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David Stratton

David Stratton

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David James Stratton is an English- Australian film critic
Film criticism
Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of films, individually and collectively. In general, this can be divided into journalistic criticism that appears regularly in newspapers, and other popular, mass-media outlets and academic criticism by film scholars that is informed by film theory and...

 and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...


Life and career

Born in Trowbridge
Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire, England, situated on the River Biss in the west of the county, approximately 12 miles southeast of Bath, Somerset....

, Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 1939, Stratton was sent to Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

 to see out the war years with his grandmother, an avid filmgoer, where he was taken to the local cinemas regularly and saw a diverse range of movies. He saw his first foreign film
World cinema
World cinema is a term used primarily in English language speaking countries to refer to the films and film industries of non-English speaking countries. It is therefore often used interchangeably with the term foreign film...

 at Bath in 1955 – the Italian
Cinema of Italy
The history of Italian cinema began just a few months after the Lumière brothers had patented their Cinematographe, when Pope Leo XIII was filmed for a few seconds in the act of blessing the camera.-Early years:...

 Bread, Love and Dreams. That was soon followed by Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
was a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 filmsIn 1946, Kurosawa co-directed, with Hideo Sekigawa and Kajiro Yamamoto, the feature Those Who Make Tomorrow ;...

's Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese classic Seven Samurai tracked down in Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

. At the age of 19, he founded the Melksham
Melksham is a medium-sized English town, lying on the River Avon. It lies in the county of Wiltshire.It is situated southeast of the city of Bath, south of Chippenham, west of Devizes and north of Warminster on the A350 national route. The 2001 UK census cited Melksham as having 20,000...

 and District Film Society. David arrived in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 in 1963, and soon became involved with the local film society
Film society
A film society is a membership club where people can watch screenings of films which would otherwise not be shown in mainstream cinemas. In Spain they are known as "Cineclubs," and in Germany they are known as "Filmclubs"....

 movement. He directed the Sydney Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival
The Sydney Film Festival is an annual film festival held in the Australian city of Sydney and is held over 12 days in June. The competitive film festival draws international and local attention, with films being showcased in several venues across the city centre and includes features,...

 from 1966 until 1983.

A highly regarded expert on international cinema, particularly French cinema
Cinema of France
The Cinema of France comprises the art of film and creative movies made within the nation of France or by French filmmakers abroad.France is the birthplace of cinema and was responsible for many of its early significant contributions. Several important cinematic movements, including the Nouvelle...

, Stratton was President of FIPRESCI (International Film Critics) Juries in Cannes
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 (twice) and Venice
Venice Film Festival
The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest international film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the...

. He was also a member of the jury at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival
32nd Berlin International Film Festival
The 32nd annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from February 12 to February 23, 1982.-Jury:* Joan Fontaine * Vladimir Baskakov* Brigitte Fossey* Joe Hembus* László Lugossy* Gian Luigi Rondi* Helma Sanders-Brahms...

 in 1982.

Stratton worked for SBS
Special Broadcasting Service
The Special Broadcasting Service is a hybrid-funded Australian public broadcasting radio and television network. The stated purpose of SBS is "to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect...

 from 1980, acting as their film consultant and introducing the SBS Cinema Classic and Movie of the Week for 24 weeks a year. From 1986 onwards Stratton co-hosted the long-running SBS TV program The Movie Show
The Movie Show
The Movie Show is an Australian film review program that airs on SBS TV. Its history falls into three parts.-Original format:The original format, which ran from 30 October 1986 to 12 May 2004, had two presenters, David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz. Stratton and Pomeranz left for the ABC in early...

with Margaret Pomeranz
Margaret Pomeranz
Margaret Pomeranz AM is an Australian film critic and television personality.-Early life:Pomeranz was born in 1944 in Waverley, a suburb of Sydney, and was educated at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney in Croydon, the then newly opened Macquarie University, and the Playwright's Studio at...

. Stratton and Pomeranz both left SBS in 2004. From 2005 Stratton and Pomeranz have co-hosted the ABC
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

 film show, At the Movies.

Stratton has cited on numerous occasions that his favourite film of all time is Singin' in the Rain
Singin' in the Rain
Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American comedy musical film starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds and directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography...

. He currently writes reviews for The Australian
The Australian
The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. The editor in chief is Chris Mitchell, the editor is Clive Mathieson and the 'editor-at-large' is Paul Kelly....

newspaper and formerly did so for the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 film industry magazine Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

. He also does film reviews for TV Week
TV Week
TV Week is a weekly television magazine in Australia, first published as a Melbourne-only publication in December 1957 , and bearing a strong affiliation to television station GTV.The publication is still publishing weekly...

, where he has been for a number of years. He lectures in film history at the University of Sydney. In 2008 he released his autobiography called I Peed on Fellini, a reference to a drunken attempt to shake Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , was an Italian film director and scriptwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century...

's hand while using a urinal.

Other appearances

  • Stratton has a cameo appearance in the 1993 film Hercules Returns
  • In 1995 Stratton made an uncredited cameo in Touch Me, one of the short films featured in Zieglerfilm's series Erotic Tales
  • Stratton has also appeared in several ABC
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation
    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

     programs including The Chaser's War on Everything
    The Chaser's War on Everything
    The Chaser's War on Everything is an Australian television satirical comedy series broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation television station ABC1. It has won an AFI Award. The cast perform sketches mocking social and political issues, and often feature comedic publicity stunts...

    , Review with Myles Barlow
    Review with Myles Barlow
    Review with Myles Barlow is an Australian satirical black comedy television series which screened on Thursday nights on ABC2 and Friday nights on ABC 1. The series began screening on 16 October 2008. It is co-written and directed by Trent O'Donnell and also co-written by Phil Lloyd. It is...

    , Good Game
    Good Game
    Good Game is an Australian video gaming talk show television programme created by Janet Carr and Jeremy Ray currently on ABC2. It premiered on ABC on 19 September 2006...

    , Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight
    Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight
    Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight is an Australian television interview show on ABC1 hosted by comedian Adam Hills. The show features celebrity guests, comedy and live music....

    , Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own Adventure
    Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own Adventure
    Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own Adventure is a six-part Australian television comedy series, starring and primarily written by Melbourne comedian Lawrence Leung and produced by Chaser Broadcasting...

    and The Bazura Project
    The Bazura Project
    The Bazura Project is a comedy show about the history of cinema, written and presented by Shannon Marinko and Lee Zachariah. It originally ran on Australian community television from 2006 to 2008, and on ABC2 in late 2011.-Guide To Sinema:...

    , often parodying himself.


  • On 1 January 2001 Stratton was awarded the Centenary Medal
    Centenary Medal
    The Centenary Medal is an award created by the Australian Government in 2001. It was established to commemorate the Centenary of Federation of Australia and to honour people who have made a contribution to Australian society or government...

     for "Service to Australian society and Australian film production".
  • On 22 March 2001 he was appointed with the Croix de Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and confirmed as part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963...

     (Order of Arts and Literature), the highest rank for this award, for his services to cinema, in particular French cinema.
  • In 2001 he received the Australian Film Institute
    Australian Film Institute
    The Australian Film Institute was founded in 1958 as a non-profit organisation devoted to developing an active film culture in Australia and fostering engagement between the general public and the Australian film industry...

    's Longford Life Achievement Award
    Australian Film Institute Longford Life Achievement Award
    The Raymond Longford Award, in honour of Raymond Longford, was first presented by the Australian Film Institute from 1968-2010, and will continue to be presented by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts from 2012...

  • On 9 June 2006 Stratton received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters
    Doctor of Letters
    Doctor of Letters is a university academic degree, often a higher doctorate which is frequently awarded as an honorary degree in recognition of outstanding scholarship or other merits.-Commonwealth:...

     from the University of Sydney
    University of Sydney
    The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

     in recognition of his career and his contribution to intellectual life at the university.
  • In 2007, he received the 60th Anniversary Medal by the Festival du Film de Cannes and The Chauvel Award by the Brisbane International Film Festival
    Brisbane International Film Festival
    Brisbane International Film Festival held in Brisbane provides a focus for film culture in Queensland, Australia. The festival has taken place since 1992 and focuses on films from the Asia-Pacific region. The event offers films including features, documentaries, shorts, experimental, silent films...


External links