David Stratton presents Essential Australian Women Directors
1991 | 91 mins | M | Australia | D: Jackie McKimmie
Arc Cinema | English Language
Tickets $15/$13 - season pass available
Noni Hazlehurst plays a surrogate mother about to give birth, who welcomes her closest friends to her isolated rural shack. McKimmie’s second feature is a gem.
Hazlehurst is luminous as Clare, a pregnant woman awaiting the birth of her first baby. She lives in a shack in the bush with an outside dunny, and her only neighbour is the elderly Frank (Ray Barrett), who lives in a caravan nearby. Clare’s friends, Sandy (Helen Jones) and Michael (Frank Whitten), have made an arrangement with Clare to be the surrogate mother of their baby. Also present to help celebrate the birth are journalist Diane (Deborra-Lee Furness), who has been living in London and arrives with her latest lover (Denis Moore), and feminist filmmaker Terry (Fiona Press), who is accompanied by her teenage daughter (Noga Bernstein). It’s a frank and beautifully-made film about friendship, sexual politics and infidelity, with beautifully photographed scenes of chaos as the little house fills with people who bicker, joke, quarrel, consume lots of food and booze – and await the arrival of the baby, that seems a long time coming. Hazlehurst, who was genuinely pregnant when the film was made, is the calm centre of the drama, and gives one of her finest performances.