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Australia 1976
Directed by
Henri Safran
88 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Storm Boy

Winner of Best Film at the 1977 AFI Awards Storm Boy is based on the classic Australian children's novel of the same name by Colin Thiele.

It was filmed in South Australia at the Fluerieu Peninsula, 88 km from Adelaide and is a gentle rites-of-passage story of ten year-old Mike 'Storm Boy' Kingsley (Greg Rowe) who lives with his curmudgeonly, anti-social fisherman father 'Hide-Away Tom' Kingsley (Peter Cummins) in a beach shanty. In his isolation he forms bonds with, on the one hand, his pet pelican, Mr Percival, and on the other, with Fingerbone Bill (David Gulpilil) a Kunai Aboriginal living on the local reserve.

Although the film's simplicity, in terms of oth narrative and realization is hardly the stuff with which young people are familiar today, with its threads that touch on Aboriginal culture, respect for the environment and animals and the condition of being an "outsider", it is a thematically rich story that remains as valuable today as when it was made. It was a deserved commercial success in its day (box office gross $2.6m for an outlay of $260,000) with Safran, a television director making his first feature giving the story a suitably accessible treatment aided by DOP Geoff Burton's picture book photography and Michael Carlos's empathetic score.

FYI: Future Oscar-winning director, Scott Hicks is credited as a "runner".




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