One of our favorite actresses, Australian-born Judy Davis, is being honored on April 26 by the San Francisco Film Society. Davis will receive the Peter J. Owens Award at the 55th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 19 – May 3). The veteran actress will also be honored at An Evening with Judy Davis at the historic Castro Theatre on April 25, with a rare onstage interview and a selection of clips from her extraordinary career, followed by a screening of her latest film THE EYE OF THE STORM by fellow Australian director Fred Schepisi. In the film, based on Nobel Prize winner Patrick White’s 1973 novel, she plays the neurotic daughter and sister, who comes to visit her aging, demanding mother, perhaps for the last time. The brother is played by Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and the mother given a delicious turn by Charlotte Rampling (another of our faves). The film opens later this year.
Davis has been an “actress’s actress” on screen for almost 35 years. She first came to the attention of American audiences as the lead in MY BRILLIANT CAREER (1979) directed by Jane Campion. She made a strong impression, and received an Oscar nomination, for her indelible performance in A PASSAGE TO INDIA (1984), directed by film master David Lean. Since then, she has won various awards and brought to life real-world personalities like Judy Garland, Nancy Reagan and George Sand. I would argue that her best work has been with director Woody Allen, who has cast her in five of his films (ALICE, CELEBRITY, DECONSTRUCTING HARRY and HUSBANDS AND WIVES), including his newest TO ROME WITH LOVE, which will open in June. Although acclaimed internationally, Judy Davis has never quite received her due as a brilliant actress of invention and deep emotional resonance. Therefore, it is especially delicious that she will be so honored in San Francisco. As a devout fan, I wish I could be in the room. For more information on the full program of SFIFF, visit: www.sffs.org