Warwick Thornton

Australia, 2017 / 113 min / English OV with English subt. / Drama

In the presence of director Warwick Thornton

An Australian outback western where justice itself is put on trial.

Inspired by real events, Sweet Country is a period western set in 1929 in the outback of the Australian Northern Territory.

Aboriginal stockman Sam Kelly works the land of a kind preacher, Fred Smith, living and labouring in a respectful, if diffident, harmony. But when a bitter and often-drunk war veteran named Harry March returns to town, trouble escalates and Sam is forced to kill in self-defense. Shocked, afraid, and with a deep distrust in the impartiality of settler authority, Sam and his wife Lizzie go on the run. Urgently pursued by a posse led by Sergeant Fletcher and Aboriginal tracker Archie, expert bushman Sam must ultimately decide which of several looming unknowns to face. At the end, will Sam be captured and will justice be served?

Sweet Country is a period western. It has all the elements of the genre - the frontier, confiscation of land, subordination and conquest of a people and epic sweeping landscapes”. Warwick Thornton


Tue 27/02 20:30 Cinémathèque EN OV with EN subt. Public
Wed 28/02 19:00 Ciné Utopia EN OV with EN subt. Public
Sun 04/03 17:00 Cinémathèque EN OV with EN subt. Public

“’We’re all equal in the eyes of the Lord,’ says a benevolent rural preacher in the opening scenes of Sweet Country ‑ but the Lord’s eyes are evidently cast far from Alice Springs, the ravishing but spiritually soured landscape against which Warwick Thornton’s graceful, soulful, quietly incendiary Outback western unfolds. Marked by the same poise and care with which Thornton’s 2009 debut Samson & Delilah exposed the present-day marginalization of Australia’s Aboriginal community, the director-cinematographer’s second purely narrative feature probes the same social injustice in the bitterly divided frontier society of 1929, where one black man’s necessarily violent act of self-defense brings the white population’s most toxic racist dogma to the fore. The spare, classical chase drama that ensues is seeded with barbed observations on colonialism, cultural erasure and rough justice, kept poetically succinct by Thornton’s lithe, soaring visual storytelling.” Guy Lodge, Variety, 6/09/2017

“An outback western inspired by real events, Warwick Thornton's Sweet Country is a story of personal conviction and settler justice set in the stark panoramas of Australia's Northern Territory. Although his film takes place in 1929, Thornton's central concerns about colonialism, law, and power have a compelling contemporary resonance. In Thornton's skilled hands the salty desert, red earth, heat, and dust of the outback becomes another character, captured in all its harsh beauty. His debut feature, Samson & Delilah, caused a sensation when it won the Caméra d'Or in Cannes in 2009. Sweet Country contains many of that film's signature elements ‑ frugal, precise use of dialogue, stunning cinematography, a profound sense of place, and enthralling performances”. Toronto International Film Festival

  • Foxtel Movies Audience Award for Best Feature, Adelaide Film Festival, 2017 (Australia)
  • Foxtel Movies Audience Award for Best Fiction Feature, Adelaide Film Festival, 2017 (Australia)
  • Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Film, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Brisbane 2017 (Australia)
  • Platform Prize, Toronto International Film Festival, 2017 (Canada)
  • Special Jury Prize, Venice Film Festival, 2017 (Italy)
Cast & Credits
Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Matt Day, Hamilton Morris, Tremayne Doolan, Trevon Doolan, Anni Finsterer, Natassia Gorey Furber, Gibson John, Ewen Leslie, Thomas M. Wright
Steven McGregor, David Tranter
Dylan River, Warwick Thornton
Lachlan Harris, Sam Gain-Emery, Mick Boraso, Nigel Christensen
Tony Cronin
Jemma Burns, Damien Lane
Bunya Productions, Sweet Country Films
Post Bill

Australian director, screenwriter and cinematographer, Warwick Thornton was born in 1970 in Alice Springs, Australia. He won the Caméra d'Or at the 2009 Festival de Cannes for his first feature film, Samson & Delilah (2009).

  • 2017 - Sweet Country
  • 2017 - We Don't Need a Map (documentary)
  • 2014 - Words With Gods
  • 2013 - The Darkside
  • 2013 - The Turning
  • 2011 - Stranded (short)
  • 2010 - Art + Soul (TV series - documentary)
  • 2009 - Samson & Delilah
  • 2007 - Nana (short)
  • 2005 - The Old Man and the Inland Sea (short)
  • 2005 - Green Bush (short)
  • 2002 - Mimi (short)
  • 1996 - From Sand to Celluloid: Payback (short)