The Tale of Ruby Rose
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|The Tale of Ruby Rose|
|Directed by||Roger Scholes|
|Produced by||Bryce Menzies
|Written by||Roger Scholes|
|Music by||Paul Schutze|
|Edited by||Roger Scholes|
|1987 (Venice Film Festival)
18 August 1988 (Australia)
The Tale of Ruby Rose is an Australian movie, released in 1988. It is 100 minutes in length. It was written and directed by Roger Scholes and produced by Andrew Wiseman and Bryce Menzies. The cast included Melita Jurisic, Chris Haywood, Rod Zuanic, Sheila Florance, and Martyn Sanderson.
In the wild and isolated wilderness of the Tasmanian highlands, Ruby Rose is overcome by her fear of darkness. Ruby cries out to the elemental spirits that surround her. She is driven to take a harrowing journey out of the mountains to seek help from her lost grandmother.
As the title indicates, the film centres on Ruby and her complex emotions. The character is based on a story told to Roger Scholes by an old woman, Mrs Miles of Mole Creek Valley. As a young woman, she had lived alone in a hut in the Highlands for four years, without knowing that her husband had died while trying to get back to her in the middle of winter. The experience traumatised her.
Scholes was also interested in the naïve art created by a people with mental disturbance or trauma, and its similarities with prehistoric art (he studied case histories as a student in Melbourne). That is why Ruby fills notebooks with her own drawing. She is much younger than Henry, and she has been traumatised as a child. She has created her own cosmology, based on fear and observation of the natural world. She feels safe only in the day. When Henry and Gem go off trapping for days on end, she is alone with her fears in the hut. She identifies the colour white with the sun, warmth and light; that is why she uses flour to make her face white. By this stage in the movie we are fully aware of Ruby’s mental instability and her terror of the dark. That is why her journey is so remarkable: to be out after dark requires a supreme act of will.
Roger Scholes was interested in the way that isolation had shaped women’s lives in this region. In the late 1970s, when he was researching, he met and photographed many people who had lived all their lives in the harsh environment of the Tasmanian Highlands. He was preparing a book, based on the interviews and photographs, but it was never completed. He decided to turn the material into a feature film instead. The Tale of Ruby Rose was his first and is still his only feature film, although he has developed a number of other projects. Scholes has concentrated largely on documentary since this film.
The film was screened widely at festivals throughout the world.<ref name="stratton2" 1988 – Theatrical - Australia, Canada, US, UK, Europe Channel Nine Network Fox Television 11 week Australian cinemas run Australian Film Awards 1987 – Winner - Best Music
Awards and Festivals
Venice Film Festival - Main competition 1987 - Critics' Awards Winner - Francesco Pasinetti Prize for Best Actress Winner - Elvira Notari Prize for Best Director Winner - Elvira Notari Prize for Best Actress SIDP Critics Award for Best Director
Australian Film Awards - 1987
Best Film, Best Director, Best Music Nominations - Winner - Best Original Music Score (Paul Schutze) award Smithsonian Film Premiere, Washington DC. 1987 Santa Barbara Film Festival 1987, Pacific International Film Festival, Tokyo 1988 Indian Film Festival 1988 Australian Film Week, Jakarta, Indonesia 1988 Australian Film Retrospective, Los Angeles 1988 Trento Film Festival - Italy 1989
a masterly evocation’ Christine Cremen, THE AUSTRALIAN ‘an artistic gem’ Keith Connolly, The Age ‘4 out of 5’ David Stratton. The Movie Show The Tale of Ruby Rose is hypnotic in its stark beauty.’ – Hal Erickson, New York Times a savagely strong portrait’ THE AGE intensely poetic and mystical’ THE AUSTRALIAN RUBY ROSE is outstanding, savagely poetic and breathtaking.’ - IL GIORNO, ITALY An intensely poetic, mystical film.. a film of great beauty and insight.’ - Ruth Hessey, THE AUSTRALIAN unforgettably powerful, richly rewarding - visually flawless with fine performances.’ - Mike Daly, THE AGE. One of the treasures of Australian film.’ - Jeremy Eccles Visually magnificent, a labour of love.’ - VARIETY, USA
- David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p75-77
- "Australian Productions Top $175 million", Cinema Papers, March 1986 p64