Jun 3, 2008

8th June 2008 ; Screening of SHINE

A true story of the mystery
of music and the miracle of love


A Film by
Scot Hicks

Year : 1996
Country : Australia
English with English sub titles
Run time : 105 minutes
8th June 2008 ; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium

Shine is a deceptively simple title for an amazingly powerful motion picture based on the true life story of Australian pianist David Helfgott.

Long before its American theatrical debut, Shine had already attained the status as one of 1996's few "must see" films. At Sundance, where it was among the hottest properties, the war for distribution rights exploded into a public confrontation. The movie has also earned 9 Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards.

Shine has its roots in 1986, when director Scott Hicks read a newspaper story about David Helfgott, a pianist who performed a flawless classical repertoire at a Perth restaurant. Hicks' interest was piqued, and he arranged to see Helfgott in concert. For the better part of the next year, he worked to earn the man's trust with the goal of presenting his story in a motion picture. That odyssey, which is admittedly fictionalized to some degree in Jan Sardi's wonderful screenplay became Shine, one of 1996's most stirring and inspirational tales.

As "Shine" begins, the adult David Helfgott (Geoffrey Rush) appears pitiably, trying to come in out of the rain. Clearly damaged somehow, David fidgets and chatters nervously, keeping his eyes half-shut, clutching too eagerly at the people he sees. He repeats words frenetically and chuckles oddly at words that really aren't funny. "Ridiculous tragedy" is one of the phrases he mutters.

Love can have many faces, and Shine shows two of the most extreme. The first is David’s father Peter's obsessive, domineering love. Hicks's graceful exposition explores the pathos in David's relationship with his father.. The film watches helplessly while this father's love and pride destroy his son. The other face of love is the healing, undemanding one, as embodied by a middle-aged Gillian (Lynn Redgrave). She offers her strength and understanding to David, helping him to rebuild his life.

The film's final scene directly contrasts Peter and Gillian's approaches, as David attempts to bring closure to one of the great, unresolved issues of his life.


SCOTT HICKS was propelled to the forefront of international filmmakers in 1996, following the release of his film Shine. Its triumphant premiere at the Sundance Film Festival was just the beginning of world-wide box office success and numerous honors, including seven Academy Award nominations.

Even before Shine, however, Hicks had made his mark as a documentarian. He won an Emmy in 1994 for Submarines: Sharks of Steel and a coveted Peabody Award in 1989 for The Great Wall of Iron.

The progeny of adventurous parents, Hicks was born in Uganda and lived in Kenya, just outside Nairobi, until the age of ten. His family then moved, first to England and, when he was 14, on to Adelaide, Australia.

Hicks entered Flinders University to major in English and Drama and cinema studies were part of the curriculum. Instantly attracted to the medium, he threw himself headlong into the study of great directors, film movements and filmmaking techniques.

By the mid-1980s, he had managed to make a couple of low budget features, one for the South Australian Film Corporation. In 1988, he came to Los Angeles for the American Film Market with his children's movie, Sebastian and the Sparrow. Hicks began to make non-fiction films. But Hicks was not able to rest on the laurels of his documentary achievements because he was passionately involved with the development of the film Shine, inspired by the life of pianist David Helfgott.

Hicks continues to live in Adelaide with his wife and collaborator, Kerry Heysen, and their two sons. He has projects in varying stages of development at several studios.

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