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The Sum of Us writer to attend screening

Thu 11 Nov 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News

Oscar-nominated writer and director David Stevens will attend a special screening of his classic gay Australian drama The Sum of Us is Auckland next week. He will carry out a question and answer session after the film, which is being played at Galatos in Newton as part of Number 8 Films monthly Auckland Gay Films Showcase. The Sum of Us is the film which launched Russell Crowe's American career. He plays a true-blue Aussie plumber living with his widower dad, Jack Thompson. They're both looking for love, with Thompson's father just as eager to find his son a man to settle down with as Crowe's son is to see his dad happy. Stevens wrote the screenplay based on his play of the same name, which had a successful off-Broadway run in 1990. The film version was released in 1994, and was showered with praise and awards around the world, including Best Screenplay wins for Stevens at the Montreal World Film Festival, the Australian Film Institute and the Film Critics Circle of Australia. Writing on its release in a review headed "All of us should see The Sum Of Us", reviewer Barry Walters of the San Francisco Examiner was effusive in his praise of this “startlingly effective domestic drama” backed by "Stevens' outstanding script". "This father-and-son story is a true rarity: a gay-themed film that doesn't compromise for a straight audience, and yet is every bit as accessible to moms and dads because the drama is rooted in family values - not those of the fictional family imagined by the far right, but of the untraditional, loving combinations in which we now live." Jack Thompson's Harry is “unforgettable…After decades of playing he-men ( "Breaker Morant," "The Man From Snowy River," "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" ), Thompson gives the performance of a lifetime playing a hard-nosed softy whose unconditional love is returned only by his gay son. You can't help but love him - and this film.” Gay audiences were charmed and surprised too. "The real surprise here is an early celluloid appearance of macho Gladiator star Russell Crowe playing gay and yes he does kiss!" wrote reviewer David Hall from "[It's] a work that marks a rare cinematic depiction of a parent who far from disapproving of their son's homosexuality, embraces it." Stevens' career began in the 1970s with work on classic Australian dramas The Sullivans and Prisoner before moving to the big screen in the following decades with Breaker Morant (for which he received an Oscar nomination), A Town Like Alice and Merlin, both of which received Emmy nominations. He says he thinks the lasting appeal of The Sum of Us is that it is "rude, funny, kind and honest" and that it put forward a new definition of what home means. "One of the American reviewers summed it up, I think. Home is - or should be - the place where you are most loved." Tickets to the showcase are $20 and can be booked online, with door sales priced at $25. Seating at the venue is cabaret-style and free snacks will be provided. Spot prizes (dinner and a bar tab) have been generously provided by Caluzzi and Urge Bar. To book tickets head to: Auckland Gay Film Showcase – The Sum of Us Thursday November 18, doors open 6:30pm, film starts at 7:00pm Galatos, 17 Galatos St, Newton    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 11th November 2010 - 1:24pm

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