australian rules premiered at 2002 Sundance Film Festival to audiences entranced by an enormously moving, immensely satisfying drama by first-time director Paul Goldman. The film is a sensitive but often unflinching foray into loyalty in a small South Australian fishing town. It surprises and delights with its complex, unexpected characters and richly layered story. Goldman perfectly captures remote Australian life, with particular detail on a dissatisfied youth's struggle to be a man. Nothing seems to happen in Prospect Bay. When the local football club gets the chance to play in the regional grand final, emotions run high. The team's strength rests in its Aboriginal players. Blacky, a sweet-natured teenager with an abusive father, seems like the only kid on the team willing to cross between factions. When the divided town erupts in violence over the football trophy, Blacky - caught between racial tensions in a town ready to explode - must face that which he fears the most: staying on the side of justice.
"A moving, insightful coming-of-age drama...australian rules is distinguished by its strong sense of place, sensitively drawn characters and the rich emotional landscape of its relationships. It is especially effective in capturing the static nature of life in an isolated community and in the way it thoughtfully subverts a story of sporting triumph to examine broader issues." - Variety
Paul Goldman (born in Melbourne) originally trained at Swinburne Institute of Technology Film and Television School in Melbourne. He has directed music videos (including work for Elvis Costello, Nick Cave, INXS and Paul Kelly) and advertisements in Australia and overseas and won many awards for his work. After completing studies at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney, he worked as co-director of photography on Ghosts... of the Civil Dead. australian rules is his first feature film as director.