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Australia 1977
Directed by
Ken Hannam
95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars


Although the slow pacing of the film may be questioned and Nick Tate's butt-hugging shorts are a distraction, Summerfield is a remarkable but neglected Australian film from the writer and producer of Picnic At Hanging Rock, Cliff Green and Pat Lovell, respectively. Like that film it is a mystery with strong connections to the landscape but in a contemporary setting and with more overt sexual content.

Perhaps the latter aspect, which enters the terrain of the taboo, explains the film's lack of prominence in the annals of Australian film, but with a fine script by Green, solid production values and robust direction by Hannam, handsome photography by Mike Molloy, an effective score by Bruce Smeaton and excellent performances from a strong cast, Summerfield deserves to be a much better known film.

In the casting department Elisabeth Alexander, a popular choice of the times, is probably too young for the part and her characterisation, although in itself captivating, too refined to convince but there is enough substance here to carry the film off.

FYI: The fictional Summerfield was set on Churchill Island in Westernport Bay, Victoria.




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