Australia, 1989 (MIFF 2017, Pioneering Women)

Director: Ann Turner


Horror meets coming-of-age drama in Ann Turner’s critically lauded creation.

Melbourne, 1957: with a rabbit plague in full swing and anti-communist paranoia at its peak, nine-year-old Celia (Rebecca Smart) is haunted by terrifying visions of storybook monsters who climb through her window at night and lurk behind the visages of everyday acquaintances. Mourning the death of her grandmother and mistreated at home, she befriends a neighbouring family, but their suspicious political associations soon place her at odds with her parents and classmates, with violent consequences.

The debut feature film by director Ann Turner (Dallas Doll, MIFF 1994) and recipient of an AFI acting award for Victoria Longley’s supporting role, Celia is a classic – albeit far from conventional – Australian horror movie; one whose themes of suburban prejudice and dark prepubescent imagination still resonate nearly three decades on.

'A subtly affecting rites-of-passage drama … beautifully explores the fear which so often informs childhood perception.' – Time Out

Presented by the National Film and Sound Archive's digital restoration program: NFSA Restores – reviving our cinema icons.

Director Ann Turner will be at the session to introduce the film and take part in a post-screening Q&A.

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