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form y separately published work icon Bastardy single work   film/TV  
Issue Details: First known date: 2008... 2008 Bastardy
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Provocative, funny and profoundly moving, Bastardy is the inspirational story of a self proclaimed Robin Hood of the streets.

'For forty years and with infectious humour and optimism, Jack Charles has juggled a life of crime with another successful career - acting.

'Since founding the first Aboriginal theatre company in the 1970's, Jack has performed with Australia's most renowned actors (Geoffrey Rush, David Gulpillil, Bill Hunter) and directors in feature films (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Bedevil and Blackfellas) TV series and hundreds of plays.

'Filmmaker Amiel Courtin-Wilson follows Jack over seven years - gradually blurring the line between director and accomplice as Jack continually traverses the criminal and acting worlds.

'However, the law finally catches up with Jack and when he faces a jail sentence he might not survive, he is forced to decide if he can go straight for the first time in his life.

'Bastardy is the story of one man's journey into the light. (From the Siren Visual website.)


  • For further information, see the Bastardy website:

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • c
      Film Camp ,
      2008 .
      Extent: 01:21:34 mins.p.
      • Screened at Melbourne International Film Festival 2008.
    • c
      Siren Visual ,
      2009 .
      Extent: 84 mins.p.
      • 'Deluxe collector's edition DVD with a huge array of extras, deleted scenes and special features.' (Siren Visual website.)
      • Includes a review of the film by Christos Tsiolkas.
      • Release date: 26 November 2009.

Works about this Work

Reel Lives : Aussie Doco Portraits 2018 single work column
— Appears in: FilmInk , 21 September 2018;
On Jack Charles Tony Birch , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: Overland , Winter no. 231 2018; (p. 8)

'The life of Jack Charles has been told in the film Bastardy (2008) and the theatre production Jack Charles V the Crown, which has toured nationally and internationally for several years. Aspects of Jack’s life have been ­horrific. He is a member of the Stolen Generations, taken from his mother, family and community. Jack spent the young years of his life in institutions and foster care, where he was subject to the levels of violence and torture that accompany colonial repression. Jack’s subsequent years spent in prison are well documented, as is his remarkable contribution to Australian art and culture – in theatre, on the screen and, vitally, within the Aboriginal community.' (Introduction)

Filmmaker Amiel Courtin-Wilson Ellen van Neerven , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 5-11 August 2017;

'Almost a decade after making Bastardy with actor Jack Charles, filmmaker Amiel Courtin-Wilson refuses to see himself as a detached observer, instead drawing in his subjects as collaborators. By Ellen van Neerven.' 

The 100 Best Australian Films of the New Millenium Erin Free , Dov Kornits , Travis Johnson , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: FilmInk , 22 September 2016;
An Excerpt from an Interview with Amiel Courtin-Wilson James Robert Douglas (interviewer), 2014 single work interview
— Appears in: The Lifted Brow , September/October no. 24 2014; (p. 76-77)
' Amiel Courtin-Wilson is an Australian artist and filmmaker. He is the director of five features, and over twenty shorts. His first film, Chasing Buddha (2000), a documentary portrait of his Buddhist nun aunt, was produced at the age of nineteen and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Since then, he has made Bastardy (2008), a documentary about troubled indigenous actor Jack Charles, and Hail (2011), a fictional feature inspired by the life of its star, Daniel P. Jones, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Courtin-Wilson’s work—in both documentary and fiction forms—is characterised by its combination of realist drama with trance-like poetical interludes, as well as a clear-eyed and empathetic authorial interest in lives lived on the edge. Hail begins as a kind of straightforward narrative about the difficulties of postprison life, but it eventually dissolves into a violent swirl of impressionistic imagery and harsh soundscapes. Its centerpiece image is a mordantly beautiful shot of a dead horse hurtling through the atmosphere toward the earth’s surface. His latest film, Ruin (2013), co-directed with Michael Cody, is a fictional narrative about two lovers on the run, set and filmed in Cambodia. The interview took place in the wine bar Tasman Quartermasters in Hobart, with the assistance of the Dark Mofo festival. ' (Introduction)
Indigenous Robin Hood's Just Desserts Tim Kroenert , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Eureka Street , 3 July vol. 19 no. 12 2009;

— Review of Bastardy Amiel Courtin-Wilson , 2008 single work film/TV
Turning the Lens on an Unusual Life Jake Wilson , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 25 June 2009; (p. 20)

— Review of Bastardy Amiel Courtin-Wilson , 2008 single work film/TV
Survival Instincts Sandra Hall , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 27-28 June 2009; (p. 16)

— Review of Bastardy Amiel Courtin-Wilson , 2008 single work film/TV
Stolen Child Resorts to Theft Colin Newton , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 28 June 2009; (p. 8)

— Review of Bastardy Amiel Courtin-Wilson , 2008 single work film/TV
Big Buzz for Doco Darren Coyne , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 1 July no. 454 2009; (p. 52)

— Review of Bastardy Amiel Courtin-Wilson , 2008 single work film/TV
From St Kilda to Croisette Stephanie Bunbury , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 20 May 2009; (p. 22)
Fringe- Dwellers Open Their Hearts Stephanie Bunbury , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 22 June 2009; (p. 12)
The Rise and Rise of Jack Charles Cris Kennedy , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 18 July 2009; (p. 23)
Big Year for Uncle Jack Kerri-Lee Harding , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 16 December no. 466 2009; (p. 48)
'This has been a big year for Uncle Jack Charles. In May, the self-confessed former heroin addict and 'gentleman' cat burglar won the Tudawali award honouring his lifetime contribution to Indigenous media. A month later, the film chronicling his life, titled Bastardy was released to critical acclaim.' Source: Koori Mail no 466, 16 December 2009
Jack's Life Told on TV 2010 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 24 February no. 470 2010; (p. 48)
ABC1 will screen the international award winning documentary Bastardy on 11 March from 9.30pm. The title of the documentary comes from a play written in 1972 based on the life of Jack Charles.
Last amended 19 May 2015 09:48:40
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