But Cox claims his film career really started when “Man of Flowers” (1983) was chosen for Cannes and he saw it on the bigscreen for the first time. He went on to make films about divorce (“My First Wife,” 1984), obsession (“Golden Braid,” 1990) and old age (“A Woman’s Tale,” 1991). But just as his first features are omitted, so, too, are his three most recent films, which have been less successful at the Australian box office but which contain plenty of potent material worth exploring.
Discussing the politics of his personal filmmaking, Cox avers that “it’s political to make a film about reality — reality doesn’t sell.” He suggests that, were Ingmar Bergman starting his career today, his angst-ridden films would never find favor with today’s cynical audiences, who, he claims, “want things fast and painless.” He evidently identifies strongly with the hero of one of his most acclaimed films, “Vincent” (1987); in his letters, Van Gogh pondered the perils of public opinion: “How does one become mediocre? By compromising.” The filmmaker also rails against producer interference in a director’s work.
Cox reveals his belated discovery that his father had been a filmmaker in the ’30s, and a brief clip from the 1936 Dutch production “Levensgang” shows that Wim Cox had just as sharp a visual eye as his son.
So much of this well-made documentary fascinates that the viewer is left wanting more — crucially, information about Cox’s working methods with his regular team of actors, a stock company that includes Norman Kaye, Chris Haywood, Wendy Hughes and Gosia Dobrowolska, all of them seen to great advantage in the well-selected clips.
In every other respect, this well-handled profile will serve as an excellent introduction to Cox for audiences unfamiliar with his work, and will please his followers with its insights and dry humor