Fred Schepisi

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6.5 The Devil's Playground (1976)
6.3 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
7.0 Barbarosa (1982)
7.0 Iceman (1984)
6.2 Plenty (1985)
6.5 Roxanne (1987)
6.5 The Russia House (1990)
5.0 Mr. Baseball (1992)
6.8 Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
5.0 I.Q. (1994)
5.0 Fierce Creatures (1997)
6.5 Last Orders (2001)
6.6 It Runs in the Family (2003)
5.0 The Eye of the Storm (2011)
6.0 Words and Pictures (2013)

Fred Schepisi (Australia, 1939) debuted with the autobiographical The Devil's Playground (1976) and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), an adaptation of Thomas Keneally's novel "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith" (1972), Then came the western Barbarosa (1982) the sci-fi movie Iceman (1984) the adaptation of a David Hare's play, namely Plenty (1985), an adaptation of Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1897) titled Roxanne (1987), Evil Angels (A Cry in the Dark)[3] (1988), an adaptation of John Bryson's book about a real-life event, The Russia House (1990), which is a diligent adaptation of LeCarre's spy thriller, and the comedy Mr Baseball (1992).

Six Degrees of Separation (1993) is an adaptation of John Guare's play "Six Degrees of Separation" (1990), a portrait of a con-artist that becomes the portrait of empty-hearted socialities and their superficial life. It still feels like a theatrical play, but it stands out because the narrative proceeds by nested flashbacks.

The film opens with two brief scenes. One in which a middle-age couple, an art dealer and his wife, are under shock, and the other one in which a young black man is rehearsing how to say "hello" the way a socialite would say it. The couple, Ouisa and Flan, has to rush to a wedding. After the wedding they sit down with friends at the reception and tell the story of what caused their shock. The couple was entertaining an important white South African guest at their apartment, trying to sell a Cezanne painting for the huge amount of money that would save them from bankruptcy. A young black man named Paul showed up, wounded, claiming he was mugged in the park. They cleaned his wound. He claimed to be the son of a famous Hollywood actor, a friend of their children, and charmed them with his manners, even cooking dinner for them. As Ouisa and Flan are telling the story of what Paul did in their apartment, we see Paul rehearsing the part in another apartment. We also see that they are now surrounded by a large crowd of curious listeners at the reception. Thanks to him the evening went well and the South African businessman was convinced to mediate the sale of the Cezanne. The art dealer and his wife insisted that Paul, who claimed to be from out of town, stay over. However, in the morning they found Paul in bed with a naked white man, and, horrified, kicked out both of them. Paul tried to apologize but now the couple was too frightened. On the way home from the reception Ouisa and Flan meet a couple of friends who are excited to tell what happened to them: a young black man named Paul showed up pretending to have been mugged and so on. Again, Paul didn't steal anything. The two couples decide to find out whether the famous Hollywood actor has such a son. The police cannot help: Paul didn't commit any crime. In both cases Paul knew a lot of details about the lives of the couple and claimed to have learned them from their children. Hence the two couples summon their children. The meeting only highlights the tense relationships that both couples have with their children. The police detective calls the art dealer and tells him of a doctor who reported a similar story. A flashback shows us his story. Paul barged into his medical room claiming to have been mugged, being a friend of his son, being the son of the famous actor, etc. The doctor gave him the keys of his house so Paul could relax. However, in this case the doctor called his son right away and his son called him stupid for giving the keys of the house to a complete stranger. The doctor called the police and wanted Paul to be arrested but, again, Paul had not stolen anything. The five visit a library and consult a biography of the actor: he never had a son, only daughters. The five have lunch together and then summon all their children together and realize they have one thing in common: they all went to the same highschool. In the present Ouisa and Flan are telling the story to friends in a museum. The children hate their parents and storm out of the meeting but then they check the high school's yearbook and pick one common friend, Trent. Ouisa's and Flan's daughter visits Trent and tapes their conversation (so now we see the flashback within the flashback within the flashback of the girl playing the tape to Ouisa of Trent telling the girl about Paul), during which Trent admitted that he met Paul, wanted to seduce him, and Paul extorted from him the details about the parents of his best friends, and taught him how to speak like a socialite, and then disappeared. Ouisa and Flan fly to Rome and visit the Sistine Chapel. Thanks to an acquaintance, they are allowed on the scaffolding used by the restorers and Ouisa is allowed to touch Michelangelo's hand of God. Back from Rome, they have a business meeting and their business partners demand to know more about the story of Paul. So we get another flashback about what happened when they returned from Rome: a girl claimed to have been robbed by Flan's illegitimate black son Paul! We now see the flashback of the girl'story: Paul had introduced himself as such to the girl and her boyfriend, charmed them to invite him to stay with them, then seduced the boyfriend and left with all his and her money (and we also see the flashback of the boy telling the girl how Paul seduced and abandoned him). Hence she went to their apartment and spread the rumor that Flan had an illegitimate son who slept in the park. The second couple witness the boy commit suicide (this a bit too much of a coincidence that strains credulity). Ouisa and Flan took the girl to the police: this time there was a crime, the theft of the girl's money. Ouisa and Flan continue the story while having supper with a group of friends to celebrate his sell of the Cezanne (and him getting rich). A flashback shows that Ouisa was on the phone with her daughter, who was about to leave for Afghanistan and announcing her marriage, when Paul called. Ouisa hung up on her daughter ignoring the news of her engagement to speak with Paul. Ouisa tries to convince him to turn himself in. Paul claims that he wants to be adopted by her and Flan. His sweet talk works on Ouisa, who feels that she has to protect him, while Flan is busy getting dressed for the big dinner and wants to involve the police. Paul claims to be just a disaffected lonely man in search of affection. Meanwhile their daughter tries in vain to tell them that she is getting married. Ouisa and Flan convince Paul to meet them at a movie theater and alert the police. Paul gets arrested before they can talk to him. The following morning Ouisa visits the police station but doesn't even know Paul's real name and therefore cannot find out what happened to him. Back to the present, Ouisa gets emotional thinking that Paul only wanted their love: she has read that a prisoner killed himself in a prison and wonders if it's Paul. She storms out of the dinner in tears and accusing Flan of being heartless. She walks away alone while he returned to his business dinner. It is implied that their marriage is broken. We'll never know Paul's real name, why he did what he did (was his last phone call sincere or just another scam attempt?) and whether he committed suicide.

I.Q. (1994)

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Fierce Creatures (1997) e` una Farsa senza grandi pretese, spesso lenta e goffa, talvolta screwball comedy all'antica.

Farsa che rimette in scena il cast di "Fish Called Wanda". Willa e` una avvenente donna in carriera, assunta dal ricchissimo e potentissimo magnate neozelandese Rod per gestire qualcuna delle sue numerose imprese. Il rampollo Vince se ne invaghisce subito e la corteggia spietatamente: lei lo lascia fare interessata soltanto ai vantaggi dell'amicizia. Il loro fato viene legato a quello del bonario Rollo, il manager di uno zoo che appartiene all'impero finanziario del magnate. Insoddisfatto dei ritorni, Rod ha chiesto a Rollo di eliminare tutti gli animali docili e di usare quelli feroci come attrazione per aumentare i profitti dello zoo. Rollo ordina controvoglia agli impiegati dello zoo di liberarsi degli animali piu` graziosi e amabili. Gli impiegati dello zoo le provano tutte per convincerlo a ricredersi, e alla fine lasciano semplicemente gli animali sulla sua scrivania: che li elimini lui. Rollo finge di giustiziarli di persona, ma in realta` li nasconde in camera sua. Willa ha un piano per rigenerare lo zoo e Vincent la appoggia davanti al padre. Arrivano in Inghilterra, convinti da una serie di equivoci che Rollo sia un donnaiolo e un pervertito: ogni volta che gli parlano o che lo incontrano sembra nascondere un numero imprecisato di amanti, che in realta` sono gli animali da lui messi al sicuro. Willa non nasconde di essere affascinata dal suo vizietto.
Vince odia il padre, che non ha alcuna intenzione di lasciargli un'eredita` e lo tratta come un imbecille. Vince cambia drasticamente lo zoo, introducendo ogni sorta di trovate commerciali che lo snaturano grossolanamente. Willa all'inizio e` tanto cinica quanto lui, ma un incontro ravvicinato con un gorilla la trasforma in un'amica degli animali. Anche in questo senso si sente attratta da Rollo, che ovviamente e` contrario ai metodi cinici di Rod. Rod arriva in ispezione, deciso a chiudere lo zoo e trasformarlo in un campo di golf. Rollo viene nuovamente sorpreso da Willa in atteggiamento, abbigliamento e compagnia sospetta. Vince e Rod litigano violentemente. Willa tenta di sedurre Rollo. Vince e` pronto a scappare con i soldi guadagnati dallo zoo. Sorprende Rollo e Willa che si baciano. Scappa. Rollo e i guardiani lo fermano. Arriva Rod, che ha scoperto il furto. Vince non trova la forza di sparargli o di spararsi. Uno dei guardiani per sbaglio fa fuoco e uccide Rod, proprio quando questi aveva appena deciso di lasciare in pace lo zoo.
Vince festeggia la morte del padre, ma gli rimane il problema di essere diseredato. Rollo escogita una sceneggiata per accontentare tutti: Vince viene truccato da Rod e presentato all'assistente di Rod, candidato alla successione, e alla polizia. Davanti a loro, firma un nuovo testamento in cui lascia tutti i suoi averi al figlio, e lo zoo agli impiegati dello zoo. Poi si apparta e si "suicida". La polizia trova il vero cadavere, mentre Vince riprende le sue sembianze e viene a piangere il padre. Rollo e Willa possono finalmente avviare una relazione.

His last films were Last Orders (2001), It Runs in the Family (2003), The Eye of the Storm (2011) and Words and Pictures (2013).

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