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This is a superb Ausralian film made early in the renaissance of film making that commenced with PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK in 1975. BREAK OF DAY is from 1977 just as cinemas were recovering from the advent of colour TV which decimated attendance. It is part of a string of films exploring the past and is set around 1919. Otherfilms of the production time 1976-79 that deserve to be seen are DEVILS PLAYGROUND, NEWSFRONT, and THE GETTING OF WISDOM. This one, BREAK OF DAY, is a quiet rural film about a damaged soldier recovering from World war One. His romance with an older woman played by Sarah Kestelman is especially tender and their troubled romance is gently presented with honesty and heartfelt care. She hasn't been seen in many films (ZARDOZ, LIZSTOMANIA of all things!) and believe it or not will soon be seen in the last of the STAR WARS franchise REVENGE OF THE SITH. However, for the mature viewer, BREAK OF DAY is a quiet drama and a DVD transfer would look superb. It is like the some of the DH Lawrence films made in the UK in the 80s like THE RAINBOW or returned soldier pix like A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY. So many Australian films of this period are historical dramas and most deserve to be re packaged and released. Most are very good, like THE IRISHMAN, CADDIE, and those above.
This film is a forgotten minor classic of the Australian industry. It very effectively evokes post WWI Australia, and the values and society in a small country town, and a returned serviceman suffering post traumatic stress. The soldier is brilliantly played by Andrew MacFarlane in what must be one of his best performances. I don't know why this film isn't better known or more popular - it's subject matter isn't uplifting, but it is an engaging and important film - screaming for a DVD release! If you can find this film somewhere it's well worth looking at. It makes a nice companion piece to The Mango Tree, and is a superior film to that.
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