If you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas, or just want to treatyourself to some quality Aussie cinema, Umbrella Entertainment and SBSare here to help.
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5 Dec 2008 - 3:08 PM  UPDATED 7 Nov 2012 - 1:30 AM

Two never before released Fred Schepisi classics, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Devil\'s Playground, are now available on DVD and we have some double packs to give away.

The Devil\'s Playground - 1976

Schepisi wrote, produced and directed his semi-autobiographical tale of a strict Catholic seminary in the 1950s. Simon Burke plays teenager Tom Allen, a serious, likable boy who thinks he has \'a calling\' for the church but feels guilty about his masturbation and impure thoughts. Apart from Brother Francine (Arthur Dignam), an ascetic who prowls the school\'s corridors looking for evidence of \'\'the undisciplined mind\'\', most brothers of the seminary (including Nick Tate), are decent men who object to the discipline that scars the hearts and minds of the students.

The film swept the 1976 AFI Awards, taking home the inaugural gong for best film, as well as awards for Schepisi’s direction and screenplay, Ian Baker’s cinemtaography, and shared acting honours for both Simon Burke and Nick Tate.

DVD extras include:

  • Featurette with interviews from the director Fred Schepisi and key cast and crew - 43 Mins
  • Interview with Fred Schepisi - 38 Mins
  • Audio Commentary with Fred Schepisi


The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith - 1978

A searing comment on racism and oppression adapted from the Thomas Keneally novel, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith follows an indigenous man driven to madness and revenge.

Jimmie
is a young Aboriginal 'half-caste’ in central NSW at the
turn-of-the-century; he is initiated by his tribe but also educated by
a stern Methodist minister (Jack Thompson). Seeking to gain
respectability in European society, Jimmie finds a white bride while
performing exhausting farm work, but cannot escape his skin colour,
suffering ongoing racism and oppression. When he is betrayed by his
wife and exploited by his employers, Jimmie explodes in a fury of
violent revenge and escapes into the bush with his brother Mort,
cutting a bloody path of retribution upon the society that has forsaken
him.

The film was the most expensive Australian film at the
time (with a $1.28 million budget) and went on to win three awards at
the 1978 AFI Awards (Angela Punch McGregor won Best Actress, Ray
Barrett won Best Supporting Actor and Bruce Smeaton won Best Original
Score). It was also nominated for the Palm D\'Or at the 1978 Cannes Film
Festival.

DVD extras include:

  • Featurette – Interviews with key cast and crew including Fred Schepisi and Tommy Lewis
  • Audio Commentary with Fred Schepisi
  • Q& A session with Fred Schepisi and Geoffrey Rush filmed at the International Melbourne Film Festival 2008 – 30 Mins
  • Training Video – Making Us Blacksmiths


To be in the running to win one of the DVDs, email your name and mailing address to movieshow@sbs.com.au with \'Fred Schepisi’ in the subject line. Winners will be notified by return email.