2003, Total Running Time 156 Minutes (3 X 52 Minutes)
This series opens the door on contemporary family life. Inside Australian homes, it finds the ties that bind families together and the pressures that pull them apart. Each episode follows a different family negotiating the ups and downs of everyday life. What support does the family offer its members and what must they sacrifice in the interests of the family? How do they manage the complexities of modern family living? How do they all survive life together under one roof?
Chakos Family, The Meet the Chakos family - a lively Greek-Australian household in the Sydney suburb of Sans Souci.
Energetic 60-year-old Despina is at the family’s centre. She runs a weekend plant stall with her sprightly 81-year-old mum Aphrodite and cooks fabulous Greek dishes for the extended family that gathers regularly around her table. Dinner is always an animated affair as four generations share jokes, news and opinions. Despina lives with husband Steele upstairs in a neat-as-a-pin, two-storey home. Downstairs lives daughter Christina, her partner Aris, their baby boy Andreas, and Christopher and Alex, Christina’s two soccer-mad sons from her first marriage. Christina’s brother Theo, an aspiring actor, lives nearby with his partner Cheryl and their baby girl Dyana. It’s a big, loud, gregarious family that celebrates life. There’s the fuss and fun of a double christening and a flurry of activity at Easter when all the relatives come over for traditional lamb on a spit. There are challenges too as Christina and Aris announce their marriage plans and Theo struggles to find a job with a future. But they have been through tougher times before. Together they will stay on track.
Puckeridge Family, The Enter the fun and mayhem of the Puckeridge family - mum, dad and five very active children aged two to 10. Life in this household is a constant juggling act, as Sally and Dave negotiate with their kids over food, haircuts, baths and bed, and with each other over school and religion. These are familiar scenes of bills, endless washing, weekend sports, the frenetic noise of games, the strange quiet of sleep. Dave leaves for work at six in the morning, before the rest of the family is awake. Sally is a full-time, hands-on mum, who assists in her children’s classrooms. “I thought you had kids and whilst they played, you read books and got your photos in order,” she laughs. Sally is the patient one, the disciplinarian. Dave, in many ways, is a big kid himself - joining the afternoon backyard footy games with glee. He admits he’s made some selfish decisions in the past. Despite the family’s reluctance to move from Newcastle, Dave accepted a job in Sydney from which he was later made redundant. He’s now got a new, more junior position which will help meet the mortgage payments on their Concord home. It’s hard sometimes for Dave and Sally to balance their different attitudes and approaches, and even harder to find time for themselves among the constant whirlwind of children and activities. But as we listen to these two often-exhausted parents talk about their young family, their postponed renovations, their frustrations and dreams, we see how communication, respect and humour are really the essence of successful family life.
Kapsalides Family, The Meet the Kapsalides - a close-knit family of mum and two daughters who are proud of what they’ve achieved as a sole-parent household. Helen was born in Australia to a Greek father and Lebanese mother. She met her Greek husband when she was 23 and had two children before she discovered from police that he was a bigamist. Although she divorced him, her daughters Julie and Simone say the family has never said a bad word about their father, who has since died. The girls have a clutch of loving relatives and another inspiring role model in Helen’s gutsy mum, who brought up seven children almost single-handedly and is still helping them out. But this is not a stereotypical Lebanese-Greek household. Helen has supported the family by working most nights in a pub. She has always been open with her girls, giving them freedom and encouraging them to make the most of their education and opportunities. At 17 and 22, Julie and Simone are strong, beautiful and intelligent. Opinionated and lively, these three women are always talking - about work, money, music, boys - and they love a party. Now, the family is at a turning point. Julie has just finished high school and is wondering about university. Simone, who edits her own hip-hop magazine, is looking for her first full-time job. And Helen is about to turn 50 and has promised to give up smoking. She lost her job a few weeks ago after the pub changed hands. The new owners want her back as a manager but Helen is not so sure. Despite this uncertain future, the family is strong. They know they have each other.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Directors: Kay Pavlou, Ray Argall
Total Running Time: 156 Minutes
Classification: PG. Consumer Advice: low level coarse language.
Curriculum Links: Community & Family Studies and Society & Culture (NSW Stage 6), Contemporary Australian Society (VCE), Social Work, Human Services, Sociology, Gender Studies, SOSE/HSIE, Cultural Studies, Education, Personal Development, English and Media Studies.