Clara Lawδ 30/04/2001

http://wsws.org/articles/2001/apr2001/godd-a30.shtml

 

Margaret Pomeranz

http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/reviews.php3?id=682

 

Megan Spencer

http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/review/film/s286507.htm

 

David Stratton

http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/reviews.php3?id=682

 

Peter Thompson γFilm: The Goddess of 1967δ Sunday Online, Australia 27/04/2001
http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/film_reviews/article_796.asp

 

Andrew L. Urban 07/06/2001

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=4792&s=Reviews

 

 

Fiona A Villella γMaterialism and Spiritualism in The Goddess of 1967δ in Senses of Cinema, Issue No. 13, Apr-May 2001.

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/01/13/goddess.html

 

Andy

http://www.geocities.com/sooguy2001/film_2000/2000_09_08.html

 

Dusteyes 25/04/2001

http://efilmcritic.com/review.php

Linda

http://www.moviepie.com/filmfests/goddess_of_1967.htm

 

Movie Review Query Engine

http://www.mrqe.com/

 

Various user comments from IMDB

http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?0255195

http://us.imdb.com/Plot?0255195

 

 

Film and Cultural Commentary

 

Richard Corliss γThe Girls Night Outδ in Time Europe October 2, 2000, Vol. 156 No. 14

http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2000/1002/festival.html

 

Ross Gibson γThe Nature of Nationδ in South of the West: Postcolonialism and the Narrative Construction of Australia, Bloomington, University of Indiana press, 1992, pg 63-81.

 

Adrian Martin γLetter to Franceδ in Trafic, Issue no.43 (Automne 2002) pg 60-71 June 2001

http://www.otrocampo.com/7/letterfrommelbourne.html

 

Jane Mills γ Prizes and Projections 2001: the features. The struggle for cineliteracyδ

http://www.realtimearts.net/rt45/afi_mills.html

 

Tom OβRegan Australian National Cinema, Routledge, London and New York, 1996

 

Stephen Teo γAutumn Moonδ in Senses of CinemaΚ Jan 2001

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/01/12/autumn.html

 

Stephen Teo γLocal and Global Identity: Whither Hong Kong Cinema?δ in Senses of Cinema 2000

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/00/7/hongkong.html

 

Articles on Hong Kong cinema fromΚ γJump Cut. A review of contemporary mediaδ

http://www.ejumpcut.org/currentissue/szeto/hongkong2.html

 

 

WEB PRESENCE

 

Film information was sourced almost exclusively through the internet with searches resulting in interviews, reviews, critical analysis, promotional information and mentions in cultural and literary works.Κ

 

There was quite an extensive online presence for The Goddess of 1967 (Law 2000), due mostly to itβs release 2000/2001 after the internet became a popular vehicle for promotion and many newspapers and magazines developed web mirrors of their paper selves.Κ It also appeared in articles on film and cultural studies.

 

A search on the Movie Review Query Engine revealed 19 reviews, 11 in English, 4 in French, 2 in German and 2 in Italian.Κ This reveals the international appeal of the film and reflects itβs distribution across the European Art Cinema scene.

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

The Goddess of 1967 (Law, 2000) is a fairly simple story; a Japanese man (JM- Rikiya Kurokawa) comes to Australia to buy his γGoddessδ a 1967 Citroen.Κ When he arrives he finds the owner dead and the car in the possession of a blind girl (BG- Rose Byrne).Κ She says they need to ask the owner if he can have it and so begins a five-day journey into the outback.Κ The car is not only a vehicle for their physical journey but it also allows the film to traverse memories of BGβs past both bitter and sweet through a series of flashbacks.Κ We find that the Goddess is a Ξfamily carβ, once belonging to BGβs grandfather and her aim in this trip is to take revenge on him for the abuse she received as a child. The car itself is also a representation of modernity and for JM, a commodity, a machine of beauty, an object to possess along with his mobile and satellite phones and laptop.Κ It also alludes to JMβs past, like the hero in the French film where he first saw the 1967 Citroen; he is a criminal on the run, having committed some kind of computer fraud.Κ As they progress through this unusual road movie the two protagonists learn to forgive, to trust and eventually to love.Κ This is not a revealing tale in itself, but the way director Clara Law has chosen to tell this story makes for a complex and unique film.

 

This film is undoubtedly an art film, it wasnβt designed to appeal to everyone and this is reflected in its reception. It was released to critical acclaim internationally gaining Rose Byrne a best actress award at the 2000 Venice Film Festival and Clara Law best director at Chicago International Film Festival in the same year.Κ It also received acclaim in Australia from many film critics, however it was not a runaway success at the box office making $31 425 (Aus $) in itβs opening week in Australia and only $12 677 (US $) gross in the U. S.Κ But box office success is not the only criteria in judging a successful film, especially a film that is not made for a mass-market audience. Unlike her earlier films made in Hong Kong there was no ethnic language market to guarantee this film a more extensive penetration into a smaller market. As an English language film made within a medium sized cinema like Australiaβs, it needed to ensure appeal to an international market or flounder.Κ So it emphasised itβs art cinema tendencies and hence did very well in European markets, many of the reviews of the film on the internet were in German, French or Italian and this reflects its distribution across the European Ξart cinemaβ scene. Clara Law tried to make a piece of art, she pushed her techniques towards the experimental and resulting film is by no means flawless and it doesnβt always work, even for the intended audience.Κ Reviews varied wildly often criticising its length, lack of linear narrative, sparse dialogue and emotional distance from the characters, while praising the visual techniques and postmodern sensibilities.Κ However it is a film which has continued to garner interest since itβs initial release, appearing as a reference point for several articles dealing with Australian film culture, chosen as one of the films to be screened in a tour spanning the history of Australian road movies in AFIβs Burning Rubber in 2001, and cropping up in articles discussing both Australian and Hong Kong culture.Κ Made for a worldwide art cinema circuit rather than a local market it is also an excellent example of the continued internationalisation of the Australian film industry.Κ Clara Law is a director who demonstrates emphatically the international melding of cultures Australian cinema has been steadily undergoing since the 1990βs.Κ

 

The Goddess of 1967 (Law, 2000) is Clara Lawβs second film since moving to Australia in 1995 with husband and creative collaborator Eddie Fong.Κ She was born in Macau in 1954, received a degree in English Literature from Hong Kong University before moving to London in 1982 to study film.Κ On her return to Hong Kong she made several films, The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus (Law, 1989), Farewell, China (Law, 1990), Autumn Moon (Law, 1991) and The Temptation of a Monk (Law, 1993) to critical acclaim including several with Fong.Κ Her first Australian feature was Floating Life (Law, 1996), which continued her theme of Chinese diaspora to Australian suburbia.Κ Themes of migration are less explicit in Goddess, but a common thread of individuals trying to find themselves in a strange land continues.Κ Clara Lawβs body of work, though spanning two distinct national cinemas, Hong Kong and Australia, are both concerned with identity and cultural myths of belonging.Κ Through most of her films she is preoccupied with identity in a new country, specifically the Chinese diaspora as in Autumn Moon (Law, 1991) and Floating Life (Law, 1996).Κ In The Goddess of 1967 (Law, 2000) the characters are concerned with similar issues of isolation and dislocation but their journeys are condensed to a migration across the outback.Κ

 

The film is visually spectacular, each shot exquisitely framed.Κ Dion Beebe who Clara Law worked with on Floating Life (Law 1996) was the cinematographer; he was recently awarded an Oscar for his work on Chicago (Marshall, 2001).Κ Born in Brisbane, he relocated to Cape Town in South Africa with his family at the age of 5; he studied film first in Pretoria and then graduated from AFTRS in 1990. Some of the features he has worked on include Praise (Curran 1998), Holy Smoke (Campion 1998), and Charlotte Gray (Armstrong, 2001).

 

Another person who contributed to the films overall success is actor Rose Byrne who won best actress at the Venice film festival for her role in The Goddess of 1967 (Law 2000). She is probably best know in Australia for her role in Two Hands (Jordan) but has also appeared in My Mother Frank (Lamprell, ), and her film debut was in Dallas Doll (Turner).Κ In an interview with David Stratton she explained the process involved in making the film, there was a four week rehearsal period and intense research into playing BG.Κ She explained that the hardest aspect for her was learning to respond to sound cues rather than visual ones and to ensure her facial reactions and movement were unselfconscious, explaining that people blind since birth move differently, unaware of how it appears. By the time they began shooting the film, she said that the physical had become habit.

 

As well as the people who contributed to the filmβs look and feel there were certain techniques that Law used to support her vision. Her use of non-linear narrative, her treatment of sound and background music and the distinctive look of the film all contribute to its complexity and ambiguity.

 

Not least of these was the way different sections of the film are denoted using different colours, Tokyo is overwhelmingly blue and grey, and dreamlike. The scenes with BG and JM in the present utilised bleach bypass on the negative, this transmuted the colour, γcorruptedδ it to use Clara Lawβs expression, resulting in a more intense look and increased contrast.Κ It is a visual representation of the inner world of the characters, a harsh, emotionally distant realm. The high contrast results in scenes where often the two characters seem to stand opposed, one in total light and the other complete shadow further emphasising the emotional distance between them.Κ This technique was not used in the sections set in the past, implying the existence of a moment when there is the possibility of an undamaged BG. The flashbacks were designed as stories in themselves, complete with distinct tonal and colour differences.

 

The Ξstories within a storyβ structure reveals a narrative both linear and non-linear. Linear as BG and JM travel in the Citroen from the city to the outback and also more like a mosaic, jumping through time and space to delve into the characters, we start in Tokyo, move to Australian suburbia and then the Citroen and their journey to the outback, interspersed with flashbacks.Κ This betrays the fact that Clara Law did not intend to make a narrative based film.Κ Indeed the creative process began with the themes she wanted to explore, moved on to the characters and then the story was developed.Κ

 

A film of balance and contrast, the emotional intensity of scenes is balanced by the objective beauty in the camera work and the colour.Κ Like when Grandpa stands on the step of his bus-come-house, glass of red in hand and gives his speech about being able to love all his daughters, revolted by his words you canβt help but be simultaneously amazed by the beauty of the sky.Κ Or when BG at 7 runs from the burning shack where Marie tries to call her back so that they can pay for their sins together, a sickening death with flames leaping in slow motion, again there is a visual feast of horror as the visual intersects with meaning.Κ Sometimes there is a distinct separation of meaning (narrative), vision and sound.Κ Clara Law said that she tried to use sound and music as separate tools from the visual, not always working to towards the same goal at the same time.Κ This is a different approach than what we are used to, traditionally film keeps a more straightforward connection, a γsee explosion, hear boomδ method.Κ It is representative of the experimental aims of the director, lends the film complexity and partially explains the vastly differing responses it received.Κ It explains why some people felt that though the acting was good they felt they couldnβt engage much with the characters, and that the film left them cold.

 

As an Australian film the portrayal of the outback is an interesting one, not only does the landscape make for a beautiful backdrop but it is also a potent Australian symbol.Κ Landscape has several simultaneous and sometimes contradictory meanings throughout this film. This makes for an interesting examination within the tradition of Australian cinema. In the Goddess of 1967 there is both a continuance of the traditional treatment of landscape in Australian film and a departure.

 

There is a contrast between the worlds inside and outside the car.Κ This is shown through the obvious artificiality of the scenes moving beyond the car windows soft and blurred, the characters are trapped within their own emotional worlds.Κ Part way through their journey they each gets out of the car and walks in opposite directions, but both return, JM saying as he gets back into the car, that heβs come home.Κ If the car becomes a home for the both of them then the land they travel through can be seen to represent their homelessness.Κ This reinforces an idea of isolation and abandonment and continues the myth that γ every plot outside the city limits has tended to signify one thing: homelessnessδ (Gibson, 1992) a common use of landscape in Australian film.Κ

 

Just as the landscape and the Goddess are used to contrast the inner and outer worlds of the characters so too it contrasts between the characters themselves. The vast expanse of Australian outback and the machinations of a blue and dreamy Tokyo become a comparison between BG and JM.Κ BG is synonymous with the land, she knows it intimately, and can direct JM sightlessly, laughing when he gets bitten by the lizard, she knows it wonβt poison him and is comfortable in this country, infused with the knowledge of generations. She has connection to it, when threatened as by Drummer Boy or her mothers intimidating god she runs to nature, and is seen clutching a tree, refusing to let go, or sleeping curled foetal at the base of a tree, watched protectively by dingoes.Κ Both are construed as wild passionate, hard and unforgiving.Κ γit (Australian society) can portray itself as marvellous because it has subsisted with all its flaws, in this grand yet unreasonable habitat.δ (Gibson, 1992)ΚΚ This is how we come to see BG, damaged yet admirable, again we can see a traditional use of landscape in Australian film as a way to understand identity, in this instance the personal identity of BG.

 

It is also recalls γancient legends of hellish antipodesδ (Gibson 1992) the outback as a place beyond society where perversion can manifest, as it does in the character of Grandpa, and where belief can warp into sacrifice in Marieβs suicide.Κ This is the attitude of Grandpa, there is no guilt or shame in his incestuous behaviour, and in the godless surroundings of the desert he mines he finds support for his view, or at least no contradiction.

 

What marks this film as distinctive is its treatment of Australian landscape not as a fixed element that functions simply as a realistic setting but its willingness to treat it as a flexible symbol.Κ It is this abstract representation, (through techniques like the bleach bypass and the muted and blurred background when the car is moving), which highlight the mythic role of landscape in the Australian imagination and identity in a way few other films do.Κ The landscape joins other aspects of the film as part of a larger visual puzzle.Κ Maybe it takes a director who migrated here via Hong Kong, with aspirations to art to make a film that represents Australian landscape as the mythic, transmutable and contradictory presence it is.

 

The Goddess of 1967 (Law, 2000) is a fragmented feast.Κ Clara Lawβs uncompromising vision means there is a definite sense of directorial intent at each moment.Κ She melds the elements of her film in a unique way, it can sometimes be a difficult film to grapple with, by no means flawless, at times powerful, tedious, confusing, emotionally distant and elusive, but intriguing none the less.Κ Certain scenes play over in the mind and reaction is no more straightforward than the film itself.Κ Finally it is a unique and brave vision that expands the definition of Australian cinema.Κ

 

 

Filmography

 

Praise Κdir. John Curran, 1998.

Holy SmokeΚ dir. Jane Campion, 1999.

Charlotte GrayΚ dir. Gillian Armstrong, 2001.

The Goddess of 1967Κ dir. Clara Law, 2000.

Chicago Κdir. Rob Marshall, 2002.Κ

Two HandsΚ dir. Gregor Jordan,1999.

My Mother FrankΚ dir. Mark Lamprell, 2000.

Dallas DollΚ dir. Ann Turner, 1994.

The Reincarnation of Golden LotusΚ dir. Clara Law, 1989.

Farewell, ChinaΚ dir. Clara Law, 1990.

Autumn MoonΚ dir. Clara Law, 1991.

The Temptation of a MonkΚ dir. Clara Law, 1993.

Floating LifeΚ dir Clara Law1996.