Sunteți pe pagina 1din 48

DELINQUENT ANGEL Synopsis: A famous old painter is dependent on his mindermanager more than he is prepared to admit.

The minder manager and a documentary filmmaker work to get the reclusive and bad tempered master to participate in a film about his life; something that he in fact really wants, despite his outwardly reluctant and uncooperative nature. Eventually they manage to take John Perceval around the world to Wales to see one of his daughters, Alice. Working with her teenage son, born years ago when she lived with the filmmaker, Alice manages to coax the old man into some beautiful documentary moments. Climaxes in dramatic and emotional sequences in film, are just that, and after the high of the family reunion; exhausted and frustrated, they make the return trip. Delinquent Angel is about the Painter John Perceval, the enfant terrible, his friends and his fifty years of work. Both the filmmaker and the minder/manager in particular, are witnesses to his creative process that erupts around him from time to time. Now this film will stand to testify to those occasional but powerful bursts of creativity - the artist at work. The film arises from crucial moments that occur in a considerable amount of raw footage. These moments are largely due to the interaction between the filmmaker, the painter and his minder. The film has been designed to give these moments of actuality as strong and relative a response as possible to the psychological and emotional dimensions around some of Percevals poignant images. Duration: 52 mins Audience: General. Blend of documentary (verite) material, paintings and interviews - combined with a sense of humour that conveys the comedy of errors that went into the documentary's filming. Distribution: Documentary for worldwide television, cable and broadcast, theatrical and non broadcast market with significant educational and CD ROM options. Style: Colour and black and white super eight film with a range of video formats provide the possibility for a multimedia style. The film will suggest a Direct Cinema style like the realist filmaking of the 1960s. A hand held raw look that in practice takes a great deal of work in post-production. Because of Perceval's inability to speak clearly coupled with his descriptive communication powers in painting and drawing, the film tends to a style of its own; one with a creative use of subtitles. The subtitled voice with poetic and rhythmic style is built into the on screen whole. A stylised road movie cut to tantric, rhythmic grunting, images of power and the process of making them. Structure: Numerous director-made and experimental VHS roughcuts have provided this script with edit tested sequence possibilities. The structure is set in three parts, each beginning as the filmmaker's narrated story and each in a state of re-working. The first tells his history, why he's like he is, so famous. Friends, the middle story sets up the third and tells of his relationships that keep him going. The

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 1

final presents the climax of the story with tender moments when the travel weary Perceval finally does a drawing with daughter and grandson. Archival materials: Letters and documents (from Australian Archives), Perceval photographs, drawings, ceramics, paintings, spoken text, documentary interviews and verite are now on digital betacam, betacam, DV, super 8 film and SVHS. The material provides information about the painter, the filmmaker, relatives and friends: Marlow Perceval, David Boyd, Alice Perceval, Ken McGregor, David Larwill and Mirka Mora and John Perceval himself. Paintings as archives and stories are available to the film on colour graded 70mm film (held with Ken McGregor for publishing and catalogue purposes). The transparencies will be digitally scanned and included with Adobe Photoshop effects. As the on-line final edit will be performed on a non linear edit system, a computer based manipulation capability can be brought to the images before they are mastered on Digital Betacam.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 2

DELINQUENT ANGEL a draft editing

Sixth draft. June 1999

Creative Commons, Attribution: David Blackall

Research and development attribution Thanks to the writers: Ken McGregor (Fifty Years of Perceval Drawings and numerous other leads, contacts, photographs, documents support and elements of research generally), Charles Merewether (Art and Social Commitment - an end to the City of Dreams), Richard Haese (Rebels and Precursors), Margaret Plant (John Perceval) and Barrett Reid (Of Dark and Light - the art of John Perceval). The Delinquent Angel sculptural ceramic piece aptly testifies to a part of Perceval's character and hence the film's title.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 3


SEQUENCE 1 OPENING SHOT. COLOUR VIDEO. EXT. Camera Track. Drive-by style, of Melbourne waterfront. The scene is compressed and lonely, its colours and tones warm as tension mounts. John Perceval's voice in Tom Waits like - gravely tones, heard amongst music and road atmosphere. SUBTITLED VOICE. There's the cops, ......get fucked. It's almost as though they're pre packaged. SEQUENCE 2. DISSOLVE: STUDIO OBJECT. B & W PHOTOGRAPH OF JOHN PERCEVAL, - as he was at five, hand written caption at the bottom of the photograph reads: Nobody Loves Me. FADE UP OPENING TITLES OVER VISION OF PERCEVAL IN HOSPITAL, MCGREGOR AT HIS BEDSIDE: john perceval ao and ken macgregor in....... DISSOLVE TO STUDIO OBJECT from an out of focus, slow motion shot of the DELINQUENT ANGEL Pottery sculpture. Green with vitriol and naughtiness, like its maker. delinquent angel a david blackall film FADE TO BLACK


OPENING SEQUENCE OF FIRST STORY: Back seat Camera drive-by track of St Kilda Waterfront, intercut with John Perceval as passenger, palm trees glide past the

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 4

windscreen and another window on the scene is evident in the rear vision mirror. FADE UP STORY TITLE: still searching Over vision of Perceval coloured drawings; Angel Searching and Still Searching. Then other works - paintings and ceramics. EXT. DRIVE BY TRACK along Port Philip Bay waterfront, streets, Cut to Perceval as passenger. POV from back seat - Perceval head and shoulders from behind. The roadside rushes past in the background. NARRATION (FILMMAKER'S VOICE). In 1995, I first went to Melbourne to start filming the day to day life of the shy but wild John Perceval. I'd heard of his reputation for sending both filmmakers and journalists packing so I knew that filming should be done with care. I also knew he'd been painting, still searching for new interpretations on his themes for which he was famous. On that occasion, though, it was hard to imagine his frail hand rendering any of his former power and fury. I learnt that his fuming withdrawal from the world actually gave him the strength to overcome frailty. After working to finish a painting he'd collapse, and on frequent occasions, would wind up being taken to hospital by his minder and business manager, Ken McGregor. HOSPITAL. SLOW MOTION, COLD STEELY BLUE COLOUR, INT. McGregor at bedside. Perceval in bed with Van Gogh hat. CUT TO WORKS OF THE PATIENT SERIES. Hospital themes, colourful and strong. NARRATION CONTINUES (FILMMAKER'S VOICE). It was in a hospital around fifteen years ago when I was first introduced to him by my friend, his daughter. SCENE 3. JOHN PERCEVAL: INTERVIEW. WITH SUBTITLES. Hand held camera, John in bedsit studio. PERCEVAL: Nice to hear that you're, you're sort of related to me CUTAWAY: Painting above his head.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 5


PERCEVAL: You might just as well enjoy yourself. Onward Christian Soldiers is the biggest religious lie was ever written - (Grunts) ugh, ugh......because Christ was bad enough because, Christianity equates Democracy and Democracy equates Capitalism, and Capitalism equates free trade and war. Think I'll turn Buddhist, .... or turn to Islam. ........I'm very confused about Christ. Even Picasso, .....went out with his girlfriend and painted Christ on the Cross. BLACKALL OFF CAMERA: Christ was confused about Christ. PERCEVAL: Anyhow Picasso was a great man. (Takes a swig of beer puts empty glass down) Get us a Heineken. There's one thing I find boring,...... in me and others, ........I can't stand sobriety. BLACKALL OFF CAMERA: That's pretty strong. PERCEVAL: ugh, ugh ugh - you didn't even have a drink with me when I was feelin' like it BLACKALL OFF CAMERA: Aough (soft reluctant) PERCEVAL: Oh come on (soothingly) (gets up and goes to walking frame). Now I'll enjoy my woodchucks.


INT. STUDIO OBJECT. PAINTING. CU TRACKS of DETAIL John Perceval's signature in oils: Perceval. 95 WS Perceval drawing with wide confident sweeps. NARRATION: Searching for a new angle to the usual themes in films about painters, I knew that his public image was one with a seethe of anger and a flash of exhibitionism. The private life of John Perceval was less definable and his painting moments, also private, were so occasional that it would be difficult filming. Film moments eventually arrived but he never relaxed while the camera gazed and there were times when he insisted it turned off. MS. INT. WILD LOOKING PERCEVAL PLACES HAND OVER CAMERA. WS. INT. STUDIO. PERCEVAL DRAWS. DISSOLVE: CU CAMERA TRACKS along Perceval's signature, along drawings of an ax, a stinging bee, headless chooks. Onto the drawing of nude smoking a big cigar and wearing a Charlie Chaplain bowler which slips from her head. The stinging bee hovers over her breast. Cut to Wheat fields images. PERCEVAL: A very happy childhood, .....School had about ten children, I didn't like it very much, we used to

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 6

go and play with the Aborigines, sometimes, sister and I, which was very nice, they knew all about the bush and I'd like to see the place before I pass into the next world. ...I loved the dry inland wheat fields of Western Australia. At home at the farm, my sister Betty and me used to sleep out in the orchard on warm dry nights. .......But you could write it so many ways, many ways as you might decide to make this film. EXT.MS.JOHN PERCEVAL GAZING OUT AT THE HARBOUR FROM THE PASSENGER SEAT OF CAR: PERCEVAL: After that short family period enjoyed with a sister, my parents divorced and mother took me to Melbourne.


INT. STUDIO. COLOUR. ROB GOULD: INTERVIEW. in front of SUNFLOWERS painting. detail and wide shots - CHRISTMAS EVE 1947 and RICHMOND LANDSCAPE 1944. Other appropriate paintings after consultation with McGregor. GOULD: In many of Perceval's populated landscapes, we can see the small boy's vision, where things like tall brick chimneys connect the earth of the suburb to the sky. Like his Richmond Landscape, and Christmas Eve where the Melbourne skyline, punctuated by chimneys, has a strong link between the fiery earth and sky. In their assertiveness, there can be meanings other than homage to Van Gogh, the links are Perceval's own symbolism. In front of these works we feel the powerful presence of a duality, of an energy which gathers its extraordinary force from the constant tension between the dark and the light, heaven and hell, innocence and experience.



WHEAT FIELDS PAINTINGS SUPER 8 FILM B & W. HIS BOARDING SCHOOL/MELBOURNE. ARCHIVAL LIKE RECONSTRUCTED FILM. Melbourne in the late 1930s. Super 8 - black and white film of the old buildings of Trinity Grammar School. Echoes of traffic noise, conversations. Suburb and street scenes. Traders and workers. Paper boy cries.
Delinquent Angel, proposal and script. page 7

FILMMAKER (BLACKALL) NARRATION: Perhaps he and I got along because our childhoods were similar; of wheat field hard labour and isolation, of the drama at shearing time, of fear, of boarding school, and being bullied, and of confusion, of long far flat horizons from which the child's eyes would turn away with longing to the few familiar thickets close to hand. Later he rarely painted that far horizon; always, the landscapes he sought would be close-up to his eyes, a world which wrapped him round. A world where farm workers may work for weeks castrating animals. They bit out the testes of piglets, once they'd been cut, then would spit them to the dogs. His father docked cats tails and slaughtered sheep and chooks, as did mine. PERCEVAL DRAWINGS; West Australian landscape, farming, wheat fields, shearers, signs of land degradation, land clearing, poverty. PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS Photographs. Perceval as a child, family, sister, environment, school barefoot, other students, Aboriginal neighbours.

ACTOR NARRATION: MATURE WELL SPOKEN AUSTRALIAN WOMAN. Dorothy Dolton, from a pioneer family in the district, married Bob South when she was very young. They named John, Linwood. When she escaped to Melbourne, she was warm, talkative and outgoing, with an interest in the arts. She liked a drink or two. She did not like to be seen in public with small children, thinking herself too young to be seen as a mother. She was a romantic girl who longed for a fuller life. Eventually she re-married and took her husband's name - de bough Perceval PHOTOGRAPHS B/W of young John Perceval in a suit, with his mother and others at a night club. PAINTINGS. Of the time and place. FARM SCENES ACTOR NARRATION: ELDER WOMAN In contrast, his father, Bob South was reserved, almost silent; a very capable farmer whose hard work was greatly respected in the district. He was physically strong, handsome, quick tempered. The marriage was bound to fail. Dorothy ran off when Linwood was eighteen months old and his sister Betty, three. The train which carried Dorothy off to work at Bone's store in Perth and to enrol at University appears in many

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 8

paintings. Grandmother, Alice Dolton is also seen in numerous works. INT: STUDIO: PHOTOGRAPHS B/W of the people, locations and detail above. PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS APPROPRIATE. MURRUMBEENA RAILWAY STATION, 1946 ACTOR MAN VO: The little boy was usually called Lyn, shortened from Linwood. His mother referred to him as Heck, a nickname given by his uncle and which the boy rejected. When he was old enough to meet other children at the little bush school at Korbel, he rejected the name Lyn and called himself John. The rejection of a name has powerful implications and the vulnerability and anger expressed by the rejection were major factors in the creation of an emotively charged personal symbolism. The separation of self and name worked on him to create the haunting imagery of the floating mask paintings of 1943. SCENE 7 INT: STUDIO: BRIEF PAINTING MONTAGE: FLOATING MASK PAINTINGS OF 1943, and CERAMIC ANGEL: ANGEL, 1958 and A DELINQUENT, 1961. INT: STUDIO: PHOTOGRAPHS B/W of the people, locations and detail above. PERCEVAL: 1995 TO CAMERA. I do not hold any particular attitude to my work or to art in general. I chose, ........early, ..... not to work from any aesthetic theory or concept, but prefer the results to be driven by the work in progress. The concept is part of the work itself. INT: STUDIO: LANDSCAPE PAINTINGS FILMIC MONTAGE: THE GORGE, 1959; PAINTING IN THE RAIN, 1966; GRANDMOTHER IN THE GLADE, 1959, THE CORNFIELD, 1959; THE CORNFIELD, 1969, YELLOW PAINTED SHIP AT WILLIAMSTOWN, 1967; MR ANSETT RETURNING HOME FROM WORK, 1965. PERCEVAL V/O with supers Of course a landscape can remain a landscape, a grandmother minding a child can still be just that, even when the metamorphosis the painting has gone through, makes this not immediately apparent. Sometimes critics have wrongly seen my work as action painting; but at all times my work is primarily a response to the subject, to light and trees, air, ......people. Whatever success it may

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 9

achieve is due to a desire to equate the vitality, the pulse of life in nature and the world around us. Mother wanted me to be an artist right from the jump'. INT: STUDIO: DRAWINGS/PAINTINGS/CERAMIC PIECES - FILMIC MONTAGE: CHOOKS THEME. SOUND: Clucking, chook yard. Ceramic plate: c. 1951. Detail of CHRISTMAS EVE 1947: His mother, sister and John - with grimace, facing the chook killing chores. PERCEVAL: 1995 TO CAMERA. The landscape at Illamurta, my father's farm, ....had an affect on me. The horizon was forever out there, low down, very boring, nothing there. It was overpowering, the child in me turned to the world close up, the thickets, the insects, things on the ground. NARRATION At Illamurta the effects of the Great Depression were hard felt. The train taking the wheat to market could be seen from the little bush school at Korbel. It bore the hopes of a good wheat crop and the fears of a poor one. The train became part of the personal imagery of his paintings. ARCHIVAL B/W FILM OF STEAM DRIVEN WEST AUSTRALIAN PASSENGER TRAIN - rushing past camera. The whistle and its noise fade into: INT: STUDIO: PAINTINGS: BABY AND PRAM ON RAILWAY STATION 1943. Chooks in cage alongside pram. DETAIL: MURRUMBEENA RAILWAY STATION, 1946.


OPENING SEQUENCE OF SECOND STORY: Drive-by track, intercut with John Perceval as passenger, palm trees glide past the windscreen and another window is evident in the rear vision mirror. FADE UP STORY TITLE:

friends SUPER 8 B & W FILM of beach, looks like archival film of boys playing in the sun on a beach. NEWSPAPER ARTICLE. Boy Paints Like Genius.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 10


At fourteen years he caught polio from another boy while playing in the sun on a beach. In hospital the disease focused the young artist in his escape from pain. His mother set him studying French Impressionism while her friends gave him paints and bourgeois encouragement. For life, the poliomyelitis forced crutches on him while his speech refused clarity. Friends like Mirka Mora, Ken McGregor, David Larwill, Rob Gould speak for John, clarifying his power in both its negative and positive forms.




Super: Rob Gould - Gallery Director. GOULD: He doesn't want to grow up, he hasn't grown up, he's fought it all of his life and that's part of his charm and it also comes through with the whole colour key of his work he always refers to his own childhood, on the wheat fields in Bruce Rock in WA, an area of isolation, the golden colour of the wheat is predominant in most of his works, with the exception of the sea pictures, you'll find this golden haze with the wheat fields always revisiting his paintings. BLACKALL: And there's Van Goph there too. GOULD: Oh idols, yes, with Van Gogh, he'd be the first to talk proudly of how the first piece of information that hit the press that this child (Perceval) painted like a master, he was copying Van Gogh sunflowers, he grows sunflowers outside of his windows at the studio, he loves them and people will call upon the parallels that Van Gogh had psychiatric problems and John has had them as well. I don't think that's the real nature of the parallel, but some people look at it that way. MATURE WOMAN ACTOR NARRATION: His hospital bed with polio is the scene for a year which saw a growing commitment to painting and drawing. T.S. Eliot and others have written of the strengthening of the creative personality by a long period of illness in childhood and adolescence. .........Later, he went to Stonnington, a rehabilitation centre. Zelie Pimlott, a journalist and

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 11

friend of the artist Noel volunteer visitor SCENE 10 -



MORE HOSPITAL DRAWINGS. ACTOR. JOURNALIST (Zelie Pimlott). SOUND TRACK: her walking feet on hardwood, echo in children's hospital. HER V/O: I met him first when, walking among the beds spread out on the wide verandahs of the erstwhile Government House, I noticed a reproduction of a van Gogh painting, postcard size, pinned up beside his bed. Other boys had photographs of footballers . . . But John had a van Gogh, so I stopped to talk to him. I found he had an amazing knowledge of European painters from Remrandt to Picasso, and had too, a healthy appreciation of all that was modern and progressive. Even the work of the Mexican Diego Rivera . . . so little known in Australia, was appreciated by this young man. And when I saw a . . . sketch of one of his ward-mates and then some paintings in oils I realised that here indeed was somebody with talent oozing out of them. VOICE AND SUBTITLES - JOHN PERCEVAL I hated hospital, but what could you do? So drawing, sketching was where I went, it was escape from pain, I imagine morphine to be. Drawing was the reward, I found that I had this great gift - I couldn't get enough of it.

STUDIO OBJECT: INT. NEWSPAPER ARTICLE. HEADLINE: "Paralysed Boy of 15 Paints Like a Master". Perceval's Self-Portrait. (in hospital) - published next to the article by F.L. Pimlott. Newsprint in super close up of text, headlines, photographs, drawings and captions. INTERVIEW. VO. MCGREGOR. Children often express their traumas in painting. Unfortunately adults overlook the revealing content of children's art. Apparently, Picasso didn't have the opportunity to express himself spontaneously as a child; he said that he always painted grown-up pictures, and it took forty years before he was able to paint like a child, letting his unconscious speak. John has always said that he has fought adulthood. And like John, one can, if one must, simplistically see Picasso's twisted, distorted female nudes being done by the artist at ninety because of his preoccupation with sex. It might be more accurate to say that both great painters had traumas that related to their mothers and family. Picasso as a three-

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 12

year-old boy who, in the midst of all the horror and turmoil of a serious earthquake and the family's flight, was also witness to his sister's birth in the open away from falling buildings. John was traumatized by chooks losing their heads, by isolation, family breakdown, boarding school and finally polio. SCENE 11 COLOUR FILM: DAY: EXT: 1995 MELBOURNE STREETS - detail of pavements, pedestrians, trams, brickwork, swirling wrought iron street lamps, elegance, art galleries. Street sounds. Gaggle of news reporters, cameras, microphones gather outside the Old State theater Melbourne. Cut to walking giant robot sculpture. SOMEONE SAYS: You getting impatient waiting for 'special k'? The robots snap to attention Cut to PAUL KEATING. INT. Super: Paul Keating 'special k'. Australian Council Awards. 1995. KEATING: I think we all know that creativity is good for people, its also good for the country, essentially for this sort of country in the modern world. CUT TO EXIT SIGN. THEN TO JANE KENNEDY. Super: Jane Kennedy. Actor. Australian Council Emeritus Awards. 1995. The second recipient of the visual Arts Crafts Emeritus Medal, is John Perceval. (applause she looks to her right) CUT TO BLACK AND WHITE SUPER 8 FILM. Perceval in hat and glasses, he is wheeled in a track passed cascading water (as the applause holds) CUT TO BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPH. HIS MOTHER, camera tilts downwards to small boy standing in front. CAMERA TRACK along a wheat fields painting. Kennedy (stage left). Born in Western Australia in 1923, he left Art School after a few weeks of training, his spontaneous style is evident in his work throughout the decades, from his vibrant, carnivalesque paintings of the early 1940s........... STUDIO OBJECT. INT. PAINTINGS. CUT TO APPROPRIATE SCULPTURE AND PAINTING EXAMPLES. CUT TO - PERCEVAL. Receiving award from politician, stage right. McGregor stands behind wheel chair.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 13 his child like scenes of bush land, cows at pasture, water bobbing with tugs and ferries and his bright and mischievous ceramic angels. CUT TO MCU. KENNEDY. He has a large following and an international reputation, in 1992 a major retrospective of his work was curated by the National Gallery of Victoria and just recently his work was featured in Australia's Delinquent Angel exhibition in Italy. CUT TO MCU PERCEVAL. INT. B & W SUPER 8. Camera tilt; poster for Australia's Delinquent Angel Exhibition in Italy, down to cheeky MCU of Perceval. CUT TO MCU. KENNEDY. A well deserving winner. Congratulations John. (applause). SCENE 12. EXT. COLOUR. ROB GOULD GALLERY. From the other side of the street. Perceval's work through the window. ROB GOULD - GALLERY DIRECTOR. INTERVIEW IN FRONT OF SUNFLOWERS PAINTING. The artist is well aware of the powers of language. All the time I have known him he has used language for his own poetic purposes, often dialectically, often for the pleasure of seeing a fact take a fall, often to protect his mystery from the clod hopping of art detection. 'Facts' are not simple for Perceval, nothing is, he and his art resist factual analysis. STUDIO OBJECT. COLOUR. ROZ PORTRAIT. A REOCCURRING VISUAL THEME. (Red, vibrant, sensual.) SCENE 13. INTERVIEW; DAVID BOYD - PAINTER AND FORMER BROTHER IN LAW.

Camera approaches him as does interviewer (Blackall the filmmaker). BLACKALL: Are you up to it now? BOYD: Up to what? Super. David Boyd - Artist and Brother in Law. BLACKALL: Having a quick talk about John.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 14

CUTAWAY: ROZ PORTRAIT. DETAIL. BOYD: I met john in 1942 or late 41. When Guy, my brother Guy, brought him (Perceval) back from the cartographic company where guy had enlisted in the military. John was in the army then. Everyone was enchanted, he was a vital person, and I walked he and his girlfriend back to the station after they'd been there, and John dismissed his girlfriend, and said, I'm sorry her name happened to be Mary by the way, he said he'd fallen in love with Mary Boyd, who was a young slip of a girl, I'm getting myself discharged from the army.......... CAMERA TRACK ALONG ARMY ARCHIVE LETTERS AND DISCHARGE DOCUMENTS. .......and I'm going to live with the Boyds at Murrumbeena. And I said how nice. CUTAWAY TO PAINTING. At exhibition near where Boyd stands. He invited himself, in that sense, he stayed then, arghrr, well he was still there when I went to England, he was there when I got back. INTERVIEW. PERCEVAL. INT. STUDIO BEDSIT. We all were painting individually, first when we were young, when we were all joined together. You know, the Angry Penguin group, um, .......huegh, huegh, ..ugh, some of them have been very successful too. INTERVIEW; DAVID BOYD - ARTIST AND FORMER BROTHER IN LAW. John became deeply involved in the whole (Boyd family) process, but I think what had happened really, was that he had, (to the camera) oh that's the machine, video there of course (mutters), what, you see the thing about it is that he hadn't had a much of a childhood family life, this hurt him deep, when I say that, I mean him sent off to boarding school as a child, at least a young boy, and then he contracted polio in 1938 it would have been. SCENE 15. A STUDIO OBJECT PAINTING - HORNBLOWER AT NIGHT. NARRATION: Paintings like Hornblower at Night show the densely matted surface of black, pushing the forms into a compressed space.


Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 15

They're not all like this, his portraits and particularly his paintings of women friends show a sensitivity and tenderness to the human subject. SCENE 16. PAINTING: INT. STUDIO OBJECTS DORIS BOYD c 1948 (portrait). NATIVITY No 2, 1948. OLD LADY SELLING WINDMILLS AT A FAIR No 2 1943. INTERVIEW: ROB GOULD. From the late forties, his religious themes included Australian versions of village life teeming with peasant activity. The rhythms and rituals of life are rendered with an extraordinary richness on all surfaces.

SCENE 17 -

JOHN PERCEVAL (1995) TO CAMERA: Children are the real world. I have fought adulthood all my life

SCENE 18 -

ROB GOULD Woman Chastising Child in a Carlton Street is a work that Perceval has worked at flattening the otherwise upward running gradient. He uses this in other works like Boy Crying in a Carlton Street or in later paintings which seem to have creeks running uphill in a manner similar to the method used by Cezanne. The child paintings are directly autobiographical and are the freeze frames of incidents from his childhood. He recalls those moments with dramatic intensity.

SCENE 19 -

JOHN PERCEVAL (1995) TO CAMERA. I am not a conceptual artist of the kind that knows what the end result will be. The model is merely a stimulus as a drawing may be for a painting. I often do drawings stimulated by a painting. I am concerned to say something about the vitality and pulse of life in people.


Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 16

SCENE 20 Montage which fits around SURVIVAL 1944 AND EXODUS FROM A BOMBED CITY 1942. Ravages of modern war SOUNDTRACK. NARRATION: Perceval's work shows an extreme sensitivity to war time life. His art of this time explodes as if breaking out of a sealed and claustrophobic space of isolation and youth. There is no permanence of things - an image flares up momentarily before dissolving into the night. War created its own madness and people felt reckless. Perceval painted Soldiers at Luna Park (1944) and Soul Singer at Luna Park (1942) at this time. PAINTINGS: SOLDIERS AT LUNA PARK (1944) AND SOUL SINGER AT LUNA PARK (1942). SUPER 8 FILM OF LUNA PARK AND RIDES ETC. carnival atmosphere. SCENE 21 DRAWINGS BY PERCEVAL. Sketch notes of: BLACKOUT TRAIN and THE TRAIN 1943. (Precede the paintings: Blackout Train And The Train 1943.) FASCIST, 1942, AND MAN ON CRUTCHES 1942. DRAWING: CU: DETAIL: INT: STUDIO. LAND OWNER WATCHING THE SHEARER AT WORK. SOUL SINGER AT LUNA PARK 1942. and SURVIVAL, then to PERFORMING DOGS SCENE 22 - STUDIO OBJECTS PHOTOGRAPHS OF SCENES IN PAINTINGS: INT THE POTTER AT HIS WHEEL, 1947. POTTER'S WHEEL: INT SCU. CERAMIC PIECES, THROWN. TEAPOTS, BOWLS, CUPS, PLATES, JUGS. ACTOR I'm Max Harris. The painter I think I loved the best was John Perceval. He was young amongst us old young people. He lived always being touched by a palpable pain which was partnered by a seethe of anger. With a deformed leg from polio, supported by irons, he was not a Byronic
Delinquent Angel, proposal and script. page 17

figure. Rather one felt he felt himself to be an inside outsider. Yet there was a rich store of love in him. Confused he may have been. Prickly he was. Tenderness kept battling with rage, and I loved him for the way he fought the losing fight with a sort of lonely courage. In my view he painted the first unequivocal masterpiece of Australian Modernism, Boy with cat. Here was a painting which anticipated Francis Bacon, but which excelled Bacon's later work in the control of intolerable tensions. It has associations with the fashionable Scream, which Perceval had never seen, but the scream in Perceval's painting is a silence. SCENE 23 PAINTING: STUDIO OBJECT: INT. BOY WITH CAT I PERCEVAL. INTERVIEW, INT. Studio bedsit It was done in 1943, I don't know, as far as I know, I think it was done in Osmond St, when I was in the hairdresser, .... not a hairdresser, uhm, a window dresser. I did two you see, I did that one first, my mother said, now you'd better do another one, so I did another one very quickie and that's in the (Australian) National Gallery, John Reid put it there. PAINTING: STUDIO OBJECT: INT. BOY WITH CAT I PERCEVAL: Its probably more significant in that its more seen than most. Its more talked about. PAINTING: STUDIO OBJECT: INT. BOY WITH CAT I PERCEVAL: I love it, ........ now,....... eughm, euaghm, (mumbles disgruntled) (to camera), ...... cut again. PAINTINGS: STUDIO OBJECTS: INT - CUPOLA WITH BRIDGE and BOATS WITH MOON - evoking the lyrical beauty of the city under a crescent moon. In Flinders Street at Night two women, one naked, dance under a full moon. INTERCUT NIGHT FOOTAGE ON DIGITAL B'CAM PERCEVAL: We really taught ourselves how to do pottery, .... its true that,..... well Arthur (Boyd) had some experience, he um, had worked with that style before. Arthur was the

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 18

one that really taught us (younger ones), and then we later taught him. We lived such an isolated life, the War (WW II) didn't mean much to us. Then I remember the first atom bomb went off and we were suddenly surprised. SCENE 24. INTERVIEW; DAVID BOYD - PAINTER AND FORMER BROTHER IN LAW. Super: David Boyd - Artist and former Brother in Law. But he had these argh, paintings, argh, when I came into the room (of a friend Carl), I thought it looked very much like a Modigliani, and the Van Gogh Sunflowers painting, it was so superbly painted, I said my God where did you pinch these, where did you get hold of these, and argh, Carl (friend) told me they were painted by a young fellow............. CUTAWAY: INTERVIEW MODIGLIANI PAINTING COPY. PERCEVAL: Modigliani COPY SEQUENCE IN BEDSIT STUDIO WITH PAINTING That's a copy. BLACKALL: Was Modigliani a big influence on you? PERCEVAL: He's just one of my real loves that's all BLACKALL: What other French painters? There been any particular loves. PERCEVAL: All of them really.


INTERVIEW; DAVID BOYD. INT. EXHIBITION. He'd learnt to paint, he'd been given a paint box, apparently, with paints in it, when he was in the hospital as a young boy of 15 or so with polio. And he'd taught himself to paint, when I say taught himself he argh, been encouraged, but all he had were these reproductions of, or presumably of Modiglianis and Van Gophs and so on, so he just copied them. He did superb paintings, he was a natural born painter. And of course, well one thing led to another and I suppose eventually, he and Mary got married and they had offspring and his offspring are now painters and John himself, as you can see by that painting, we just looked at, he's still, ....still at

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 19

it. In other words the creative spark still hasn't been put out.

DISSOLVE TO: PAINTINGS - WILLIAMSTOWN PAINTING - MARY PLACE EXHIBITION (" you can see by that painting") CHRISTMAS EVE, 1948 CHILDREN AT ASPENDALE, 1955; THE RED ROAD, 1972. NARRATION. Tender also is the way he painted portraits, especially those with women subjects. SEQUENCE: BEDSIT STUDIO & PORTRAIT. PERCEVAL: This was done in the National Gallery Art School. I went there for six months, because I got six pounds a week. SCENE 26 INTERVIEW: INT: KEN MCGREGOR DISCUSSES ON SCREEN MATERIAL. - of John painting the Roz work. Camera pans from screen to McGregor, starts on screen, Perceval painting Roz. MCGREGOR I find John's portraits fascinating, because augh, he puts his warped sense of humour into the portrait. BLACKALL This footage taken soon after he came out of hospital. MCGREGOR Yeah when John first came out of hospital, he couldn't wait to get back painting, he um, wanted to set the canvas up straight away and started working, ...which was a good sign. You see he's going and getting the paints he wants, and he's painting straight out of the tube and then if he wants a particular paint mixed up or a colour mixed up we'll mix it up with some varnish for him and ar, he'll work the brush into it and use it. ON SCREEN MATERIAL. - of John painting the Roz work, McGregor assists, moves the easel. MCGREGOR This is what we basically do, we set the canvas up for him, mix the paints, to make it a bit easier for him. BLACKALL Is that model anyone in particular?

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 20

MCGREGOR That's a portrait of Roz a girl that John met, and looked after him when he was in the hostel. BLACKALL Was she a nurse? MCGREGOR She wasn't actually a nurse, she just helped out at the place where John used to live. And argh, he got quite fond of her for her strong characteristics, red hair and eurgh, facial features, thought it would be nice to do a portrait of her. ON SCREEN MATERIAL. - of John painting the Train work. BLACKALL Why is his head shaved? MCGREGOR John's only been out of hospital for about two weeks I'd say, after having an operation for a blood clot on the brain which was caused by having a bad fall several weeks earlier. He's such a strong person, in mind and physically, - he couldn't get out of hospital quick enough. About a day after the operation he wanted to get out and start work again. I think while he's lying in bed in hospital he gets allot of ideas coming to his head, allot of inspiration to put down on canvas. CAMERA PANS from screen, past a Larwill painting to Mcgregor who keeps talking while watching the TV screen. MCGREGOR .....or pick up a pencil and draw straight away, he's quite a compulsive drawer, he usually tries to do a drawing each day if he can, from these drawings he'll umm, use them for studies for paintings or he'll base the drawings for doing some pastels or water colours. CAMERA PANS from McGregor, past the Larwill painting back to the TV wide screen where Perceval works. INTERVIEW. INT. MCU. ROB GOULD. In front of Sunflowers painting. Some people may say; oh look how easy that flowing line is, but its taken 50 years to get to the point where you can make a simple flowing line. Its not something that come within two seconds flat, so he's carrying 50 years of experience with him even if its not a matter of saying I'm spending weeks or months doing this simple

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 21

thing, it happens to come because he's had it within him. ON SCREEN MATERIAL. - John painting detail of the Train work. Camera (on screen) shakily and slowly zooms out. BLACKALL Did you use a High 8 video camera for this Ken? MCGREGOR Yeah, I'm not a great video person (humble laugh), but it is a video camera. It worked out quite well, its one of the rare occasions over the last 15 years I've probably taken 4 still photos of John working, he lives and works like a recluse, he doesn't like art dealers or media people or anybody coming to the studio while he's working. Its quite a privilege to be able to work with him but he's never let anyone take photos of it so once he realised that it was quite important to document him to make this film he argh, went straight out and bought a video camera, I took a couple of fast lessons in learning how to use it and he let us film for the first time so its, what you're seeing has never really been seen before. ON SCREEN MATERIAL Ken's video of Perceval talking and working with David Larwill who is in fact starting his first portrait of Perceval. Ken's children in shot at times. MCGREGOR Its very good to see John Perceval talking and working with David Larwill because its a younger generation of artists who've looked up to these older statesmen artists and they've admired them, they've seen their work and its one way of Perceval putting back something into the art scene by helping these younger artists. SCENE 27 LARWILL PORTRAIT SEQUENCE. INT. STUDIO

LARWILL PAINTING THE EARLY STAGES OF A PORTRAIT OF PERCEVAL. John Perceval is heard grunting his songlines off camera while Larwill works on his portrait. POV from behind the canvas, Perceval can be seen with patience running out as he sits with a drink nearby, a painting of his behind him shows himself as a child with his mother. Wheat field hues. He listens to Larwill.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 22

LARWILL: Yesterday at the beach John, a child of 5 came up to Tanya (Larwill's friend) with his finger like this, he goes smell this, she went, (smell sound), it smelt like shit, he'd had it up his bum and he was just playing a trick on her, (laughs) little bastard. I remember that little drawing of yours, lighting the farts, that's a beaudy. PERCEVAL: Grunts Perceval looks unamused and drums his fingers on the table nearby. Cut to the Fart Drawing. Cut back to Larwill's hand and brush painting. LARWILL: Its a good strand of hair there. Cut back to Perceval POV from the Wheat fields painting. He gets out a box of tissues and reefs out a wad of them in his style and blows his nose, whipes his face etc. PERCEVAL: (addresses the camera) David, could you get a shot of my rusty ship (drawing). Cut to the rusty ship drawing, Larwill seen nearby, in shot. Then another POV around the work in progress in the studio location. LARWILL: (sits down to discuss the process) What I'm really just doing here is making little hooks to remind me of things for when I get it back to the studio. Cut to the portrait to illustrate Larwill's discussion. Cut to MCU Perceval - looks just like the portrait in process. Cut to portrait. LARWILL: You pick up little idiosyncrasies BLACKALL: So you work on it and you layer and layer it ON SCREEN MATERIAL SHOT BY MCGREGOR. MS. INT. Larwill works on an earlier Perceval portrait. MCGREGOR: Larwill's got an interesting technique, he actually layers his paints onto the canvas, he might put 20 or 30 layers all over the canvas, 1 after the other, he calls it his opalling technique where he lets background colours bleed through to the surface. He'll work a painting around and apply the paint until he comes up with an image that suits him and sometimes even though he's looking for an

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 23

image, it might not come until he keeps applying the paint. He'll let this dry 'til he gets it to a certain stage that he's happy with and then he'll paint over the whole thing until he gets the right image to come through. SCENE 28 DRIVE BY. POV INSIDE CAR, BEHIND PERCEVAL. St Kilda street scape, palms and Turkish baths, slip past his window. PERCEVAL: (after a long pause) Dave you agree with me. BLACKALL: Yes? What's that last point you made? PERCEVAL: I can't remember (followed by a long pause). SCENE 29 PRE-EXHIBITION SEQUENCE. INT. PERCEVAL'S LIVE IN STUDIO. McGregor and Perceval. Opening shot - news paper article on Perceval's forthcoming exhibition, by Peter Wilmoth - The Age. Perceval reads and surveys the wild photograph of him that the paper published. He grunts and has an asthma vapouriser that he applies. McGregor can be heard off camera giving him instructions. MCGREGOR: When you push it down, go oousff, and take a really deep breath when you push it down. PERCEVAL: (disinterested) oousff, hummn, yeah that's not bad. MCGREGOR: That better? PERCEVAL: (disinterested) hummn MCGREGOR: That'll help your asthma a bit anyway. PERCEVAL: The Age is into Communism these days isn't it? MCGREGOR: Did you enjoy yesterday? PERCEVAL: (disinterested) oh yeah. (he reads the Age article on himself. "He's had two brain haemorrhages. They opened him up and timed it. He loved the idea of having half his head shaved." (He continues to read.) Did you see Kennett (the State Premier) last night in his election speech? MCGREGOR: Yes I did? PERCEVAL: Lying buggar isn't he. (He tears out the article on himself.) PERCEVAL: All lies, Jesus. MCGREGOR: I think all politicians are the same. PERCEVAL: I think so yeah. (He clumsily uses scissors to cut out the article on himself.)

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 24

MCGREGOR: Everyone was pleased that we're going overseas. ..........One of the girls there said you're very lucky to be going to China to see the Great Wall. PERCEVAL: Oh bullshit, the Great Wall doesn't interest me in the slightest. Vision sequence of John painting and grunting to produce the work; Asian Girl With Little Boy (himself). MCGREGOR: Although he lives like a recluse and he shuns publicity, I mean he hates doing interviews, he hates journalists coming & asking questions about his personal life, he doesn't mind answering questions about his particular paintings although he'd much rather a journalist go to the gallery, or go to an exhibition of his and look at the paintings and write about the paintings rather than write about John Perceval the person because he is a recluse and he treats his personal life as virtually no body else's business. SCENE 30 FRONT UP EXHIBITION SEQUENCE. EXT TILT UP: STH MELBOURNE. GOULD GALLERIES. POV from the street, tilt up - exhibition notice in the window: John Perceval 1990-1995, 20 March 21 April 1996. Cut to: INT: GALLERY. ICE BEING SERVED INTO GLASSES. INTERVIEW ROB GOULD V/O. I've sat back and tried to analyse what goes on in this business, you just can't tell from one day to the next if its going to be a crowded opening or not a crowded opening it really doesn't have the effect as it happens we've sold 4 paintings in the last couple of days leading into the exhibition. INT: GALLERY. PERCEVAL SIGNS AUTOGRAPHS. INT: GALLERY. GOULD & YOUNG WOMAN WITH AUTOGRAPH. ROB GOULD V/O. The selling side is one side of it, the other part of it is the sheer pleasure and joy one gets in handling an artist of his stature. INT: GALLERY. PAINTINGS AT THE EXHIBITION, PEOPLE DOING THE GALLERY THING, WINE Corks pop. Perceval signs autographs and people try to look like they understand what he's saying to them. Overlay relevant paintings. BUYER: His work is so vibrant, so lively and the colour is really quite stunning I think. Its something that we will enjoy, in fact I said to my husband we really feel, we now live in an old house, we'll have to have a lovely new modern house to go with it.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 25

BLACKALL: To go with the painting? Why did you like and why did you buy the particular one you chose? BUYER: Well I said to my daughter this morning, I said what to you think, because obviously a painting will eventually be hers and I like the Van Gogh style Sunflowers and I love the boats and when I came tonight they were all sold and I was here at six o'clock, and she had said to me, I just love the scarecrow, and when I saw it, when I saw it in the catalogue, well it was nice but I didn't think it was as nice as that. When I saw it in reality, I thought this is wonderful, it has such a wonderfully mischievous look on its face. Cut to John with usual mischievous look on his face Cut to John working with pencil and acrylic paint on nudes. ADRIAN RAWLINGS: There was a lull when John was ill and in about 1987 he started to develop, and the paintings had a certain tentative quality, but they have gained enormously in confidence, but also in youth (as he looks around the exhibition), vibrancy - these colours are very much the colours of an extremely youthful sensibility and he's taking risks quite obviously, but ugh, if you look at the incidental painting in most paintings, there's allot of randomness, there's allot of play, for his own enjoyment and that sort of paint on a canvas or on a board is always fascinating to the viewer, because in a different context you're going to notice a different aspect of the paint. Cut to John signing autographs, people thank him. ADRIAN RAWLINGS: He understands how by using a bit of purple, a bit of brown and allot of blue, you the viewer are going to see black, but a living black, because it has that variation. FRAMER: I took a long time to grow on Perceval but I really like it now and there's probably some that if I could afford them I'd probably buy them. BLACKALL: If only you could afford them. How many exhibitions have you been to over time?

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 26

FRAMER: Ah we handle allot of Perceval through work so I've seen them through work, this is actually the first Perceval exhibition that I've been to. BLACKALL: do you mean? FRAMER: What's your work, what

Ah.... picture framing.

BLACKALL: Oh so you've framed all of these, your business has framed these? FRAMER: Yes.

BLACKALL: So you've actually handled these works. And do they look different here, do they give you another sense of completion? FRAMER: stunning. Yeah they certainly do, they look

Cut back to a grunting Perceval, alone and working in the studio on a nude. ADRIAN RAWLINGS: He's lost something, if you have a look at that Williamstown painting from the earlier period (1959), there's a greater sense of reality, he's not rendering, he's not being representational but there is somehow a sense of he's giving us what's really there, here I think we are getting impressions in the way that w are very used to. You see this is actually more impressionistic, but this form of impressionism which has now become almost a clich, simply because Renoir and allot of those people are now common post card - post affair; but somehow there's another element, there's another painting right down the back, a sort of night painting, not the boat the other one with the, its sort of like a harbour painting with the fisherman; you see that is really very rich, it is absolutely quite wonderful, there's allot of psychology there and allot of purely abstract "formology?" that really works tremendously. Cut to Perceval working alone in studio with "allot of psychology there and allot of purely abstract "formology?"." The psychology that I'm talking about is endemic in all painting, you can't look at ugh,

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 27

well I mean some people can, they say oh my 4 year old could do better than that; ...but they're wrong. Atmos: See you John. (Gould in B'grnd) Bye John. Perceval being wheeled out by McGregor - his grand exit with a "flamboyant" swirled wave of the hand, he is pursued by a woman his age who stops the procession to give him a kiss. Cut to that woman (framer) in red coat: A most handsome young man. Cut to an early Black and White photograph of the same. Others bid farewell. Gould sees him to the door it closes slowly after he is wheeled out. A tram rambles past in the background, the scene is again lonely. Cut to cold shot of the moon. INTERVIEW: ROB GOULD - GALLERY OWNER: INT. MCU. WHEAT FIELDS PAINTING IN B'GROUND. Its been a terrific response we've sold a third of the exhibition, um, I told you yesterday about my grey hair, that comes from the nervous tension of waiting for the opening and the responses being felt, and I think the response is universally been excited and thrilled, and seeing how coherent the whole exhibition, in terms of the works being completed pictures in a way that aghr, some people were surprised and they've looked at them and said oh; the master's back. Its been wonderful, rewarding in the sense of not just the sales but the response that people have made. Cut to paintings in exhibition. Pans, Whole Painting and detail. GOULD: I don't think there are many people who get their AOs (Order of Australia) or Emeritus awards who display them as openly and as happily as John and he's someone who's had it tough as everybody realises through different areas and he cherishes the appreciation that is lauded upon him, not in huge amounts or on many occasions but they're heart felt and that's part of his charm as well. Cutaways of paintings at the exhibition. Pans, detail and whole.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 28


SCENE 31 -

EXT TWO SHOT - John Perceval (1995) and Mirka Mora sitting alongside each other in a plush lounge room - both looking outwards and remaining silent. VOICE. MIRKA MORA. (Subtitled) You know what I remember john at number nine Collins St? One day when you were very wild, and you chewed your cups, you remember that? You chewed your cups? Yeah terrible, you broke a tooth I think. That's the way to do it, you should Eat your work, laughs, (The camera tracks to Perceval from Mora). I hope you didn't eat all you're paintings (their voices are sometimes deliberately disembodied).


ADRIAN RAWLINGS. AT THE GOULD EXHIBITION. INT. CU. When Australian galleries exhibited John's drawings from the forties, they had never been publicly exhibited before, now if they had been shown then in the forties, people would have said oh look the bugger can't draw. But in 1987 one can see these drawings as aesthetically as valid as Picasso or Brach, or any of the great drawers of this century, the drawings were so beautiful and so fresh and so remarkably original, but they couldn't be shown in the forties because people were unable to see them. Now this is what we are talking about the psychology of art, and the communicability and the showing of the real art image. Quite recently I organised the showing of the film the Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith. and err, Tommy, who played Jimmy Blacksmith was there, he's a friend of mine and eurr, we saw it, we'd all seen it before, mainly older people from film societies, but the thing that had happened between 1978 and 1996 was that we'd learnt something about Korri Culture and we could see how beautifully that film of Fred Schepsi's had incorporated the elements of Korri culture, so our ability to see had increased because of what we had learnt and the experiences that had happened over all those years, its the same with art, the artist doesn't

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 29

really think about it or plan it, they just, you know the antenna is unfortunately the only metaphor. You pick stuff up and you come back to it years later and say by God that's what its all about. And I think the paintings he was doing in the forties and fifties and sixties and in these paintings since 1988, you know you can just see universes. SCENE 33 start middle story. TRACK, CLOSE UP from Mirka Mora to John Perceval. SUPER TITLE IN: Travel. FILMMAKERS NARRATION. In the hope of inspiration for painting, we took him on a pilgrimage to the Great Wall of China and then to Wales where he would reunite with dear children of the juggernaut artist family, into which he married in the wartime 1940s. Travel provided me with filming opportunities and a bonus of seeing my son, John's grandson, for the first time since he was a baby. STUDIO OBJECTS. FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS. INT. MARLOW CENTRES ATTENTION. SCENE 34 ATLAS TRAVEL SERVICE: INT: HAND HELD CAMERA. Amit Holckner and Ken McGregor. Amit: We're going Tuesday the 30th July, Melbourne to Sydney departing at 19.45 getting in at 21.05 and then we connect with Sydney Beijing. SCENE 35 PERCEVAL/MORA TRACKING SEQUENCE MORA. Subtitled. John Reed always talked to me about Sam Atyeo so he must have been the Father, the Granpa (laughs nervously), but Sunday (Reed) loved Sam Atyeo too. Well Sunday and Cynthia always loved the same men. (Laughs nervously). (Camera in panning, has rested on John as he contemplates what she has said. He grunts something in agreement, she seems to understand.).

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 30

Why are you thinking of Sam Atyeo John? SCENE 36 TRAVEL AGENT: INT: HAND HELD CAMERA. Amit and Ken McGregor. Amit: 13th of August we've got a flight from London to Capetown, its BA 59 13 August leaving at 6.10 pm getting in the next day. Ken McGregor. Camera pans from Amit to Ken) He might do one painting a week. And then he'll work for 5 weeks solid and get 5 paintings out and then he'll stop for six months cause he's either had enough painting or he's lost the inspiration. Jump cut Ken McGregor. Do you find it hard to talk with this thing shoved in your ear? AMIT: Yes its a pain in the arse actually. SCENE 38 PERCEVAL/MORA TRACKING PAN. INT. MORA: John and Sunday came to see you when you were in hospital...............remember? (camera tracks from one to the other)........ (Perceval mutters something) ....... They said you had a sore bottom. Do you remember having a sore bottom (she laughs). STUDIO OBJECTS. NEWSPAPER ARTICLES. HOSPITAL. PHOTO. CLOSE UP TRACKING SHOTS OF HEADLINES. PAINTINGS: STUDIO OBJECTS. INT: PATIENT SERIES: THE PATIENT, MAN WITH MICE, WHITE RHINO WITH HORNS AND MAN WITH BUTTERFLY, DATED AROUND 1981; SCENE 39 EXT - DRAMATISED SEQUENCE 6. An exquisite white rhinoceros with horns. Dream like, mist filled landscape. Relief through the animal's beauty. PAINTINGS: FROM PERCEVAL'S PATIENT WHITE RHINO WITH HORNS.
Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.


page 31

LARWIL Past Laurundal on the way to Preston TAFE, felt sorry for john. SCENE 40 EXT - ENVIRONMENT - SUBURBAN ROOFS AT NIGHT.

SCENE 41 -

EXT - DRIVE BY - ENVIRONMENT John Perceval (1995) and Ken MacGregor sitting alongside each other in the car. PERCEVAL Seen David Larwill lately Ken? MCGREGOR I saw him last week, yeah. He's working on your portrait furiously. PERCEVAL. (Impatiently) Still? MCGREGOR Yep, he's doing two of them, he said that they coming out very well. are

SCENE 42 - EXT - PARK INTERVIEW: Painter David Larwill. Perceval portrait nearby as its progress is discussed. LARWILL Well I 'spose I have to make the background a little more interesting, and the head, I have to get it so that its got Johnny's essence, it's not really him yet, it could be any old bearded fella. I really defined the head a bit and the brushes and put another wash over. It was white underneath and I put a sort of sepia wash over it so it bring out the brush marks. SCENE 50 INT - SHOPPING CENTRE - Ken McGregor shopping for Perceval. Dates, tomatoes, Supermarket Musac in the b'grnd. He holds up cans of Tuna and says with demented tones "Chunky Tuna in Brine"....The camera goes close and holds on the can. Cut to CU fruit cake being cut into blocks. Loud and vile coughing can be heard. Ken McGregor. Did you get that? (referring to the coughing).

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 32

Camera tilts up to Ken McGregor. Perceval in b'grnd. TV's mumbled tones can be heard. He's watching. Camera follows movement to placing the blocks of cake into a clear plastic container. They discuss the dates that Ken McGregor purchased at the supermarket. Ken McGregor. That doesn't fit you any more, we'll have to give it to the Salvation Army (Charity), or something. (He folds the jumper. Perceval agrees). Perceval (Asthmatic and short breathed) A very good jumper of mine I've left it had a very good weave.


Shot of Perceval's Red Travel Bag. (a symbol of his reluctance in the travel that is inevitable). Ken McGregor. I'll see if I can find it. What I'll do now is get your medication all ready, your toiletries and that Perceval (Asthmatic and short breathed) I'll get my own medication. McGregor. Yeah but I've got to get it ready put it in all the boxes for you. Perceval (Asthmatic and short breathed) I'll take it by myself. McGregor. You can take it by yourself but you can't put it in by yourself. Cut to close up of the Red Bag with McGregor's hands in it packing. McGregor. These are John's malaria tablets which are pretty important, they can go in the side pocket (zipper noise). These are John's epileptic tablets.


Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 33

The shot starts with a hand held tilt up to Perceval from the tubes of paint on the table in front of him, the paint is supposedly out and in readiness for packing for the trip. BLACKALL How do you feel about going away? PERCEVAL What? BLACKALL How do you feel about going away? PERCEVAL Oh as long as I'm not completely sober, I'll be alright. BLACKALL You want to have a few drinks do you? You can't have too many, otherwise they mightn't let you on the 'plane. PERCEVAL They can handcuff me to the seat and give me a shot. BLACKALL They can what? PERCEVAL They can handcuff me to the seat and give me a shot. (the camera closes in to CU) BLACKALL Bit severe John. PERCEVAL (Rhythmic grunting as though they were affirmations). INT. STUDIO. MCGREGOR VACUUMS FLOOR. Tilt to McGregor after starting from a filthy linoleum floor. With pink gloves he tries to break the dried cake that we earlier scene, so that it goes into the vacuum nozzle. MCGREGOR Bit of cake Dave. BLACKALL A bit thick Ken.. McGregor continues to vacuum as the camera scans Perceval's privacy. In the laundry washing a mop under the sink tap

saw in

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 34

MCGREGOR Keep this for reference in case people say I don't do anything. He returns to the linoleum floor which usually lies under Perceval's bed. CU of mop scrubbing stubborn mess on the linoleum floor. BLACKALL This was done two weeks ago? MCGREGOR Yep two weeks ago, and its a pig sty already. Still that's the way some people live. Its just a matter of cleaning it again and again and being sure that his hygiene standards are a bit better than if he was living all by himself with no help. (camera sweeps from floor to McGregor) Just have to understand that some people live like this and ar, they're not prepared to change their ways at all. In fact the word John Perceval and hygiene shouldn't be put in the same sentence. BLACKALL Why can't he take cleaners? MCGREGOR (Walks to sink in laundry) Well he won't take cleaners because he can't trust anyone to come into the studio to clean up for fear of paintings disappearing and um, its infringing on his privacy which he values very dearly. I mean it would be great if someone else could come in, that would mean that I could get on with other things like managing his exhibitions and taking care of his publications and that. (Back mopping the linoleum floor) Its not pleasant as you can see. SCENE 44 INT. STUDIO. BLACKALL/PERCEVAL DIALOGUE BLACKALL So they're your oils and brushes ready for the trip John. PERCEVAL I'm not taking them unfortunately. BLACKALL why not. PERCEVAL no room

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 35

BLACKALL what's that PERCEVAL no room BLACKALL and the paper, you going to take paper? (hand held camera sweeps from Perceval to view the paper) PERCEVAL I don't know. SCENE 45 INT: STUDIO. MCGREGOR SCRUBS TABLE

BLACKALL I like your pink gloves Ken. MCGREGOR (HH Camera tilts from gloves to MCU) They should be on somebody else's hands, at least when we get back from overseas at least the studio will be nice to come back to. Trouble is it only lasts like this for a day then its a pig sty again. SCENE 46 INT: LOUNGE ROOM. MORA/PERCEVAL PERCEVAL I knew Sam (Atyeo).. MORA Yes........ PERCEVAL ...when he was staying at the Menzies' (Robert Gordon Menzies) and he was Doc Evatt's attach (Check for accuracy of spoken text and history). MORA Ah that's right, I read that recently. Sam Atyeo, (Camera tracks to Mora) Its nice to see that you remember things from such a long time ago John. I remember Doctor Evatt so well. Such a charming man. (she gazes lovingly at John) SCENE 45 INT: STUDIO KITCHEN SINK. MCGREGOR WASHES.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 36

MCGREGOR I don't like bringing art dealers here and photographers, people from the galleries, because not everyone lives like this, its not a pleasant thing for people to see; John doesn't give a bugger. BLACKALL That's one of his good points, not really caring about things. MCGREGOR No John doesn't care about anything, that's why he's lived so long, he's said that to quite a few people. he says why should I worry about it and shorten my life. SCENE 48 - EXT. WS. AIRPORT. SILVER PLANE TURNING. EXT. WS. TRACK FROM BUS IN BEIJING. VOICE OF MIRKA MORA CONTINUES in conversation with John as if he is remembering the fragments of conversation left behind in Australia. The track reveals Beijing street life and comes to rest on a sole woman shopkeeper as Mora speaks of the little girl (".....little Jinks when she met Sidney Nolan"). MIRKA MORA Was Sam Atyeo a diplomat as well as a painter? (Perceval grunts the affirmative). Yeah. In the South of France he lived. But 'e wasn't there when you went to the South of France in the sixties? (Perceval grunts the affirmative). Ah you saw him there. So who is the father of Jinx? We don't know then. (Perceval grunts oh I thought Sid [Nolan] was). No she wasn't because Cynthia already 'ad little Jinx when she met Sidney Nolan, do you remember? She already had the little girl, but it makes sense if it is Sam Atyeo the father, it makes allot of sense. But I loved the work of Sam Atyeo. it was lovely, yeah (Perceval grunts the affirmative), very nice. very ahead of his time wasn't he. .........I'm very honoured to be in the film with you John, thank you, (laughs and Perceval grunts the affirmative). Thank you for the lovely time we 'ad when we were so young. And all our lovely childrens all around us. Perceval with AO medallion around his neck, is lifted out of the airport/hotel bus by McGregor and Chinese countryman. They

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 37

wheel him inside to the hotel reception. Perceval & McGregor then go on a night time rickshaw drive around Tienanmen Square. MORA Do you remember John when you came to the Mirka Studio at nine Collins Street and you were wearing a big scarf, a mohair scarf and you looked divine and I ate some of your scarf because I didn't dare to eat you up. And then the Mirka Caf where you did all your cups and saucers. PERCEVAL I also did some drawings there. MORA Yes lots of drawings in the Mirka Caf. We couldn't sell anything, nobody wanted to buy anything, it was terrible. Then we did sell one of your beautiful paintings to ....what was the name of that person? And everybody stole your cups and saucers and took it overseas. External shots of Tienanmen Square continue and the to the ticket office of the Ming Tombs and shots typical of China as Mirka says "..........and took it overseas". McGregor wheels him on impossible stone surfaces for a wheel chair, in the rain, on a long march to the Ming Tombs, the entrance to which, was eventually impossible for wheel chairs. MORA And did you ever go to the contemporary art society's meetings at the Mirka Caf?

PERCEVAL (Pause - tries to remember) Oh I've forgotten, I must have, yeah. MORA Yes; and remember Saturdays we had breakfast together at the Mirka Caf? (Laughs) A don't have any photographs of it. Continuing the wheel chair scene with McGregor struggling with the weight of Perceval over the impossible terrain. Chinese pour past and pay some note to the task. MCGREGOR Its not really geared up for wheel chars is it?

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 38

SCENE 45 - TRAVEL VERITE: EXT: MARKET AREA - MING TOMBS. P.R. CHINA. PHOTOGRAPH POSING CHINESE WOMAN Would you pose for a photograph with my daughter? PERCEVAL Yes. (the girl stands beside Perceval in wheelchair) What a pretty skirt. CHINESE WOMAN What's that? MCGREGOR Very nice. CHINESE WOMAN Oh yes, thank you A man takes the photograph as light rain falls. Perceval holds the girl's hand and looks important enough for the occasion with his Order of Australia medal, his Van Gogh Hat and sunglasses. McGregor buys some fruit at a stall and negotiates the price. The couple finally settle on a fair deal as their little boy looks on with an unhappy disposition. MCGREGOR OK its a deal (He takes the bag of fruit). PERCEVAL Where do they grow them? MCGREGOR We passed allot of orchids along the way. FRUIT SELLER Che che (thank you). SCENE 48 diners, INT. RESTAURANT NEAR BEIJING Camera sits on center table rotating server and the John Perceval, Ken McGregor and the Chinese Driver/Fixer CHINESE DRIVER/FIXER I told them the price is about 45 (Yuen) per person, including the beer; not too many beers. MCGREGOR What were you saying about the old Chinese painters?

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 39

CHINESE DRIVER/FIXER Some of the very famous old Chinese painters, they had to drink, without the drink they can't paint it. MCGREGOR Did you here that John? PERCEVAL What? MCGREGOR He said that allot of the Asian artists all through history, they couldn't produce any masterpieces or top quality work without having a drink. PERCEVAL (Disinterested and after a drink himself) Oh. SCENE 50 INT: HOTEL ROOM. BEIJING. PERCEVAL DRAWS FROM MEMORY AFTER HIS VISIT TO THE GREAT WALL.

Intercut sequences from the Great Wall of China with the drawing process so that a picture of how, in part, his inspiration works. It might be more a case of how his inspiration fails him, despite being in world travel. The trip was depressing rather than inspirational and that depression was beginning to sink its claws into us all, even as early as the first stop (China) as we made the trip to Wales to see his daughters. The Great Wall sequence provides humorous opportunities in editing as clearly he couldn't climb the great Wall, yet McGregor buys him a black T-shirt with a statement which reads "I climbed the Great Wall". He continues to wear the shirt in subsequent scenes and given the wheelchair fiasco at the Ming Tombs in the rain, this humour could be developed in conjunction with the drawing executed in part in the hotel room. Another humorous aspect in this sequence is the traditional Chinese - important person carrying cart, the carriers and accompanying band. Similar to the band in the famous opening scenes in the Chinese (new wave) film Red Sorghum, Perceval has his photograph taken with the band, McGregor negotiates a price and pays them for the photo opportunity, their banners read "Make way for the Great Emperor" "Defer to the Royal Procession." SCENE 51 WALES SEQUENCE.


Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 40

Around the time of our arrival in Wales, my son Marlow was the same age as John when he had caught poliomyelitis by the sea. Last time I saw him, he was around about 18 months old. INT. MARLOW PLAYS THE CLARINET. EXT/INT. POV - OUTSIDE COTTAGE, MOVES THROUGH WINDOW. PERCEVAL BECOMES VISIBLE SITTING IN HIS CHAIR INSIDE THE COTTAGE. PERCEVAL I remember when you drew an owl. ALICE (At the stove whipping milk). Yes............. I used to draw princesses and things like that PERCEVAL ............. and mermaids. ALICE Can I open that, (she opens a can of Heineken and son Thomas hands glass of beer to his grandfather) VARIOUS SHOTS OF FAMILY DOMESTICITY. ALICE We'll do a drawing together. Would you like to do that, with me? PERCEVAL No ALICE Well you going to have to

JOHN AND ALICE LOOK AT A BOOK. PUNISHED BY MACGREGOR ABOUT 50 YEARS OF PERCEVAL DRAWINGS. JOHN Ken did produced that. ALICE Who? (looks at Ken who's also in shot). Did you?

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 41

JOHN Ken, this man. You what? What did you do? KEN I did the book. ...................It came out well. JOHN Yeah. (Alice and John look CU at the title page of Perceval drawings). ALICE You're very modest. JOHN That's um, that's Hermia Boyd. (Alice laughs at his assumption that he will be clearly understood) He's very tactful this man. KEN, NOW AT THE BACK OF PERCEVAL'S CHAIR, LOOKS ON AS THEY CONTINUE TO PERUSE 50 YEARS OF DRAWINGS. KEN These came from the State and National Galleries and some came from overseas JOHN I can recall....... (He stops as he feels the heat of the camera's gaze - it tilts down to the side of his face). KEN That's a beauty, look at the little baby wrapped up. JOHN CONTINUES T O TURN THE PAGES. KEN Your drawings are the best in the world I reckon. ALICE Very subjective statement. KEN Yeah, ....I'm a bit biased but I think they are though.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 42

JOHN (Still looking at the drawings). There's. Oh there's your mummy Alice. ALICE Eumn? JOHN (Still looking at the drawings). There's your mummy. ALICE Ohum. (Avoiding). Is that Mirka Mora? (They gaze on the book of drawings.)........ She's got a mustache JOHN There's Charlie Chaplin. ALICE Oh, she's Chaplin. comical. talking to Charlie .......................There very


Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 43

ALICE Show it to Pappy, MARLOW SHOWS IT TO JOHN WHO IS NONPLUSSED JOHN Marlow, ohw that's a bit of craft isn't it? CAMERA TRAVELS AROUND THE ROOM TO CAPTURE RESPONSES. THEY LAUGH AT JOHN'S RETICENCE. Alice objects to the camera, John grimaces in its heat. Marlow and Thomas watch on as Alice explores John's array of medals. One turns out to be a rather disappointing pass into the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia), still pinned to his jacket in Wales. Thomas (Alice's younger), wants to keep the big medal around his Grandfather's neck, the one with the crown and the coat of arms. This turns out to be his Order of Australia award which is always around his neck. Thomas will have to wait for that. NARRATION (FILMMAKER) Old John finally agreed to doing a drawing with Alice and Marlow. Tender moments unfolded as they forgot about the camera's gaze and how the culture of the juggernaut had instilled in them to never forget who they were. INT. JOHN PERCEVAL, ALICE AND MARLOW EXECUTE A TRIWONTYGONTYSAURUS DRAWING TOGETHER. AROUND LONDON. The tensions and disappointment of travel wore us down. We had kept wearied depression away, but today it sunk its claws into us. London is that sort of place. We hoped on filming the rendering of the Perceval travel series, instead his scrutiny prevailed over our comedy of errors. It takes physical and emotional strength to paint and the camera's gaze was only one thing that wore him down. SCENE 52 FINAL: INT: STUDIO AND PAINTINGS. CU PORTRAIT THEN SLOW ZOOM TO WIDE (WS)

The pull back denotes the security he must have felt in having come home in one piece.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 44

SERIES OF PAINTINGS UNDER CREDIT ROLL. Two Children Watching The Evening Sunset Greasy Joan Just Keeled The Prop Swans Frightened By Lightning At Williamstown Nightfall The Fishing Village Moses And The Water Lilies Ship To The River Williamstown Ship Sunflowers.


Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 45

Background on John Perceval Shortly after his birth in Bruce Rock, Western Australia, in 1923, John Percevals parents separated and later divorced. He lived with his father until he was twelve when his mother took him to Melbourne. She had already introduced him to the works of Australian painters before he was struck by infantile paralysis at fifteen. His hospital bed was the scene for a growing commitment to painting and drawing. His talent was recognized early as his polio set in. An article by F.L. Pimlott was published in the Melbourne Sun News Pictorial, 25 June 1938, with the headline Paralysed Boy of 15 Paints Like a Master, illustrated with his work - a Self-Portrait. During the late nineteen thirties he worked as a dairy farmer and then as a window dresser to the Mutual Store in Melbourne. He was physically unfit for the regular army, so in 1939 he enlisted in the Army Survey Corps where he met Guy Boyd. Perceval was to live and work with the Boyds in their pottery. Soon after, he submitted significant and monumental works to the Contemporary Art Society Anti Fascist Exhibition. These works suggested unconscious and uncanny connections to the Mexican Mural painters, Orozco and Siqueiros. His work had established an emphasis on the body pared down, exposing the fragile frame of the vulnerable skeleton and so representing the tensions within. The paintings of the 1943-4 period are intense and forceful where he layered the paint to form a rich textual surface. Paintings like Hornblower at Night show the densely matted surface of black which pushes the forms into a compressed space. His portraits, and particularly his paintings of women friends show a sensitivity and tenderness to the human subject. From the late forties, his religious themes include Australian versions of village life teeming with peasant activity. The rhythms and rituals of life are rendered with an extraordinary richness on all surfaces. In 1959 Perceval became a member of and exhibited with the Antipodean group in Melbourne. In 1962 he exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in the Rebels and Precursors show. He later traveled with his wife and children to Europe to work for some years until his return to a Resident Fellowship at the Australian National University. In July 1984 the Heide Park and National Gallery of Victoria held his first major retrospective. Rationale: In the last ten years Perceval has been reworking and reinterpreting his early powerful ideas from the landscapes and myths of Melbourne and the surrounding area. The proposed film will be an important Australian cultural record. No documentary of this kind has been made on his work, his life or his associations with the Angry Penguins. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in the period and group of artists who were

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 46

Percevals early associates and influences Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester and Danila Vassilieff, Yosl Bergner. Today at 76, John Perceval lives with special care because of his frailty and age. Regularly his assistants drive him to his studio or to the locations of his most famous works. From these visits he sees new images, re-works themes and brings fresh interpretations to earlier paintings. He also spends a considerable amount of time in thinking about the state of things and how resolutions or continuing questions may or may not appear as painting ideas. This proposed documentary is timely and urgent. As the artist grows older he is less able to participate in something as demanding as a film about his life and work. His importance in Australian art warrants audiences of the international-theatrical-market. In keeping with aims of the Australian Film Commission, this film would receive an innovative and a multi layered film design. It is intended that the film has acessibilty to a general audience while still questioning and discussing art and social commitment, fascism, politics and the subject elder-painter whose life works are the vehicle to begin to understand both him and his history. Perceval suggested in his letter (enclosed in the Development AFC application) that this writer, with a close understanding of his life, is the appropriate and only director for the documentary. His assistants Ken McGregor, has intimate knowledge of Percevals recent life and work. This film will be significant, challenging and cinematic. It will contain three main sections based on the three stages and ways in which the filmmaker was filming Percevals works and day to day life. His painting-works were inspired by events around the artist at the time and so they work as historical documents and the film sets to capture how that process works. The filmmaker's narration will link the events and significant works to a squence that involves himself as director and Ken McGregor as Manager Minder for Perceval, but also as assistant to the film. A large proportion of the early part of the film, Still Searching, will deal with the childs innocence, tenderness and lonliness; essentially John's background, which lead him to today. These sections and their respective paintings relate to Perceval as a small boy. At 76 he still values the perspective of the child. A significant number of his paintings and ceramic works deal with this subject and the film may be well advised, with the consultant editor, to explore the child theme further. The paintings, Floating Mask I & II, explore how the child fears the night. Things of indescribable dimension float from under the bed or through the window. They are terrifying but also of obsessive interest to the child. Cultures throughout time have obsessions with monsters, demons and unexplained tensions of the night. Belief enshrines the monster, the catastrophic effect before there can be redemption. This discussion is clearly evident in Percevals work and so the intended film. The bombing of Japanese cities, mentioned in interview, as catastrophic event, profoundly affected the artist and in turn his work. Percevals life has been a metaphor for the issues that his paintings discuss. His voice now is that of an elder painter. He is fascinated by the psychological dimension in

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 47

modern life and the pressures it brings on the individual. This is profoundly modernist and reflects his modernist attitudes. Statements by art writers like Max Harris (Sydney Morning Herald) have suggested Percevals early work to be definitive in Australian Art. The art works refer to a philosophy of the individual consciousness and subjectivity. John Perceval was hospitalized for significant periods of his life. Author Ken McGregors book features Percevals work in that time. These works signify the end of another hospitalised dependancy, the end to an institutionalised grapple with illness and the individuals struggle with a metaphoric monster - a visualisation before the patient can recover.

Delinquent Angel, proposal and script.

page 48