Image from the film The Balibo Conspiracy, courtesy of LAFF
Mention 'Australian Film' and a few stereotypes might spring to mind: Paul Hogan; quirky comedies; horror and gloom; or for those still living in the 19th century, bloodthirsty convicts. This year marks the 16th London Australian Film Festival, and if you follow the links, you'll see that all bases are covered.
Stereotypes aside, there's plenty on offer at the festival, from architecture and Philip Glass to musical comedy and recent release The Road (shoe-horned into the festival since Australian director John Hillcoat is festival patron). Apart from those already mentioned, our suggestions for festival highlights come from the archives: South - silent footage from Shackleton's 1914-16 Antarctic expedition with live piano accompaniment; and the We're Livin' On Dog Food/Dogs in Space double-bill showing the cult film starring INXS frontman Michael Hutchence set amid Melbourne's 80's punk scene, and the new retrospective 'making-of' doco.
As part of the festival TNT magazine ran a poll to decide the ultimate Australian comedy, with The Castle coming out on top, to be screened on 28 March. It's not listed in the festival programme, but we're assured it will be going up on the barbican site soon. If you still equate Australian comedy with Crocodile Dundee, or Eric Bana with serious acting, go see it.
LAFF runs from 18-28 March at the Barbican (pdf programme here). The opening and closing galas are already sold out, and with only one screening for each film, the others won't be far behind. Tickets from £7 via the barbican website.