• screen

21 June 2016

Paul Cox, one of the pioneering forces of independent Australian cinema, passed away on the weekend at the age of 76.

Paul Cox

Paul Cox. Photo by Dan Cahill. Courtesy of Melbourne International Film Festival.

Long regarded as one of the nation's finest auteurs, Cox was largely based in Melbourne and well-known to the Victorian filmmaking community.  He made over 20 feature films and 10 documentaries throughout his career. 

Originally from the Netherlands, Cox settled in Australia in 1965. An accomplished photographer at the time, he made several short films before making his feature film debut with Illuminations in 1976.

Lonely Hearts, a portrait of a middle-aged man using the services of a dating agency, was released in 1982. Starring Wendy Hughes and Norman Kaye, it was nominated for five AFI Awards and took out the AFI Award for Best Film. 

In 1984 Man of Flowers was selected for the Un Certain Regard category of the Cannes Film Festival. Shot over three weeks, Cox's low-budget erotic feature became a hit on the art-house circuit.

Also an accomplished screenwriter and author, Cox's book Reflections: An Autobiographical Journey was released in 1998.

Cox's award-winning feature film Innocence (2000), which showcased Bud Tingwell and Julia Blake as two ex-lovers, took out the People's Choice awards at the Montreal and Toronto International Film Festivals.

His films were shown numerous times at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). This included screenings of some of Cox's best-known works Human Touch (2004) andInnocence.

In 2009 Cox became the recipient of a liver transplant following a cancer diagnosis. This experience provided inspiration for his final feature film, Force of Destiny, starring David Wenham.  

Shot in Melbourne and India, Force of Destiny opened MIFF in 2015 with Cox in attendance.