Celia (Rebecca Smart) is rebellious child growing up in Melbourne in the 1950s, in a community gripped by paranoia about ‘reds under the bed’. Her fear and confusion come to a head when a government ban on rabbits robs her of her beloved pet, and fantasy and reality begin to merge.
Celia was described by Janet Maslin in the New York Times as “transfixing, assured, extremely lucid”; by Tom Hutchinson in The Mail as, “One of those classics of childhood such as Reed’s The Fallen Idol or Truffaut’s The 400 Blows. It was named one of the world’s 10 best films of 1990 by Village Voice and in 2009 English Time Out rated Celia in its “50 Greatest Debut Movies” and also placed the DVD release in its top ten DVDs for that year. The film boasts an outstanding cast including Victoria Longley, Nicholas Eadie, Mary-Anne Fahey and William Zappa. Both Fahey and Longley were nominated for AFI Awards (Longley won).
The screening will be followed by a conversation with director Ann Turner and star Rebecca Smart.
SWMF’s Briony Kidd recently wrote about the film for the anthology Kid Power!, which explores images of child empowerment in cult film and television. Kid Power! also features an essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, a speaker at the festival as part of the Mary Shelley Symposium on 23 August. The book will be available for sale.