Ted Kotcheff's neglected classic Wake In Fright
begins its limited US theatrical release October 5 and ScreenAnarchy is proud to present an exclusive clip from the picture that Nick Cave has described as "the best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence"
. This is, of course, rather high praise from a man like Cave, who is himself responsible for quite a number of fabulous and fabulously disturbing things hailing from Australia. What will you be getting yourself into? Check the clip below.
Alongside Mad Max and Walkabout, Wake In Fright is widely
acknowledged as one of the seminal films in the development of modern
Australian cinema. Combining the backwoods horror of Deliverance and the
gritty nihilism of Straw Dogs, the film tells the story of a British
schoolteacher's (Gary Bond) descent into personal demoralization at the
hands of drunken, deranged derelicts (including a very inebriated
"doctor" played by Donald Pleasence), while stranded in a small town in
The film made its world
premiere at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival where it was nominated for a
Palme D'Or and its US distribution rights were sold. Retitled Outback
and hurried into a few theaters across the country, the film barely
played for more than a week before it was yanked from circulation due to
poor attendance and lack of advertising. Wake In Fright vanished into
obscurity, barely reviewed by American critics and not ever appearing on
domestic VHS or DVD.
For over three decades the film
materials were thought to be lost until the film's persistent
cinematographer unearthed the original negative elements in Philadelphia
in canisters marked for destruction just one week away from its
impending incineration. The materials were painstakingly restored
frame-by-frame at Sydney's At Lab Deluxe with the support of the
National Film And Sound Archive of Australia. The new restoration was
invited back to Cannes by guest curator Martin Scorsese, where it held
the honor of being one of two films to ever screen twice at the festival
(the other being Antonioni's L'Avventura).
unseen in the US and renowned in its home country after years of
neglect for its daring criticism, Wake In Fright is ripe for
rediscovery, and returns after 40 years to reclaim its title as one of
the most awe-inspiring, brutal and stunning films of all time.
in Fright is the story of John Grant (Gary Bond), a bonded teacher who
arrives in the rough Australian outback mining town of Bundanyabba,
planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But, as
his one night stretches to five, he plunges headlong toward his own
destruction. When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated John
Grant is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate
wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at a
rifle with one bullet left.
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