A great night with Bruce Beresford

On the last Friday of November, we co-hosted with the Inner West Council our final event for 2019. We were extremely fortunate that Bruce Beresford, well known and much- loved film director and Balmain resident, agreed to be our speaker. Bruce proved to be a great draw card with tickets selling fast.

The staff from the Inner West libraries and the FOBL committee worked together to make the evening the success that it was. On the night, the Town Hall meeting room looked suitably festive, with the usual delicious supper provided by the FOBL committee. Our thanks to TJs, our local butcher, for providing the delicious ham, at a much subsidised price, for the ham rolls which disappeared quickly, along with the wine donated by the Inner West Council. There wasn’t a mince pie or piece of Christmas cake left by the end of the evening! Our thanks also to the Hill of Content who generously donated the prizes for our lucky door prizes and for their ongoing support of FOBL.

Our mayor, Councillor Darcy Byrne, welcomed the audience, noting how thrilled he was to see the Town Hall brimming with our vibrant audience. He spoke of the commitment of the Inner West Council to our local libraries and outlined promising plans for their future. Our local MP, Jamie Parker, then encouraged everyone to support their local libraries and to join the Friends of Balmain Library. He also paid tribute to Clive James whose death had been announced that day.

Then it was time for Bruce Beresford to talk. Bruce entertained us with trailers from a selection of his films, from the 1970s to the present, and reminisced about each of them, giving us insights into the sometimes difficult world of film directing, as well as a little inside gossip about some of the actors he has employed over the years. Of the more than thirty films he has made, he talked about only ten of them and we could have listened to him talk about them all. There was a ripple of recognition and nostalgia through the audience with clips from Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy and The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie.  Bruce finished with Ladies In Black, the option for which he bought many years ago, knowing it would make a marvellous film. It took some twenty years to come to fruition, a reflection of his determination and persistence and knowing what a good story is.

Having entertained us so, Bruce then stayed and signed books and chatted with the audience for quite some time. He was delighted and surprised that many people wanted to hear him talk and, even more, that they wanted to buy his book “The Best Film I Never Made”. He added at the end of his talk that he was off to Morocco the next day to attend a screening of Black Robe at an international film festival. film. We understand that Bruce is now preparing for his next film. We look forward to it and will enjoy it all the more knowing something of the long process to bring a film to the screen.

We wish you a Happy Christmas, happy reading, and hope that you can join us for our first FOBL event of 2021.

Dr Fiona Mitchell, FOBL Chair

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