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COME BY CHANCE

Australia, 1992 (MIFF 1993)

Director: Lara Dunston

Come By Chance is a rarity, especially in Australian film production, a first feature self-funded for around $12,000. As director Lara Dunstan has said, "as a student with only a few short films and a feature-length video under my belt, I'd have difficulty in getting funding and I didn't want to wait to find out."

Without financial assistance one must expect technical proficiency or polish to be of secondary importance. Some films turn this into a selling point, while others seek to turn technical limitation into advantages of thematic and formal experimentation.

Come By Chance leans towards the latter by combining a number of documentary styles and the visual textures of different film mediums into a cleverly executed exercise in no-budget production. The lead characters, known simply as 'The Girl' (Annabel Stokes) and 'The Boy' (Simon Hann), are inner-city dwellers absessed with country 'n' western music who decide to take to the road in search of 'what the West is all about'.

The film crosscuts between cinema-verite style interviews, the couple's preperations for the journey and the journey itself; with the couple travelling along country roads in a beat-up Holden, checking into motels and encountering various outback locals.

There is a sense that the whole exercise is going to be therapeutic for these characters, resplendant in their Wild West garb and accompanied by the ubiquitous country 'n' western soundtrack. The Boy and The Girl are really two characters in search of a story. Indeed, if there is a story to be told, it will be discovered somewhere 'out there' in an illusive West, located in the gap between the West of their imaginations and the West they keep travelling to.

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