April 9th, 2008 at 10:47 am
Posted by admin in In a Savage Land

Movie poster

Martin (screen shot from DVD special features)
Rufus Sewell site

Mick, Evelyn, & Philip
Rufus Sewell site

Phillip, Mick & Evelyn
Rufus Sewell site

Evelyn & Phillip
Kinowelt International

Maya & Martin candid

Images were taken from various sources, and are the copyright of their respective owners.

December 31st, 2005 at 3:30 pm
Posted by admin in In a Savage Land

Links for In a Savage Land:

May 1st, 2002 at 3:34 pm
Posted by admin in In a Savage Land

Sydney Morning Herald April 8, 1999
No sex please, we’re Aussie filmmakers

Bill Bennett wanted no misunderstandings when he was filming on the Island of Love. Howard Feinstein reports. Film-maker Bill Bennett sits atop a large boulder half-buried in the beach of Kiriwina, the largest of the Trobriand Islands. The shore and the dense greenery behind are nearly singed by the harsh tropical sun.

He wears a wide-brimmed hat and strong sunblock, and long sleeves to ward off mosquitoes bearing malaria and, occasionally, Japanese encephalitis. He doesn’t seem to mind. “Everywhere I walk, I look up and see lizards copulating on walls,” he says. “I look down, and I see butterflies copulating on leaves. This is, after all, the Island of Love.” Island of Love is the term coined by the Polish anthropologist, Bronislaw Malinowski, in his 1929 book The Sexual Life of Savages, an account of his field-work in the Trobriands from 1915 to 1918. An avid observer of the native population’s sexual rituals and mores, he described their explanation of the sex drive: “The eyes are the seat of desire and lust. They are the cause of sexual passion. From the eyes, desire is carried to the brain… and thence spreads all over the body.” Bennett first heard the expression at the age of eight, after coming across pictures his war-photographer father took around New Guinea. “I heard that the women were incredibly promiscuous, and thought, `Wow, that sounds amazing’.” His decision 36 years later to shoot a movie in the Trobriands may be an example of what Freud called sublimation. The camera lens is, after all, an extension of the eye; it allows us to be voyeurs, looking into intimate relationships we are not otherwise privy to.

Bennett has begun shooting his $10 million “In a Savage Land” just after the annual yam harvest, a festive period when, according to Malinowski, both men and women freely take multiple sexual partners. To prevent any misunderstandings, he has put in all 35 contracts of his cast and limited crew that no sexual liaisons with locals are permitted during the 12-week shoot. The irony is twofold: locals consider dim-dims (foreigners) unappealing; and, thanks to El Ni

May 1st, 2002 at 3:33 pm
Posted by admin in In a Savage Land

Cinefile, July 9, 1998
Bennett ‘Mad’ To Do It

“In A Savage Land”, a love triangle set against an anthropological background 50 years ago, is set on the Trobriand Islands in New Guinea, where a newly married couple (Stange and Donovan) of anthropolgists crashes into the different culture of the islands, and the young wife falls in love with an American pearl trader, (played by Rufus Sewell, who took out an Australian passport on the strength of his convict ancestors; and his Australian born father).

The 22 year old Stange is making her feature debut, and her character will age a dozen years in the course of the story.

Trobriand has no water, no electricity, no accomodation

The enormity of the task facing Bennett and his co-writer/wife Jennifer, shared by the cast and crew, was pressed home when Bennett explained the production had to hire a small cruiser and anchor it off the island main beach for accomodation. Trobriand has no water, no electricity, no accomodation……. but it does have rats, pigs and cockroaches, and is strikingly beautiful.

Asked how they will cope with the isolation and difficult conditions, Donovan quipped that he was doing the movie because he needed some isolated time with a small group of people, and he was “determined not to become an arsehole.”

“This film has to be done properly, not Hollywoodised.” Bill Bennett

Bennett said that despite some pressures to shoot the film in a less risky and more accessible location – such as Fiji or Vanuatu – in the end “all the investors understood that this film has to be done properly, not Hollywoodised.”

The investors include PolyGram Filmed Entertainment for Australian rights, Beyond Films for international sales rights, German film investor, Hollywood Partners, South Australian Film Corporation, and the Australian Film Finance Corporation; who was very supportive from the very first draft, said Bennett.

“What is primitive and what is civilised.”

A love story and a cultural adventure, Bennett said the film asks “what happens when a couple in what we now call an old fashioned marriage intersects with a matrifilial society…….the film also questions what is primitive and what is civilised.”

The six week shoot on the islands will be followed by a two week shoot in Adelaide.