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Australia, 1976 (MIFF 2011, MIFF 60th Retrospective)

Director: Fred Schepisi


"The people in Fred Schepisi's The Devil's Playground are like sculpted figures that glow with their own light." - New Yorker

The Devil's Playground revolves around Tom Allen, a 13-year-old boy growing up in the rigorous confines of a 1950s Catholic seminary and torn between the demands of the priesthood and his own burgeoning sexuality.

A winner of multiple AFI awards, including Best Screenplay and Best Director, The Devil's Playground (MIFF 1976) was writer-director Fred Schepisi's semi-autobiographical feature film debut. A stark yet sensual study of the imminence of desire, even amidst the most austere of surrounds, Schepisi's film was at the time a deeply controversial portrait of religious sexual repression.

Fred Schepisi, whose new film The Eye of the Storm also screens in this year's program, is a guest of the Festival.

Print courtesy of The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

D/P/S Fred Schepisi WS Fred Schepisi TD 35mm/1976

See also...


Selected for The Director's Fortnight at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, The Devil's Playground, set in a college-seminary, reveals the effects of rigid institutional control on people of a variety of ... More »

The Shape of Quality

The manufacture of the body, and the assembly of the complete Volkswagen, is shown in this film which is distinguished by complex camera work and striking colour effects. ... Silver Award, Public ... More »

The Skin Game

An advertising film, presenting a long-established product in new-style marketing terms. ... Silver Award, Australian Film Awards 1970 ... More »


Fred Schepisi returns with an engaging take on the acclaimed 1973 novel by Australian Nobel laureate Patrick White. ... As the wealthy and powerful Mrs Hunter (Charlotte Rampling) approaches death ... More »

People Make Papers

An impressionistic account of the production of a newspaper. ... Golden Reel Award, Public Relations Category, Australian Film Awards. ... More »

Jigglers Unlimited

An advertising film extolling the virtues of teabags. ... More »

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