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Australia 1977
Directed by
Christopher Fraser
83 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Summer City

Written and produced by one-time Australian and World Masters surf champion, Phil Avalon, and Christopher Fraser's only directorial effort, Summer City is mostly an ungainly hodge-podge of elements. The story, set in the mid-'60s, involves four young Aussie guys heading off for a weekend's surfing and the first half of the film is largely designed as a showcase of the typical lifestyle of the post-adolescent Aussie male at the time, whether surfer or not - driving, drinking (both at the same time) and looking for a root, incidents strung together with a mish-mask rock n'roll-cum-surf music soundtrack.

Avalon plays the sensible  aRobbie, Steve Bisley is the larrikin, Boo, a 20 year old Mel Gibson, in his first significant screen role with broad Ocker accent and semi-bleached hair, plays the youngest of the group, Scollop, whilst John Jarratt is Sandy, the serious-minded fellow dragged along by Robbie in order to help him get over relationship troubles.

Little of this is of particular interest, being familiar from many comparable films of the period dealing with young Aussie male behaviour, although it is fortunately not entirely given over to the feckless. There are two strands which add something of value and make it of some interest beyond the purely sociological. One derives from the interpellation of surfing footage along with imagery that suggests something of the elemental that connects the surfing devotee with deeper natural forces. The other is, in its latter stages, a twist in the happy-go-lucky tone as the narrative finds a way to bring the boys into contact with such forces. All up however, none of it is done very well.




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