Voyage of the Southern Sun follows the journey of Michael Smith, the man who brought Yarraville’s Sun Theatre back to life, as he retraces the historical Qantas, Imperial and Pan Am airmail routes, in search of the glory days of 1930’s aviation, visiting cinemas along the way. Smith was awarded the 2016 Adventurer of the Year from the Australian Geographical Society, and became the first (and only) person to solo circumnavigate the globe in a two-seat, amphibian flying boat. This incredible adventure led him across dozens of countries, meeting hundreds of different people, and skipping from cities to forests, deserts and rivers, volcanoes and vast expanses of ocean. The entire journey, which took 7 months and spanned 32 5000nm, is laid out in this charming documentary that captures the romanticism and mysticism surrounding what Smith Calls, ‘the lonely explorer’.
The film features breathtaking scenery shot from Smith’s flying boat, and reveals the scope of landscapes this planet has to offer, as well as the diverse scope of cinematic experiences around the world, which tie the film together. The film highlights the importance of cinema experience and the sharing of stories within the community.
Director Bert Murphy manages to bring together past and present seamlessly, connecting the Qantas flight path with Smith’s current journey, and connecting Smith’s childhood, the time he spent dreaming about this kind of trip, with the trip itself and the achievement of a life-long dream.
The film offers a few curious and humbling tales of the forces of nature that Smith contended with on his trip, and is accessible and entertaining for audiences, like myself, with no aviation knowledge. Overall, an inspiring story of determination and the kindness of strangers.
You can catch Voyage of the Southern Sun for one session only at The Windsor Cinema (Perth) on Sunday June 25th at 3pm, you can purchase tickets here. Please check with your local cinema for screenings outside of WA.