Celebrating the Australian Film Revival

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

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The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
Fred Schepisi, 1978
Australia | Format: 35mm | 103 minutes

Director Fred Schepisi in person at Friday screening!

Director Fred Schepisi (Roxanne, A Cry in the Dark) made his international breakthrough with this powerfully disturbing adaptation of the Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List). Inspired by true events, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith traces the tragic fate of a boy born to a white father and Aboriginal mother at the turn of the 20th century, who, despite his best efforts to conform to the pressures of white society, spirals towards an explosively violent outburst. Presenting Blacksmith as neither a simple nor blameless victim of oppression, Schepisi’s provocative, gorgeously made film raises large, unresolved questions about oppressed peoples time and the world over. Although a box office disappointment at home, Jimmie Blacksmith achieved widespread acclaim at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival and was ultimately responsible for instigating Schepisi’s prolific Hollywood career.

“A great and tragic national epic—easily the most powerful Australian film ever shown here...You’ll come out of it dazed, knocked about, yet feeling good, like a voyager who has passed through a violent storm and sailed into calmer seas.”
—David Denby, New York

“The film is formally precise and visually stunning, with strange, hollow interiors and eccentric, original wide-screen compositions against brooding landscapes. A complex experience, brewed equally from myth and irony.”
—Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Kodak/Atlab Collection.

Series: Celebrating the Australian Film Revival

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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