|Directed by||Mark Joffe|
|Screenplay by||Louis Nowra|
by Louis Nowra
|Edited by||Nicholas Beauman|
|Music by||Stephen Endelman|
|Distributed by||Roadshow Entertainment|
|Box office||A$2,896,980 (Australia)|
Ben Mendelsohn stars as Lewis Riley, an unemployed young man who applies for a job as a director/drama teacher at a mental hospital. He lands the job and finds himself directing a production of the Mozart opera Così fan tutte, an elaborate, demanding piece of theatre, an opera in Italian. And it is going to be performed by a cast that he must select from among the patients, who only speak English.
One of the patients, Roy (Barry Otto), sweeps everything along before him, organising auditions, selecting cast members, and criticising the director. The cast chosen include three women: Julie (Toni Collette), Ruth (Pamela Rabe), and Cherry (Jacki Weaver); and two men: Henry (Paul Chubb) and Doug (David Wenham). The musical director is Zac (Colin Hay). The enthusiasm of Roy infects the group, and they charge headlong into a memorable production.
Alongside the story of Lewis, the theme of Così fan tutte is explored as it relates to his personal life. Lewis's relationship with his girlfriend Lucy (Rachel Griffiths), already under pressure, is not helped by a friend called Nick (Aden Young), who seems more interested in testing Lucy's faithfulness than anything else.
- Ben Mendelsohn as Lewis Riley
- Barry Otto as Roy
- Toni Collette as Julie
- Rachel Griffiths as Lucy
- Aden Young as Nick
- Colin Friels as Errol
- Jacki Weaver as Cherry
- Pamela Rabe as Ruth
- Paul Chubb as Henry
- Colin Hay as Zac
- David Wenham as Doug
(Mendelsohn, Otto and Wenham are the only cast members who have performed in the original stage play, portraying the same characters that they do on screen.)
Cosi was directed by Mark Joffe and produced by Richard Brennan and Timothy White. The film underwent pre-production in November 1994-January 1995. Shooting took place between January and March 1995, followed by post-production between March and September 1995. The film had a budget of $3.5 million and was filmed in and around Sydney's Rozelle Hospital.
Bruno Lawrence was originally cast in the role of Errol, the security guard, but during shooting he was taken to the hospital suffering from chest pains and was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Colin Friels took over the role of Errol. Lawrence died a few months later, on 10 June 1995. The closing credits of Cosi include an onscreen dedication to Lawrence.
In 1996, Cosi was the 3rd most popular Australian film at the Australian Box Office. As at 2010, Cosi ranked 71 on the list of Top 100 Australian feature films of all time as compiled by Screen Australia.
David Stratton, writing in Variety, described Cosi as "fast, funny and cleverly acted". He also said it was "warm, generous, sentimental and expert entertainment." The curator at Australian Screen Online said it "has a likeable humour, appealing characters and a compassionate heart. It's not really about mental illness so much as a tribute to the healing power of performance, and the theatre in general."
Not all reviews were positive. James Berardinelli described Cosi as "a half-baked amalgamation of A Midwinter's Tale and Shine, and doesn't excel as either a comedy or a drama." Cinephilia described Cosi as "a concatenation of caricatures in a predictable story of plucky determination and treacly redemption."
(1996 AFI Awards)
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Louis Nowra||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Barry Otto||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Nicholas Beauman||Nominated|
Cosi grossed $2,896,980 at the box office in Australia.
Although Cosi was the first Australian film to receive major pre-production investment by Miramax, it did not fare well critically or commercially in America, screening for less than two weeks between 11 and 24 April 1997.
- "Production Survey", Cinema Papers, March 1995, p. 60
- Cosi, AustLit (subscription required)
- Top 100 Australian feature films of all time Archived 8 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Stratton, David (25 March 1996). "Cosi". Variety. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- Byrnes, Paul. "Cosi 1996". Australian Screen. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- Cosi, A Film Review by James Berardinelli
- Cosi, Cinephilia
- ""Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Gillard, Garry (2001) H231 Australian Cinema: Unit Information and Study Guide. Perth, Murdoch University Press, p. 65.
- Malone, P. "Cosi" – Review in Cinema Papers, No. 109, April 1996, p. 41.
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- Smith, M. "Running the Gamut" in Cinema Papers, No. 109, April 1996, p. 6.