A multi-layered narrative drama about ordinary people and their struggles and joys with life.
Blue Notes is composed of five tales about people who are "blue": a married man struggles with depression; his son spends his days drifting; a young woman reacts to being abused by her partner; a heroin addict attempts to start a career in music; and a lonely man, bereft of family, looks for a way to connect with others.
Director / Producer: Bill Mousoulis
Writers: Bill Mousoulis, Trevor Rooney and Anna Kannava
Cinematographer: Jason Turley
Cast: Adam Royall, Susan Strafford, Renée Francis, Nino Kannavas, Peter Lesley.
Produced in association with the Australian Film Commission.
Bill Mousoulis is one of Australia’s most prolific independent filmmakers, with approximately 100 films to his name. As well as making shorts and medium-length films such as the award-winning drama Between Us (1989, 37 mins) and the poetry-film collaboration A Sufi Valentine (2004, 34 mins), Mousoulis has also made eight feature-length films, including Lovesick (2002, 70 mins), Blue Notes (2006, 93 mins) and A Nocturne (2007, 70 mins), which won Best Film at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival in 2007 and also screened in numerous film festivals in Europe in 2008.
In 1985 he founded the Melbourne Super 8 Film Group, a co-operative that lasted until 2001 as an active, recognised organisation. In 1999, Mousoulis founded the online film journal Senses of Cinema, a continuing journal, with The Times newspaper in the UK naming it "Best Film journal website".
Mousoulis' work as a filmmaker is acknowledged by film critic Adrian Martin, who has labelled Mousoulis "one of Australia's most committed independent filmmakers". And current writer for The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Jake Wilson, has called Mousoulis "an independent film legend".
Special Jury Prize and Best Cinematography (Jason Turley) and Best Supporting Male Actor (Adam Royall) at 7th Melbourne Underground Film Festival, July 2006.
"One standout film this year in the Melbourne Underground Film Festival is Bill Mousoulis' haunting and confounding Blue Notes, which follows an assortment of introverted characters along crisscrossing paths through inner-suburban Melbourne.
Like much of Mousoulis' work, Blue Notes generates an overpowering sense of willed or enforced isolation, with its carefully neutral images and actors who perform everyday gestures as if posing for portraits with archetypal titles (say, "The Addict" or "The Father").
But a new, more expansive spirit is evident in everything from the more varied dialogue rhythms to the eclectic soundtrack, not to mention the clips from the work of other Melbourne filmmakers and cameos by familiar faces out of Mousoulis' earlier productions.
The overarching theme might be a desire to escape from the self, whether through art, social interaction or drug use. But despite the simplicity of its narrative building blocks, the movie is shot through with ambiguities - particularly when it comes to the dream of community conjured up in its final scenes."
- Jake Wilson, The Age, July 6, 2006.
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