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2nd May 2001

International acclaim for "The Goddess of 1967"

Nicholas Hope (Grandpa) "The Goddess of 1967" photographed at sundown at the Big Opal during filming. Grand Champion Photograph 2000 Walgett Show - Lyn Carney

"The Goddess of 1967" which was filmed in Lightning Ridge was released in Sydney this week.

"Outstandingly original in both conception and realisation among the works appearing in competition at the Venice Film Festival this year, Clara Law’s "The Goddess of 1967", co-written with her husband Eddie Fong.

"The Goddess in question is a 1960s Citroen DS (familiarly known as the "goddess" that a young Japanese salaryman, J.M., goes to Australia to buy after finding it on the internet. When J.M. (Rikiya Kurokawa) arrives, he finds the seller no longer in a position to close the deal, and a mysterious blind girl B.G. (Rose Byrne) who offers to take him to meet the real owner, if he will drive them both in the goddess on the five day trip into the interior to find him ...

"The direction and acting are excellent, and Byrne’s mesmerising performance as B.G. brilliantly inflected and unpredictable," was what Roderick Conway Morris, International Herald Tribune said on September 6, 2000.

"The Goddess of 1967" is a bold narrative experiment supported by some striking and surreal photography.

The film sees Hong Kong/Australian director Clara Law allowing her imagination to have free reign in the Australian outback. Party psychological study and part road movie, Law tells a fragmentary tale of two displaced youngsters trekking across Australia in search of the owner of a classic Citroen DS car.

With its cool detached mood and brave, stylised manner, Goddess is co-scripted by Law’s longtime collaborator (and husband) Eddie Fong, whose story sets a troubled blind girl on the road with a hip young Japanese salaryman.

"J.M." buys a Citroen DS on the internet and turns up in Sydney to collect it. He’s met by the intense "B.G." who explains that the people J.M. is supposed to buy the vehicle from are dead - and that the car wasn’t there’s to sell.

B.G. tells J.M. that she can take him to the Citroen’s real owner but that it will entail a journey of several days through the outback. As they drive, the film flashes back to the past, B.G.’s mother is revealed as a religious nut and the grandfather as a child abuser. The flashback sections almost stand alone as short, some times brutal vignettes. They finally fuse together to explain why the alienated youngsters have chosen their particular paths.

The story of alienation is kept fresh by Dion Beebe’s innovating lensing of the awesome Australian outback. Beebe used a bleach-bypass process on the negative that stripped out some - but not all - of the colour. This gives the scenery a strange, electrified appearance that mirrors the troubled mindscapes of the players.

Law doesn’t stop the experiments there. In a striking contemporary manner, she uses text, graphics and other visual effects throughout the film, sometimes flipping out of the narrative completely to inform us about the classic Citroen or to paint a whirring dig-picture of Tokyo. There is even some purposely skewy back projection behind the drivers.

The narrative is similarly gutsy and included an operatic moment of Grand Guignol at the end. It’s refreshing to see a filmmaker unafraid to go the whole hog," was how Richard James Havis of The Hollywood Reporter reported "The Goddess of 1967" in September 2000.

"The Goddess of 1967" had its world premiere in August 2000 at the Venicle Film Festival (in competition).

It was the official selection at the Toronto Film Festival, London Film Fstival, Chical Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Festival.

The movie has won the Best Actress Award for Rose Byrne at the Venice Film Festival and Best Director Award for Clara Law at the Chicago Film Festival.

It has been released in Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Benelux, Hong Kong, France, Japan Australia, Canada and the USA. It is awaiting release in Mexico, Spain, Portgual, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea.

"The Goddess of 1967" also stars Nicholas Hope as Grandpa. Nicholas is perhaps best known for his tour de force performance in Rolf De Heer’s Bad Boy Bubby, for which he won the 1994 Australian Film Festival Award for Best Actor, and a Best Performance Award at the 1993 Venicle Film Festival.

He has also appeared in, amongst others, Paul Cox’s Lust and Revenge, Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool and Bent Hamer’s Water Easy Reach.

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