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Head On (1998)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  13 August 1998 (Australia)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 3,004 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 30 critic

A 19 year old Greek Australian youth struggles with his sexual identity and has one clumsy heterosexual and several homosexual encounters.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elena Mandalis ...
Damien Fotiou ...
Eugenia Fragos ...
Chris Kaglaros ...
Groom (as Chris Kagiaros)
Dora Kaskanis ...
Alex Papps ...
Vassili (as Vassili Zappa)
Andrea Mandalis ...
Ourania Sideropoulos ...
Anthony Lyritzis ...
Boy in Car
Ana Gonzalez ...
Woman Sweeping


Nineteen-year-old Ari confronts both his sexuality and his Greek family. Ari despises his once-beloved parents, former radical activists, for having entombed themselves in insular tradition. Ari is obsessed with gay sex, although he does make an unenthusiastic attempt to satisfy the sister of one of his best friends. While all of this is going on, he's facing problems with his traditional Greek parents, who have no clue about his sexual activities. Written by L.H. Wong <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


full on - all night - come on


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 August 1998 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

De cabeza  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,224 (USA) (13 August 1999)


$378,667 (USA) (5 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In a sex scene between Aria and Dina, the actress' sweater is buttoned closed but her body double's sweater is fully open. See more »


[first lines]
Ari: They tell you that God is dead but, man, they still want you to have a purpose. They say look at your parents: hard-working migrants, work two jobs, struggle all your life, buy your kids a house... there, that's purpose. They tell you to be a doctor, a teacher, be creative, do something, believe in something, believe in family and the future, save the world, believe in love, but, fuck it, I'm no scholar, I'm no worker, I'm no poet.
See more »


References The Grifters (1990) See more »


(Dance in 9)
Arranged by Irine Vela
Performed by the haBiBis
oud: Christos Bolzidis
toubeleki: Zois Tsikas
See more »

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User Reviews

Head On is Spot On
1 November 1998 | by (Cairns Australia) – See all my reviews

Head On is almost certainly the best film I'll see in 1998. I saw The Travelling Sydney Film Festival on the same weekend. So Head On is in exalted company indeed. And Head On is an Australian Film! Our strongest artistic expressions are cross cultural; those mergers and clashes that result from our second and third generation migrants growing up in Australia. Until the last few years we Aussies have tried to kid ourselves that we are exclusively Anglo Saxon people on the big screen, conveniently forgetting Eastern European and Asian migration, not to mention our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. So we've tended to wallow in vague Dad And Dave rural soapies, Horse Operas of the Phar Lap type or nostalgic, ANZAC and Breaker Morant homages to the mother country, ignoring the fact that we are one of the most urbanised countries on the planet, and that most of us have parents who weren't from within five hundred ks of London. Head On is about Ari (Alex Dimitriades), a 19 year old homosexual Greek Australian living in St Kilda Melbourne. He's a lost soul, enveloped in a broiling sea of parental conflict, drugs and sex. He's "not proud to be Greek. He just is." A myriad of urban dilemmas are raised in Head On, nearly all of which are profoundly realised, but only through the briefly attentive eyes of a spaced out malcontent like Ari. I was reminded of that masterful scene in that early Scorcese film called Mean Streets; a scene which has never been bettered at showing what it is like to be drunk. But Ari isn't only drunk, he's on a cocktail of speed, cocaine and God knows what else and he's full of resentment. There's a scene in Head On where he and another unhappy soul, his cousin Betty (Elena Mandalis), slump in a toilet together, sharing their unhappiness, in a brief interlude before the madness resumes. It's a poignant, sad scene, where we realise just how desperate and empty lust and drugs alone can be. But when Ari is offered love he rejects it, violently. And that's a pattern repeated in Head On. People lurch in and out of Head On who have yet to, or one suspects may never, achieve a viable feeling of self worth. They strike out against commitment and self worth, indulging in hedonism because they can. Their parents have made the sacrifices. That looks boring to the children. Materialism is as easy as the next drug deal. Love is as easy as the next screw. Head On (the alternative title Hard On is a particularly apt Freudian slip, one that I've been guilty of) is about the alienation of youth, particularly homosexual youth. It's also about the generation gap, magnified by Ari's Greek migrant parents. And Head On is about a dozen other, contemporary urban issues. Racism is addressed with some feeling, in the film's weakest segment, but Ari's not too concerned really. He's reasonably happy just if he gets stoned and laid; sad but true of so many. Writer/director Ana Kokkinos has masterfully introduced us to the Ari's turbulent St Kilda world. Her film is fascinating and world class. Alex Dimitriades (Heartbreak High) is fantastic. Head On is spot on.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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