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The Rose of Ba Ziz (2007)


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Director/Writer: Aden Young
Narrator: Hugo Weaving

Premiered at the St. Kilda Film Festival on June 5, 2007

Roy Billing, Loene Carmen, Sam Worrad
Hugo Weaving

The old camel driver knows how came this rose, where nothing else grows, in the silver shifting sands of Ba Zee. He told me the tale one night in Ba Zee and I’ll tell it to you as he told it to me.
This charming film is narrated by internationally acclaimed actor Hugo Weaving. Aden Young’s first short, The Order, screened on Opening Night St Kilda Film Festival, 1999.

There is a rose that grows – So begins Aden Young’s second short film THE ROSE OF BA ZIZ,  adapted from his father’s well loved children’s book of the same name, first published in 1972.
It tells the whimsical tale of The Great Whiz (Roy Billing), the king of Ba Ziz who is stricken with flower fickle fever and is forced to decide between his health or the happiness of his people.
The touching story is filmed in the fashion of a silent movie and features a series of snapshots and images, reminiscent of a recollection of childhood memories”. – Sydney Morning Herald
Drawing on the magical fables half-remembered from childhood’s chimerical memories, Aden Young’s THE ROSE OF BA ZIZ unfolds through the kind of visual experimental exotica that in part recalls the lavish works of the 60s’ underground. An empty lot and its inhabitants are transformed into the mystical land of Ba Ziz, a world that sparkles with slashes of colour and echoes to haunting, even melancholy, music drawn from violins and accordions. Young melds together this arabesque vision with a fluid narration that emphasises the linguistic pleasures of the children’s book from which this tale was adapted, creating a genuinely luminous work.

Jack Sargeant, author and curate
Inspired by a looming film festival deadline, Aden carried the film from blank page to screening in four days, delivering the film for a budget of only $700. It’s basically like a folk-fairytale parable, a series of stills that look like coloured postcards from the turn of the century… It has a very haunting quality to it. Conceptually, it’s very unique and very endearing. I think it’s got the ability to inspire filmmakers who are suffering from some kind of block about ‘How do I go out and make films, how do I go out and compete with the big guys?’ If you think just outside of the square you can really surprise and delight audiences.”

Paul Harris, 3RRR
Young explains what he was trying to achieve with the film: “ I wanted it to be distanced from reality, like perhaps it was a document that was lost. Or perhaps it was something that had occurred – and of course that’s absurd, but I wanted it to have that suggestion. There’s romanticism and immediate nostalgia that the story deserves…in it’s themes of sacrifice and community.” – Emerald Hill Weekly

The film is narrated by Hugo Weaving and stars Roy Billing (Underbelly), Tony Llewellyn Jones (Picnic at Hanging Rock) and Loene Carmen (The Year My Voice Broke).
The sets were constructed and dressed by three of Sydney’s most acclaimed artists – James Powditch, Gavin Barbey and Louise Sykes.
The music was composed by Jed Kurzel (The Mess Hall) John Gauci (Johnny G & The E Types) Daisy Tulley (Bridezilla) and Loene Carmen.
THE ROSE OF BA ZIZ premiered on June 5th 2007 at the opening of the 24th St Kilda International Film Festival.

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