Catch a flick with Flaus

National film doyen, Castlemaine's John Flaus has chosen 10 films that "you must not miss". They're set to screen in a new 10-week matinee series at the Northern Arts Hotel. Photo: Darron Davies

From a lifetime spent reviewing and critiquing for screen, national film doyen, Castlemaine’s John Flaus has chosen 10 films “you must not miss”.

Those 10 are now set to screen over a new 10-week Sunday matinee series at Castlemaine’s Northern Arts Hotel where film lovers will also enjoy a unique post-screening chance to discuss what they’ve just seen with the 87-year-old “national treasure” himself.

“To stop at just 10 was difficult,” Flaus told the Express ahead of the new series that begins Sunday November 21.

“Some of these films touch deep emotion and they range from a silent film from the 1920s to a 1970s film, which is the most recent,” Flaus said.

He’s maintaining a certain sense of mystery about the 10 selected for the new Flaus Flicks series, which will be free for audiences to catch, although bookings through Eventbrite will be needed to secure a seat.

We can reveal, however, that directors could be Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Humphrey Jennings, Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, Satyajit Ray, Stanley Donen, Yasujirō Ozu and Jacques Demy.

Flaus himself has appeared in more than 130 Australian movies and is well known as a film reviewer, critic, lecturer at Latrobe Uni, and broadcaster. Although in his 80s and contending with a diagnosis of Alzheimers, he still acts in theatre and tv productions, such as Jack Irish.

An engaging raconteur, he’s looking forward to introducing each film and leading the post-screening discussions in the new series.

“Two years ago I was diagnosed with Alzheimers but it’s only in the last few months that it’s really started to impact so I am writing notes in advance,” he says.

The Flaus Flicks series has been five years in the making, with the concept clinched when Northern Arts Hotel owner, filmmaker Maggie Fooke, suggested she’d enjoy presenting Flaus’s chosen shortlist at the venue’s intimate in-house cinema.

Now, Fooke says, the right circumstances have arisen to exhibit his selection of “intrinsically worthy, idiosyncratically engaging” films.

“This is really a chance to catch up with John, and hear him talk about the films he considers important,” she said.

“The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel has become, over the last year between lockdowns, a home of secret films on Sunday evenings where the film screened is revealed on the night.

“In this tradition the audience is being invited to join John each week for one of the films on his list – and the conversation that will flow.”