South Australian writer, director and producer Craig Lahiff died on Sunday, February 2 aged 66.
A much-respected figure, Lahiff’s films include the horror thriller Coda (released in 1987 and shot at the Festival Theatre, Flinders University and around Adelaide), the underrated crime thriller Fever (1988), the Russell Crowe-starring (and controversy-courting) Heaven’s Burning (1997), 2002’s true story Black and White (starring Robert Carlyle, Kerry Fox and Charles Dance), and Swerve (2012), which was to have been the first of a planned trilogy to be produced by his regular partner Helen Leake. The South Australian Film Corporation’s website paid tribute to Lahiff: “Craig was as individual a director as Australia has ever had and his films will be remembered. Renowned for his calmness and quiet persuasion in all aspects of his work, Craig brought to all of his films a very clear vision that he imparted to all his collaborators.” Personally, I remember a delightful lunchtime interview almost two years ago (over curry) where Lahiff and Leake discussed Swerve, their great love for what they called a “uniquely Australian film noir” and where they hoped the second film in the projected trio might go. But now, sadly, it’ll surely forever be one of those great ‘what ifs?’