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Australia, 1999 (MIFF 1999, Australian Showcase)

Director: Elise McCredie

Elise McCredie's debut, Strange Fits of Passion, is an anti-romantic comedy. II is a contemporary fable about a young woman's desperate crusade to lose her virginity Obsessed with notions of love, desire and sex, she grap­ples with the difference between her poetic idealism and the very physical messy reality of sex in the 90s. Like a modern day Alice, she falls down a rabbit hole full of the most unlikely characters who all, initially at least, seem to offer her the solution to her quest.

McCredie's central character in the anonymously named 'She'. She works in a second hand bookstore and is consumed by romantic poetry despite her intellectual conviction that romance is a patriarchal plot to enslave women. Ironically, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the elusive and enigmatic stranger Francis, who she encounters in the bookstore. The film follows her trajec­tory as she embarks on a compulsive journey to find Francis.

She lives with her gay best friend, Jimmy, who must witness her hilarious string ol sexual misadventures, qui­etly amused and bemused. Between each increasingly bizarre encounter She seeks solace with Jimmy, her only real intimate contact. There's the politically correct and thoroughly postmodern Josh; Pablo the hotblooded Latin lover who falls short of the mark; and Judy, a warm but lonely charity worker who doesn't wish to share She's vision of a romantic, boot-scootin' future.

Michela Noonan brings a fitting balance of intelli­gence and fragility to the lead role in her exploration of sexual fluidity and confusion. A challenging debut.

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