The lives of four very different people intertwine in this performance-driven ensemble drama about dealing with loss and finding yourself. Marlena is secretly dealing with the loss of her married lover, Rosie. Rosie’s husband Paul is also going through his own grief. Meanwhile Marlena takes on a housemate, the timid and a little bit aimless, Bridget. Handyman Clinton grapples with parenting a teenage daughter and his own developing gender identity.
Throughout the film these people will fall apart, but also come together and change each other’s lives. Amongst all this are the mysterious five provocations, played with mischievous charm by the stars of Australia’s cabaret scene Maude Davey, Yana Alana, Sarah Pax, Amanda Morris and the Town Bikes.
Sapidah Kian is an actor, director and theatre maker best known for her role in the film Partisan (2015). Based in Australia, her recent television credits include, Tomorrow When The War Began (2016), Rake 2 (2012), City Homicide (2011) and the highly acclaimed TV mini series Gallipoli (2015). She was nominated for a 2018 Green Room Best Performer Award for her role in Little Ones Theatre production of Merciless Gods. She works as an actor, director, dramaturge, educator and mentor and currently lectures in theatre at The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA, University of Melbourne) where she is also a graduate.
Rebecca Bower is an actor, writer and visual artist and has been a working in film, television and theatre since graduating from The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA, University of Melbourne). She toured nationally with Bell Shakespeare's ‘Julius Caesar’ and starred in the world premier of ‘The Honey Bees’ for Red Stitch Actors Theatre. Bower played June in the US SyFy channel mini-series Childhood's End (2015) and has appeared in various screen productions, including Holding the Man (2015), Mary: The Making of a Princess (2015), TV series Wentworth and Offspring.
Tony Moclair is an Australian comedy actor, writer, performer and radio broadcaster. Moclair has a successful and varied radio career hosting radio shows on a variety of Australian radio stations both as himself and on occasions, in the guise of some of his many character creations. As an actor and writer, he is best known for his television writing and appearances on Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell (2012), Spicks and Specks (2005) and Open Slather (2015).
Blake Osborn is an actor, writer and art director. A graduate from The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA, University of Melbourne) he appeared in Head On (1998) and Kangaroo Palace (1997) before directing his focus to behind the camera, where he forged a career in television art departments. He was enticed back into performing by the unique collaborative process that was undertaken by the director in the development and creation of The Five Provocations (2018).
Maude Davey trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA, Uni Melb), and has worked as an actor, director and writer for more than thirty years, with her primary focus being the creation of new work. She has worked across Burlesque, New Variety and Theatre. Highlights include her acclaimed solo show, My Life In The Nude, which toured nationally. Her film and television work includes The Slap (2011), Offspring (2014), My Year Without Sex (2009), Summer Heights High (2007) and Noise (2007).
A powerhouse singer, cabaret artist and actress. Creator of Yana Alana, which earned her a Helpmann Award for Best Cabaret Performer 2014 and two Green Room Awards for Best Production and Best Cabaret Artiste for her cabaret show Between The Cracks. Along with her talented all female band Tha Paranas, Yana Alana has three cabaret shows Bite Me and In Concert both with 8 Green Room Awards and a live art show Tears Before Bedtime. Yana has toured with La Soiree and Finucane and Smith’s Glory Box, and has performed everywhere from Ballarat to Buenos Aires.
Amanda is a choreographer, producer, and performer who has worked in theatre, film and television. She was creative producer of the award-winning Ruby Lounge queer cabaret series in Melbourne. She has trained and worked in New Zealand | Aotearoa and Australia. Her work has been produced at Sydney Mardi Gras festival, Melbourne Fringe and Midsumma festivals and the ALSO Foundation dance parties.
Both Gabi and Carla emerged from studies in performance from Melbourne and Sydney. When their paths crossed in the vibrant Melbourne performance art scene they co-established their performance duo The Town Bikes. The pair were headhunted to feature in cult sensations ‘The Burlesque Hour’ and ‘La Clique’, and toured independently to the USA and Europe.
Sarah Pax, AKA Steven Gray is a legend of clubs in Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo and New York. Pax is a singer who happens to perform in drag and has been performing in drag shows since he ran away from home at the age of thirteen. In the documentary The Tasty Bust Reunion, which is about the 1994 Tasty nightclub raid, Pax performs ‘No Place For Me’ which was written especially by Scott Saunders and Stephen MacLean. Sarah Pax has also appeared as herself in the infamous NZ Jarrah Coffee commercial.
Angie Black is a multi-award winning Australian filmmaker and director. She has directed more than ten short films, most of which have screened at festivals around the globe, including Locarno and Melbourne International Film Festivals.
Black has directed television commercials, both locally and abroad, and is a recipient of the ‘Film Victoria’s Independent Filmmaker Fund’ in which she directed the award winning short film Bowl Me Over (2000). Black is a graduate of the Swinburne Film School (VCA, University of Melbourne), has a MA in screenwriting and is completing a PhD in the department of Creative Arts and English, La Trobe University where she currently lectures in screen production.
In 1999, Black founded Black Eye Films as an independent, Melbourne based, production-company that supports the promotion and visibility of women on and behind the screen. The FIVE Provocations (2018) is the first independently produced feature film to be produced through Black Eye Films.
Kris is Senior Lawyer at Simpsons Solicitors specialising in film and television finance and production. Kris has extensive experience both as a lawyer and business affairs professional in the Australian film & television industry, gained in private practice as Senior Associate and as Head of Legal & Business Affairs for two reputable Australian production companies. Kris has been credited as production lawyer on numerous Australian feature films, television series and documentaries. Her most recent credit is Executive Producer on Academy Award Winner Adam Elliot’s Ernie Biscuit (2015) and official Australian/Canadian co-produced television series Oh Yuck (currently in production).
Atalanti Dionysus is an award-winning web series producer who has been involved in producing screen content across a number of platforms: television commercials, music videos, documentaries, and feature films. Her self-produced web series The Journey of Documentary received seven international awards, including Best Interactive Documentary, Best Web Series, Best Educational Interactive Website. Dionysus is a recipient of the Inaugural Hazel Hawke Arts Moreland City Council Award for her contribution as an artist and her support of female artists within the local community. The Five Provocations is her first feature film as co-producer.
Matt Jasper is an Australian Director of Photography and has worked primarily as a Lighting Cameraman/Editor. Jasper spent twelve years working abroad, covering news and current affairs stories in Asia and the Middle East for the ABC, BBC and Channel 4 UK. He is a full member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) and has eight ACS awards, two Amnesty International Media Awards and a Hong Kong Human Rights award.
After taking on story editor for Marlena and the final chapter, Dingeldei became final picture and sound editor on The FIVE Provocations. Dingeldei has cut short films, music videos and documentaries before being snapped up on her first feature film. She edited the music series Amateur Hour and has nailed the art of editing through her love of a good rhythm. She is one part of the feminist punk band MISS MISS and performs with Melbourne punk rock band Loobs.
It’s like a Luis Buñuel or David Lynch film, where the narrative is suddenly split open by molotov cocktails, by characters or events that subvert the natural storyline, and everything shifts into the realm of dream and emotion.
...those five provocations of the title come out of nowhere, surreal moments that give the narrative a real jolt. There’s no way you can predict just what they might be and what they might mean but each is a bit of visual ravishment.
The Five Provocations immediately wins a rather unique place in the history of Australian cinema – there’s nothing else quite like it.
We all experience loss at various stages in our lives and yet most of us struggle to cope with grief. The Five Provocations is about finding ways through grief and connecting with people who help you overcome the helplessness we feel around loss. Each of the four main characters in the film are displaced and although we don’t see the moments of loss, all of them are struggling to cope with the change that loss brings.
I wanted to make a film that was as unexpected as life with a narrative that explores the complicated moments and experiences of everyday people familiar to me in my world, yet rarely depicted on screen. We might think we have it all worked out as we plan for the future, but what happens when someone unexpected suddenly appears, someone so extraordinary that that chance meeting provokes a significant change in you?
With The Five Provocations I was interested in the idea of merging live performance work within a narrative fiction film. I love the way that performance art and live theatre connect and energise an audience. I thought if we capture some of the contemporary performances I’d seen in in the vibrant Melbourne independent theatre scene and drop them into a fictional narrative world, where neither the characters nor the actors playing them would know they were going to appear, we would get surprising unscripted and authentic reactions.
I’m always drawn to depictions of interesting, complex, determined and authentic characters on screen, especially female characters. For two years I worked separately with each actor to develop characters, with lives and histories that could operate in the real world. The character onscreen had to be as surprised by the performance pieces as an audience would be. For this reason, I decided to conceal these performances from the actor. I called these performance scenes ‘provocations’ because they were specifically chosen to trigger suppressed emotions in the character. The five provocations in the film not only capture authentic reactions but also explore each of the emotional responses to provocation.