Adrian Martin

photo: Vinzenz Hediger
photo: André Bakker
photo: Phil Stromei




Born: Melbourne, Australia, 1959.


Raised in the suburb of Richmond. Early education: Collapsed Catholic.


1974: precocious cinephilic self-education begins. Notes, diaries, sketches of reviews & essays.


1977: first of several attempts, in several states of Australia, to stick with a University degree. Drop out from all of them.


1979: first published article, a book review in the Australian magazine Cinema Papers.


1981: induction into the ‘Popist’ art scene around impresario Paul Taylor and his magazine Art & Text. First invited public talks at film or art events.


1982-1985: intense 4 years of teaching (at all levels) at Melbourne State College (an institution for teacher training, where I was previously a drop-out), later renamed Melbourne College of Advanced Education, and later absorbed by Melbourne University; also at RMIT & Swinburne.


1986/7: move to Sydney. 1988: move back to Melbourne.


1987: first occasional feature pieces and reviews of ‘films on video & TV’ for various Australian newspapers.


All through the 1980s: massive freelance writing (mainly unpaid) for many film and arts magazines that come and go on the Australian scene, including The Virgin Press, Tension, Cantrills Filmnotes, Xpress, Third Degree, Intervention, Art & Text, Metro, Filmnews, Photofile, New Theatre Australia, On the Beach … Semi-regular film review gig at Business Review Weekly.


1988-1992: part-time teaching film & cultural studies at Rusden & Swinburne.


1992: editing of special journal issue of ContinuumFilm: Matters of Style. Stop teaching. Occasional pieces for various Radio National programs.


1992-1994: regular Films on Video reviewing for newspapers The Age and The Australian.


1993: a winner of the Byron Kennedy Award, established by George Miller for the Australian Film Institute.


1994: first book, Phantasms (essays on popular culture) for Penguin (Australia).


1995: become a weekly film reviewer for The Age (Melbourne) and Radio National program “The Week in Film” (the latter until the end of 1997). The literally thousands of texts generated in the eleven years covered by these two gigs comprise much of this website’s content.


1997: second book, on Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America in the British Film Institute’s Modern Classics series.


1990s: first trips to overseas film festivals: Rotterdam, Madrid Week of Experimental Cinema, etc. Freelance pieces for a further wave of Australian magazines: Scripsi, Agenda, World Art, Studio for Men … Involvement in screenplay editing/assessing/writing on the margins of the Australian film industry. First articles published beyond Australia: Film Comment, Sight and Sound, Trafic, Meteor, Skrien


Late ‘90s: beginning of involvement with Internet writing, editing, translating & publishing; and with the collective Movie Mutations project led by Jonathan Rosenbaum.


1997: winner of the Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism (Australia).


2000s: trips (festivals & lecturing) to Argentina, France, Chile, Slovenia, Canada, Holland, USA, Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Japan, Mexico.


2003: third book, The Mad Max Movies (Currency Press, Sydney). Appearance of Movie Mutations in book form (British Film Institute). Co-editor of online magazine Rouge until the end of 2009.


2004: two books on Raúl Ruiz, Images of Passage (Rouge/Rotterdam Film Festival) & the Spanish-language Magnificent Obsessions (Buenos Aires Film Festival).


2006: quit The Age. Finish a PhD on film style for Monash University (and thus finally obtain a degree); invited to research & teach there. Audio commentary work for Australian DVD company Madman until 2010.


2007-2012: work at Monash University; travel to overseas conferences. Writing of academic articles & book chapters on Lang, Tsai, Minnelli, Truffaut, Svankmajer, Godard, Hou, Kawase, Grandrieux, experimental cinema, film theory/history/criticism …


2007: the start of two long-running, monthly or bi-monthly columns: World Wide Angle in de Filmkrant (Holland, print & online), and Scanner in Caiman (Spain, print only). After its 100th instalment in 2016, World Wide Angle morphs into an ongoing video feature, The Thinking Machine.


2008: second book only in Spanish, ¿Qué es el cine moderno? (Uqbar, Santiago).


2011: first edition of Last Day Every Day (punctum books, USA), Spanish and Portuguese editions follow in 2013 and 2015. Organise Monash conference World Cinema Now. Beginning of online film magazine LOLA with Girish Shambu. Also sometime co-editor of Screening the Past.


2013-early 2015: Distinguished Visiting Professor of Film Studies at Goethe University, Frankfurt (Germany). Beginning of collaboration on audiovisual essays with Cristina Álvarez López. Contributions to online sites including MUBI Notebook, Movie, Transit, The Cine-Files, etc. Translations of my articles in around 25 languages, print & online.


2014: appearance of book Mise en scène and Film Style (Palgrave), based in part on my PhD and in part on funded academic research undertaken during my Monash years.


March 2015: relocation to Spain, recommencement of freelance life (as now Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash). Travels/lectures with Cristina in Italy, Portugal, UK, Australia. Work on a ‘selected essays 1982-2016’ book, Mysteries of Cinema, to appear June 2018 (Amsterdam University Press). Forthcoming translated editions of Mise en scène and Film Style slated in Czech, Spanish & Farsi. Articles for international art catalogues, Art + Australia, Sight and Sound, Cineaste, Metro, Vlak, Trafic, Filmkhaneh, academic book chapters. New DVD/Blu-ray audio commentary & audiovisual essay work for Criterion, BFI, Masters of Cinema, Arrow, Kino Lorber and Olive.


July 2017: launching of this website and Patreon funding plan to maintain its ongoing existence!

© Adrian Martin July 2017

Adrian Martin in Waiting in the Wings (John Conomos & Mark Jackson, 1988)

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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