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Burke and Wills is an Australian epic that tackles a constitutive part of our national mythology. The film is progressive in its skeptical attitude towards "the colonial project", and the overall effects of British Imperialism. But ultimately it's the brilliant performances of Jack Thompson as Burke, and Nigel Havers as Wills, that give the film its enduring dramatic potency.
Australia, 1860. Irishman Robert O'Hara Burke (AFI Award winner Jack Thompson, The Sum Of Us) is a figure of fiery determination. Romantically linked to opera singer Julia Matthews (AFI Award winner Greta Scacchi, Looking For Alibrandi), he is driven to explore the largely uncharted inland. Securing the support of several important businessmen and politicians, Burke mounts an ambitious expedition to cross central Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Eager to beat a rival expedition, Burke is joined by British scientist William John Wills (Nigel Havers, Chariots of Fire) and sets off with a party of 19 able men, a supply of specially imported camels and enough equipment to conquer the great continent, a distance of around 3,250 kilometres. But on their return journey south, a twist of fate and poor judgment cause the party to miss a crucial rendezvous, threatening their very survival. With tragedy on the horizon and nowhere else to go, Burke and Wills are destined to be remembered as two of the most remarkable men in Australian history.
Saturday session includes a post-screening Q&A with producer Bob Weiss.
Jack Thompson, Nigel Havers, Greta Scacchi, Matthew Farger
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