Paulus Henriqus Benedictus "Paul" Cox is one of the most acclaimed Australian Filmmaker. Born in 1940 in Netherlands, Cox immigrated to Australia in 1965. This wizard of Australian films, directed 39, penned for 21, produced 14, acted and edited seven and handled the camera for four, in his most impressive career of 47 years. In this year’s International Film Festival of Kerala, his most successful five works is scheduled to screen under the jury films category.
Initially Cox was known for his photography and his classes on photography in the Prahran College of Advanced Education in 70s inspired a number of famous and celebrated photographers and directors, with most of whom he worked later. Cox started his career as a filmmaker in 1965 with Matuta. While Illuminations, in 1976, is considered as his first full-length feature film. Paul Cox focuses more on story and extracting the best performance from his actors. The director of great technique and brilliance has themed most of his films on isolation, faith, hope and love, which he treats in his own style of generating magical frames from the basic and normal shots. He always stays with basics of filmmaking. Even at this time of technical advancement and special effects, Cox uses simple shots and camera angles, special effects are not found in his films. Other than proving his expertise in the field of cinema, Cox has also written three books. Winner of FIPRESCI award, Paul Cox has received 16 awards including the Grand Prix and Australian Film Institute award for best director. Cox was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear Award in 1994, excluding another 22 nominations in his name.
The films by Cox included in the festival are Innocence (2000), Salvation (2008), A Woman’s Tale (1991), My First Wife (1984) and Man of Flowers (1983).
Innocence is the film stating the story of two persons, who were lovers during their teen, and years later trying to re-furnish their love. This film, one of the commercial hits in 2000, was well received by everyone film lover for the originality of its theme, the warmth of its approach and its superior performances. The film won eight awards including the FIPRESCI award for Cox. Julia Blake won two best actor-female awards, IF awards and Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, for her performance in the film.
Cox’s latest directorial venture, Salvation, stars Wendy Hughes, Bruce Myles and Natasha Novak in the lead. The film deals with the story of Barry, an aging scholar and artist married to a televangelist, becomes involved with Irina, a Russian immigrant and prostitute. Cox got inspiration for this film from a televangelist on TV late night asking for money for a facelift.
The close and intimate look on the last few days of an aged woman who is victim of cancer. This is the plot of the film A Woman’s Tale. The film had Sheila Florence in the lead, who herself was a cancer patient and died in few days after she won the best actress award in the 1991 Australian Film Institute Awards, for this film. The film was a somewhat self-portray for Florance and many critics believe that instead of acting, she lived in the film. The film also won the Grand Prix in the Ghent International Film Festival for the director.
My first wife, with 96 minutes of screening tells the story of dramatic collapse of the marriage between John and Helen. The film also deals with the future we offer to our children. The film co-written by Paul Cox, won the best screenplay award in the Australian Film Institute of 1984. Apart from this, the film also won four other awards for direction, film and lead male actor.
An eccentric elderly man tries to enjoy the three things in life that he considers real beauty: collecting art, collecting flowers, and watching pretty women undress. This is the theme of Man of Flowers, which is also co-written by Cox. The film won four awards, which includes award for best film and best actor in lead role for Norman Kaye in the 1983 AFI awards.
With the five films, in the festival for screening, the viewers will get a true chance to closely understand the brilliance of Paul Cox and the magic he creates on the big screen with his simple and straightforward style of presentation. The films will also add gilt and attraction to the films to be screened in the 17th International Film Festival.