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Australia, 1998 (MIFF 1998, Australian Showcase)

Director: Rolf De Heer

Rolf de Heer's latest film, in the Official Selection at Cannes this year, submerges its audience into the intricate world of a woman with severe physical disabilities. Heather Rose, herself disabled, plays Julia, a woman with cerebral palsy. Her carer, Madelaine, abuses Julia both mentally and physically, going so far as to disconnect the voice machine that provides her sole means of communication. Their tenuous relationship is disrupted only when Eddie (John Brumpton) turns up - handsome, well-mannered and most of all, a decent person. Julia falls for him, but then, so does Madelaine.

In the hands of any other filmmaker, Dance Me to My Song would have failed to deal with these issues with such sensitivity and perception. As with Bad Boy Bubby and The Quiet Room, de Heer builds a particular cinematic mood in which Julia's life and independence can be fully appreciated. Irrespective of the physical challenges of supporting a lead role, Heather Rose is nothing short of masterful. Avoiding the traps of self-pity, Dance Me to My Song is without doubt Rolf de Heer's most potent film to date.

"(Bad Boy Bubby) was my first real experience seeing movie-making from the other side. I was hooked, but I didn't know where to go. Having a supportive crew and cast helped me a lot, especially co-star Joey Kennedy and Rolf de Heer." - Heather Rose

"Knowing Heather, I see the character of Julia up on the screen, and the character of Julia is not at all like Heather. It is a performance, not a recording... More than any other film I've made, this is a film that serves the actors. The actors, Heather foremost among them, serve the film exceptionally well." - Rolf de Heer

Rolf de Heer & John Brumpton are guests of the Festival.

After graduation Rolf de Heer's first film was the children's feature Tail of a Tiger (1984). His other films include Dingo (1990), Bad Boy Bubby (1995) and The Quiet Room (1996).

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