A digital restoration of Ray Lawrence’s 1985 AFI Award-winning classic Bliss will premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on 14 June 2016, presented by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) as part of its NFSA Restores initiative.
Director Ray Lawrence said: ‘It’s an honour to have your first film preserved like this. I’d only ever seen it with a lot of scratches; this restoration is the best print of the film I’ve seen in 30 years!’
The screening will take place at Event Cinemas George Street at 6pm. Tickets are now available: http://www.sff.org.au/tickets/buying-tickets.
Based on the 1981 novel by Peter Carey, Bliss premiered in competition at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. Despite a rocky start – 400 of the 1,600 audience at Cannes walked out – the film became an art-house hit in Australia, with glowing reviews and the AFI Awards for Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay. Producer Anthony Buckley AM said: ‘If a film can cause controversy, which Bliss most certainly did, then you’ve achieved something. Bliss also became a commercial success. Thirty years later, the NFSA has restored the film and it’s looking better than ever.’
Bliss is the latest Australian classic to receive the NFSA Restores treatment, so it can be seen in today’s digital cinemas. This NFSA initiative utilises the best available original picture and sound materials, from both the NFSA collection and around the world. Restored films will be migrated every five years to ensure their format remains contemporary and they will be available as Digital Cinema Packages. Previous NFSA Restores films include Storm Boy (1976), Starstruck (1982) and Howling III: The Marsupials (1987).
NFSA Senior Curator Gayle Lake explained: ‘The longest part of the restoration process is actually at the beginning. We have to analyse the source materials and, in the case of Bliss, we managed to acquire original components a few years ago. When NFSA Restores began, we definitely knew Bliss was one of the titles we wanted to work on. It was one of the true sleeper films of the 1980s.’