Why I Adore… Bliss

By David Evan Giles

When I read the May edition of Why I Adore –  Briony Kidd’s article about Picnic At Hanging Rock (dir. Peter Weir, 1975), it reminded me that Picnic At Hanging Rock was one of the two films that fundamentally changed my mind about Australia. I’d happily wax lyrical about Picnic for another thousand words, but I am going to focus on the other film that grabbed my imagination and gave me a shake. Bliss (dir. Ray Lawrence, 1985) was the other film that rocked my world and rattled loose some ugly, ingrown preconceptions about this country. I want to tell you all about the extraordinary “Bliss effect”, but it will help if I set the scene a little first.

Growing up in London, before Picnic At Hanging Rock came along, all I knew of Oz was based on Rolf Harris on the BBC and the tricky presence of my Australian stepmother. (I don’t mean that Nerelle herself was tricky.  My mother’s early loathing of Nerelle was, on the other hand, pretty spectacularly tricky. Some divorced parents try to be civilized but my mother was made of altogether more incandescent stuff and so she ground her teeth at the sound of a wobble board  – and please didgeridon’t. You get the picture.)

While other boys were learning about soccer teams and the cool makes of car, I was glued to the Saturday afternoon movie, learning by heart the credits as they rolled past on everything from Randolph Scott Westerns to black and white stories of British wartime pluck. One of those films selected apparently at random by the lonely programmer deep in the bowels of BBC Television Centre was Smiley (dir. Anthony Kimmins, 1956), about a kid in the Outback having some very simple, innocent adventures. It is far from a classic, but there was something about Smiley that touched a nerve.  There was space and freedom and an echoing emptiness under vast, limitless skies. Nothing like the life I led in West London. That film made the first crack in my Pommy prejudice.

My ignorant prejudice against Australia as narrow or somehow in the shadow of the Mother Country or, perish the thought, a poor cousin of California, all of those illusions were swept away.

Then, a few years later came Picnic At Hanging Rock. While Briony Kidd’s essay explored the horror genre aspects of Picnic, my friends at University and I were overwhelmed by the sense of loss the film captured so powerfully. The film touched that sense in all of us – we were there at the very beginning of our adult lives, falling as helplessly in love as only the naive and unwounded can, and Miranda walked into our imaginations and vanished, leaving not a footprint behind for us to follow. We yearned and pined en masse. Being privately educated British boys, we felt for Dominic Guard in his feeble scrabbling amongst the rocks even as his incompetence embarrassed us. He did not belong there and neither did we – but then I secretly wanted to discover my inner John Jarratt, the man with hair on his chest and some survival skills who had a much better chance of finding those lost girls. More than anything, I wanted to escape the narrow skies and narrower conventions of the cloisters where I grew up.

And then came Bliss. While Picnic At Hanging Rock is artfully crafted, perhaps helped by the fact that it sits so comfortably in its Gothic horror genre, Bliss, adapted from the novel by Peter Carey, is an exploration of ideas. Despite its three AFI Awards and 10 more AFI nominations, and the close encounter with the Palme d’Or at Cannes, for me it stumbles as often as it succeeds. Its changes in tone and its uneasy shifts between the naturalistic and the surreal make it seem a little awkward. And yet, as I watched it again just last week, the ideas it explores are as affecting today as they were 27 years ago.  Perhaps it doesn’t matter that it is so strange, flipping between the madness of Buñuel and the mundane tedium of the suburbs. Perhaps it is not important that it never settles into a rhythm or a style, or that the cast’s performances swerve between gentle humanity and broad pantomime. Its most recognisable narrative through-line is an improbable love story between a disillusioned advertising executive, Harry Joy (Barry Otto), and a call girl, Honey Barbara (Helen Jones). It doesn’t seem to matter that this comfortable narrative is at odds with the film’s political ambition to expose Western materialism as a sham that causes deceit and suffering, misery and death (or near-death in Harry’s case). In spite of being jarring and genre-crossing, somehow Bliss just works.

There are reasons why this movie works and they cannot be just personal to me. After all, the film was showered with prizes so I am not alone in loving it. What first struck me was how bold it was, technically and artistically. When Harry ‘dies’, the crane shot as he floats above his own body went a very, very long way up – an image so strong that it caused me to hire the DOP on a project years later. When Harry’s wife, played with merciless self-mockery by Lynette Curran, is unfaithful to him while he is lying in bed recovering from open heart surgery, he smells sex on her – and live sardines fall out of her knickers onto the floor of the ward. Apart from the fact that a shot like that would probably not be possible today without losing the Humane Society’s stamp of approval, when I first saw it, I laughed out loud and was awe-struck by the boldness of the idea. My reaction was to think, “If these people have that kind of creativity and ‘bugger what you think of us’ attitude, I want to know more about this culture”. My ignorant prejudice against Australia as narrow or somehow in the shadow of the Mother Country or, perish the thought, a poor cousin of California, all of those illusions were swept away. The whole film was original and bold and, above all, unapologetic.

The American poster for ‘Bliss’ takes a different tone.

Bliss had another effect. Having grown up in England during the height of the industrial chaos of constant strikes and power blackouts, I had developed a leaning towards conservatism. (I know, I know, I could lose my AACTA membership for saying such a thing – but there is a happy ending!) There is a scene in which a disillusioned corporate executive drunkenly reveals to Harry that his company has a ‘cancer map’ – a map showing where all the cancers are concentrated and which industries are in those areas as the probable causes of those cancers. He unfolds a map of NSW marked with cancer clusters and explains that the whole Western world is built on things that cause cancer. That single scene changed how I saw the world. It doesn’t matter that it may be an exaggeration – what matters is that it made sense and matched what I was reading in the newspapers. When lead in petrol was shown to be causing brain damage in children, the oil companies did not go into overdrive to remove the lead – they went into overdrive to delay having to do anything about it. Bliss’s cancer map was telling the truth. I started going green from that moment on.

Ray Lawrence showed such a flash of genius in casting Barry [Otto] for the role and gave him all the support he needed to let him be the heart of the film.

Because this frequently manic film has a split personality, it moves from the frenetic to the serene. After being stuck in a hotel room for days, claustrophobic, chaotic and airless, and then a mental hospital, Harry ends up in a rainforest. Again, this lad from Notting Hill was blown away by the very possibility that you could do such a thing. In England, we had The Good Life on the BBC, where two nice people turn their suburban garden into a self-sufficient mini-farm. It was a warm and funny sitcom – but it was clearly never going to be practical and it didn’t stop them breathing the polluted city air. In Australia, according to Bliss, you could get into your car and drive to a real rainforest.  Just like that. That was very definitely not part of the British experience and it fed the desire to come and be a part of the film culture in Oz.

But more than anything else, what held the film together, and made it make sense, was the humanity of Harry, played by Barry Otto. There is such a fluid quality about Barry’s movements, in how he wears his clothes, and a lyricism in his speech, that all seems to communicate a freedom in his thinking. Ray Lawrence showed such a flash of genius in casting Barry for the role and gave him all the support he needed to let him be the heart of the film. Before Bliss, I had seen Australian actors being bold and strong and stolid. Harry was the first character I had ever come across who was confused and questioning and obviously needing to be brave to ask those questions – the sort of questioning that is more typical of European cinema that deals in shades and colours instead of black and white, yes and no.

Honey Barbara (Helen Jones) and Harry Joy (Barry Otto).

So why do I adore Bliss? I have a list of ‘top ten’ films that stretches to nine pages of A4, but in that list there are relatively few movies that, on their own, have presented an idea so potently that they have prised away a prejudice and opened my eyes to new ways of seeing the world. Kandahar (dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 2001) did it. The Circle (dir. Jafar Panahi, 2000) did it. Dead Man Walking (dir. Tim Robbins, 1995) and American History X (dir Tony Kaye, 1998) did it. And Bliss did it in spades.

‘Waiting for the Turning of the Earth’

On a very personal note, I have to close by telling you a small story – and it’s all about hope and tenacity making your dreams become realities. I saw Picnic At Hanging Rock when I was about 20. I saw Bliss when I was about 26. I immigrated to Australia when I was 28. Over the years, I wrote and produced a couple of features and then went into a long mixture of script development hell and personal development purgatory. When I was 49, I was given a grant by Screen NSW to emerge as a Writer-Director and I finally got to direct Anne Louise Lambert  – Miranda from Picnic At Hanging Rock – and Barry Otto together in a short film called Waiting For The Turning Of The Earth, for which I was honoured and deeply touched to receive an AACTA nomination. This was a dream come true for me and a validation of the choices I had made that had led me to that moment. And another reason why I adore Bliss.

About David Evans Giles: David moved from Notting Hill in London to Australia in 1988. After writing and producing a TV series broadcast on Channel 9 (Your Home, one of the first home renovation shows), he teamed up with another writer to create what became Paradise Road, raising a major proportion of the finance for what was then the largest budget in Australian film history. Paradise Road starred Oscar nominees Glenn Close and Pauline Collins and Oscar winner Frances McDormand, and helped to launch Cate Blanchett’s feature career. David co-wrote and produced another feature film, Under The Lighthouse Dancing, starring AFI Award-winning actors, Naomi Watts, Jack Thompson and Jacqueline Mackenzie. The 23 minute short film Waiting For The Turning of the Earth is intended to launch his professional career directing drama. The film was made possible by a grant from Screen New South Wales under the Emerging Filmmakers Fund scheme and since receiving the nomination for an AACTA Award has been selected for film festivals around Australia and the USA. He is currently working on two feature films, The Human Condition, about how cancer is experienced in different parts of the world, and The Falling, a thriller.

Read Previous ‘Why I Adore’ Posts:

Paul Anthony Nelson (the ‘Why I Adore’ godfather and founder) introduces the concept, and rhapsodises about Mad Max. AFI Membership Administrator Lia McCrae-Moore revisits the lyrical beauty of One Night the Moon and Clem Bastow reminisces about a childhood spent watching the television show Round the Twist. Or you can read Anthony Morris flirting with disaster in his adoration of Romper Stomper, Annie Stevens going bridal with Muriel’s Wedding, or Popzilla bowing down before the altar of literary screen adaptations. More recently, Lia McCrae-Moore showers affection on SBS’s high-octane police thriller, East West 101, Rochelle Simienowicz delves deeply into the ground-breaking television series, Love My Way, and Simon Elschlepp discovers a fondness for stylish and audacious futuristic noir, Dark City.  Thomas Caldwell rhapsodises about Richard Lowenstein’s anarchic and playful 1986 film Dogs in Space, John Bailey remembers a strange fascination with Big Brother Up Late, Hila Shachar explains why Cate Shortland’s Somersault moves her so, Briony Kidd explains why she loves to be horrified by the Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Glenn Dunks reveals himself to be a Kidmaniac in his celebration of Nicole Kidman.

Contribute: We’re currently looking for more ’Why I Adore’ articles devoted to Australian film and television. Send a one paragraph summary to editor[at] afi.org.au and we’ll get back to you with more details.

Why I Adore: Love My Way

Gnarly Family Trees: Truth, Beauty and Love My Way by Rochelle Siemienowicz

Love My Way, Series 1: Lou (Alex Cook) and Frankie (Claudia Karvan).

Love My Way, Series 1: Lou (Alex Cook) and Frankie (Claudia Karvan).

On a hill by the ocean sits a big white house. A man in a wetsuit returns from his early morning surf. Inside, a woman peers through the gaps in her blanket. The sun shining through creates mysterious patterns of colour and light. Not far away, in another house, a blonde babe climbs astride her sleeping man, arousing him in the nicest possible way until a little girl bounds into the room. ‘Where’s my school uniform?’ she pipes. ‘You were sexing,’ she adds with mild disgust. The woman rolls off, to reveal her satin nightgown straining over a hugely pregnant belly. It’s funny, true and a little bit wrong.

Welcome to a television world where the sun shines, the surf rolls and beautiful people with Australian accents live out their complicated romantic and domestic lives. But this certainly isn’t Home and Away or SeaChange, or even The Secret Life of Us. It isn’t even free-to-air television. It’s Foxtel’s Love My Way, arguably the first and finest Australian drama series created for Pay TV. Over the course of three series, aired from 2004 to 2007, Love My Way collected a huge stash of awards, attracted universal critical acclaim, and built a devoted fan-base that saw the network shift the show’s broadcast channel three times to capitalise on its popularity. Like many prestigious HBO dramas from the United States, it was on DVD that this Australian series probably found its real home and its most fervent fans, with boxed sets bought and borrowed at a frantic rate.

Love My Way

People like us. Key Cast from Love My Way: L-R: Brendan Cowell, Claudia Karvan, Asher Keddie & Dan Wyllie.

So, what makes Love My Way so special? Here’s a classic scene from the first episode: ‘This is my birth and I’ll do it how I fucking want to,’ says pregnant control-freak Julia (Asher Keddie) as she fills the wading pool in the courtyard, lighting aromatherapy candles for pain relief. Several hours later she’s screaming at the midwife and at her husband, Charlie (Dan Wyllie), when they suggest some Panadol.’Panadol! Haven’t you got anything else, I’m only two fucking centimetres dilated!’ As the ordeal progresses, she’s in the water, straining and splashing. Lovely, funny, irresponsible Charlie tries to support her and keep her afloat, but only with one arm – the other is firmly attached to his bottle of beer, as if he’ll drown without it. We’re later shown, quite matter-of-factly, the crimson cloud of blood and afterbirth staining the water; testament that Love My Way is prepared to get dirty and real.

Love My Way DVD cover Series 3Over the course of three seasons, the drama unflinchingly depicts things not often spotted on Australian television. For a start, candidly depicted sex is a key driver here, a central facet in every character’s life, whether they’re fifteen, thirty-five or fifty. Sometimes it’s good sex, often it’s bad. Sometimes it’s porn-fuelled masturbation, and occasionally, as we’ve seen, it happens in front of the children. Then there’s the casual and often inconsequential drug use – cocaine, ecstasy, ice and lots of dope. And don’t forget the kleptomania, the nymphomania, the lighting of farts, the biting of ears, and the grief, oh the endless, messy and almost unbearable grief of losing somebody you love. Yes, there’s pain and dirt aplenty, and thanks to superb scripting and naturalistic acting, it feels incredibly real.

This isn’t the kind of ‘dirty and real’ that we see in so much Australian cinema…

But this isn’t the kind of ‘dirty and real’ that we see in so much Australian cinema, where harsh lighting, bad skin and foul language combine to create a general low-rent ugliness – a tendency so pronounced that it’s a common accusation that our films are only about drug addicts, criminals and bogans. Instead, Love My Way is decidedly stylish and certainly middle-class. The characters might swear a lot, drink far too much (even when they’re breastfeeding) and suffer the odd embarrassing encounter with the law, but they’re living lives that look very good indeed. They’re architects, artists and chefs; people who wear casually assembled vintage clothes, go surfing every morning and attend the Walkley Awards for work. They sing karaoke to Crowded House songs, share barbecues with their exes and various new spouses and children, and have marital crises in Ikea showrooms, where they dream that ‘storage solutions’ might solve all their problems.

These are people like ‘us’, or the people we’d like to think we are – complex, flawed and cool, making our living in vaguely creative ways and living in somehow affordable but spectacular inner-city real estate. Mostly, though, they’re like ‘us’ because they’re trying to make the best of a family structure that bears only passing resemblance to the traditional nuclear model.

Claudia Karvan, star and co-creator of Love My Way.

Claudia Karvan, star and co-creator of Love My Way.

Claudia Karvan, the star and co-creator of Love My Way, has said that the series grew out of the observation that while the harrowing divorce-drama Kramer vs Kramer reflected the way families broke up in the 1970s, nowadays people seem to handle it better. Her character Frankie is a case in point. She’s in her early thirties and a single mother to the impish eight-year-old Lou (Alex Cook). While it’s not always easy sharing custody with Lou’s father, Charlie, and his new wife Julia, it’s managed with admirable honesty and only the occasional screaming match. These characters own keys to each other’s houses, and Frankie remains on intimate terms with Charlie’s parents (Max Cullen and Lynette Curran). She even shares her house (and sometimes her bed) with Charlie’s brother, the blunt and sparky Tom (Brendan Cowell).

Here, the modern family tree is an overgrown mess of branches growing out of the dirt of broken love stories and abandoned vows.

When little Lou is asked to draw a family tree for a school project, she titles it ‘My Family Up a Tree’ – an allusion to the family’s craziness, but also to the way she happily exists at the trunk of it. The set up makes perfect and natural sense to her child’s mind.

The series takes as its central premise the idea that strangely beautiful fruit can grow on these gnarly family trees: ex-partners who understand each other deeply and make each other laugh; stepmothers who prove to be cranky and sweet, rather than wicked; and new babies born into a tangle of adopted aunties and uncles. Naturally, such trees are prone to their own peculiar thorns and diseases. Hostility and resentment often break through, as does latent sexual tension. Money is always an issue, and new additions to the family, whether through birth, marriage or friendship, cause already clouded dynamics to shift and change. It makes for great and absorbing drama.

LMW Series 3 Julia and Charlie and Toby (Asher Keddie, Dan Wyllie & Byron Chaplain)

'The way a marriage can turn sour in one conversation, and recover with one well-timed joke." Asher Keddie and Dan Wyllie create one of the most convincing married couples ever seen on Australian television. Image from Series 3 of Love My Way.

The general concept of large and messy family groupings is nothing new for television drama, and of course it’s a staple of soap opera. It’s certainly a recurrent theme for Southern Star producer John Edwards. With other collaborators, he is also the creator of a mini-genre that began with The Secret Life of Us (Channel Ten, 2001-2004), a show that was more about friends who form a family. Then came Love My Way, followed by Foxtel Showcase drama Tangle, having this year broadcast its second season, with a third on the way – a noir-ish tale of family life set in Melbourne suburbia. Then Edwards is also involved with Channel Ten’s hit comedy drama series Offspring, about a neurotic thirty-something obstetrician (Asher Keddie) and her ‘fabulously messy family’.

The writing is so good in Love My Way that there’s hardly a clichéd exchange or a predictable plot development. And yet it feels so familiar, the way that a marriage can turn sour in one conversation, and recover with one well timed joke; or the way that a friend can suddenly become a lover or an adversary.

It’s impossible to write about Love My Way without mentioning the incredible physical beauty of the production.

A team of accomplished writers was responsible for such great scripting, including Karvan herself, along with film and television veteran and series co-creator Jacquelin Perske, playwright Tony McNamara and actor/playwright Brendan Cowell. Working in collaboration, they pooled ideas and themes from their own experiences of marriage, divorce, parenthood and working life. It’s the way the characters speak to each other that feels so refreshing and real. It’s often brutal, with a disarming lack of etiquette. As Tom tells Frankie one morning when she’s recounting a dream from which she’s freshly awoken: ‘Don’t tell me your dreams. Other people’s dreams bore the shit out of me.’ And he’s not being aggressive or angry. It’s just a matter of fact.

It’s impossible to write about Love My Way without mentioning the incredible physical beauty of the production. It’s not just the good-looking cast and stunning Sydney locations. It’s the craft we’re talking about here – from the cinematography, to the production and costume design. The gorgeous opening credits, repeated over the three seasons, signpost the visual tone and saturated colour scheme that continues into the show itself. They’re worth looking at closely. (In fact these are the first 10 minutes of the first episode, and I predict you’ll want to watch every single one of them.)


These opening credits are set underwater, with a sea-green background and the sunlight filtering down through bubbles. The characters appear to be floating and swimming, suspended in light and water. Karvan’s hair drifts in the current like seaweed, and her clothes of red and green gleam like a mermaid’s tail. Bringing humour and levity to the painterly scene, other actors, like Dan Wyllie and Lynette Curran, mug and grin through goggles as they swim in front of the camera. Complementing these visuals is a soundscape that’s both nostalgic and otherworldly, yet with a forward-thrusting energy. It’s The Psychedelic Furs’ early 1980s hit ‘Love My Way’, performed this time by Magic Dirt – wonderfully evocative, though maddeningly repetitive if you happen to sit through too many DVD episodes at a time…

The aesthetic beauty of Love My Way, its cinematic production values, extends from the opening credits into every single scene of the series. In fact, it’s possible to freeze almost any frame of the show and find a beautiful composition of colour, light and form, especially in those scenes containing Karvan, with her angular frame and her solemnly beautiful face. In a recent critique of Australian cinema, Louis Nowra berated our filmmakers for failing to engage in the full and lingering romance of the human face on the big screen. Love My Way has such a romance, albeit on the small screen, and it’s compelling enough to suggest he may be right: we need more of this.

Love My Way is proudly ‘arty’. One of its central themes is the quest to create art and to use one’s life in the work. Frankie is an artist. She inhabits many other roles – as mother, lover and friend – but at her core is the need to filter what she sees and feels into her work; to make it live again through paint on canvas. She has to constantly fight against the demands of those other roles – childcare and paid work, especially, are always sucking away at her painting time. It’s a reality that any creative parent is bound to recognise.

Love My Way Series 1. Alex Cook as Lou

Proudly 'arty' a central theme of Love My Way is a woman's struggle to be an artist, mother and lover. Alex Cook as Lou.

Unlike so many films that deal superficially with the creative process, whether of writing, composing music, or painting, Love My Way, as a television series, can sustain and explore the theme of what it really means to be an artist and a woman, and demonstrate the way these things are inseparable for this character. Frankie’s work is informed in Series One by her dreams and her fears, and finally by her very great and overwhelming grief. By Series Three she is fighting for her simple right to be an artist, with her cocky new husband, Lewis (Ben Mendelsohn), teasing her and saying that if she really were an artist she would do it more compulsively, instead of finding excuses. Her outrage is palpable.

Lewis and Frankie (Ben Mendelsohn & Claudia Karvan in Series 3 of Love My Way).

Cocky, erratic and irresistible, Lewis (Ben Mendelsohn) is a challenge to Frankie in Series 3.

Not only does she have to manage Lewis’s erratic behaviour, manic spending and his annoying teenage son (who’s suddenly materialised on the doorstep), but she’s now being asked to justify and prove the very thing that is at the heart of her identity! It’s only when she begins to create again, at the conclusion of Series Three, by making a beautiful and dreamlike tribute to the ghosts of her past, that Frankie can again approach wholeness.

The operative word here is ‘approach’, because Love My Way is far too honest and life-like to ever attempt storylines that present characters as finally or fully redeemed, healed or completed. Resolution is only ever temporary and conditional. As John Edwards, the co-creator of the series, has said: ‘The great lie of television is that things get resolved.’ The genius of Love My Way is that it works within that lie – as a successful television drama that satisfies the need we have for stories to be beautiful, to have endings; for characters to find meaning and transcendence. But at the same time, it’s realistic enough, and convincing enough, to have us believe that Frankie and Lewis, and Julia and Charlie, and all the rest of that surprisingly functional family might be out there, living new stories in their complicated lives. Even if we’re not watching.

A version of this article was originally published in Kill Your Darlings, Issue 2, July 2010.

 

Note: Love My Way at the AFI Awards

In an astonishing run, Love My Way recieved the AFI Award for Best Television Drama Series three years in a row – 2005, 2006 and 2007. The series also won multiple other AFI Awards and nominations. They are all listed below.

 2005

Won: AFI Award for Best Direction in Television – Jessica Hobbs
Won: AFI Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in Television – Max Cullen
Won: AFI Award for Best Lead Actress in Television – Claudia Karvan
Won: AFI Award for Best Screenplay in Television – Jacquelin Perske
Won: AFI Award for Best Television Drama Series – John Edwards and Claudia Karvan

Nominated: AFI Award for Best Lead Actor in Television – Dan Wyllie
Nominated: AFI Award for Outstanding Achievement in Craft in Television – Louis Irving (cinematography)

2006

Won: AFI Award for Best Television Drama Series – John Edwards, Claudia Karvan, Jaquelin Perske

Nominated: AFI Award for Best Direction in Television – Shirley Barrett
Nominated: AFI Award for Best Lead Actor in Television Drama – Dan Wyllie
Nominated: AFI Award for Best Lead Actress in Television Drama – Claudia Karvan
Nominated: AFI Award for Best Lead Actress in Television Drama – Asher Keddie
Nominated: AFI Award for Best Screenplay in Television – Jacquelin Perske

2007

Won: AFI Award for Best Television Drama Series – John Edwards, Claudia Karvan
Won: AFI Award for Best Lead Actress in Television Drama – Claudia Karvan

Nominated: AFI Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actress in Television Drama – Justine Clarke
Nominated: AFI Award for Best Lead Actor in Television Drama – Ben Mendelsohn
Nominated: AFI Award for Best Screenplay in Television – Tony McNamara

Read Previous ‘Why I Adore’ Posts:

Paul Anthony Nelson (the ‘Why I Adore’ godfather and founder) introduces the concept, and rhapsodises about Mad Max. AFI Membership Administrator Lia McCrae-Moore revisits the lyrical beauty of One Night the Moon and Clem Bastow reminisces about a childhood spent watching the television show Round the Twist. Or you can read Anthony Morris flirting with disaster in his adoration of Romper Stomper, Annie Stevens going bridal with Muriel’s Wedding, or Popzilla bowing down before the altar of literary screen adaptations. Most recently, Lia McCrae-Moore showers affection on SBS’s high-octane police thriller, East West 101.

Contribute: We’re currently looking for more ’Why I Adore’ articles devoted to Australian film and television. Send a one paragraph summary to editor[at] afi.org.au and we’ll get back to you with more details.