Bedevil

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Bedevil
Directed by Tracey Moffatt
Produced by Anthony Buckley
Carol Hughes
Written by Tracey Moffatt
Starring Lex Marinos
Edited by Wayne LeClos
Release date
  • 28 October 1993 (1993-10-28)
Running time
90 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Box office A$27,300 (Australia)

Bedevil is a 1993 Australian horror film directed by Tracey Moffatt.[1] It is the first feature directed by an Australian Aboriginal woman. With this film, Moffatt challenges racial stereotypes in Australian society.[2] The film is a trilogy of surreal ghost stories. Inspired by ghost stories she heard as a child from both her extended Aboriginal and Irish Australian families, Tracey Moffatt has constructed a sublime trilogy in which characters are haunted by the past and bewitched by memories. All three stories are set in Moffatt’s highly stylized, hyper-real, hyper-imaginary Australian landscape.[3] It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

Plot[edit]

Mr. Chuck[edit]

Mr. Chuck is the first of the three-part series featured in BeDevil. It tells the story of a young indigenous boy haunted by the ghost of an American GI who drowned in the swamp around which much of this segment takes place. Various nonlinear events of the boy’s childhood are presented through the perspectives of two narrators: the boy as an older man reflecting on his youth and a white woman whose family took part in the colonization of this area of Australia. The film follows the young boy as he observes and interacts with white settlers who are building a cinema on top of the swamp, while simultaneously holding a caretaker position to his two younger siblings, experiencing abuse at the hands of adults in his family, and having episodic interactions with the ghost of the American GI. These clips of memory are framed by the two narrators’ alternating recounting of them, presented in the style of a documentary interview.

Choo Choo Choo Choo[edit]

In the desolate plains of outback Queensland, Ruby (played by Moffatt herself) and her family are haunted by invisible trains which run on a track beside their house. The ghost of a young girl killed by a train drives Ruby and her family away. After many years Ruby returns to experience the ghostly presence yet again.[2]

Lovin' the Spin I'm in[edit]

Imelda’s people are Torres Strait Islanders. When her son Bebe and his love, Minnie, leave their community to escape opposition to their marriage, Imelda follows them to a small town in north Queensland. Tragedy strikes - Bebe and Minnie die, but the doomed couple never find peace. The spirits of Minnie and Bebe dance on a condemned warehouse and refuse to leave.[2]

Themes[edit]

Storytelling is a central concern of beDevil. Creating and sharing stories is a way to make sense of the world, and both encourages and reflects connections between the past and the present, and people and places. Through the process of telling us their stories, each of the narrators in beDevil recount shared tales, a sort of modern folklore. While this brings to mind the importance of storytelling to Indigenous traditions, Moffatt explicitly states that these stories “come from both sides of my background – my white relatives as well as my black relatives.” Yet she also insists that “I don’t think you can call the stories particularly white or Aboriginal”. The hybrid nature of Moffatt’s work reflects the way that she perceives the multicultural make-up of Australian society, and she explains that “it is completely natural for me to represent that mixing of races”. beDevil is very much about her stories, weaving together “a personal mythology”, and presenting images that are “so personal that a lot of the time they embarrass me”.[5]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Tracey Moffatt approached Tony Buckley to produce as she was impressed by the films he had made, especially The Night, the Prowler (1978).[6] Bedevil was filmed on location in Charleville and Bribie Island, Queensland.[7]

Box office[edit]

Bedevil grossed A$27,300 at the box office in Australia.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rafferty, Terrence. "NY Times: Bedevil". NY Times. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Spirits, Jens Korff, Creative. "Bedevil (beDevil)". Creative Spirits. Retrieved 18 December 2017. 
  3. ^ "WOMEN MAKE MOVIES | Bedevil". www.wmm.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017. 
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Bedevil". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 22 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Tracey Moffatt's beDevil (1993) • Senses of Cinema". sensesofcinema.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017. 
  6. ^ John Conomos & Raffaele Caputo, "Bedevil: Tracey Moffatt", Cinema Papers, May 1993 p26-32
  7. ^ "Bedevil press kit" (PDF). Ronin Films. Ronin Films. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Film Victoria. Retrieved 20 October 2010. 

External links[edit]