Australia is about Edouard Pierson, a Belgian-born wool dealer who emigrated to Australia after World War Two. The movie actual takes place in Belgium as he returns to his homeland to ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeanne Gauthier
Edouard Pierson
Julien Pierson
Agnès Deckers
Hélène Surgère ...
Odette Pierson
Maxime Laloux ...
François Gauthier
André Gauthier
Danielle Lyttleton ...
Saturday Pierson
Doreen Swanson
Bob Bradley ...
Peter Douglas ...
Michel Andres ...
Membre club aviation
Denys Hawthorne ...
Mr. Frazer
Simone Barry ...
Madame Dumoulin
Noël Baye ...


Australia is about Edouard Pierson, a Belgian-born wool dealer who emigrated to Australia after World War Two. The movie actual takes place in Belgium as he returns to his homeland to assist his family with their wool business. Edouard was left a single father after his girlfriend died and when he goes to Belgium he leaves behind this young girl, whom his family don't know about. He meets a beautiful woman, Jeanne, another single parent, and an intense relationship develops. Edouard's relationship with his family has its ups and downs and many secrets are revealed before the movie's conclusion ties everything together. Written by Lloyd Harris <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two souls forgotten by love, united by passion...






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Release Date:

13 September 1989 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Sehnsucht nach Australien  »

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Last Film of Dorothy Alison. See more »

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User Reviews

A Solid Screenplay by Jean Gruault and Jacques Audiard
21 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Australia, the film not the country, is a multi-national production. Really multi - England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and yes, Australia, the country not the film, all have a financial hand in the matter. A good thing, too: blame is a lot easier to bear when split five ways. That's not to say the picture isn't watchable. In fact, it has devised a singular method of sustaining our interest: we simply cannot believe something that seems so murky is so murky. So we listen, we watch, certain that clarification is just a scene away. Of course, that scene never comes and our confusion never goes. This film doesn't end; it expires.

Before then, the script (by Jacques Audiard and Jean Gruault, who wrote for Truffaut in earlier and clearly better days) tries to get some new world"old world action going. We open in the outback of South Australia, 1955, where Edouard Pierson (Jeremy Irons) buys and sells wool hot off the shears. He lives a quiet and profitable life, a good dad to his motherless daughter, Sattie (Danielle Lyttleton).

Meanwhile, back in the Belgium he left before the war, Edouard's own mother and brother run a wool treatment plant, a failing family enterprise in dire need of revamping. Eddie gets summoned to help; Eddie hesitates; Eddie goes. Instantly, the language of choice switches from English to French (after all, this is a multi-national production), and Belgium's landscaped claustrophobia contrasts sharply with Australia's wide open spaces.

But wait. Seems that Eddie's famille is unaware of the very existence of Eddie's daughter. Why so darned secretive? Hmm, surely that will all get cleared up shortly. In the interim, Eddie falls hard for Jeanne (Fanny Ardant), who is very conservative and very married and very adoring of her only begotten son. Nevertheless, Eddie takes a flier. Eddie invites Jeanne for what amounts to a dirty weekend in London. Jeanne slaps Eddie; Jeanne hesitates; Jeanne goes. Why? Gee, maybe we'll find out in the next scene.

Except that the next scene finds Eddie's brother taking a flier too - literally, swooping and soaring in a glider plane. Indeed, planes of all sorts keep popping up here. That's called a symbol - you know, getting away from it all, fleeing the traps of tradition, slipping the surly bonds sort of stuff. Heck, Eddie was even a pilot during the war. "The war changed a lot for me," says Eddie. How? Another question, another wait.

Waiting too, the splendid cast all look slightly anesthetized, almost stunned, like patients straight off the dental chair. Worse, director Jean-Jacques Andrien (he's from Belgium) clings to a pace that is, well, slow. How slow? Finally, an answer: if this behemoth were going head-to- head with the ice age, I'd put heavy money on the glaciers. No matter. The expiration date finally arrives, at which point Australia, the film not the country, is down under, way down under. Benjamin Miller, Filmbay Editor.

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