Anger and Banality in Ghosts… of the Civil Dead

26 March 2014
Mike Bishop as David Yale

Mike Bishop as David Yale

My article on Ghosts… of the Civil Dead for Senses of Cinema as part of their Key Moments in Australian Cinema series:

The anger that seethes throughout John Hillcoat’s debut feature film, Ghosts… of the Civil Dead, can be felt in almost every scene. Anger is explicitly articulated, acts of violence resulting from anger are depicted or described, and in scenes without overt expressions of anger it can be felt underneath the despair, cruelty and hopelessness that have resulted from a corrupt prison system. Every character who appears on screen (as opposed to the voices on the intercom and the people shown in news reports and pornography) is either a prisoner, a prison officer or, in one instance, a policeman. Nearly all of them have reasons to be angry as they are all at the mercy of an unidentified external bureaucracy who want the anger in the prison to manifest as violence to justify harsher prison conditions and the funding of new facilities to deliver the required brutality.

Head over to Senses of Cinema to read the full article

This article received the Ivan Hutchinson Award for Writing on Australian Film in the 2015 Australian Film Critics Association Film Writing Awards


Support Senses

23 October 2011

Support Senses

Please Support Senses.

The online cinema journal Senses of Cinema is an invaluable resource for anybody with a serious interest in film and film culture. Although based in Australia it is read and renowned worldwide. It is also free to access.

Senses of Cinema has until recently been traditionally funded by Screen Australia, but after their decision to defund the acclaimed and respected journal, its future is uncertain. This is something of concern to all of us who value being able to freely access high quality film analysis. On a personal note, I will always be honoured and grateful to Senses of Cinema for publishing early pieces of mine including my annotation on David Cronenberg’s Shivers and my contribution to their Great Directors database on David Lynch.

Fortunately, Senses of Cinema have been running a crowd-funding campaign over the past few months on Pozible to raise the $15,000 (AUD) they need to continue running. The way it works is people pledge various amounts and if the full amount is reached within the allocated time, those pledges get processed. If not enough pledges come through in time then they get nothing. So it’s all or nothing.

There are now two weeks remaining on the campaign and they still need over $3000 in pledges. With so much money and good will already invested it would be awful for them to fall short now. I strongly urge everybody reading this to make a pledge, no matter how small, to help Senses of Cinema stay viable. We need resources like this so we can continue having informed, analytical and passionate discussions about film online. My own approach to writing about film has been significantly shaped by reading and writing for Senses of Cinema.

If nothing else, there are also a variety of rewards on offer for pledging. I’ve scored a DVD box set of Jacques Demy films, which I’m rather excited about!

So please, head over to Pozible now, read some more information and Support Senses.

Thank you

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