Arthur (1938-) and Corinne Cantrill (1928-) started their extraordinary filmmaking careers in 1960, and remain two of the most significant and productive figures in the history of experimental cinema. Their work is an intimate, highly formal, and breathtakingly cinematic exploration of the Australian landscape, their immediate domestic and working environments, the material qualities of the cinema, and key artistic influences on their work and life. It also ranges across a wide array of audiovisual forms and genres including documentary, experimental film, performance art, expanded cinema, and sound art. This small tribute to the 50th anniversary of their first film production – documentaries made in Brisbane for the Children’s Library and Crafts Movement – covers some of their most significant contributions to film culture: the extraordinary expanded cinema works of the early 1970s; Corinne’s monumental autobiographical work, In This Life’s Body (1984); the couple’s materialist but expressively organic work in the field of three-colour separation; and Cantrills Filmnotes, one of the most significant, long-running and groundbreaking publications devoted to “independent film and video” published anywhere in the world. The five articles contained in this tribute include three republications – Michael Koller’s detailed analysis of the measured but beautiful Waterfall (1984); Freda Freiberg’s evocative essay on In This Life’s Body found in the groundbreaking collection Don’t Shoot Darling! Women’s Independent Filmmaking in Australia; Jake Wilson’s astute introduction to the film season being held at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to mark the Cantrills’ 50th anniversary – and two specially commissioned essays by OtherFilm (Danni Zuvela, Joel Stern, Sally Golding) and filmmaker Steven Ball, that speak to the profound influence of the Cantrills, their pre-eminent position as mentors and collaborators, and the legacy of their 50-year journey through the medium of film.

From October 10 – 31 ACMI is running an exhibition showcasing 50 years of work by the Cantrills. For details please visit: http://www.acmi.net.au/cantrills-grain-of-voice.aspx

About The Author

Adrian Danks is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and Media in the School of Media and Communication, RMIT University. He is also co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque and was an editor of Senses of Cinema from 2000 to 2014. He has published hundreds of articles on various aspects of cinema and is the editor of A Companion to Robert Altman (Wiley-Blackwell) and American-Australian Cinema: Transnational Connections (Palgrave).

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