Canberra International Film Festival

A celebration of handpicked films at the National Film and Sound Archive. Plus events, Q+As + discussions with filmmakers

Canberra (October 2021)

Visit the link above for more Festival news and check back later for more Festevents

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Stay tuned for news about our next event in October 2020.  Dates to be advised.
To our subscribers, friends and supporters, thank you so much for giving us a fabulous weekend with full houses enjoying the three Ingrid Bergman-Alfred Hitchcock collaborations on the big screen.  The response you gave at each screening was a real pleasure to witness, and a tremendous encouragement to us in delving into cinema’s past.

Thanks to our sponsors – the Friends of the NFSA and the Motion Picture Association – and to our crowd-funding supporters.  And a big thank you to the staff at the NFSA for making it all happen seamlessly:  projectionists, front of house staff, door staff, and the admin team all worked with great care and professionalism.  We are grateful for the work they do, every day of their working lives, to support public engagement with our audiovisual heritage. 

Now to 2020!
Tickets for NOTORIOUS, screening Friday 25 Oct, have sold out!

Tickets still available for:
SPELLBOUND - Saturday 26 Oct, 7.30
UNDER CAPRICORN - Sunday 27 Oct 2pm

Screenings at the Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

REMEMBERING HELEN SIMPSON:  the remarkable Helen de Guerrey Simpson was a prolific Australian novelist, playwright, poet and lecturer.  Three of her many novels were filmed – SARABAND FOR DEAD LOVERS (1948) and two filmed by Hitchcock as MURDER! (1930) and UNDER CAPRICORN (1949). She also ran for the British parliament as a Liberal candidate.  She died prematurely in 1940 at the age of 42.


Helen Simpson was a personal family friend of Hitchcock and she contributed uncredited to the screenplay for his SABOTAGE in 1936.  It’s tempting to see his decision to film her novel UNDER CAPRICORN as a posthumous testament to her.  His film scrupulously follows the first half of her novel, set in convict-era Sydney, focussing on the troubled relationship between a fallen aristocrat played by Ingrid Bergman, and her husband, a former stable boy, now a wealthy landowner and philanthropist in the new colony.  The film doesn’t pursue the novel’s second half which looks at colonial politics, but stands as a psychologically intense study of Bergman’s self-destructive demons of guilt and shame.

UNDER CAPRICORN is one of the 3 films in CIFF’s upcoming Bergman-Hitchcock season:

Friday 25 October, 7.30:  NOTORIOUS
Saturday 26 October, 7.30:  SPELLBOUND
Sunday 27 October, 2pm:  UNDER CAPRICORN

All screenings at the Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, Acton.  BOOK NOW:

(image – a scene from Under Capricorn)
Hitchcock was always pushing at the boundaries and his experiments are exhilarating in our Bergman-Hitchcock season, 25-27 October, at NFSA’s Arc Cinema, Canberra.   

SPELLBOUND is dazzling, from its dream sequences designed by Salvador Dali to the shock of the two frames of colour at the climax.  Then the breathtaking camera movements in NOTORIOUS and the emotionally intense long takes in UNDER CAPRICORN where Ingrid Bergman shines in a heart-felt confession scene filmed in a single 8-minute take.  Hitchcock is at his innovative best in all 3 films!

These three masterworks are essential viewing on the Big Screen -

NOTORIOUS (1946) - Friday 25 October at 7.30
SPELLBOUND (1945) - Saturday 26 October at 7.30
UNDER CAPRICORN (1949) - Sunday 27 October at 2pm 


(Image is a Technicolour frame from Bergman’s 8 minute take in UNDER CAPRICORN).
REMEMBERING BEN HECHT - In his day, Ben Hecht was unquestionably at the forefront of American writing – as a journalist, a playwright, a novelist and screenwriter.  In Hollywood, he worked in all genres but specialised in rapid-fire comedy (including THE FRONT PAGE and NOTHING SACRED) and tough crime dramas (the Oscar-winning UNDERWORLD, SCARFACE).  Often uncredited, he worked with many A-list directors – John Ford, Howard Hawks, William Wellman, Ernst Lubitsch, von Sternberg, Rouben Mamoulian, John M. Stahl, Carol Reed and on 7 features with Hitchcock.

His screenplays for Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND and NOTORIOUS are exhilarating - revealing a supreme skill in story construction and razor-sharp dialogue, bringing out the best in both director and his star, Ingrid Bergman.

For more details, and bookings for our BERGMAN-HITCHCOCK season, visit   October 25-27 at NFSA’s Arc Cinema, Canberra.

NOTORIOUS (1946) - Friday 25 October at 7.30
SPELLBOUND (1945) - Saturday 26 October at 7.30
UNDER CAPRICORN (1949) - Sunday 27 October at 2pm 

BERGMAN-HITCHCOCK – the 3 films made by star Ingrid Bergman with Alfred Hitchcock as director.  Screening 25-27 October at NFSA’s Arc Cinema.  See full programme and buy tickets at

OPENING NIGHT, Friday 25 October at 7.30:  NEW 4K RESTORATION OF ‘NOTORIOUS” (1946), one of Hitchcock’s finest works.  The complex charting of love, repressed and betrayed, is the driving force of the film, underlying the surface plot of a cell of subversive fascists and the efforts of American Intelligence to entrap them.  Bergman is the true centre of the film, initially a “fallen” woman given to drink and reckless partying, until she falls in love with a man (Cary Grant) who can’t admit to his feelings for her.  He is a professional intelligence agent sent to recruit her, and his emotional blackmail and studied remoteness contrast strongly with the strength of her feelings.  It is profoundly moving cinema:  often in extreme close-up, Bergman articulates her dilemma through the most subtle of shifts in expression, the smallest of gestures.  It’s without doubt one of her finest performances, nuanced and heart-felt.

Hitchcock delivers the action and the suspense with impeccable skill and invention, including the classic shot in which the camera swoops down from high above a crowded cocktail party to close in on a key in Bergman’s hand.  This is Hitchcock at his best as well.  The film is not to be missed on the big screen, especially in this magnificently restored version.

BERGMAN-HITCHCOCK – the 3 films made by actress Ingrid Bergman with Alfred Hitchcock as director.  Screening 25-27 October at NFSA’s Arc Cinema.  SEE FULL PROGRAM AND BUY TICKETS at

The program includes the rarely seen UNDER CAPRICORN (1949, Technicolor), screening Sunday 27 October at 2pm  – an intense psychological drama set in 1830s Sydney, based on a novel by best-selling Australian author, Helen Simpson.  Long over-looked as uncharacteristic Hitchcock, the film is now being re-appraised by critics such as David Thompson who, in his Dictionary of Film, describes it as “a searching study … a Hitchcock masterpiece.” BOOK NOW at
SPELLBOUND at CIFF on Saturday 26 Oct at 7.30 at the Arc Cinema, NFSA.  Book now:

Producer Selznick brought the biggest of guns to bear on this 1945 psychological thriller to advocate for wider recognition of psychoanalysis.  Important in the team was Miklós Rózsa whose almost 75 minutes of music stands as one of his greatest scores for the cinema.  The score blends several dramatic themes but dominant are the sumptuous love theme and the innovative use of the theremin (both solo and with orchestra) to denote mental distress and disorientation.  It’s an extraordinary score that deservedly won an Oscar, and adds enormously to Hitchcock’s haunting images and Ingrid Bergman’s intense performance.
Canberra International Film Festival presents a special event from 25-27 October at the Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, as a prelude to a major retrospective film festival next year.  BOOKINGS NOW OPEN at

BERGMAN-HITCHCOCK celebrates the remarkable collaboration between Ingrid Bergman and Alfred Hitchcock in three films made between 1945 and 1949:
NOTORIOUS (Fri 25 Oct, 7.30),   SPELLBOUND (Sat 26 Oct, 7.30) and the rarely seen UNDER CAPRICORN (Sun 27 Oct, 2pm).

BOOK NOW! Full details on
CIFF OPENING NIGHT!!  Friday 26 October at 7.30 on the BIG screen at the Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive!  Dazzling 4k restoration of one of the great British films of all time, THE THIRD MAN (1949) with Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Orson Welles and Trevor Howard.  WINNER of the Oscar for Best Cinematography by our unacknowledged Australian, Robert Krasker, who brilliantly captures the dark, brooding atmosphere and damaged grandeur of war-torn Vienna. With an original screenplay by Graham Greene, electrifying music on the zither by Anton Karas, the whole film is “a tender/tough classic” (Time Out), which can be re-visited endlessly.  BE THERE! 

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