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AS TIME GOES BY

Australia, 1987 (MIFF 1988)

Director: Barry Peak

A peculiar looking spaceship lands in the Australian outback. On closer inspection it appears to be disguised as a 1940's roadside diner and staffed by a time travelling alien clearly brought up on a diet of old movies Not far away, Mike, a young surfer, is travelling to keep an appointment made for him 25 years ago by his mother he has to meet a certain Joe Bogart at a spot miles away from anywhere, though he doesn't know why.

Such is the premise for Barry Peak's new feature, an affectionate sci-fi comedy that successfully assimilates a number of obvious influences - spaghetti westerns, 'Star Wars', the films of Joe Dante and the Coen Bros, and every time-travel/alien flick ever made - into an original and thoroughly Australian mix, with some lovely comic cameos and a droll sense of humour

Considering this is a film that doesn't take itself too seriously, Peak's script delivers some surprisingly affecting moments as we discover just why Mike is keeping this rendezvous The icing on the cake however is Max Gilles' tour-de-force performance as Joe Bogart, the alien with a nice line in time-warping cocktails and a vocab made up entirely of lines (and voices) from Hollywood movies Here Gilles is let loose to do what he does best, and the rapid fire deliver)' in his brief appearances lifts the film way out of the ordinary.

Niquc Needles gives his most sustained performance yet as Mike, Bruno Lawrence plays it dead-straight as the bush cop unwittingly at the centre of the mystery and there's an impressive debut from Marccllc Schmitz as a station owner Despite encouraging reactions and sales overseas, the film is sail awaiting an Australian release but then, the fundamental things don't necessarily apply, do they?

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