Red Dog film review


GUNDAGAI may have its monument to a mythical dog on a tuckerbox, but the dog immortalised in stone in Dampier, Western Australia was real, a red kelpie who became a legend by travelling all over the state, hitching rides in cars and trains, and adopting new families along the way.

British writer Louis de Bernieres saw the statue and decided this was a story that needed telling, and so was born his best-selling novel Red Dog.

The book has now been made into a film starring Rachael Taylor and Josh Lucas, which is sure to enchant viewers of all ages. Making his feature film debut and now being hotly pursued by talent scouts and film producers is canine star Koko. Said producer Nelson Woss, "Like the real Red Dog, he’s different from your average dog. He has charisma."

Filmed on location in the stunning and remote Pilbara region of Western Australia, the film relates how the lovable Red Dog united a mining community in the 1970s and ’80s.

De Bernieres is delighted with the film adaptation: "Red Dog is a funny and touching film that superbly catches the atmosphere of Red Dog’s times. It has a cast of real people, too, which is a relief. Perhaps the loveliest thing about it is that it is a hymn to the Pilbara, a landscape that looks like the surface of Mars, which too few Australians have learned to love. I love it, and I’m only a Pom!" de Bernieres declared.

Dendy Byron Bay Cinemas will screen the Byron Bay premiere of Red Dog on Friday, August 5 at 7pm, in association with the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival.

Louis de Bernieres, whose novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was made into a film starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, will be special guest at the screening, and will take part in a post-film Q&A.

Also screening at the Dendy is Innocence, a film by renowned filmmaker Paul Cox starring Australian film icons Julia Blake and Bud Tingwell. After more than 40 years apart, widower Andreas embarks on an affair with Claire, as reckless and intense as when they were young lovers. Claire, however, is still married and their affair is set to have a major impact on her husband and their families.

Filmmaker Paul Cox’s fearlessly honest approach to such questions as the relationship between aging and loyalty, and the interplay between sensuality and love, make this a powerful and beautiful love story. Innocence screens on Thursday August 4 at 5pm, followed by a Q&A with Paul Cox. Tickets for both events are on sale now at the Dendy for $18 or $15 for Club Dendy, Screenworks and Northern Rivers Writers Centre members, and Festival Pass holders, phone bookings 6680 8555.

Wrapping up the film events at the Writers Festival is The War You Don’t See, screening at the Byron Community Centre Theatre on Sunday, August 7 at 7pm, with a Q&A by festival special guest, journalist and filmmaker John Pilger. The film is a powerful and timely investigation into the media’s role in war, tracing the history of embedded and independent reporting, from the carnage of World War I to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan. Tickets $16 available at the Community Centre

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