AUSgust – The First Annual Australian Film Month is Here!

One of the key goals of The Curb is to help add to the conversation of Australian culture. The biggest slice of Australian culture that we’re most passionate about here is Australian cinema.

That’s why for the month of August, we’re launching AUSgust: a month dedicated solely to Australian films. With thirty one different themes to pick from, and an endless array of great Aussie films to dig into, AUSgust aims to broaden the scope of Australian cinema and get folks digging into a new Australian film every day.

Everything from the work of Rolf de Heer, to the deep catalogue of Australian horror films, to the best Aussie films of the 21st Century, there’s something for everyone.

Make sure to keep up with the conversation with the hashtag #AUSgust on social media. Join in the facebook group where daily discussions will take place.

The list of themes and a few suggested films can be found below:

1st – Indigenous Directors
2nd – Rolf de Heer
3rd – Let’s Blow Some Shit Up! – Action Films
4th – Ben Mendelsohn
5th – In Cinema Now!
6th – Out of This World – Sci-Fi Films
7th – Outback
8th – Crooks and Criminals
9th – Charles Chauvel
10th – Kids Flicks
11th – AFI/AACTA Award Best Picture Winners
12th – Jack Thompson
13th – Documentary
14th – Sex! Grab a Cherry Ripe
15th – Brian Trenchard-Smith
16th – Toni Collette
17th – Howzat! Sports Films
18th – Nicole Kidman
19th – Australian History
20th – Nature Fights Back
21st – Comedy: Cracking Yarns
22nd – Murder!
23rd – Token Hollywood Actor
24th – Women Directors
25th – War!
26th – Made in Australia
27th – Hugo Weaving
28th – Shock Your Jocks Off – Horror
29th – Top 25 Aussie Films of the 21st Century
30th – David Gulpilil
31st – The Aussie New Wave Era

1stIndigenous Directors

Suggested Films: Bran Nue Dae, Sweet Country, Beneath Clouds

Australia has already had a new wave period, but one could point to the work of Warwick Thornton, Ivan Sen, Rachel Perkins, Deborah Mailman, Richard Frankland, Leah Purcell, Adrian Wills, and Wayne Blair, as the start of a new new wave – the Indigenous New Wave. Films like Bran Nue Dae, Stone Bros., The Sapphires, Goldstone, and Sweet Country all usher in indigenous stories that Australia has never truly been witness to before. Not only do these films have indigenous directors, but they also tell uniquely indigenous stories that needed to be told.

Nobody other than Rachel Perkins, Warwick Thornton, or Ivan Sen, could have told the stories in Bran Nue Dae, Sweet Country, and Beneath Clouds, the way they did – with a lived in history of what it means to be an indigenous Australian. Dive deep into this pool – you’ll find nothing but brilliance.

2ndRolf de Heer

Suggested Films: Bad Boy Bubby, Alexandra’s Project, Dance Me to My Song

Rolf de Heer is arguably Australia’s finest director. Hailing from the Netherlands, de Heer migrated to Australia when he was eight. His output depicts Australia as it is – both terrifying (Alexandra’s Project), inspiring (Dingo), hilarious (Ten Canoes), powerful (Dance Me to My Song), and eternally united (Charlie’s Country). His films have shown the areas of Australia that are underrepresented. Whether it’s his collaborations with David Gulpilil – who worked closely to create the extremely personal Charlie’s Country, and bring the dreamtime comedy in Ten Canoes to life – or with Heather Rose to ensure her story about disability was honest and full of humanity with Dance Me to My Song, de Heer is a respectful, humane director.

It’s a shame that in the world of cinema, the work of Rolf de Heer is not mentioned in the same breath as the greats. His work speaks volumes about Australia making him the first director recommendation to dive into.

3rdAction! Let’s Blow Some Shit Up!

Suggested Films: Mad Max: Fury Road, Trojan Warrior, Dead End Drive-In

Australian action films are full of gritty, low-fi, knuckle grazing violence. There’s dirt, there’s death, and there’s a fairly strong likelihood that Grant Page was somehow involved with the production. Yet, when you think of Aussie action flicks, you think of the insane car work in films like Mad Max and Roadgames. You think of George Lazenby being blown up in a Sydney high rise in The Man From Hong Kong. You think of Nazi’s on the dark side of the moon with Iron Sky. You think of earthquakes in the desert and men in Hazmat suits with The Chain Reaction. You think of alien invasions with Occupation.

Low-fi stuff that you won’t get anywhere else. Dust off Mad Max: Fury Road for another spin round, or dig into something a little older with Trojan Warrior, or slip on a flick from the king of the Aussie actioner, Brian Trenchard-Smith, and head to Dead End Drive-In.

4thBen Mendelsohn

Suggested Films: Idiot Box, The Year My Voice Broke, Beautiful Kate

Before he headed to Star Wars or ventured into the world of Steven Spielberg, Ben Mendelsohn was a core Aussie actor. If you were heading to an Aussie film in the nineties and early oughts, you were bound to catch a Mendo flick. He’s one of the finest actors Australia has produced – purely ocker, yet purely refined and masterful with his craft.

Thanks to David Michod’s pitch perfect Animal Kingdom, Ben Mendelsohn (alongside the great Jackie Weaver) was thrust onto the world stage. While you can slap on Animal Kingdom again (it’s just as good the first time round folks), you would be best digging into older Mendo flicks like the great David Caesar film Idiot Box, or the early work with Noah Taylor in The Year My Voice Broke, or the immensely powerful Beautiful Kate (watching Mendelsohn work against Bryan Brown is a sight to behold).

Know this: whatever you choose, you’ll be rewarded with a great performance from a true blue Aussie great.

5thIn Cinema Now!

Suggested Films: Jill Bilcock: Dancing the Invisible, Brothers’ Nest, Breath

Now, this entry may be a little difficult for the international folks, so if you’re playing AUSgust and you’re overseas, feel free to substitute this with a 2018 Australian film. For everyone in Australia, the 5th is a Sunday, so put your socks on and trundle along to your local to catch a fantastic Aussie film showing right now.

What better way to support Australian cinema than by watching some of the finest Aussie films out right now – there’s the superb documentary about editor Jill Bilcock, or Clayton Jacobson’s great Aussie noir Brothers’ Nest, and finally, still going strong after a heck of a long run is Simon Baker’s directorial debut, Breath. There will be more out there, but dig into these while you can.

thSci-Fi Down Under

Suggested Films: Dark City, Predestination, The Infinite Man

Australia isn’t particularly known for science fiction films (even though The Matrix and the Star Wars prequels were partially filmed here), but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Alex Proyas has made a name for himself telling great science fiction tales, with the pinnacle of his work being the atmospheric Dark City. More recently, the Spierig brothers transformed a short story into the time bending Predestination – a film that houses one of the great Australian performances, thanks to Sarah Snook. On the low budget side of things is the time bending film from Hugh Sullivan, The Infinite Man.

These are just the surface of what Australia has to offer in the world of science fiction. For more suggestions, check out what Travis Johnson had to suggest on Gizmodo.


Suggested Films: Wake in Fright, Mystery Road, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

If there’s one image of Australia that resonates more throughout Australian cinema than any other, it’s the image of the wide open outback. It’s Gary Bond walking through the desert void in search of sanity in Wake in Fright. It’s Detective Jay Swan scouring a rural town in hopes of finding the killer of a young aboriginal girl in Mystery Road. It’s a bus with a giant shoe and a flowing gown, sailing through the desert bringing glitter and glamour to the outback in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

There’s an allure to the void that is the Australian outback. For some, it’s a challenge to conquer, as it was for Robyn Davidson in John Curran’s Tracks. For others, it’s a place where their lives will be claimed, as the pitch black night harbours killers like Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek. For some, it’s a desolate wasteland they need to scour, looking for a car, as in The Rover. And for many, it’s home, as we see in Philip Noyce’s essential Rabbit Proof Fence, that tells the story of two young aboriginal girls making their way along the 2,400km fence to home. It may appear empty to some, but this desert island is full of stories aplenty.

8thCrooks and Criminals

Suggested Films: Mad Dog Morgan, Two Hands, Animal Kingdom

When Australia was invaded over two hundred years ago, it was partially established as a penal colony. Australia’s history is entwined with crime and criminals. Bushrangers became legends over time, their outlaw status making them heroes against the police. The mentality of the ‘thug is the hero’ has carried through into Australian cinema, with many fictional and true stories being explored over time.

Sure, you could pick one of the many Ned Kelly films out there, but in the realm of bushrangers, why not go with the purely insane Mad Dog Morgan. Or, leap forward a little modern and go with the Sydney crime flick with a banging soundtrack, Two Hands. Or, go with the pinnacle of the crime stories and dive into Animal Kingdom. The pool of crime flicks is deep in Australia – one could throw a dart and easily hit a bullseye with Aussie crime flicks of varying quality. Let your bad side out, enjoy this one.

9thCharles Chauvel

Suggested Films: Jedda, In the Wake of the Bounty, Heritage

Charles Chauvel was a pioneer within Australian cinema. Jedda was the first Australian film filmed in colour, and was also notable for Chauvel’s casting of indigenous actors in the lead roles. Prior to Jedda, Charles Chauvel explored the country of Australia through films like Heritage and Forty Thousand Horseman. Up until the collapse of the Australian film industry in the fifties, Charles Chauvel’s work was some of the finest that Australia produced.

Chauvel worked hard to ensure that Australian cinema had a voice, and tried hard to export his films into international markets. Widely considered one of the great Australian filmmakers, Charles Chauvel’s work has long fallen out of the Australian cinema conversation. Dive deep into Jedda, and then seek out the history of Rosalie Kunoth-Monks on the great It’s Not a Race podcast.

10thKids Flicks

Suggested Films: Babe,
Rip Tide, Paper Planes

Australia may be known for gritty, dark films about the horrors of the wilderness, or dramas that leave a mark on your soul. Yet, less widely appreciated are the many great Australian kids films out there. Whether it be the Best Picture nominated Babe (yep! Best Picture nominated! Back when there were five nominees – it lost to Braveheart), or the superb Perth filmed Paper Planes (with an intro to the great Julian Dennison as well), or the girl power, surfing flick Rip Tide, Australia has made some pretty great kids films.

Going back further, you’ve got the wonderful Dot films, as well as the many different Blinky Bill entries, as well as the great animated films such as Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: Owls of the Ga’Hoole, and The LEGO Movie, there’s something for everyone. Sit your kids down, borrow your nieces and nephews, and enjoy an Aussie kid flick.

11thAFI/AACTA Award Best Picture Winner

Suggested Films: Storm Boy, Looking for Alibrandi, Evil Angels

This one is a high point for Australian cinema: the Aussie Oscars, the highest accolade in the Australian film industry – the AACTA Awards (previously known as the AFI awards). For this entry, you’re looking at the films that have been deemed the finest Australian films of that year. Whether it’s the multicultural, beautiful, heartwarming coming of age story in Looking for Alibrandi, or the dramatisation of the Lindsay Chamberlain story with the assistance of Meryl Streep and Sam Neill in Evil Angels, or Henri Safran’s faithful adaptation of Colin Thiele’s classic kids book Storm Boy, you’re bound to find the peak of Australian cinema in this list.

The wonderful thing about the AFI/AACTA awards is that they celebrate films of all genres – this is how in one year, Mad Max: Fury Road can conquer all, while another year the quiet and contemplative Somersault takes the prize. Dive into the winners here, and find your prize awaiting.

12thJack Thompson

Suggested Films: Petersen, Sunday Too Far Away, The Sum of Us

A banner star in the New Wave era, Jack Thompson has proven to be one of Australian cinemas greatest icons. Incomparable, Thompson’s mark on cinema is unique and spans decades. Diving into this great actors career, you could always begin with the one two punch of Petersen and Sunday Too Far Away – two films that look at Australian masculinity in different ways. One, a film about an apparent intellectual, and his infidelities that go too far. The other, a look at the Aussie workman, coming up against non-union labour and threats to his job as a shearer. Or, you could dive into another look at Aussie masculinity as Thompson plays Russell Crowe’s father in The Sum of Us, a touching film about a young man who comes out to his father, and the way their relationship bends over time.

Digging into Jack Thompson’s Australian output is to dig into what it means to be an white Aussie male. Whether he intended to or not, Thompson managed to present all the facets of Australian masculinity. The good, the bad, and the truly ugly.

13thDocumentary: Truth in Motion

Suggested Films: All This Mayhem, Sherpa, Making Venus

When you dig into Australian documentaries, you’re digging into some of the most fascinating stories you’ll ever see. There’s an endless array of films to suggest, with easy suggestions like Cane Toads or The Back of Beyond, but to go with something a little different, seek out the trio of All This MayhemSherpa and Making Venus.

One tells the tragic tale of the Pappas brothers, following their rise and fall in the world of professional skate boarding – All This Mayhem. Another is the tale of the people who help make the journeys up Mount Everest possible, Sherpa. Then, for something a little different, you’ve got a look into the making of a short film, and all the difficulties that come with it. Whatever you dig into, you’re going to be finding a superb Australian story.

14thSex: Grab a Cherry Ripe

Suggested Films: Felicity, Alvin Purple, The Little Death

During the hey day of the seventies, the films focused around sex were a dime a dozen. It was the era where porn played large on the cinemas around the world with the era of free love running through everyone’s veins. In Australia, it was the era of Felicity and Alvin Purple – two different sex focused characters, full of nudity and raunch, full of suggestive (and not so suggestive) iconography. These titillate and entertain equally.

Then, all of a sudden, the Aussie sex flick became a thing of the past. That is, until Josh Lawson revived it for a ridiculously hilarious comedy with The Little Death – looking at different kinks that people have and what turns them on. Hilarious, less titillating, but certainly no less entertaining than the sex focused flicks of the seventies. Turn the lights off and enjoy.

15thBrian Trenchard-Smith: King of the New Wave

Suggested Films: The Man From Hong Kong, BMX Bandits, Turkey Shoot

Brian Trenchard-Smith is easily the King of the Australian New Wave period. Sure, George Miller, Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Berseford and many more cut their teeth on the celluloid of the era, but no man left a bigger mark on genre cinema in Australia than Brian Trenchard-Smith.

With his kick ass, kung-fu focused early feature, The Man From Hong Kong, Trenchard-Smith tried to bring the East Down Under with the help of George Lazenby. Flash forward a few years, and you’ve got the early work of Nicole Kidman in the much heralded kid classic, BMX Bandits, her flaming red hair and BMX athletics making this more than just a funny title. Then, heading into the more violent, deep genre focused Turkey Shoot. Honestly, you’re in for a treat if you’ve never seen a Brian Trenchard-Smith film, and if you already have, you know what joy you’re in for.

16thToni Collette

Suggested Films: Japanese Story, Muriel’s Wedding, Cosi

When you think of ‘great Aussie actresses’, the name Toni Collette is high up near the top of the list. Showing a stunning aptitude for memorable, real characters from an early age, Collette has proven her worth as being one of Australia’s finest actresses. Sure, Hollywood has called and Collette has made her presence known there, but it’s a testament to her love for Australia that she returns with regularity to make Australian films.

Japanese Story is the finest work she has made – a beautiful, warm story of love in an unexpected place. Watching Japanese Story after having seen what Collette created in Muriel’s Wedding and Cosi, you’re left in awe of what a great actress she is. If it’s been a while since you’ve last watched Muriel’s Wedding, you may have forgotten the darkness that resides in the story – and this is mostly thanks to how great Collette exudes a positive outlook as Muriel. The same goes with her vibrant, yet no less real, Julie, in Cosi – a patient at a mental health facility who is given a burst of life through the help of opera. Like Jack Thompson and Aussie masculinity, Toni Collette’s Aussie output showcases a wide array of Australian women and the lives they lead with superb realism.

17thSports Films: Howzat!

Suggested Films: Backyard Ashes, Phar Lap, Crackerjack

Australia is a sports mad country. Whether it’s cricket, horse racing, footy, or good old lawn bowls, Aussie love their sport. So, it’s only fair that Aussies love telling stories about sport.

Now, most of the films on this list I’ve given a watch and can comment on their quality, but here is where I out myself as being a staunch anti-sports film fan. I try and avoid them at all costs. So, my exposure to the three films I’ve recommended is non-existent. Backyard Ashes has a pedigree of talent that can’t be denied. The story of Phar Lap should be an interesting one from a historical perspective. And, if those two don’t sound interesting, then surely Mick Molloy and lawn bowls in Crackerjack will be worth a squiz. Either way, when this entry rolls up in August, I’ll be watching these for the first time. Stay tuned.

18thNicole Kidman

Suggested Films: Dead Calm, Australia, Lion

Ah, Nicole Kidman. ‘Our Nic’ as the Australian media loves to call her. One of the most daring, prolific actresses to grow up in Australia, Nicole Kidman’s output is eternally pushing her talents to the new areas. Sure, the aforementioned BMX Bandits is a lot of fun, but you know what’s even more exciting? Philip Noyce’s terror on the open sea with Dead Calm.

Or alternatively, you’ve got the most melodramatic Australian film in years – Baz Luhrmann’s epic, wannabe-panavision flick, Australia. A film which features equal amounts of CGI and botox, but also a performance from Nicole that’s affecting and alluring. Or maybe Luhrmann’s idea of an extravagant outback is a bit too much, and you want to see the fourth Oscar nominated performance in Kidman’s career (her second for an Australian film), then head to her powerful performance as an adoptive mother in Lion. Just like Toni Collette, Nicole Kidman’s regular pilgrimage back to Australia is one that is also welcome, with challenging, thought provoking slices of cinema being created every time.

19thAustralian History

Suggested Films: Ten Canoes, Van Diemen’s Land, The Dish

Australia doesn’t exactly have the best record of recording its history in cinema. Sure, there’s a mass of bushranger films, but when you’ve seen one dirty long beard, you’ve almost seen them all. It’s here where you can learn a bit more about Australian history, and learn a bit more about Australian stories that may exist on the fringes of the history books.

Take Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes for example – the stories of the Dreamtime and indigenous history (some 65,000 years of untapped history) are explored with wonderful, colourful sparks of comedy. Yet, moving far down south to Tasmania, we have the cannibalistic colonial story in Van Diemen’s Land, a dark tale about Irish convict, Alexander Pearce. Or maybe you’ll be interested to hear about Australia’s role in the moon landing, and the vital efforts of the Aussies in Canberra who helped make the event come to TV sets all around the world in The Dish. Dig up a slice of Aussie history you may not know about with these, and many more, great stories.

20thNature Fights Back

Suggested Films: Long Weekend, Razorback, Rogue

Yep, as the legend suggests, everything in Australia is out to kill you. Going out bush? You’re gonna be killed by an angry, giant crocodile like in Rogue. Heading to the beach? Well, don’t piss off the wildlife, or else you’ll end up in a deathly position like in Long Weekend. Or, maybe you’re heading out to the middle of nowhere to protest the slaughter of kangaroos, and instead end up on the wrong side of feral swine, like the victims of Razorback.

Yeah, this entry isn’t going to put aside any fears that anything that isn’t human in Australia isn’t going to kill you, but maybe that’s the point? Maybe we like people to remember that there are sharks in the water, there are crocs in the creeks, and there are red backs in the dunnys.

21stComedy: Cracking Yarns

Suggested Films: The Castle, Young Einstein, Down Under

Nothing is harder to export than Australian comedy. The Castle is an Aussie classic, full of ockerisms and one liners that echo through the halls of Australian households, yet it didn’t make the impact it should have done overseas. Put bluntly, it wasn’t Crocodile Dundee (sidenote: if you watch Crocodile Dundee in this slot, you’re doing it wrong).

So you’ve got The Castle – which has a prime place in the pool room. And then you’ve got the uniquely wonderful Yahoo Serious and his madcap invention of rock and roll in Young Einstein. It’s bonkers, it’s nuts, it’s a heck of a lot better than you’ll ever remember. But maybe dark comedy is your thing, and you don’t mind looking at racism and xenophobia through a hilarious lens, as per the topical Down Under. Get a slice of Aussie comedy with this entry and make sure you crack a cold one as well to help the laughs go down sweet.


Suggested Films: Snowtown, Chopper, Noise

Full disclosure: this entry mostly exists to get me to finally watch Snowtown – an apparently brutal, uneasy film about the real life Snowtown murders that occurred in South Australia. Filmed in the town where the murders occurred, this is Justin Kurzel’s debut film, one that suggests there’s something alluring for Australian filmmakers who want to make their mark on cinema by looking into the darkest minds. Take Hounds of Love for example, the film that brought Ben Young to the big screen, or maybe Andrew Dominik’s Chopper which added to the legend of Mark ‘Chopper’ Read and made a star out of Eric Bana.

Or, if true crime murders are too much, maybe head into the realm of the fictional with the underrated Noise, a film that looks at the beat of a cop aiming to help solve a murder. Needless to say, in the world of Australian cinema, the subject of murder raises its criminal head more often than not. Throw a stone, swing an axe, chuck a cricket bat, and you’ll likely find something that’ll make you ask – why do we find fascination with the death of humans?

23rdToken Hollywood Actor

Suggested Films: Dirty Deeds, Welcome to Woop Woop, The Sapphires

In a bid to make Australian films more marketable to international markets, Hollywood (read: not Australian) actors are hired to add a ‘name’ to the top of the poster. Sometimes it work, but most of the time it’s just fascinating to see how stars like Daniel Radcliffe and Clive Owen work in the realm of Australian cinema.

For this suggested film list, we’ve got three wildly different performances in three wildly different films. David Caesar’s raucous, seventies focused crime flick Dirty Deeds, is grimy and glorious, and this is partially helped by the always reliable John Goodman. Or maybe you’ll humour me and my fascination with Jonathan Schaech’s wannabe Lothario hunk in the regularly ridiculed, yet unfairly disliked Welcome to Woop Woop. Or, if you want music and grooving, then look no further than Chris O’Dowd’s crooning, swooning manager in the musical film, The Sapphires. Sure, these may not be big names, and there are more out there if you look, but these are three unique, solid performances that are worth checking out.

24thWomen Behind the Camera

Suggested Films: Berlin SyndromeMy Brilliant Career, My Year Without Sex

From Gillian Armstrong, to Cate Shortland, to Sarah Watt, to Rachel Perkins, to Ana Kokkinos and Jennifer Kent, Australian cinema is full of Australian women telling powerful stories about Australia. This entry is one of the most exciting to dive into, with the amount of great Australian women directors to discover and enjoy the riches of their works.

For the suggestions, where does one even begin? I started with the most recent entry – Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome – a tense, nailbiting thriller focused on a career best performance from Teresa Palmer. Then I thought, why not dive back to one of the first films directed by a woman in Australia, Gillian Armstrong’s mesmerising My Brilliant Career – a truly Aussie cultural feminist landmark. Then I figured, why not shine a light on one of the great Australian directors who was taken from us too soon – Sarah Watt, and her final feature, My Year Without Sex. You’ll find powerful women telling stories about strong, well written, fully fleshed out Australian women.


Suggested Films: Breaker Morant, Beneath Hill 60, Kokoda

Australia’s involvement with war has been a fascinating thing. Besides the invasion of Australia, there have been no modern wars on Australian soil. Yet, Australian soldiers have participated in wars throughout time that have in turn spawned many deep, powerful stories. It’s easy to suggest Gallipoli as being the one Aussie war film to seek out, but let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at some other war based films.

Besides Gallipoli, the finest Australian war film is Breaker Morant. A genuine masterpiece, Breaker Morant is the Paths of Glory of the southern hemisphere. Then there’s the claustrophobic Beneath Hill 60, a film that takes a look at the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company, and their role in helping conquer the German’s in WW1. Finally, there’s the mythological story of the Kokoda trail in Kokoda – the closest that WW2 came to Australia, with ANZAC’s taking on Japanese soldiers in New Guinea. All three films tell stories about wars throughout history that feel lost to time.

26thMade in Australia

Suggested Films: The Matrix, Thor: Ragnarok, Walkabout

Australia is the Vancouver of the southern hemisphere. While it gets to play itself more than the city of Vancouver, it does tend to play home to films that are not genuinely Australian films. Here’s where you’ll find the insane Kangaroo Jack rubbing shoulders with the first Power Rangers movie. Sure, not exactly top shelf entertainment, but Australia’s not picky with who gets to film here (yes, Son of the Mask, you exist).

So, maybe steer clear of those films, and dig into something with a little more quality, like The Wachowski sisters sci-fi classic, The Matrix. Keen viewers can spot Sydney standing in for the nameless city within the Matrix itself. Or maybe you want something a little more recent, say… Thor: Ragnarok. Director Taika Waititi’s bright superhero flick was filmed on the Gold Coast, and to ensure you know you’re watching something that was made in Australia, he even went so far as to colour one of the spaceships in the colours of the Aboriginal flag, and call that ship ‘The Commodore’. Fully sick. But maybe sci-fi and superheroes aren’t your thing, and maybe you want to see an Australian film, about Australia, but… isn’t really Australian. See, what makes an Australian film Australian is financing. So, that’s why the uniquely Australian in subject film, Walkabout, directed by Nicolas Roeg, is not an Australian film. Your options are almost limitless.

27thHugo Weaving

Suggested Films: Last Ride, Healing, Proof

You can track the path from actors like Jack Thompson and Bryan Brown, to the work of Ben Mendelsohn, and the other actor suggestion – Hugo Weaving. Thompson and Brown created the template of what it is to be an Australian male working in film – shaped by a country, their work reflecting the Australian man, every line in their face telling a unique story. Hugo Weaving’s prominence in Australian film is always welcome. His weathered, trademark voice works to inform his characters.

Not once do you feel ‘this is Hugo Weaving acting’, but rather a father travelling across Australia with his son, as in Last Ride. Or, a prison guard officer who is helping rehabilitate prisoners, getting them ready for life outside prison, as in Healing. Or, in possibly his finest work, as a blind photographer who sparks a friendship with a man who helps describe his photographs to him, as in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s Proof. Throw a stone amongst the themes of AUSgust, and you’re bound to encounter Hugo Weaving on more than one occasion. A genuine national treasure.

28thHorror: Shock Your Jocks Off

Suggested Films: Lake Mungo, The Babadook, Celia

Horror is one of the easiest genres to export from any country. Regardless of where you are, there will be a group of horror fans ready to devour the work of the genre they love. Australia’s horror output is deep, cross pollinating with some of the themes you’ve already worked through. Whether it’s gore drenched horror as in the schlocky, messy, sticky Body Melt, or subtle, gradual horror as in Lost Gully Road, Australia certainly has a wide variety of horror to satiate your thrill seeking needs.

For this entry, I’ve suggested three creep inducing films – the ghost story that demands your full attention, Lake Mungo, or Jennifer Kent’s searing assessment of grief and pain in the LGBTIQ+ friendly The Babadook, or maybe, head back to the eighties for the child focused (yet no less creepy) Celia, a film that look into communism and and the rising fear of a changing political society in Australia. Sure, it’s easy to pick up Wolf Creek and dive into that horror, but seek out something a little off the familiar track and get a good scare in you.’s Top 25  21st Century Films

Anthony LaPaglia as Leon & Kerry Armstrong as Sonja

Suggested Films: Lantana, The Proposition, Hail

As if by some kind of act of film divinity, only days before AUSgust is due to kick off, have revealed their top 25 Australian films of the 21st century. 51 critics were polled (26 men, 25 women), and asked to provide their top 10 Australian films of the past ten years. Let’s immediately look past the fact that nobody voted for Lucky Miles, and see what they did vote for.

There’s a wide variety of films to appreciate and love, but the three that I’ll suggest are: Lantana – arguably, the finest Australian film ever made. You can read my thoughts on it hereThe Proposition – what better person to tell the story of an Australian Western than Nick Cave. Possibly the most appropriate Christmas film Australia could ever produce, The Proposition leaves a mark on your soul that you will never be able to wash off. Finally, there is Hail, a film that I have not seen, but will be ticking off on this date thanks to the fine critics who voted it as the 14th best Australian film of the 21st Century. Enjoy.

30thDavid Gulpilil

Suggested Films: Charlie’s Country, Rabbit Proof Fence, Dark Age

As we start to wrap up AUSgust, it makes sense to bring the month to an end the same way that it began… with an indigenous voice. This entry is one of Australia’s greatest actors, David Gulpilil. His work has appeared throughout the list many times – you may have watched Walkabout in the ‘Made in Australia’ entry – and you’ll have recognised what a vital talent David Gulpilil is.

See his masterpiece, his co-authored and semi-autobiographical work with Rolf de Heer, Charlie’s Country. An indictment on the way white Australia treats indigenous Australians, Charlie’s Country is one of the finest works this country has ever seen produced. Or there’s Philip Noyce’s Rabbit Proof Fence – while David Gulpilil is not a major role in this film, his presence is still felt throughout its run time. Or, go into the world of genre cinema and experience a killer croc with Dark Age. Whatever your choice (just make sure it’s not Crocodile Dundee, I urge you), you’ll be rewarded by a great Aussie actor.

31stThe Aussie New Wave

Suggested Films: Stone, Bliss, Don’s Party

Finally, we wrap up with the rebirth of the Australian film industry – the Australian new wave period. Considered one of the most active periods of Australian cinema (there were some 400 films made in Australia between 1970 and 1985), the Australian new wave period also saw the greatest level of creative vibrancy this country has ever seen.

With such works as the bikie actioner Stone sitting alongside the election day revolution film Don’s Party, which helps usher in the voice of Ray Lawrence with Bliss, the Australian new wave is where you’ll find your greatest wealth of content.

So that’s it, the month of AUSgust. Hopefully you will join in and decide to catch an Australian film or three. Even if you don’t participate every day, do try and find the time to watch an Australian film, and make sure to talk about it on social media with the hashtag #AUSgust.

Come join the Facebook group for The Curb and join in with the daily discussion, or follow on Facebook or Twitter. Most of all, celebrate Australian cinema!

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew is passionate about Australian cinema, Australian politics, Australian culture, and Australia in general. Found regularly talking online about Sweet Country, and reminding people to watch Young Adult.

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