There was a strange excitement at settling in to watch Galore. Written and directed by Rhys Graham, Galore is set and filmed in Canberra. There are many things that go on in Canberra, be we don’t tend to see a great deal of films shot in and around our fair city.
For this Canberra girl who grew up in Kambah, the scenes were captivating. Lake Tuggeranong, Urambi Hills, Kambah Pool and Scrivener dam all vie for a local filmgoers attention. I must confess to spending much of the film trying to place the locations, a distraction that someone from out of town may not have.
Galore revolves around young love and teenaged angst. We follow two friends, Billie and Laura (beautifully played by Ashleigh Cummings and Lily Sullivan), exploring themselves in a long hot summer – the week before the 2003 Canberra bushfires.
There is a tension building slowly in the background with the smoke on the mountains clear in most panoramic shots, along with the wailing of fire engines in the background from time to time.
For me, the movie perfectly captured the sense of claustrophobia being a teenager in Canberra can create. As Laura shares a scene in her diary, she describes herself as being too big for her body, as needing to run to get things out. She encompasses a sense of frustration, wanting and needing more – not knowing what.
Scenes set at Kambah pool are reminiscent of adolescence. A burning need for more to do: without truly understanding or appreciating the beauty of the place in which we live.
Throughout the movie, the winds brew and the sky gets darker. The tension of the distant fires is matched by the tension between the characters. A love triangle, the introduction of a stranger, an unexpected twist… And then the fires.
I enjoyed Galore, but much of the enjoyment came with the familiarity of the scenery and indeed the lives of the characters.
If Galore wasn’t set in Canberra I would merely write it off as a fairly depressing movie on teenaged angst and move along.
As it stands, if you spent your teenage years swimming in the river and smoking fags in the underpasses around Canberra – you might find yourself along for the ride and transported to a different time.