Strikebound revisited: Richard Lowenstein talk & film screening at RMIT Gallery


On Thursday 13 October 5.30-7 pm RMIT Gallery screens the Director’s Cut of the digitally remastered version of Strikebound, the 1984 film that reconstructs the true story of a coal miners’ strike in the small Victorian town of Korumburra in the mid-30’s.

Celebrated Australian film and music video director Richard Lowenstein will give a short talk and answer questions after the screening.

Lowenstein has written and directed the feature films including Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard, Dogs in Space, He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, and Strikebound, as well as numerous award-winning music-videos, concert films and commercials.

Lowenstein wrote the ‘docudrama’ Strikebound about the Gippsland coal workers’ strike of 1937, adapting the screenplay from the book by author Wendy Lowenstein, a pioneer in oral history, notable for her recording of people’s everyday experiences and her advocacy of social activism.

Strikebound, featuring Chris Haywood, Hugh Keays-Byrne, and Carol Burns is based on the real-life story of two remarkable characters, Wattie Doig, a miner who became a militant Communist activist, and his wife, Agnes, who progressed from staunch Presbyterianism to membership in the Salvation Army and, finally, to labor organization.

Strikebound is part of the RMIT Gallery’s public programs for the current exhibition Radical Actions (until 22 October) that showcases work by contemporary Irish artists to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland.

Together with RMIT’s research centre for Communication, Politics and Culture, RMIT Gallery’s complementary ‘Images of Revolution’ film program presents films that reflect a deep commitment to social change and progressive politics.

Film critic Richard Kuipers calls Strikebound ‘a rare example of Australian political filmmaking’. Kupiers writes: ‘Strikebound takes a sympathetic look at one of the most significant events in the nation’s industrial history. The Sunbeam Colliery strike of 1937 was the first sit-in (occupation) by workers and its ultimate success provided a great boost for the Australian trade union movement – especially during the Depression when jobs were scarce and workers were not protected by many of the laws passed in the postwar era.” Read Kuipers’ extensive notes on the film.

What: Strikebound – film screening of digitally remastered Director’s Cut.

When: Thursday 13 October 5.30-7 pm

Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Guest speaker: Director Richard Lowenstein

Bookings: FREE – register for tickets

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