Book Review: Bruce Beresford’s The Best Film I Never Made is a collection of warm, droll and personal essays from one of Australia’s leading directors

“I wanted to make films from time I saw my first films in the mid-1940’s. Unlike my school friends I had no interest in animated films (I still don’t) but was fascinated by narratives with actors. Somehow I realised while still very young, that the key person in all the films was not the leading man or heroine, but the director”.

In The Best Film I Never Made the acclaimed film director of Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy, Double Jeopardy and Mao’s Last Dancer, Bruce Beresford regales the reader with stories from his life, including from his life before entering the movie business, as well as during. These stories range from how is love for movies started, to stories of his eccentric family and their Holden EH (there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments here). Amongst these stories, there are also chapters talking about the financing of movies, and discussions of friends who have passed on, but who’s legacy lives on in their movies.

Each of the chapters ends with a detail of the year they were penned, and often include some information about the current goings on of those mentioned. Bereford’s stories are interesting, and whether you’re a fan of his work or not, I feel everyone has a story to tell, and his is a little more interesting than most! It’s when you read a book like this that you realise how connected a lot of famous people are. My only complaint was that the chapters aren’t chronological, which stuffed up my OCD – I’m a bit of a timeline freak.

The Best Film I Never Made is a collection of warm, droll and often frank personal essays from one of Australia’s leading directors. Parts of this memoir have been published previously, with fragments appearing in different publications, but here it is collect together, along with some more personal writings about friendship and family. Ultimately, it is an honest and reflective book that displays more with than you can poke a stick at!

The Best Film I Never Made is available now through Text Publishing