23 February 2024

Wake in Fright (35mm) screening

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Promotional image for Wake in Fright showing a man in the desert with a rifle and a suitcase

Wake in Fright – Ted Kotcheff, 1971.

1971 | M | 109 mins | 35mm | AUS | D: Ted Kotcheff

In a two-building town in the Australian desert, young schoolteacher John (Gary Bond) orders a beer in an otherwise empty bar. He’s waiting for the afternoon train that will take him to the next town, from which he plans to travel home to Sydney for the summer holidays.

But when John gets waylaid by a gambling spree that leaves him broke, he falls in with some hard-drinking locals (Donald Pleasence, Jack Thompson and Peter Whittle) who ply him with alcohol and force him to participate in a gruesome kangaroo hunt. Over the course of just a few days, John loses his money, inhibitions, self-respect – and almost his life.

Initially shunned by local audiences when it was released in 1971, Wake in Fright is now considered a pivotal film of the Australian New Wave for its violent and brutal depiction of life in an outback community.

‘…powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing’ – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

This film is part of the Ozploitation series at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia: wild, unpredictable filmmaking full of explosions and stunts. In celebration of the new show Stunt Double playing at the Canberra Theatre Centre from 14 to 16 March 2024, the NFSA is excited to partner with the groundbreaking dance and theatre collective The Farm and Canberra Theatre Centre to delve into the world of Ozploitation cinema and high-octane stunt work. Step inside the world of Australian New Wave action films in this series of iconic local classics from the infamously unsettling Wake in Fright and the mastery of director Brian Trenchard-Smith to the origin of the Mad Max franchise. Learn more

The Details
What: Wake in Fright screening
When: Sunday 25 February 2024, at 2pm
Where: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (Arc Cinema)
Cost: Adult $14, Concession $10. Get tickets here.

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