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aka - Pure S...
Australia 1975
Directed by
Bert Deling
83 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Pure Shit

Made on 16mm film with a budget of $28,000 provided partly by the Film, Radio and Television Board of the Australia Council, and partly by Buoyancy Foundation, an organisation intended to help drug-users, this account of a day in the life of four Melbourne heroin addicts scandalised the Establishment at the time (hence the elided title, Pure S... by which the film is also known).

A classic in the annals of feral Australian cinema, much of the dialogue is improvised and the production values are rough and ready but it is a film of great energy and directness, qualities which are, needless to say, eminently suited to the film's subject matter.

John Laurie, Carol Porter, Gary Waddell and Anne Hetherington play the junkies with appearances by writer Helen Garner (who would go on and write about the Melbourne drug scene in her novel and subsequent 1982 film, Monkey Grip), future comedian Greg Pickhaver (later known as H.G. Nelson) and future satirist Max Gillies, helped out by cast and crew members who were themselves junkies.

The result is a film that is part social realism (the script was developed from the stories told by Buoyancy Foundation clients), part black comedy and, overall, a candid portrait of its times.




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