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ON THE WAVES OF THE ADRIATIC

Australia, 1990 (MIFF 1990, Documentaries)

Director: Brian McKenzie

Melbourne filmmaker Brian McKenzie spent 5 years working on this engrossing study of a not-so-typical Brunswick household. It's a laconic, observational documentary similar to the director's I'll Be Home For Christmas (MFF '85), in which McKenzie plays a central part, camera in tow, as he documents the lifestyle of Graham (a youth in his 20s), his family and friends. After having spent so long with the family, McKenzie becomes part of the furniture - a situation which enables him to dig deep into the subject's lives.

There's no denying that a large part of the film's attraction is the element of mystery that is developed as both filmmaker and the subjects steadfastly refuse to satisfy the viewer's curiosity regarding several key matters.

All McKenzie will say is that the film is "about a gang who live in Coburg and ride bikes", although audiences will have a chance to quiz him further when the film unspools for the first time at the MFF.

Ultimately, one is reminded of the edgy, uncomfortable films of Mike Leigh (particularly Grown Ups and Meantime); only this drama is real, and it's on your block.
- (TB)

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