Jonathan auf der Heide: Van Diemen’s Land. 2009. Australia

Probably one of the most under-rated and misjudged films from the last few years. In retelling the true story of the escape of eight convicts in 1822 from the isolated Macquarie Harbour Penal Station on Sarah Island in Tasmania (then Van Diemen’s Land), Jonathan auf der Heide engages in what cine-scholars would dub as ‘Tasmanian Gothic’. Nature and landscape forms a very vital part of this narrative, assuming qualities of malevolence and menace. What auf der Heide does, to his credit, is to shy away from creating spectacle, but rather dwell on ‘strange silences’ to craft a meditative, relentless film in exploring the heart of darkness of desperate men in an extraordinary situation. The incorporation of the ancient Irish Gaelic language casts a melancholic brooding net over this atmospheric piece. Watch.

VAN DIEMEN'S LAND - Official Trailer

Update: Unfortunately, the full length film was taken down by the Tube. This is a trailer for you to have a glimpse. I will post the full length film again, as soon as it is available.

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11 Comments on "Jonathan auf der Heide: Van Diemen’s Land. 2009. Australia"

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whats with all the homosexuality,,,was it necessary in the movie?


tasmaninan gothic is new to moi and i think i dig this!

Iris C

Dense and heavy, entertainment seekers stay away…..!


I am 16, one day I hope to study film and become a screenwriter/director. I don’t know much about the film industry quite yet, so that’s why I plan on getting into a good film program in college. I am watching as many good films as I can…and this film is one of them.

louisa rakowski

quite amazing atmosphere in the movie,,,and the director did a good job of making me sympathetic to the conditions of escaped convicts..not a good thing of course!


good acting and direction. must have been tough shooting in those locations,,,

Winnie the Pooh

European settlement caused chaos and conflict to occur between the Aboriginals, the natives of the land, and the Europeans. The Aboriginal population in Van Diemen’s land got wiped out, thanks to the invaders…Good to see a movie that takes you back in time, and making you realise that it is/was not easy being European as well.


I have never been to that part of Australia/Tasmania…but yes, the landscape and the unfolding story go very well together..well acted as well. Kudos to the moviemakers.

Probal C

Absolutely stunning….the print could have been better, but i managed to watch it. What a dark and incredible story. Shiver

Lyric Lass
this poem is by emily dickinson.. Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924. Part Three: Love VI IF you were coming in the fall, I ’d brush the summer by With half a smile and half a spurn, As housewives do a fly. If I could see you in a year, 5 I ’d wind the months in balls, And put them each in separate drawers, Until their time befalls. If only centuries delayed, I ’d count them on my hand, 10 Subtracting till my fingers dropped Into Van Diemen’s land. If certain, when this life was out, That yours and… Read more »