Penelope

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Film by Ben Ferris. Penelope, the mythical character from Homer's The Odyssey, is waiting for her husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan War. She waits for twenty years. In this film adaptation, set in a mythic time and space, with contemporary influences and attitudes, Penelope wanders alone through her enormous castle, often in a dreamlike state, each room a different memory. In these rooms she has visions of her husband, and memories of happier times together. In heavy contrast twenty revolting suitors sit at the dining table as a constant reminder of the present, forever eating, drinking, snoring and swearing. They are growing restless of waiting for Penelope to make a decision as to which of them she shall marry. Indeed, it seems, that she will have none of them. Mutiny hangs in the air, and Penelope's loyal maidservants are on the menu. Penelope is transformed by faith and suffering from the passive wife of antiquity into a tragic heroine and she will not wait for her husband to return before she sets things right.

First Australian / Croatian co-production
Independently funded experimental feature film
Cinematic influences: Tarkovsky, Fassbinder, Greenaway, Fellini and Kurosawa
Filmed in Croatia in November 2007 at the ice cold Brezovica castle, Maksimir park and Dubrovnik
First-time actress, Australian Natalie Finderle in the role of Penelope
Director Ben Ferris adapted the story by studying the original Ancient Greek Homeric language
The story of 'Penelope' is influenced by both Homer and James Joyce
Independent producer Irena Markovic also produced Croatian ground-breaking film 'Slow Days'
Film is a series of long takes
The longest continuous take is an 11 minute forest sequence
Ferris and Director of Photography James Barahanos worked together on several short 'one take' films, such as internationally acclaimed 'Ascension' and 'The Kitchen'
Composer Max Richter wrote music prior to the filming
Scenes were choreographed to the music played back on set

The performances are stylised through movement, with very little dialogue
All the dialogue is in Croatian language
The film is the last surviving work of legendary Australian production designer Jennie Tate
Original inspiration for the film was the image of an unknown woman in a white dress alone in a large house
Jennie's designs are heavily influenced by Japanese fashion
Film is an experimental study on time and space, mixed with both mythic and contemporary allusions
Motivation for Director to make Penelope was winning the Grand Prix at the Inaugural Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Festival in Tokyo for his short film 'The Kitchen' in 2005
Film is shot entirely in HD using the Sony Cinealta F900 camera
Ferris and Barahanos discovered Croatia in 2003, while screening their film 'The Kitchen' at the Inaugural One Take Film Festival in Zagreb
Post-production is taking place in Australia in 2008

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