Bedevil

A film by Tracey Moffatt

Australia | 1993 | 90 minutes | Color | 35mm/DVD | Order No. 99426

BEDEVIL is the stunning debut feature from Tracey Moffatt (NIGHT CRIES, NICE COLORED GIRLS) and the first feature directed by an Australian Aboriginal woman.

SYNOPSIS

BEDEVIL is the stunning debut feature from Tracey Moffatt (NIGHT CRIES, NICE COLORED GIRLS) and the first feature directed by an Australian Aboriginal woman. Inspired by ghost stories she heard as a child from both her extended Aboriginal and Irish Australian families, Tracey Moffatt has constructed a sublime trilogy in which characters are haunted by the past and bewitched by memories. All three stories are set in Moffatt’s highly stylized, hyper-real, hyper-imaginary Australian landscape. In the first story MISTER CHUCK, a young boy is fascinated and terrified by a swamp that is haunted by the ghost of an American GI. CHOO CHOO CHOO CHOO finds a family living by railroad tracks haunted by strange happenings. The mother (played by Moffatt) is drawn to the tracks at night as she senses the horror of a past tragedy. The final story, LOVIN’ THE SPIN I'M IN, follows a woman who resists eviction attempts by her landlord so she can keep vigil for her dead son. Made with the participation of the Australian Film Finance Corporation.

"BEDEVIL captures the allusive quality of parochial, local, familial ghost stories, the sort of stories that are passed down through generations, that are repeated and embroidered upon so that eventually they are woven into quotidian discourse and a passing reference can evoke a complex texture of ghostliness.” — Lesley Stern, Photofile

PRESS

“Speaks of the ghosts that haunt our histories.”

John Conomos Art and Australia

“Slyly comic.”

Michael Fitzgerald Time

“Frequently dazzling tapestry.”

David Stratton Variety

“A stunning visual assault which envelops the ideas she initiated in her short film, Night Cries.”

Tait Brady Melbourne Film Festival

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Cannes Film Festival
  • Melbourne Film Festival
  • Sydney Film Festival
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • Vancouver Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Tracey Moffatt

Australian photographer and filmmaker. After graduating from Queensland College of Art, Brisbane (1982), she moved to Sydney, later dividing her time between Sydney and New York. Moffat began her career as an experimental filmmaker and as a producer of music videos, and she continued making films after establishing herself as a photographer. Her concern with power relations is demonstrated in the series Scarred for Life (nine offset lithographs, 1994), which juxtapose photographs of children with text, mimicking the layout of Life magazine during the 1960s. Useless, 1974 (1994; priv. col., see B. Reinhardt, ed., p. 21), shows a young girl cleaning a car in a suburban setting; the text beneath reads ‘Her father's nickname for her was “useless.”’ In the late 1990s she focused on the relationship between Australian Aborigines and white colonial settlers. The highly atmospheric series Laudanum (19 photo-engravings, 1998; Frankfurt, L. A. Gal.) shows the relationship between a woman and her aboriginal servant. Based on Pauline Reage's erotic novel Story of O (1954), it presents two actors posing in a variety of locations around a large house, suggesting sexual and power relations laced with narcotic hysteria. The use of photogravure and deliberately flawed prints heightens the ambience, informed by late 19th century photography as well as by Expressionist Cinematic techniques of shadow and distortion. The typically dreamlike quality of these works creates a space in which actors can embody wider sexual and social conflicts.

In 2017 she represented Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale with her solo exhibition, "My Horizon". Her works are held in the collections of the Tate,Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia and Art Gallery of New South Wales. She currently lives in Sydney and New York. (03/19)

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