Ubu Forever: Albie Thoms And The Australian Avant-Garde (Part One)

Series Site

"This fall, Spectacle is pleased to unveil a series celebrating Australian auteur Albie Thoms and what would become the Australian New Wave – featuring three seminal features by Thoms practically never exhibited in North America.

"A multivalent filmmaker and theatre artist, Albie Thoms (1941-2012) was a hardcore avant-gardist, responsible for bringing the works of Arrabal to Australia and founding the Sydney Filmmakers Cooperative and the UBU collective, alongside Aggy Read, John Clark and David Perry. The restorations of his work made available by ArtFilms provide invaluable insight to a disjunction in Australian cinema that dominated the 1960s and 70s – between state-subsidized works (some of whose makers would indeed eventually migrate to Los Angeles) and a relentless, drugged-out underground community, which drew as much from Artaud and Beckett as it did from Thoms’ more lauded contemporaries in Europe and New York City. As ever, crossover between these spheres happened early and often; to cite just one example, Thoms codirected his short film …IT DROPPETH AS THE GENTLE RAIN with Bruce Beresford, who would go on to direct Hollywood productions like TENDER MERCIES and DOUBLE JEOPARDY.

"This trio – each title made with grants on low budgets, heavily improvised and deeply influential within the Sydney experimental scene – are Thoms’ only three features. Each betrays his signature interest in using juxtaposition and particularly sound montage to push the narrative envelope, collapsing conventional narrative cinematic tropes into a new language that’s as trangressive now as it was in the 1970s."