Before Muriel’s Wedding, He Died with a Falafel in his Hand and The Castle lit up Australian screens, there was the 1990s comedy classic Death in Brunswick, best remembered for its iconic grave-digging scene.
That scene is among the most famous in Australian cinema. It’s a sequence of dark absurdity that captures not just a moment and a mood in Melbourne, but also a certain grisly comic sensibility unique to Australian filmmaking.
Based on the hilarious novel of the same name by Boyd Oxlade (acclaimed at the time for its ‘finely tuned comic depiction of Melbourne’s ethnically diverse northern suburbs’), with a screenplay by Oxlade and John Ruane, the slacker comedy was released in cinemas in 1990 and quickly became a cult classic. Starring Sam Neill, Zoe Carides and John Clarke, Death in Brunswick offers a macabre snapshot of multicultural Melbourne, pre-Pauline Hanson, at the end of the 1980s.
In a special event as part of the MIFF 68½ Talks program, we’re marking the thirtieth anniversary of Death in Brunswick with a digital reading of the film script, directed by John Sheedy and produced remotely under Victoria's Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions. Grab your shovel – or maybe don’t, actually – and join us from home.
MIFF Talks presented by the Melbourne International Film Festival and the University of Melbourne. #MIFF2020
John Sheedy is a multi-award-winning director whose work has been staged extensively throughout Australia. He has led productions for Belvoir St Theatre, Bell Shakespeare, the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company and Opera Australia, among others, and has been recognised with multiple nominations and wins for the Helpmann and Sydney Theatre awards. John’s first feature film, H is for Happiness (MIFF 2019), won the 2019 CinefestOZ Film Prize and garnered a Special Mention from the Berlinale’s Generation Kplus international jury; his first short film, Mrs McCutcheon, won 45 awards and has travelled to more than 130 festivals.
Paula Arundell has most recently been starring as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, for which she received a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Female Actor in a Play. Paula’s theatre credits are extensive, and some of her most celebrated performances include The Bleeding Tree (Griffin Theatre); Top Girls, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Disgraced (STC); Same in Paradise, Atlantis and Mr Burns (Belvoir); Company and Measure for Measure (Malthouse). Her recent film and television credits include Harmony, Gods of Egypt, Disgrace, Reckoning, Top of the Lake: China Girl and Hunters.
Daniel Henshall was most recently seen in Apple’s limited drama series Defending Jacob. Other recent screen credits include Thomas M Wright’s Acute Misfortune (MIFF 2018), Foxtel’s critically acclaimed mini-series Lambs of God, Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, John Curran’s Bloom and Measure for Measure (MIFF 2019), opposite Hugo Weaving. Daniel won the AACTA Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of real-life serial killer John Bunting in the critically acclaimed and award-winning feature Snowtown, and will star in the highly anticipated Netflix series Clickbait.
John Leary’s extensive theatre credits include North by Northwest, Private Lives, His Girl Friday and Realism (MTC); All My Sons, White Guard and Julius Caesar (STC); Peter Pan, The Business, The Book of Everything, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cloudstreet (Belvoir); The Dragon and White Rabbit Red Rabbit (Malthouse Theatre); Just Macbeth (Bell Shakespeare); and The Marriage of Figaro (Queensland Theatre Company). John’s film credits include Pirates of the Caribbean V, Red Dog and Where the Wild Things Are. Recent US and Australian television credits include The Good Place, No Activity, Glitch, The Letdown and Get Krack!n.