Thursday, October 23, 2008

Being Ray Lawrence

Ray Lawrence is one of my favourite directors. He doesn't make many movies - only Bliss (1985), Lantana (2001) and Jindabyne (2006) make up his resume - but when he does it's always a corker. I need to rewatch Bliss as it's been far too long since I saw it on the tele, but Lantana is, justifiably, routinely labeled the finest Australian film ever, while Jindabyne was my #1 film of 2006. Hell, Lantana would've been my #1 of 2001 if it hadn't have been the strongest year of the decade.

So, naturally, I shot right up in my seat when I read Inside Film's list of October funding grants and saw sitting pretty at the top was a title called Being Dead with it's director listed as none other than Ray Lawrence. I was even more excited to notice Beatrix Christian is returning to screenwriting duties after doing absolutely stunning work on the script for Jindabyne. Christian will be adapting a 1999 book by Jim Crace and is another case of a bunch of Aussies taking an international story (Crace is British) and adapting it to Australia after Jindabyne and last year's Unfinished Sky, which was Peter Duncan's acclaimed remake of the Dutch film The Polish Wedding. I always think this sort of thing is to be encouraged, so I'm glad some Australian filmmakers are actually doing it.

Being Dead is a poetic thriller. A married couple is savagely murdered; their bodies left to decay in the dunes. When their estranged daughter returns home to find them, she uncovers a dark secret history...

The film has only received a "letter of intent", which I believe implies that it'll be granted funding very soon (somebody like Syms can explain, perhaps), but hopefully this means we'll have another Ray Lawrence film on our screens before too long. Here's hoping we never have to go 16 years between drinks ever again!


Syms Covington said...

Australia's Terry Malick perhaps?

FranklinBluth said...

That novel sounds perfectly suited to Ray Lawrence.

Guy Lodge said...

That news has made my day, Glenn -- weirdly enough, I read "Being Dead" a while back and it was one of those books I began filming in my head while I was reading it. I've always thought Crace's work was so sensory and cinematic, and Lawrence is a perfect match for his sensibility.

"Lantana" is one of my films of the decade so far. "Jindabyne" was almost as extraordinary -- it deserved much wider international attention.

Glenn said...

Lawrence definitely seems to like working stories about the people surrounding death so I really have no doubt that it'll be special.

Guy, always good to hear a non-Australian compliment these films.