Hot on the heels of last week’s UK release of Julius Avery’s heist thriller Son of a Gun, comes another Western Australian tinged cinematic delight of a wholly different flavour. Produced by Robert Connolly and adapted from the best-selling short story collection by internationally renowned author Tim Winton, The Turning is a portmanteau film that subtly weaves a sparse narrative surrounding members of the Lang family, exploring the impact of the past and how futures are sometimes shaped in the smallest moments.
Having previously brought Beautiful Kate and Bitter & Twisted to UK audiences, Matchbox Films -those fine purveyours of Antipodean (and other) delights – have just released two more Australian titles in the UK.
Appearing shortly after the much-lauded Kick-Ass, Griff the Invisible (2010) no doubt suffered a similar fate to fellow super(anti)hero black comedy Super – with endless comparisons between these tales of ordinary guys turned (not particularly) super. In this iteration, Griff is a highly disfunctional office worker who spends his days being relentlessly harassed by his co-workers. At night, however, he dons a cape and roams the streets, protecting the neighbourhood from thugs and lowlifes until he finally meets his match – a girl called Melody who shares his aptitude for daydreaming.
Despite being faintly damned as ‘twee’, ‘shaggy’ and ‘uneven’, many critics praised this Aussie superhero rom-com for being ‘cheefully offbeat’ with ‘moments of pure magic’. Produced by Jan Chapman and providing the feature directorial debut for Aussie actor Leon Ford, the film features True Blood star Ryan Kwanten in the lead role alongside Maeve Dermody (Black Water, Beautiful Kate).
Also out now on Matchbox is Blessed (2009), the latest feature from Ana Kokkinos, the talent behind the brilliantly unrelenting features Head On (1998) and The Book of Revelation (2005). Relating the interweaving tales of a handful of kids living on the streets of Melbourne, the film is adapted from Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?, a tough theatrical portmanteau borne from a collaboration between a quintet of Australia’s finest writers – Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irine Vela.
Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Frances O’Connor, Miranda Otto, Deborra-Lee Furness, William McInnes and Sophie Lowe, Blessed plays out on the meaner streets of Melbourne over a 24 hour period, and builds upon a moody (some might say ‘gloomy’) atmosphere to provide a lingering portrait of the difficulties faced by children and parents alike as they struggle to cope on the fringes of society.
Blessed is out now on DVD.