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Australia, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Australian Showcase)

Director: Matthew Saville

Melbourne stand-up comic Roy Höllsdotter is enjoying popularity, regular bookings and plenty of laughs. His routines leave the crowds rolling on beer-splashed carpet at his weekly gig but his private life is going to hell. Roy's girlfriend Cate has unceremoniously dumped him. Roy's neuroses, apathy and smart mouth saw her out the door and now the comedian has turned amateur stalker. Perched atop a stool in a local cafe, his nightly stake-out affords him a brief glimpse of Cate as she drives by.

Amongst his coterie of dead-shit mates, it's the unassuming Simmo (Luke Elliot) who comes to Roy's rescue. Ignoring insults, brush-offs, outrageous soft-drink prices and even flying fists, Simmo persists in pressing home to the collapsing comic that his behaviour is becoming very, very dubious.

Matthew Saville's exceptional balance of belly-laughs and bleak reality is what imbues this film with its power. Ably supported by a cast of fellow comedians (John Clarke as a jaded and foul-mouthed club manager), Darren Casey tackles the character of Roy with ease and an air of casual intensity that reinforces the aura of a man at the end of his rope.

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