PENELOPE- First Australian-Croatian Film, by director Ben Ferris
The film is a new study of the character of Penelope from Homer’s epic ‘The Odyssey’. She is the wife of Odysseus who is waiting for 20 years for her husband to come back from the Trojan War. Situated in Croatia, in a mythological time and space the film examines mythological tradition through contemporary attitudes and is resurrecting the role of Penelope’s character.
The idea for the film was born in Croatia. I fell in love with the mythological landscapes and people. Every time I would come back to Zagreb over the last few years the project would develop spontaneously - stated the director and writer Ben Ferris.
‘Penelope’ is his first feature film. With his short film ‘The Kitchen’ he won several awards in international film festivals while the short film ‘Ascension’ secured him the Grand Prix award in the 2004 ‘One Take Film Festival’ in Zagreb.
Natalie Finderle, conveniently an Australian-Croatian, stars as the titular character of Grecian myth. The film re-examines Penelope’s character, bridging legend with contemporary attitudes in “a mythic time and space.”
Shot entirely in Croatia (and performed in Croatian), Penelope recalls the twenty long years the wife of Greek king Odysseus endured during her husband's epic Trojan War journey. The official PR stuff purports that Penelope focuses more on a psychological narrative than a chronological one.
Visit the Official Film Website to learn more and view the trailers:
Photo source: http://eyeswiredopen.blogspot.com/2008/10/penelope-not-another-you-beaut-aussie.html
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 took place in Australia in 2008