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Australia 1977
Directed by
Colin Eggleston
92 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Long Weekend (1977)

If you've been nurturing the idea that a weekend's camping will kick out your urban anxieties and bring you refreshingly closer to nature this film will have you thinking again. Long Weekend is a somewhat over-the-top cinematic contribution to the annals of Anglo-Celtic perceptions of the alienating strangeness of the Australian bush.

With a relatively small budget ($AU270,000) it is a cleverly-made genre film, Everett De Roche's script confining proceedings almost exclusively to the dynamic between the two believable main characters and Colin Eggleston, a television director making his first feature, building the suspense nicely whilst the rest of the team including cinematographer Vincent Monton, shooting in Panavision, provide impressive technical support. The latter includes some (mostly) convincing animal stunts, although in the native fauna department there is a noticeable excess (even a Tasmanian devil!).

Briony Behets (who was married to the director) and John Hargreaves are convincing as a couple whose relationship is rocky and about to get much rockier once they step beyond their comfort zone. De Roche interplays the two main aspects of tension, their troubled relationship with each other and their troubled relationship with nature well, one feeding into the other and gradually spiralling out of control. Michael Carlos's horror-movie style score works with the cries of animals and birds to create the sense of subjectively-distorted perceptions and to intimate the possibilities of dark forces at work. The outcome is a small but effective film that rises well above the usual limitations of its exploitational conventions .

DVD Features: The film is shown in its original anamorphic widescreen theatrical format with a Dolby Digital soundtrack. There is a valuable commentary by Executive Producer Richard Brennan and DOP Vincent Monton, the original theatrical trailer and an extensive still gallery accompanied by an audio interview with John Hargreaves.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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