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Australia 1994
Directed by
Ana Kokkinos
56 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Only The Brave

Co-written by director Ana Kokkinos with Mira Robertson, Only the Brave is a commendably unglamorous coming-of-age story set in Melbourne's north-western working class suburbs. It could be well-considered an abrasive female-centered counterpoint to the relatively romanticised image of growing up depicted in Michael Pattinson's Moving Out (1983).

With a cast of unknowns, Only The Brave tells the story of Alex (Elena Mandalis), her rocky friendship with Vicki (Dora Kaskanis), and her inability to reconcile herself to the dominant social order, particularly with respect to her sexuality. Although following a pattern familiar from a host of teen angst movies from Rebel Without A Cause onwards, and sometimes gauche, Kokkinos is economical in developing the story and it carries a good deal of emotional conviction with Mandalis giving a winning performance as the atypically intelligent and sensitive teenager trying to make sense of the world. 

The film won Best Film at the 1994 Melbourne International Film Festival and Best Fiction Film at 1994 Sydney Film Festival as well as picking up the People's Choice Award at the 1994 San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.




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