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Barnett returns to Adelaide in film


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In the 1970s and 80s, Adelaide wasn’t afraid to be seen or heard. A thriving culture of arts activism accommodated political expression and gave birth to one iconic local talent who never fully fused with his home.

Performance poet and playwright Christopher Barnett is the subject of Adelaide-made documentary, These Heathen Dreams – Journey of a Cultural Bolshevik, which delicately pieces together the story of the enigma who was once known as the “enfant terrible”.

Adelaide film-maker Anne Tsoulis travelled to France, where Barnett has been in self-exile for 20 years, to understand where this ever twisting journey has taken the acclaimed artist.

At 16, Barnett was organising poetry readings with Paul Kelly in Adelaide then in his 20s was commissioned to write Selling Ourselves for Dinner for the Adelaide Festival of Arts.

In Nantes, France, Barnett has hidden from the spotlight of his one-time home. Until now.

These Heathen Dreams – Journey of a Cultural Bolshevik debuted at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August and has been screened around the world.

Tsoulis’ “intimate portrait” of Barnett’s life, exploring the power of art, poetry, culture and this city, will premiere in Adelaide at Mercury Cinema at 6pm tomorrow. More information can be found here.

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