The Rooster Unclassified 18+
Viewer Advice: Strong impact mental health and suicide themes.
Hugo Weaving and Phoenix Raei play a hermit and a cop who form an unlikely connection amid crisis in this wonderfully weird sucker-punch of tenderness.
Dan (Raei, Below, MIFF Premiere Fund 2019; Clickbait) works in a remote police outpost in regional Victoria, but when a childhood friend is discovered dead following an incident at the local high school, his judgement and credentials are thrown into question. Consumed with guilt and suspended from the force, Dan decides to camp out in the forest, where he encounters a cranky jazz-listening, shotgun-toting, ping-pong-obsessed misanthrope (Weaving, Lone Wolf, MIFF Premiere Fund 2021; Measure for Measure, MIFF Premiere Fund 2019). At first transactional, this bond soon becomes transformative for the broken men. But, surrounded by trees, far away from any trace of civilisation, is everything really as it seems?
Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, the feature debut from actor turned writer/director Mark Leonard Winter (The Dressmaker; Little Tornadoes, MIFF Premiere Fund 2021) is a delicate, at times droll, dramatisation of masculinity, mental health and the solace found in companionship. Winter’s storytelling talents are on display in a film that is unafraid to make bold choices: the enigmatic commingles with the everyday, painterly compositions depict both rural isolation and the natural sublime, and the eerie sound design maintains an air of intriguing unease. With Weaving and Raei welded by a tremendous chemistry, The Rooster unfurls as a distinctive, unforgettable tale of two individuals confronting life’s challenges and discovering what hides behind the bravado.
Director Mark Leonard Winter and actor Hugo Weaving will both be in attendance for the screenings on Saturday 5 and Wednesday 9 August, while Winter will attend the screening on Saturday 12 August.
Winter and producer Geraldine Hakewill will also appear in the MIFF Talks event Castlemaine: Meet the Filmmakers on Sunday 20 August.