John Conomos

Leftquote A roofer takes more risks than an intellectual. Rightquote
The Girl From the Sea, 2014
30 minutes, HD Video, colour, sound.

This is a personal essay documentary about my mother coming to Australia in the early 1940s as a teenager. The film’s title with its overtones of Margeurite Duras is emblematic of the subject’s ancestral and mythic roots (Piraeus and Kythera, Greece) and her migration to Australia to work in country NSW cafes for her uncles and aunts.  This ‘letter chain’ mode of migration was the major form of migrating from Greece to Australia back then.

The film’s subjective voice-over delineates the filmmaker’s relationship to his mother.  In sum, The Girl From the Sea was influenced by Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida (1982), Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (1972) and Rainer Weiner Fassbinder’s encounter with his own mother in the anthology film Germany in Autumn (1978).


  • Written and directed: John Conomos
  • Project manager: Virginia Hilyard
  • Post-production: Josh Raymond
  • Cinematography: Simon Bare and Virginia Hilyard
  • Editing: Simon Bare
  • Sound: Saun Hay
  • Scanning: Isabel Markus Dunworth