The 17th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK 2012), commencing on December 7, will showcase five movies of the most acclaimed Australian director Paul Cox. Paul Cox has been into film-making for the past 47 years, directing 39 films, producing 14, editing and acting in seven, and handling the camera for four. He has also penned for 27 movies.

The films of Cox shortlisted for the Festival are Innocence (2000), Salvation (2008), A Women’s Tale (1991), My First Wife (1984), and Man of Flowers (1983).

The director’s favourite themes are isolation, faith, hope, and love. Extracting the best from his actors, Cox has been acclaimed for his use of simple shots and the importance given to music in his films. Innocence, one of the commercial hits of 2000, is about a couple who were lovers in their youth. Years later they rekindle their lost love .The female lead in the movie, Julia Blake, won two best actor awards at the IF (Inside Film) Awards and at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.

The theme of the film Salvation was inspired by what Cox saw late night on television — an evangelist asking for money for a facelift. The film revolves around Barry, an aged scholar married to a tele-evangelist. Barry gets into a relationship with Irina, a Russian immigrant and a woman of fallen character.

A Woman’s Tale is a film on the last days of an ailing cancer victim. The old woman’s role was played by Sheila Florence, who coincidently was a cancer patient at the time of shooting. Many critics opine that she was living the role rather than playing it. She passed away in a few years after receiving the 1991 Australian Film Institute Awards for the Best Actor.

Cox’s 96-minute film, My First Wife, is on the collapse of a ten-year marriage between John, a musician and his wife, Helen. The film invites attention to the future that we offer to our children. The film, co-written by Cox, had won the award for the best screenplay in 1984.

Man of Flowers has Norman Kaye in the lead, playing an aged eccentric man. According to him, the only three real beautiful things in life are collecting art, collecting flowers, and watching beautiful women undress. The film had fetched the best film award and the award for the best actor in lead at the AFI Awards of 1983.

With such a selection from Cox’s repertoire, the audience is expected to get a chance to understand the complexities of human nature and experience the genius of Paul Cox.

Keywords: IFFK 2012


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