Born in New Zealand, Jane Campion studied film in Sydney, made a telemovie for the ABC, and then directed this startlingly bold feature. Kay (Karen Colston), a shy factory worker who is scared of trees, is told by a fortune teller that the man of her dreams will have a question mark on his forehead. Louis (Tom Lycos) happens to fit that description and, although he’s just become engaged to one of Kay’s co-workers, she quickly initiates a romance and they move into a suburban house together. Enter Dawn, aka Sweetie (Genevieve Lemon), who invades Kay’s new home, accompanied by her spaced-out ‘producer’, Bob (Michael Lake). Then there are the parents of the sisters, Gordon (Jon Darling) and Flo (Dorothy Barry), who are having marital difficulties of their own. Filled with eccentric characters and situations – the dancing jackaroos are a hoot! – and all of it superbly photographed by Sally Bongers, this remarkable slice of Australiana, with its choral music and quirky mood shifting, is a genuine original from one of the world’s great contemporary filmmakers. Chosen to compete at Cannes, where it became a controversial sensation, the film established Campion as a major international director.
From the Collection of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia