Be Starstruck at the National Portrait Gallery

Posted 13 Nov 2017

Story by Her Canberra

The final scene of Strictly Ballroom, Murial in her wedding dress and Abby Cornish’s smile in Candy.

These are just some of the iconic moments that will form Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery.

The exhibition, which opens today, explores striking and beautiful portraiture that has emerged from 100 years of Australian movies and will be a delight for film buffs and lovers of photography alike.

Strictly Ballroom – Paul Mercurio as Scott and Tara Morice as Fran by Philip Le Masurier.

Created in partnership between the National Portrait Gallery and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), curators of the show Penelope Grist, Assistant Curator at the Portrait Gallery, and Jennifer Coombes, Curator at the NFSA, had a wealth of items to draw on for the exhibition.

“Starstruck features 275 items, predominantly drawn from the NFSA’s superb collection,” says Penelope, explaining that the portraits cover such beloved Australian actors as Hugo Weaving, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Cate Blanchett and photography from iconic films like AustraliaMoulin Rouge!RED DOG and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Muriel’s Wedding – Toni Collette as Muriel trying on a wedding dress by Robert McFarlane

Jennifer adds that patrons will be drawn into the history of Australian screen.

“The faces and fashions may change, but our fascination with movies is still as strong as it was 100 years ago,” she says. “Starstruck takes you on a journey that all generations can enjoy together – whether they are revisiting the classics or discovering them for the first time, there is something for everyone.”

Candy – Abbie Cornish as Candy and Heath Ledger as Dan on the Gravitron by Hugh Hartshorne.

Director of the Portrait Gallery, Angus Trumble, says he expects Starstruck to encourage visitors to think about the portraiture in the form of stills photography.

“We are always trying to push the boundaries of thought around portraiture through our exhibitions,” he says. “By bringing the Portrait Gallery and NFSA together our curators have uncovered the often over-looked stills photographers who operate between the real world of filmmaking and the fictional world being created on film. The portraits they take lie in an extraordinary realm between real and fictional.”

Rabbit-Proof Fence – Tianna Sansbury, Laura Monaghan and Everlyn Sampi as Daisy, Gracie and Molly traversing a salt pan by Matt Nettheim.

National Film and Sound Archive CEO, Jan Müller, believes Starstruck is a wonderful way to share a century of movie portraits with film lovers, fashionistas, and history buffs.

“Collecting, preserving and sharing Australia’s audiovisual history is the NFSA’s reason for being, and this exhibition is the perfect example of how we can bring it out of the vaults and make it relevant and fun to contemporary audiences,” he said.

The Dressmaker – Liam Hemsworth as Teddy McSwiney by Ben King.

If you’re a film buff, why not take the Exhibition quiz before your visit?

The Essentials

What: Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits
When: Showing from Friday 10 November until 4 March 2018
Where: The National Portrait Gallery, Parkes
More information:

Have you got a Canberra story to share? Send it through for a chance to be featured!