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Meet Sue, a teenage Australian girl in the late 70s, whose life mainly consists of doing what everyone else does - watch the surfing boys and have sex with the same surfing boys. The girls have to follow lots of strange customs, e.g. do not eat or go to the bathroom when a boy is around. Ugly girls have two choices - being bitches and hate boys, or being generally cheap and looked down upon by everyone. The afternoons are spent on the beaches, in the backseats of car or at home-alone-parties where sex and alcohol are the main ingredients. Parents and teachers are trying to straighten the kids out, but that is not easy. Written by
Rune Dahl Fitjar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yes, Bruce Bereford's 1981 drama does explore the "blues" of schoolgirl Australians at a Sydney school. Except they must have gone through puberty at least four or five years earlier.
This colourful beach'n'surf high school drama follows a group of late- teen girls who are itching to infiltrate the world of surfer dudes who are their male idols. Much in the same almost clichéd way that U.S. football players are the supposed target for cheerleaders, this disparate bunch just want to lose their virginity and be accepted as young adults.
Neighbours and Home & Away (not that I really watched those soaps) it is not. Back thirty years ago, the natural dialogue must have seemed fresh and both invigorating or shocking, depending on your age and such. I can imagine the home teen audience then (here 15 certificate) flocking to see it. However, this isn't a competitor for those knowing, amoral and sassy American 'youth' dramas, from the likes of John Hughes.
Firstly, the characters are all a bit colourless, with no-one standing out as having any charisma to speak of. The awkward fumblings of half- hidden sex scenes arrive within twenty or so minutes, all totally unromantic and un-erotic. Secondly, we've all seen (& most probably tried) the usual experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol and soft drugs, with headmasters going off on one, and so these scenes are just regurgitating the same old stuff.
Finally, the film looks and feels dated. It won't capture the imagination of today's late teenage audience and holds no trump cards for us older ones to latch onto. There's precious little actual surfing, so it's not for them, either. There are some nice scenes at the start with beautiful bodies on golden sands getting as many inches of their bodies exposed to the sun as legally possible, but you can (sort of) get that in a holiday brochure.
There are some attempts at comedy, such as a fight on the beach, with dubbed-on karate chop noises but just aren't funny, at least now. It does end on an upbeat note though, which is actually quite welcome. One of the (few) highlights, for me, at least, were a couple of female-sung cover versions of Split Enz songs, one of my favourite bands and in the early 80's were popular over here as well as their native New Zealand. Pleasantly odd when two of your favourite songs start playing and they fit perfectly, lyrically - and mood-wise - into the narrative.
I watched it as part of the 12 disc box set 'Australian Cinema Collection'.
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