Australian Classics: From Page to Picture
In the coming months, Cinema Nova will be screening some of our best-loved adaptations, based on the titles from the new Text Classics series.
We chat to publisher Michael Heyward about ‘Page to Picture’, and the artistic relationship between novel and film.
What do viewers have in store for them at these Text Classics ‘Page to Picture’ events?
This is a chance for viewers to revisit a classic Australian film on the big screen, or discover a new favourite. These are great movies adapted from great books. They get to be a part of the conversation.
Do you think there is a resurgence of interest in classic Australian text and film?
I hope so. The achievements of some of our film makers and writers are astounding. It’s a liberating experience to discover or rediscover what wonderful films and books we have in this country. The extraordinary response to the Text Classics suggests that the resurgence is well and truly underway.
What inspired you to collaborate with Cinema Nova to showcase and discuss Australian literature and film?
We knew that many of the books we’d selected for the Text Classics series had been superbly adapted for film, whether you are thinking of Careful, He Might Hear You or Wake in Fright or My Brilliant Career or They’re a Weird Mob. Our film and publishing histories are intertwined. It’s fascinating to see how literature and film inform one another. And given that one of the motivations behind the Classics was to foster a greater appreciation of our culture, it seemed like a terrific opportunity to celebrate our achievements across multiple art forms.
Do you think that Australian books and films have influenced our lifestyles?
How could they not? All forms of art tell us and the world our stories, suggest who we are or who we might be.
Tell us about the five Text Classics and their film adaptations that you’ll kick off this series with. Why do you think they are significant works?
We’re starting the ‘Page to Pictures’ series with Careful, He Might Hear You, which is one of the most remarkable stories of the first Classics list. Careful, He Might Hear You was an international bestseller, it won the Miles Franklin in 1963, it was translated into many languages, it was made into an amazing film that won eight AFI awards, and yet it was completely unavailable.
They’re a Weird Mob is a brilliant snapshot of the post-war immigrant experience in Australia, and is a comic triumph. Wake in Fright is one of the most terrifying Australian novels, which was made into one of the creepiest movies of all time. My Brilliant Career is one of the original Australian classics, and the film adaptation is itself an indisputable classic. Stiff is the very first book published by Text, a novel that launched the career of Shane Maloney and created a whole new species of crime novel. All of these books are uniquely Australian, powerful stories and seriously good reads, and their film adaptations don’t disappoint.
You’ll be hosting a discussion about Careful, He Might Hear You with an amazing team of panellists, tell us about who will be on board?
Joining me on the night will be Robyn Nevin, star of the film and introducer of our edition; Jill Robb, the film’s producer; and Philippa Hawker, film writer and reviewer for The Age. I’m looking forward to a lively discussion!
The Page to Picture series at Cinema Nova will take place on the first Wednesday of every month, starting with Careful, He Might Hear You on June 6 and They’re a Weird Mob on July 4. More information here.