6 things you never knew about The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith


The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Directed by: Fred Schepisi
Written by: Fred Schepisi
Produced by: Fred Schepisi, Roy Stevens
Starring: Tommy Lewis, Freddy Reynolds, Ray Barrett, Jack Thompson, Angela Punch McGregor, Steve Dodd and Ray Meagher
Jimmie is a young aboriginal man who through hard work and marriage to a white woman is doing everything he can to keep his head down, make his own way through life and live and let live. However hard he tries though, Jimmie is confronted by obstacle after obstacle and is torn constantly between the two worlds of the life he’s striving for and the life he’s pulled toward.
Ultimately his fate is decided by accident despite the designs he has in place and from there a series of events unfold and spiral more and more out of anyone’s control.

Australian Revelations, a celebration of Australian film via monthly screenings, will be presenting a special screening of the Australian classic The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith hosted by Cinema Australia’s Matthew Eeles.

One of Australia’s great big screen films, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith never seems to date and the performances only seem to get better.

Would a film like this be able to be made in Australia today? Who knows but either way Tommy Lewis is electric in the role of Jimmie. With a flashing smile (which he still has) and that fire in his eyes (which he still has) Lewis leads a top notch cast.

The film won a swag of AFI awards including Best Original Music Score, Best Actress in a Lead Role (Angela Punch McGregor) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ray Barrett). It was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.

A classic Australian film and essential viewing by anyone’s standards.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
The Backlot Perth

Monday 21 March from 6.30pm
Tickets $20. Available here.

6 things you probably never knew:

New Yorker film reviewer, Pauline Kale wrote in a 1980 review, “The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is the finest Australian film I have ever seen…”

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith had a $1.2 million dollar filming budget. The critical and financial success of The Devil’s Playground helped director Fred Schepisi raise the funds.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is based on Thomas Keneally’s Booker Prize-nominated novel of the same name.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith was filmed in just 14 weeks.

Cinematographer Ian Baker has been the cinematographer on all Fred Schepisi’s feature films, apart from Last Orders. What a partnership!

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith was the first Australian film to gain entry into the Official Competition at Canned in 1978.

Source: The Classic Australian Movie Collection

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