Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Zac Hilditch’s ‘These Final Hours’

Chris Palazzolo on These Final Hours, directed by Zac Hilditch 2014.

The most primitive form of human expression is a baby’s cry; inarticulate blocks of sound broken by whoops of breath. The needs this sound gives voice to are as basic as the sound itself; feed me, hold me, keep me warm. The sound and needs combined is the purest, clearest ego, unmarked by bodily discipline or language. Gradually, over the following months, those blocks of sound begin to form new shapes in the baby’s mouth, as the sounds of its immediate environment (language, music, movement), and the regularising of its bodily functions (nappies, baths, breastfeeding) begin to mark patterns of repetition on its ego and its subjectivity begins to take shape.

If Zac Hilditch’s These Final Hours is, according to critics, among the best West Australian films, then our baby is a good analogy for the stage West Australian filmmaking is at; primitive and imitative. These Final Hours is set in the capital city of Perth. The end of the world is nigh; a meteor has hit the planet and has wiped out all life, but because Perth is so remote from the rest of the world, the annihilating firestorm hasn’t reached it yet. The citizenry have a few hours to make their peace. Most blotto themselves with booze, drugs, sex and random violence, but one man finds his peace in care for the people he loves. The basis of this premise is a very Perthian sense of futility; a city with a first world standard of living, as media saturated as any other first world city (and so fully informed about the ‘mediated’ world), but whose remoteness from the centres of civilisation creates a sense of not being actors in any way in that world, or even of its own destiny. This is basically the same premise as Neville Shute’s On the Beach, which was set in Melbourne in the 1950s, though the premise of On the Beach is more logical than These Final Hours because the conflagration is a geopolitical event (nuclear war) not a cosmic event in which geopolitical remoteness is meaningless. The narrative itself is very much like Cormac Macarthy’s The Road, where the apocalyptic landscape (Perth’s northern suburbs of macmansions, graffiti-free warehouse shopping centres, and Dawn of the Dead style shopping centre car parks) is the stage for a survivalist tract of the war of all against all, where one last man holds onto a shred of humanity by rescuing a child and returning to his family.

There’s no denying the brute energy of the film, scenes are expertly staged and beautifully shot, and it is enormously gratifying to see my own city’s streets and built landscape as the setting, but, like the blocks of pure sound that issue from a newborn’s mouth, this is a very monotonous and untextured portrayal of the human life that inhabits that landscape. The premise of the end of the world is a device to accentuate or heighten, perhaps accelerate, patterns of human relationships usually to the point of violence (only humans can be violent), and so enable us to observe truths about humanity, about differences and fellowship and love. But there only seems to be one kind of demographic here, and that is the new class of young blue collar nouveau riche for which apparently Perth is a paradise (there are middle classes, but they’re all up in the hills and are all dead by the time we get there.) This tends to flatten any sense of difference between the characters; one distinguishes himself by mending his ways, but the rest seem uniformly potty, drenched in a kind of cashed-up bogan eschatology (compare this to the ensemble of characters in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.) Furthermore, only white people seem to live here; no Indians, no Asians, no Africans, and no indigenous people (Perth has one of the largest continuing indigenous presences of any Australian capital city and is the only one to have Native Title recognised on all its crown land); so bland is this white bogan plane of consistency one wonders what’s the big loss when the tsunami of fire finally arrives.

these final hours

 – Chris Palazzolo

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Teasing Threads is Chris Palazzolo, novelist and poet, editor at Regime Books in Perth, radio host on 6EBA FM North Perth, and manager of one of the last video shops in the world – Network Video, Roleystone.

You can find out more about Teasing Threads here:  https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2015/07/10/introducing-chris-palazzolos-teasing-threads-sundry-film-and-literary-criticism/

The official These Final Hours website can be found at http://thesefinalhours.com.au/

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Issue 15 July 2015 – September 2015

Kate Just, Venus, 2011. Hand knitted twine, cardboard, tape 90x600x50cm. Photo by Clare Rae. Kate Just is represented by Daine Singer.

Kate Just, Venus, 2011. Hand knitted twine, cardboard, tape 90x600x50cm. Photo by Clare Rae. Kate Just is represented by Daine Singer.

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Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Ivan Sen’s ‘Mystery Road’

Chris Palazzolo revisits Mystery Road Diected by Ivan Sen 2013

Mystery Road 22In Ivan Sen’s outback thriller, Mystery Road, there is a recurring high angle shot of the indigenous detective’s car driving from one address to another along the streets of a dusty Queensland town. In earlier film parlance we would call this a helicopter shot. But the digital clarity of the imagery, the lines of shade that relieve each kerb and letterbox, roof-gutter and fence, would seem to suggest a satellite shot, a kind of detail from a global google map; an all-seeing technology that makes no judgement about what it reveals, but leaves us to invest with our own meanings.

I start with this motif because there is an ambiguity at the heart of this film, and that ambiguity centres on the function of the detective, Jay Swan, played by Aaron Pedersen. Swan is working in his hometown, investigating the murders of two local girls who appear to have been mixed up in a drug and prostitution racket. His investigations are stonewalled by the indigenous families because they see him as selling out by becoming a cop, and by other detectives who are working on the same cases. In accordance with the detective genre, the narration is entirely restricted to Swan’s point of view. This makes every character we see a potential suspect, because the single point of view leaves much of their personalities and activities in shadow; we only see what they choose to reveal to Swan, or what his skill as a detective manages to trick out of them.  Ultimately the motives of his flip-floppy colleagues (are they corrupt or are they working undercover) are revealed by a coincidence of a double-bust which inevitably leaves one wondering whether Swan was ever needed in the first place. I suppose this question goes to the motives of the senior detective (played by Tony Barry) for hiring Swan in the first place; to investigate the murders, or to watch the other Ds. These ambiguities are never cleared up. And the shoot-out at the climax only serves to obscure them more. All that’s left for Swan to do in his town is to reconcile with his estranged family, which, while a worthy sentiment, is an odd note for the film to end on, as if implying that Swan had been out of his depth all along.

What the presence of Swan does do is downplay the politics of aboriginal grievance. There is no ambiguity about the logic of race conflict that makes the murders possible, and responsibility is thrown on the doorsteps of indigenous families’ homes. It’s their obstinacy that exposes them to victimisation by a criminality which responds to opportunity, not race. The crooks may be local white boys, but they’re merely replaceable puppets in a criminal economy as natural to these towns as highways and freight depots. I think it’s telling that the only overtly racist talk spews from the mouth of one of the crooks, as if racism is merely a personality defect denoting an intrinsic ‘bunnydom.’

Like a detail isolated on a google map, Swan is a privileged but uninvolved witness to the patterns of crime and struggle in regional Australia. His aboriginality is the key to the legally mute aboriginal families; his police badge access to the invidious position of police having to stitch these families, sometimes brutally and with tragic consequences into the fabric of white law, thus protecting them from the depredations of white crime.

– Chris Palazzolo

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Teasing Threads is Chris Palazzolo, novelist and poet, editor at Regime Books in Perth, radio host on 6EBA FM North Perth, and manager of one of the last video shops in the world – Network Video, Roleystone.

You can find out more about Teasing Threads here:  https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2015/07/10/introducing-chris-palazzolos-teasing-threads-sundry-film-and-literary-criticism/

The Mystery Road website can be found at http://www.mysteryroadmovie.com/

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A Very Sydney Decadence: Mark Roberts Reviews ‘Ruben Guthrie’

Ruben Guthrie, Directed by Brendan Cowell. Screened at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival. National cinema release 16 July.

Before the fall - Patrick Brammall as Ruben Guthrie

Before the fall – Patrick Brammall as Ruben Guthrie

Rubeun Guthrie opened the 62nd Sydney Film Festival with a bang. The directorial debut for playwright, actor, screenwriter and novelist Brendan Cowell begins with a Moulin Rouge like explosion of music and partying.  There are bikini clad women diving into a perfect swimming pool, thumping music, laughing and shouting and, above it all, the figure of Ruben Guthrie celebrating another advertising industry award by pouring bottles of french champagne over his face. This is an Australian, or to be more precise, a very Sydney decadence. Rubeun Guthrie is in advertising and has produced a series of successful campaigns, clients demand he work on their briefs. But it quickly becomes clear that it is a very insular success. Guthrie’s supermodel girlfriend/fiancée is on the verge of walking out on him and the final straw comes as he climbs onto the roof of his waterside mansion in a drunken haze and almost kills himself by misjudging a jump into his pool.

There is almost a Harry Joy (Bliss – Peter Carey/Ray Lawrence) moment as the camera looks down on Guthrie lying on the bottom of his pool, his broken award just out of reach. But the gaze quickly returns to Gurthie looking up from the pool and the blurred figures looking back down at him almost appear to be seen through an alcoholic haze.

On a superficial level there are some obvious similarities between Ruben Guthrie and Harry Joy. While Harry Joy was to die three times I was only about to count two metaphorical deaths for Ruben Gurthie – one when he jumps into his pool from the roof of his house and the other when he comes off the wagon later in the film and drinks himself into oblivion. Perhaps there is the possibility of a third death at the very end of the film, but it this one is left open ended as the closing credits disrupt the narrative.

Director Brendan Cowell

Director Brendan Cowell

But while Harry Joy’s hell is the life he has been living up to the point of his first death, for Ruben it is a little more complicated. There is no sudden eureka moment when the facade comes crashing down and everything is exposed. His first reaction when confronted with the reality of a smashed arm and a supermodel girlfriend who is threatening to leave him because of his drinking is to try to work out how to open a bottle of french champagne with one arm. But things do change suddenly for Ruben, his girlfriend does leave him, giving him an ultimatum to stay off the drink for a year, and his mother makes him attend his first AA meeting.

Ruben finds, however, that the impact of staying off the booze is much larger than he expected. On his return to work he finds that there is a new kid on the block biting at his heels and there is the perception that without the booze and the all night parties with clients he has lost his edge. Couple this with increasing conflict between his new friends from his support groups and his old friends that are still living life at warp speed with drugs and booze and Ruben finds himself in very unfamiliar territory.

Ruben Guthrie represents the directorial debut for Brendan Cowell who also wrote the screenplay based on his successful stage play. Speaking at the recent Sydney Film Festival Cowell described how the idea for the original script came about following a “social experiment” where he gave up drinking for a year.

Within weeks of this pursuit all my comforts had shifted,  as well as my relationship with others, my body, and  the world. It was profound, hilarious, and terrifying all at once. I lost whole friendships, started brand new ones, and most importantly saw my country, and my family and friends within it, in a whole new light. It dawned on me (in a very Wake In Fright fashion) that saying no to a drink in this country was an insult to all involved.

On one level it is clear that there is a personal element to this movie, but Cowell has also distanced himself from it to a degree. The film is a further step away from the personal than the stage play, and Cowell has also decided to use the advertising industry as a background (an industry he is not personally involved in).  This perhaps adds a certain detachment to the film as Guthrie moves between the two worlds, one fuelled by alcohol and the perception of success and the other full of support groups and an unfamiliar sobriety, and doesn’t feel completely at home in either of them. All the time, however, there is the light on the hill, the possibility that after a year his girlfriend will return. But it is a light that Gurthie increasing despairs at and when his girl friend does unexpectedly return his life has moved in such a direction that he nothing is immediately resolved.

While Ruben Gurthie might represent  Cowell’s first attempt at feature length directing, he has a long and impressive CV as a writer, actor and theatre and tv director and this experience shows through in the film. One gets the feeling Cowell appreciates the freedom that film has given him to take the original play to another level.

Off the wagon: Robyn Nevin. Patrick Brammall, Jack Thompson and Alex Dimitriades

Off the wagon: Robyn Nevin. Patrick Brammall, Jack Thompson and Alex Dimitriades

While a strong script and tight direction provides a strong foundation for Ruben Guthrie, it is the strength of the cast that ensures the overall success of the film. Patrick Brammall’s portrayal of Ruben Guthriue strikes the right balance between the fake confidence and camaraderie of the alcohol fuelled world of advertising. In those scenes where he is at the top of his professional game there is something seductive about his personality. We see why he is successful and we can see how alcohol is critical to maintaining that success in the world in which he living. But when Brammall rides his character over the edge, we sense his utter confusion as his private and professional lives starts falling apart.

Alex Dimitriades appears to be in his element as Damian, Ruben’s drunken gay colleague who moves in with him after a failed career move overseas. While Ruben tries to stay on the rails and starts a new relationship with a woman from his support group, Damian parties on with multiple partners and pushes Ruben to make decisions over his old and emerging lives.

Harriet Dyer plays a crucial role in the film as Ruben’s new and convenient love interest in the absence of  Zoya, his model girlfriend, played by Abbey Lee. Dyer plays this difficult role with some skill. We are never completely sure of her motives as her relationship with Ruben develops and the tension that develops between her and Damian drives much of the tension during the middle sections of the film.

One also has to also acknowledge the roles of Robyn Nevin and Jack Thompson as Ruben’s parents. Somewhat surprisingly these two actors have never performed together before and it is a real joy to watch them together in this film.

Ruben Guthrie is one of a number of strong films which featured at this year’s Sydney Film Festival and along with Last Cab to Darwin, Strangerland and Holding the Man. While there is, perhaps, a the view in some circles that the golden days of Australian films are behind us, the strength of these films suggests that there is much to support and appreciate in contemporary Australian cinema. If you missed Ruben Guthrie at the SFF it is well worth catching it during its upcoming commercial release.

– Mark Roberts

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Mark Roberts is a Sydney based writer and critic. He is the editor of Rochford Street Review.

Ruben Guthrie opens nationally on 16 July. For further details go to  http://rubenguthrie.com.au/

 

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Issue 14 April 2015 – June 2015

thin-air_the-grass-is-greener_cecilia-white_2013

The grass is greener was installed as part of Cecilia White’s three week solo exhibition THIN AIR in March 2013 at The Lock-Up Cultural Centre, Newcastle.

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Australian Films Centre Stage at the 62nd Sydney Film Festival

The 62nd Sydney Film Festival kicks off on 3 June. In the first of three pieces over the next week Mark Roberts previews some of the festival highlights. In this first piece he concentrates on some of the Australian films that will be screening at the festival.

700x350It has been a few years since I actually covered the Sydney Film Festival as opposed to attending screenings without the intention or requirement to write up a review or to provide and overview of the festival. This probably explains why I have been remembering the first time, back in the mid 1980s, when I received a media pass and found myself rushing back and forwards from the office to the State Theatre with a notebook, a pencil and an ever growing list of deadlines. From memory it was 1985 and I was working as the reviews editor of Tribune. I had a list of films to write on, most of them political documentaries or features from the Eastern Bloc countries plus the occasional East German musical. It was also the year that the Jean-Luc Godard film Hail Mary was screened at the festival. On day two or three of the festival I was rushing along George Street to get to a screening of, I think, one of the East German musicals and took a shortcut down the little lane way that came out next to the State.

As I emerged onto Market Street I was confronted by an angry mob – but it wasn’t your normal angry mob. There appeared to be large number of chanting nuns and banners proclaiming that the ‘Legion of Mary’ was not happy. I was trying to figure out what was going when I was struck heavily on the back of head with a large wooden crucifix. I remember dropping to my knees and then being helped into the theatre by a security guard. I was then caught up in the rush of people who had made it past the increasingly violent protest and carried into the theatre where I found a seat and tried to focus on the screen.

Still feeling the effects of almost being knocked out it took me some time to realise I was not watching a East German musical. Finally breaking a film festival taboo I asked the person in front of me what was showing. It turned out I was watching Hail Mary which had been due to be shown some four hours earlier but had been delayed due to a series of bomb threats. I can’t remember much about Hail Mary and spent the rest of the afternoon and some of the evening at RPA being checked for concussion and missed the next three days of the festival.

Looking through the program for this festival I couldn’t find a movie which, by itself, would bring the crucifix bearing mobs into the streets. That is not to say however, that the 62nd Festival lacks excitement .

I recently heard, during a discussion about the impact of the budget cuts on the Arts, that Australian cinema has lost the “punch” it had 30 years ago, and that this lack of vitality, which is reflected across the arts, was one of the reasons why governments found it much easier these days to attack the funding base of Australian culture. While such a comment probably reflects a slightly selective memory of recent Australian cultural history, one could also point to the strong line up of Australian films in this years festival as evidence that we still have important stories to tell and we can tell them with passion and skill. Perhaps the thing that is missing is the committment from governments to provide a viable funding structure to ensure these stories can be told into the future.

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Patrick Brammall in Ruben Guthrie

Ruben Guthrie, the directorial debut of award-winning playwright, screenwriter and actor Brendan Cowell, opens this year’s festival. Cowell adapted the film from his own play which premiered at the Belvoir in 2009. The film follows the main theme of the original play – Ruben Guthrie is an advertising man leading a party boy lifestyle with a model fiancée and a house on the water. He also likes a drink or three. He’s at the top of his game, until some drunken skylarking suddenlly brings him down. His mum hits the panic button, and then his fiancée  leaves him, but not before issuing him one final challenge: If Ruben can do one year without a drink, she’ll give him another chance” With a strong cast featuring Patrick Brammall, Alex Dimitriades, Abbey Lee, Harriet Dyer, Jeremy Sims, Brenton Thwaites, Aaron Bertram, Robyn Nevin and Jack Thompson, Ruben Guthrie is a film to look out for.

Another potential standout Australian film is Jeremy Sims’ Last Cab to Darwin. The film, which is loosely based on an actual event, follows Rex, a Broken Hill cab driver who is told he has less than three months to live, as he drives his cab from Broken Hill to Darwin where he believes that the recently past euthanasia laws will allow him to end his life on his own terms. Once again there is a cast that suggests that this will be a special film featuring Michael Caton, Mark Coles Smith, Emma Hamilton and Jacki Weaver. An added bonus is that Ed Kuepper has provided the original soundtrack to the film – something that by itself would ensure that Last Cab to Darwin would be on my must see list.

Michael Caton in Last Cab to Darwin

Michael Caton in Last Cab to Darwin

Strangerland, a joint Australian/Irish production, is Australian director Kim Farrant’s feature debut starring Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes. The film follows Catherine (Kidman) and Matthew (Joseph Fiennes) and their teenage children following their move to the remote outback town of Nathgari. When the two children mysteriously disappear just as a huge dust storm hits the town, Rae, the local cop, attempts to solve the case and uncovers layers of dark history.

Turning to documentaries one of the more interesting Australian documentaries at this yerar’s festival is Gayby Baby. Director Maya Newell has said of the film “I am a gayby (a person with same-sex parents) and I want to make a film about kids growing up in families like mine”. Told from the perspective of the kids, the film is about the experiences of the newest generation of gaybies, as well as a film about what family in the 21st century might mean.

Among the other Australian movies to look are  – directed by Shakthi Sivanathan and Guido Gonzalez and set in Cabramatta, Simon Stone’s The Daughters and Neil Armfield’s Holding the Man which will close the Festival on 14 June. In addition there are ten Australian documentaries competing for The Documentary Australian Foundation Award and another ten leading Australian shorts competing for the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films.

So while comparisons between the vibrancy of the Australian film industry in the 1980’s and that of today might be problematic, the depth of Australian talent on display during this year’s Sydney Film Festival would suggest that any decline is not due to lack of talent, commitment or passion on behalf of our filmmakers or actors.

– Mark Roberts

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Mark Roberts is a Sydney based writer and critic. He is the editor of Rochford Street Review.

Full detials on the Sydney Film Festival can be found at http://www.sff.org.au/ 

Ruben Guthrie official site http://www.rubenguthrie.com.au/
Last Cab to Darwin official site http://www.lastcab.com.au
Strangerland official site http://www.transmissionfilms.com.au/films/strangerland
Gayby Baby official site http://thegaybyproject.com/
The story behind Riz http://www.curiousworks.com.au/stories/blog/see-story-behind-riz/
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Hope and Resilience: Linda Adair reviews ‘Bathing Franky’

Bathing Franky. Directed by Owen Elliott, Produced by Michael Winchester and Owen Elliott, screenplay by Michael Winchester. Starring Henri Szeps, Maria Venuti, Bree Desborough and Shaun Goss. For latest distribution details check http://bathingfranky.com/

Rodney(Henri Szeps) and Franky (Maria Venuti) in Bathing Franky.

The independent feature, Bathing Franky is many things, but above all it is a story about love and resilience, both in terms of the narrative on screen and the background story of how that story came to be told. In order to make the film, director Owen Elliott and a group of creative people local to Paterson, Dungog and Gresford in the Hunter Valley NSW, denied the power of the word ‘No’ and their distance to the capital cities and serious funding capital. Like the promotional flier says “With our imagination we make the world”, and it was only through imagination,  determination and lateral thinking, that a world view existing in the  Hunter Region crystallised  as this lovingly crafted film.

By turns hilariously funny, genuinely moving and even, at times chillingly cold, the surprises of the screenplay are always grounded in the emotional truth of the characters. Disarmingly light in touch, it nevertheless pulls few punches as it handles issues seldom considered in bigger budget Australian films.

When Steve (Shaun Goss) is released on parole from prison, he is unable to connect with his girlfriend Susie (Bree Desborough) and his former friends. Needing a job, he takes on a meals-on-wheels delivery job for a community welfare agency run by the forthright Peg (Kath Leahy) and this is how he meets Rodney (Henri Szeps) who cares full-time for his mother Franky (Maria Venuti) .

The story unfolds in magical moments sustained by Szeps’ irrepressible Rodney.  The audience is swept along by the hope and resilience of people whose lives are impacted by trauma in many forms, be it the day-to-day struggle to get by, the after-effects of imprisonment, the endless self-sacrifice of unpaid carers, or the question of palliative care and the right to live and die with dignity in a system geared up for institutionalized care of the elderly and infirm.  Goss delivers a finely nuanced performance in this striking feature film debut; Venuti’s performance as the now ancient but once glamorous Franky is, despite two hours of ageing latex makeup each day, bravely vulnerable and affecting.

It was startling to watch a feature film which looks so good, plays so well, and has such a big heart, only to discover in conversation with Director, Owen Elliott after the screening, the absurdly meagre budget on which it was created. Whilst both Elliott and Michael Winchester (writer) had referred, during the Q & A at the red carpet launch at Dungog’s historic James Cinema on 16 June 2012, to the nano-budget they had stretched to make this film, hearing the actual dollar value amazed me. One can only imagine how extraordinary this movie could have been, had a realistic budget been available! What has been achieved is miraculous and evidence of the generosity of regional communities working to support their own.

Maria Venuti and Henri Szeps on a (soggy) red carpet at Dungog’s James Theatre.

During the Q & A, Elliott and Winchester  alluded to the challenges small budget films face to obtain distribution under the prevailing distribution models. I had travelled up from Sydney to the Dungog screening to see the film, and to enjoy a weekend in the country at the request of John O’Brien who was the Script Editor, First Assistant Director and who worked on the post production of Bathing Franky.  But something happened during the screening of the film; as I  found myself falling under the spell of the amateur magician Rodney, his once-exotic, now-ancient mother, and the influence they have on Steve and his girlfriend Susie (played superbly by  Desborough).

As fresh eyes from Sydney, I came to the view that the struggle to make, and then distribute, Bathing Franky is emblematic of the struggle about what matters in our culture and society where the majority of the population in the cities and know little of the life of  people living  in country towns and the struggles they face. The narrative on screen is about people living on the margins; the story of the making of Franky is about  people committed to telling our stories who work on the margins often without pay. Even if the resulting product was not as good as it is, it would be a shame for it only to be distributed on the  margins.

We sometimes hear politicians talking about the financial and personal sacrifices carers make and the need to support them in a country with an aging population. The message is not sexy and most voters do not care. This film brings one carer’s situation to life with colour and joy and a surreal twist of humour.

A good script,some great camera work by Gavin Banks and some lovely performances make it a special treat. Some high risk moments are handled sensitively and joyously. And although there are a couple of scenes likely to take some people beyond their comfort zones, these are never gratuitous.

Rochford Street Review wants  encourage audiences in Sydney and  Melbourne, and indeed across Australian, to go and see this film because it is both great fun and a story of good faith.  The problem is, where is it showing? Whilst special screenings have been held to sold out houses in Parramatta, Dungog, Maitland and Newcastle,  distribution in Sydney or Melbourne is far from assured as yet; simply due to the way the prevailing distribution models do not favour small, independent film makers.

Hopefully, the Friends of Franky, and some champions too, will take up this challenge and at least  a limited release in Sydney or Melbourne will be made possible. Again lateral thinking and community support may be the only way this can be done because money is a very real obstacle for people who have put their own funds and unpaid time into the project. Crowd funding is one possible way of raising funds for a screening in a capital centre.

Visit the Bathing Franky website, www.bathingfranky.com, for updates and information, and offer to help if you can to bring this wonderful movie to a cinema in a capital centre near you.

Afterall  ‘with our imagination we make the world’ … but a little bit of practical support  goes a long way too!

At the Q & A after the Dungog screening of Bathing Franky (from left to right) Owen Elliott (Director and Co-Producer), Henri Szeps, Maria Venuti and Michael Winchester (Co-Producer and Writer). (Photo Linda Adair).

– Linda Adair

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Linda Adair is a Sydney based critic and an editor of Rochford Street Review.