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RIVER STREET

Australia, 1996 (MIFF 1996, Australian Panorama)

Director: Tony Mahood

Tony Mahood's endearing first feature, set squarely in the inner suburbs of Melbourne,a gentle moral tale at odds with the temper of our times, but even more valuable for it. In his lost substantial role yet, Aden Young carries the film (he's in almost every scene), as the ambitious Ben, a junior real-estate agent who almost falls to the highest bidder.

Ben is the ultimate yuppie, a moral-free-zone ordered by the designer suit, the designer car, the designer fiancee. That is, until fate steps in and redirects Ben's destiny. While being mistaken for a crook is probably an occupational hazard for any real-estate agent, this was not what Ben has in mind the very day his boss hands him the deal of a lifetime.

His subsequent sentence is a stint of community service at a youth drop-in centre in River Street, a destination that makes the 'big house' look good. Here Ben collides with the formidable force of Wendy (Essie Davis) and makes the big mistake of crossing her. This first feature from a former first assistant irector on some of Australia's best known films (amongst them Proof. Muriel's Wedding, Malcolm and also Wim Wender's Until The End of The World) illustrates Ben's ethical quandary with gentle strokes and considerable pathos, reminiscent of Bill Forsythe let loose in Richmond (TB)

We are all faced with choices we find hard to take I wanted to tell the story of a man ruled y his head, who chose to follow his heart" - Tony Mahood

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