2018 Smokescreen Season

October 20, 2017

What makes a film a 'Classic'? Why do some films define and shape cinema more than others? Classics move beyond being the first of their kind or even the most typical of their kind. Classics, the films we return to over and over again, rise to the top because they become universal. They speak to a truth and experience that we all share. In 2018, Smokescreen will be exploring a series of 10 films, each a classic - timeless, universal and archetypal.


From the bungling 'Caper' The Lady Killers, which charts the changing face of modern Britain, to the dark isolation of Frtiz Lang's 'Outsider' in M exploring the violent fringes of all civilised societies, and the manic energy of the unravelling 'Plan' in Dog Day Afternoon, each of the 10 films were important and game changing in their time and remain so today. Join us at Smokescreen in 2018 to explore, challenge and revisit our understanding of the Classic.


Single Films: $10 (non FOWPCC members) | $8 (FOWPCC members)
Season Pass (includes all 10 films): $80 (non FOWPCC members) | $70


Check out all the films below:




Alexander Mackendrick's 1955 film was the last great Comedy out of England’s iconic Ealing Studios and would become its most iconic. A gang of thieves, headed by Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness), takes two rooms at a boarding house run by the eccentric Mrs. Louisa Wilberforce. Here they pretend to be a practicing string quartet as a cover for their true intention -- a security van robbery. Although the gang successfully carry off their heist, the criminals are eventually undone by their own greed and their various, unsuccessful attempts to murder their meddling landlady who remains oblivious to their crime -- or does she? 97 min


MAR 3: THE OUTSIDER | M (1931)

A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who Is the Murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann . . . In his harrowing masterwork M, Fritz Lang combines direct social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller. 111 min



On a hot day in New York, three men set out to rob a bank. It's supposed to take ten minutes, but things start going wrong from the beginning when one of them bails at the last minute. Four hours later, the bank is surrounded by police, a media circus, and crowds of spectators. Dog Day Afternoon was based on a true story, and like Lumet’s other great masterpiece, 12 Angry Men, was filmed majorly in a single location riding on the strength of its two sensational lead performances.  Much more than a robbery gone wrong story, the film captures the social upheaval of 1970s America and helps to create a new hero out of the disenfranchised. 125 min



Bringing Up Baby is Director Howard Hawks' greatest screwball comedies and often considered the definitive screwball film. It is also one of the funniest, wackiest and most inspired films of all time with its characteristic breathless pace, zany antics and hare-brained misadventures.  Both playing against type, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant are perfectly cast in this classic "conflict" of the sexes: a mad-cap, impulsive, accident-prone, daffy society heiress, and a bumbling, clumsy, stuffy palaeontologist. 103 min



A precarious and unsettling Film, The Searchers was John Fords 115th feature film and his 13th with John Wayne, and while it has all the trappings of a classic Western, it leaves the viewer unsure. The Searchers tells the emotionally complex story of a perilous, hate-ridden quest and Homeric-style odyssey of self-discovery after a Comanche massacre, while also exploring the themes of racial prejudice and sexism. Its meandering tale examines the inner psychological turmoil of a fiercely independent, crusading man obsessed with revenge and hatred, who searches for his two kidnapped nieces. 119 min


JULY 7: THE HERO | 12 ANGRY MEN (1957)

12 Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet, may be the most radical courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system that is as enthralling as it is spare. Henry Fonda stars as the single dissenting member on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murder. The result is a saga of epic proportions that plays out over a tense afternoon in one sweltering room. Lumet’s electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature film debuts. 96 min



Flesh to touch… Flesh to burn! Don’t keep the Wicker Man waiting!

Boasting perversion, paganism and one of the most chilling endings in movie history, Robin Hardy's bleak horror yarn is truly the stuff of nightmares. Sent to investigate the disappearance of a child on a remote Scottish island, god-fearing policeman Edward Woodward is met by a community that lives by decidedly un-Christian values. Faced with the likes of cross-dressing lord Christopher Lee and brazen temptress Britt Ekland, the poor copper struggles to follow his righteous path. But faith is no protection from fate...87 min



One of the most subversive films Alfred Hitchcock ever made, Shadow of a Doubt is a disquieting little masterpiece released in the very midst of the Second World War. It’s telling of Hitchcock’s view of America, that at this very point in history he produced a film like this. Portraying a typical American small town polished on the surface, seemingly full of innocent, kindhearted people, one of those ideal communities where everybody knows each other’s names. But underneath this sugarcoated surface a psychopathic serial killer walks the streets, inhabits their dinner parties and sleeps in their rooms. To make things worse, a teenage niece of the killer becomes suspicious of her uncle’s activities, but keeps her findings, as brutally dark as they are, to herself in order to save her family from destruction. 108 min



One of the masters of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst had an innate talent for discovering actresses (including Greta Garbo). And perhaps none of his female stars shone brighter than Kansas native and onetime Ziegfeld girl Louise Brooks, whose legendary persona was defined by Pabst’s lurid, controversial melodrama Pandora’s Box. Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Daring and stylish, Pandora’s Box is one of silent cinema’s great masterworks and a testament to Brooks’s dazzling individuality. 133 min



After making such American noir classics as Brute Force and The Naked City, blacklisted director Jules Dassin fled to Paris where he would turn a simple script into a filmic masterpiece: a snaking, turning tale of four ex-cons who conceive of one last glorious robbery in the City of Light. Rififi is the ultimate heist movie, a concoction of suspense, brutality, and dark humour that became an international hit and earned Dassin the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival.  The seminal Heist film, Rififi has proven wildly influential on the decades of heist thrillers that have come in its wake. 118 min



Please reload




W. westernplainsculturalcentre.org

E. contact@westernplainsculturalcentre.org

T. 02 6801 4444

F. 02 6801 4449

OPEN DAILY: 10am - 4pm

GALLERY CAFE: 9am - 4pm

Open until 6pm Friday Afternoons


Closed: Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day

The Gallery Cafe also closed Christmas Eve.


You can register your visit online or upon arrival at reception. 

(some special exhibitions may be ticketed)

Programming support provided by Create NSW