Director: Gillian Armstrong
Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career, Last Days of Chez Nous, Little Women) returns to the documentary world of Smokes & Lollies. Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better and Bingo. Braces & Bridesmaids with not so much a fourth addition to, as an all encompassing overview of the lives of the three women she has been following since they were gum chewing, boob tube wearing 70s teenagers.
Kerry, Diana and Josie are now in their thirties with adolescent children of their own. This new generation allows Armstrong the fascinating opportunity to ask the same questions of Amy, Wendy and Rebecca that she asked their mums at their age and for once the kids have the indisputable means of checking the veracity of parental memory.
Enriched with clips from the previous films in this ever evolving series, nostalgia (do any of us talk with quite those 'strine accents anymore?) gives way to real insight into how, not only the women but Australia itself has changed over the last twenty years.
Warmth and camaraderie between filmmaker and subject blurs the documentary divide and the tougher questions regarding class, attitudes, expectations and achievements are implied rather than asked through the gentle and often humorous parallels Armstrong draws between parent and child, past and present, dreams and reality.
Time capsule, social, cultural and personal barometer Not Fourteen Again, like Britain's 7 Up project, is unique (AH)