A new short film, Musings, about a frustrated academic who writes monologues for her much younger actor girlfriend, causing her latent jealousy to unravel, is an homage to Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and a scathing satire of the Australian film industry.
The film will screen at an event coinciding with the Spanish director’s 69th birthday and will be preceded by a discussion about “whitewashing” in Australian film, chaired by UTS lecturer Dr Timothy Laurie, from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
The panel will look at why so many Aussie films have a stoic Anglo sensibility to the exclusion of more flamboyant types of cinema enjoyed by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and the LGBTIQ community.
Musings, starring Argentinian-Australian actor Alessia Medina, was written and directed by Bina Bhattacharya, a filmmaker from Sydney’s south-west and graduate of the UTS media arts and production program.
“I feel like ‘whitewashing’ in Australian films goes beyond the choice of characters and actors,” Bhattacharya says.
“There’s a whole stylistic element to it – an obsession with the rural setting, sparse dialogue, repressed characters and washed-out colours. All of this is at odds with people like me from cultures where people express themselves, talk and argue voraciously and live in vibrant, multicultural cities.
“Making an homage to Almodóvar was an opportunity to pose the question as to why Australia doesn’t make more of these ‘talkie’ sorts of films that clearly have an audience here, and are a departure from an outdated view of what an Australian film should be.’’
Bhattacharya was recently selected as a director for Australia’s first Diversity Showcase. She was also selected as a writer for the Behind Closed Doors screen project run by Co-Curious with the support of Screen Australia’s Enterprise Ideas program, and in partnership with Emerald Productions and the ABC.