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Australia, 1989 (MIFF 1990)

Director: Ray Argall

NOEL, IN HIS LATE-THIRTIES, is a successful insurance broker in Melbourne who returns to the Adelaide suburbs of his childhood one summer; to stay with his brother, Steve, his wife Judy and their children. Steve runs a garage in a shopping centre that is going backwards financially in the age of American franchises and a dearth of customers. Both he and the ideals he stands for are on borrowed time. In Steve's apprentice, Gary, Noel sees the headstrong youth he was twenty years ago...

Ray Argall's work as cinematographer should be well known to Melbourne audiences -- he has shot three features for lan Pringle (Plains Of Heaven, Wrong World and last year's Prisoner Of St Petersburg), Mary Callaghans Tenderhooks and Brian Mckenzie's With Love To The Person Next To Me, in most cases also serving as editor

ln the early-mid 80s Argall made a string of innovative and inspired music-videos for Australian and international bands, and Pop Movie, a unique series on rock music and the music industry.

This breadth of experience has given Argall a sure grasp of technique, and

Return Home

, his first feature as a director-writer is a remarkably mature debut that rises above its modest intentions (and budget) to stand as possibly the most significant, fully rounded film to emerge from the thriving Melbourne independent scene in a decade or more.

In terms of the Australian film industry; few films come close to its unpretentious, unaffected depiction of working-class Australians. In this regard, Argall's subtle script is well served by his relatively inexperienced cast, whose immersion in the project E obvious.

In this resolutely low-key manner, Return Home finally delivers a significant emotional punch that lingers long after the impressions of many more 'showy' films have evaporated.

Ultimately this is a film about values; and not just the family values that have preoccupied so much recent American cinema. Like Mike Leigh's High Hopes, it reminds as that there are still some things worth standing by returning to. - (TB)

See also...

Miles of Music

Part of the series POP MOVIE. MILES OF MUSIC is a rock tour with a difference. Teenage Rockshow takes live rock music to outback towns, high schools and aboriginal settlements. This film shows the ... More »


... ... Ray Argall's debut feature Return Home (1990 MFF) touched a nerve with its insightful depiction of working class survivors in an ail-too-believable contemporary Australia. Argall's new Film ... More »

Shadow Panic

Three women, all strangers, synchronistically move through their separate, yet interconnected worlds. They introduce each other via the gaze of the last character and a relay of images is created ... More »

Picture Start

This inventively conceived and executed movie outlines the various figures and symbols which pertain to, and emanate from, a particularly cinematic sort of "leader". The amusing battle against all ... More »

A Rat in the Building

An impressive debut animation from Andrew Horne, adapted from a story by Olga Masters. ... Every Thursday, Maud plays hostess to her four friends from Every Street, Lilyfield - amongst them, Irene ... More »

Life On Earth As I Know It

A daggy delight and refreshing antidote to Australian cinema's "rites of passage" sub-genre. Droll, unaffectedly deadpan narration accompanies some unexpected glimpses into the situation of a young ... More »

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