Paul Cox (director)

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Paul Cox
Paulus Henrique Benedictus Cox

(1940-04-16)16 April 1940
Venlo, Netherlands
Died 18 June 2016(2016-06-18) (aged 76)
Occupation Film director
Years active 1964-2015

Paulus Henrique Benedictus Cox (16 April 1940 – 18 June 2016) as Paul Cox, was a Dutch-Australian filmmaker, who has been recognized as "Australia's most prolific film auteur".[1] "Cox's delicate films have been pockmarked with life's uncertainty. Loneliness within relationships is a staple of the Cox oeuvre, too". David Wenham states, "There is no one like Cox.... He is unique, and we need him, and people like him.... He is completely an auteur, because everything you see on the screen, and hear, has got Paul's fingerprints all over it."[1]

Early life

Cox was born in Venlo, Limburg, the Netherlands,[2] the son of Else (née Kuminack), a native of Germany, and Wim Cox, a documentary film producer.[3][4]


Cox worked on the 1964 BBC TV docudrama, Culloden.[5]

Cox emigrated to Australia in 1965, by which time he had already established a reputation as a photographer.[6] In the late 1960s Cox travelled to Papua New Guinea with Ulli Beier whose interest was indigenous poetry, drama and creative writing. In the resulting book[7] of Cox’s photographs of village life were set to poems written by Beier’s students.[8] Beier and Cox later published a book on Mirka Mora[9]

His teaching at Prahran College of Advanced Education in the 1970s with Athol Shmith and John Cato[10] influenced a number of photographers and filmmakers, including Carol Jerrems.[11] Cox collaborated with a number of screenwriters including John Clarke and Bob Ellis.

He published Reflections: An Autobiographical Journey in 1998.[12]

His film-essay The Remarkable Mr. Kaye (2005) is a portrait of his ill friend, the actor Norman Kaye, who appeared in numerous Cox films, such as Lonely Hearts (1982) and Man of Flowers (1983).[2] In 2006 he became the Patron of the Byron Bay Film Festival.[13]

On 26 December 2009 he received a liver transplant. David Bradbury's 2012 documentary, On Borrowed Time, tells this story against the backdrop of his life and work, through interviews with Cox and his friends and colleagues.[14] Cox has also written a memoir, Tales from the Cancer Ward.[15] Rosie Igusti, a fellow transplant recipient he met there, later became his partner.[16]

Cox's last film Force of Destiny, with David Wenham and Indian actress Shahana Goswami, was released in July 2015. Wenham plays a sculptor and transplant patient who falls in love with a patient he meets in the hospital ward.[1] Cox attended the American premier of Force of Destiny at the Ebertfest Film Festival in Chicago, having travelled with Rosie via stops in Bangkok, Dubai, and Frankfurt in order to avert the effects of travel on their delicate health. He had been invited to speak after the screening, and did so.[17][5]

Cox was named in Phillip Adams' List of 100 National Treasures in April 2015.[18] On 18 June 2016, he died at the age of 76.[19]


Photography books

  • Cox, Paul (1970). Human Still Lives from Nepal. s.n. (Mentone, Vic.: Alexander Bros.)
  • Cox, Paul, & Ulli Beier (1971). Home of Man: The People of New Guinea. Melbourne: Thomas Nelson (Australia)
  • Beier, Ulli, & Paul Cox (1980). Mirka. South Melbourne, Victoria: Macmillan.

Selected exhibitions

  • 1977 Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney: Photography by Athol Shmith and Paul Cox
  • 2009 Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne: Paul Cox, 6 – 29 August
  • 2011 Mars Gallery, Melbourne: Paul Cox[20]
  • 2011 Monash Gallery of Art: Age of Aquarius: Photography of Paul Cox, 7 April – 19 June




  • Matuta: An Early Morning Fantasy (1965) – 23 min colour film
  • Time Past (1966) – 10 min b/w film
  • The Prince Henry's Medical Team in Vietnam (1966) – 14 min colour film
  • The Prince Henry's Story (1968) – 17 min b/w film
  • Skindeep (1968) – 40 min drama colour 16 mm film
  • Marcel (1969) – 7 min b/w 16 mm film
  • Symphony (1969) – 12 mins film
  • Mirka (1970) – 20 mins film
  • Phyllis (1971) – 35 mins colour 16 mm film
  • The Journey (1972) – 60 mins drama film
  • The Island (1975) – 10 min colour 16 mm film
  • Ways of Seeing (1977) – 24 min film
  • Ritual (1978) – 10 min film


  • Calcutta (1971) – 30 mins
  • All Set Backstage (1974) – 22 mins
  • We Are All Alone My Dear (1975) – 22 mins
  • For a Child Called Michael (1979) – 30 mins
  • The Kingdom of Nek Chand (1980) – 22 mins
  • Underdog (1980) – 53 mins
  • Death and Destiny (1984)
  • Vincent (1987)
  • The Hidden Dimension (1997) – 43 mins IMAX film
  • The Remarkable Mr. Kaye (2005)
  • Kaluapapa Heavan (2007)
  • The Dinner Party (2012)]]


  • Paper Boy (1985) (TV)
  • Handle With Care (1985)
  • The Secret Life of Trees (1986) – 25 min TV film
  • The Gift (1988)
  • Touch Me (1993) – 30 min TV episode



  1. ^ a b c Dow, Steve (25 April 2015). "Paul Cox: Force Of Life". The Weekly Review.
  2. ^ a b c " Cinema has been 'abused horrifically'". Matthew Hays and Martin Siberok, The Globe and Mail, Sep. 04, 2000
  3. ^ "Paul Cox Biography (1940-)", Film Reference.
  4. ^ "Cactus (1986)", Australian Screen.
  5. ^ a b Comedian John Clarke on his friend film-maker Paul Cox, John Clarke (satirist), 25/06/2016, accessed 2017-04-11
  6. ^ Tom Ryan, "Making Silence Speak: Interview with Paul Cox", Cinema Papers, July 1977 pp. 16–19, 94.
  7. ^ Cox, Paul, & Ulli Beier (1971). Home of Man: the people of New Guinea. Thomas Nelson (Australia), Melbourne
  8. ^ Stephen Zagala (2012), "Photographing the Pacific" in S. Dupont (2012), Raskols (Postcards from the Rim), Goulburn Gallery, Goulburn Regional Gallery, 20 September - 20 October.
  9. ^ Beier, Ulli, & Paul Cox (1980). Mirka. South Melbourne, Victoria: Macmillan.
  10. ^ About whom Cox co-edited a biography Cox, Paul (ed.); Gracey, Bryan (ed.) (2013), John Cato: Retrospective, Melbourne: Victoria Wilkinson Publishing, ISBN 978-1-922178-09-1CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ King, Natalie, 1966- & Heide Museum of Modern Art (2010). Up Close: Carol Jerrems with Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and William Yang. Heide Museum of Modern Art: Schwartz Media, Melbourne.
  12. ^ Cox, Paul; Cox, Paul, 1941 (1998), Reflections: An autobiographical journey, Currency Press, ISBN 978-0-86819-549-0CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "About Byron Bay Film Festival".
  14. ^ Margaret Burin and Joanne Shoebridge, "On borrowed time: David Bradbury shares intimate portrait of friend and filmmaker", ABC, 13 June, 2013.
  15. ^ Cox, Paul (2011), Tales from the Cancer Ward, Transit Lounge, ISBN 978-0-9808462-3-2
  16. ^ Philippa Hawker, "Comebacks", The Age, 16 April 2011, Life&Style, p. 12.
  17. ^ Tinkering: Paul Cox, John Clarke (satirist), 25/06/2016, accessed 2017-04-11
  18. ^ Adams, Phillip. "National Living Treasures-I've Got Another List". The Australian. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Paul Cox, Australian film maker and frequent collaborator with David Wenham, dies age 76", The Guardian, 19 June 2016.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "1991 Human Rights Medal and Awards". Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  22. ^ "Berlinale: 1994 Programme". Retrieved 2011-06-12.

External links

  • Paul Cox on IMDb
  • Paul Cox: "An interview with Paul Cox, director of Innocence: 'Filmmakers have a duty to speak out against the injustices in the world'", World Socialist Web Site, 6 January 2001,
  • Raven Evans, "'I Can Respect The Stupidity Of People Who Think That Speed Is Beauty,' Agrees Paul Cox", 19 May 2009.
  • Richard Phillips, "'Cinema must have a social conscience' — Veteran filmmaker Paul Cox discusses his latest feature", World Socialist Web Site, 16 November 2015.
  • Paul Cox: "Fight the good fight", Paul Cox's Opening Night Speech of BBFF2015 [1]
  • Richard Phillips, “'Cinema has the potential to make us richer in spirit'—filmmaker Paul Cox (1940–2016)”, World Socialist Web Site, 11 July 2016.
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