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Australia, 1999 (MIFF 2000)

Director: Vincent Giarrusso

The only Australia film to be selected for Cannes this year, Mallboy is the first film from Vince Giarrusso, most well known as voice/guitarist for Melbourne group underground LOVERS. As writer/director of Mallboy, Giarrusso proves that he is a versatile artist with an incredible breadth of talent. Humour, drama and social comment collide in a unique Australian feature in the tradition of last year's menacing The Boys, even harking back to films like FJ Holden and Puberty Blues with their spot-on examinations of sub-culture and lifestyle.

In Melbourne's outer suburbs, high-schooler Shaun divides his time between dodging police and social workers that would have him in government care, selling drugs to school chums, shoplifting and sniffing glue with his girlfriend and pals. His home life—overseen by an alcoholic mother and junk-food/daytime television addicted sisters—doesn't exactly auger well for his future. The highlight of Shaun's young life is his father's imminent release from gaol. Giarrusso unearths every nugget of hope and every humourous gem in his characters' lives. He is never condescending to his subjects, more critical of a system that limits the choices of society's fringe dwellers. Mike Leigh's eye for detail but a uniquely Australian perspective.

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