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SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY

Australia, 1975 (MIFF 2002, Australian Showcase)

Director: Ken Hannam

Jack Thompson, Max Cullen, Peter Cummins, John Ewart: Sunday Too Far Away is a parade of Australian cinema royalty. This leather tough 1974 feature is set on an Australian sheep station in 1955 in the lead up to the infamous nine-month shearer's strike. It graphically depicts the lives of shearers, the hardships of living through the union action and the consequences of ageing in the highly competitive world of the shearers. Foley (Jack Thompson) is a brawling, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, gun shearer back from retirement for one last season to make the most of a pay rise.

Director Ken Hannam uses the eclectic characters of the film to demonstrate the masculinity and mateship of Australian culture in the era. The constant one-upmanship, alcohol and gambling are inextricably woven into these men's lives. Sunday Too Far Away makes a cultural statement with few words, simply a laconic, Ocker attitude and a wry sense of humour. A new 35mm print of a landmark film that has earned a place in Australian film history.

Ken Hannam is a journeyman director, born in 1929, whose first job was at the helm of The Recruiting Officer (1965). He directed numerous television series including Contrabandits (1967) and The Day of the Triffids (1981) as well as features and telemovies including Summerfield (1977), Break of Day (1977) and Robbery Under Arms (1985).

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