Friends and Strangers

Director James Vaughan / 2021 / Australia

The drift of twentysomething life comes under the lens in this celebrated Aussie slacker satire.

Ray, a self-absorbed Sydney videographer, is set to film a fancy wedding at a waterside McMansion, but doesn’t quite have things under control. Alice is driving from Brisbane, and invites him on a flirtatious camping trip that turns fraught. Later, finally at the ostentious villa, Ray clashes with the father of the bride, a garrulous art collector.

Friends and Strangers – the first ever Australian title selected for IFFR’s Tiger Competition – is the impressive feature debut of James Vaughan. The writer/director honed his observational vignette approach at MIFF, winning the Emerging Australian Filmmaker award for You Like It, I Love It (MIFF 2013) and co-writing There Is No Such Thing as a Jellyfish (MIFF 2014) with director Alena Lodkina (Strange Colours, MIFF 2018). Musing on serendipity, ennui, colonisation and social mobility, this formally playful work is already drawing comparisons to the films of Jim Jarmusch, Éric Rohmer and Hong Sang-soo.

“Stealthily superb … Vaughan takes sitcom-like material about the mishaps of young middle-class urbanites and reinvigorates it with his hilariously offbeat comic sensibility and quietly impressive cinematic flair.” – Jigsaw Lounge

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