Warwick Thornton’s Cannes-selected new film stars Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and newcomer Aswan Reid in a beguiling story of spirituality and survival set in 1940s Australia.
Warwick Thornton’s (Samson and Delilah
; We Don’t Need a Map
, SFF 2017; Sweet Country
) Cannes-selected new film stars Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and newcomer Aswan Reid in a beguiling story of spirituality and survival set in 1940s Australia. In an exhilarating start to the film, a brave Aboriginal boy (Reid) is engaged in a battle with police, fighting with all his might. Eventually subdued, he is sent off to a remote monastery – and home to orphaned boys – run by Sister Eileen (Blanchett). The kindly nun has a calming effect on the new boy, and he also forms connections with Sister Mum (Mailman) and George (Blair) who manages the farmlands. An attempt at bullying the new boy falls flat, and he soon becomes an established, unique presence at the monastery. But he possesses unusual powers, and as Sister Eileen’s religious zeal intensifies, things begin to unravel. Thornton’s elegant and concise storytelling is augmented with spectacular images and a uniformly superb cast – including a group of very promising actors playing the boys at the monastery. But it is the magnetic on-screen presence of young Aswan Reid that astonishes. A film of great symbolism and impact, The New Boy
finds Thornton at the height of his cinematic powers: it is intoxicating and magical.The New Boy
is also screening at our Opening Night Gala
, 7pm, Wednesday 7 June.