Dry Winter

Director Kyle Davis / 2021 / Australia

A hypnotic portrait of a young couple surviving life in an off-the-beaten-track, opportunity-starved outback town.

Jake and Kelly, both in their early 20s, are doing odd jobs to get by in their remote country town. Days feel like they’re on a loop – the pair see their friends, party, race cars, ride bikes and take care of their dogs. But drought has made life tough in town, and Jake and Kelly must each decide what to do next and whether they must move on.

Premiering at the prestigious Visions du Réel festival earlier this year, debutant director Kyle Davis’ compelling drama – which was made with a crew of other Flinders University graduates – is a languid exploration of a transitional stage of life. Shot on South Australia’s breathtaking Eyre Peninsula, it’s rich with site-specific, sensory detail that recalls the work of fellow Australian filmmakers Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Alena Lodkina. Featuring a cast of non-actors, Dry Winter uses an observational style to capture the hazy slowness of time when what lies ahead seems unclear – and its pinprick sharpness when the clarity finally comes.

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