Release date1984 WriterThomas Keneally, Sophia Turkiewicz Initial releaseSeptember 27, 1984 (Australia) ScreenplaySophia Turkiewicz, Thomas Keneally CastGosia Dobrowolska, Ivar Kants, Anna Maria Monticelli, Steve Bisley, Debra Lawrence Similar moviesSexual Chronicles of a French Family, The Most Dangerous Woman Alive, Any Man’s Death, The Monuments Men, Class of 1984, Forced Alliance
TaglineNew Land... New Life... New Love...
Nina (Gosia Dobrowolska) is a Polish immigrant arriving in Australia after World War II. No sooner has her boat hit Sydney harbor than shes sent to a refugee camp in a "silver city" of endless tin barracks. As a huge community of Eastern Europeans live in internment, waiting for release, old traditions begin to slip away. Nina falls for Julian (Ivar Kants), the unhappy husband of Anna (Anna Jemison). All must decide what they want to make of their new lives in a new land.
Silver City is a 1984 Australian film about post-war Polish immigration to Australia, following World War II. "Silver City" is the nickname of the immigration hostel in Australia. David Stratton calls it one of the best Australian films of the 1980s and thought that it should have made Gosia Dobrowolska a major star.
After World War II, 4,000 Polish families came to Australia. They were Jews, Fascists, anti-Communists, and others dispossessed. In a large hostel, where even married men and women were housed in separate barracks, the adults lived for two years while they worked off the government's payment of their passage. Even though he is married to Anna and has a son, Julian falls in love with Nina and she with him. As they and others face the new situations and prejudices that await immigrants and as they take on aspects of Australian culture, old-country values reassert themselves. Julian decides what to do about love and family, and Nina must find a way to move on.
Gosia Dobrowolska as "Nina"
Ivar Kants as "Julian"
Anna Jemison as "Anna"
Steve Bisley as "Victor"
Debra Lawrence as "Helena"
Ewa Bok as "Mrs. Bronowska"
Dennis Miller as "Max"
Alan Cinis as "Charlie"
Sophia Turkiewicz had long been interested in making a film about post war migrants to Australia. She attended the Australian Film and Television School in Sydney where she made a short drama Letters from Poland about a Polish refugee. She started writing the film in 1978 while studying in Poland, originally concentrating on a ship full of Polish refugees going to Australia, then focusing on what happened when they arrived. She sent an outline to Joan Long who agreed to produce. After Turkiewicz did five drafts, Long then suggested a co-writer be brought on board and Thomas Keneally - who had visited Poland as part of his research for Schindlers Ark - became involved.
During the early 1980s Long and Turkiewicz became frustrated at the progress of getting up the film and for a time developed another project, Times Raging based on stories by Frank Moorhouse but eventually went back to Silver City. The Money was eventually raised through 10BA tax concessions.
Gosia Dobrowolska, who had newly arrived in Australia, auditioned for the lead and impressed despite not knowing any English. However she struggled at a reading of the script and the role was given to Megan Williams instead. Then there was a delay in financing which put the film back a year. Dobrowolska improved her English and impressed the director and producer in a play she was appearing in; Williams was let go and Dobrowolska was cast. (Williams later sued and the matter settled out of court.)
Andrzej Seweryn and Sam Neill were candidates to play the male lead before Ivar Kants was cast. Shooting began in October 1983 and went for seven weeks.
Sydney Critics Circle award for Best Feature Film of the year .
AFI award â€” Steve Bisley for Best Supporting Actor
AFI award â€” Anna Maria Monticelli for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
AFI award â€” for Costume Design
Silver City grossed $197,839 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $502,003 in 2009 dollars.