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Maslin Beach (1997)

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Financed outside the political funding system now controlling the Australian film industry, Maslin Beach demonstrates an interesting filmmaking strategy - no costumes, no sets, one location... See full summary »

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Title: Maslin Beach (1997)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Allen ...
Eliza Lovell ...
Leylah Love ...
Shower woman
Simon Bond ...
Shower man
Bonnie-Jaye Lawrence ...
Gail
Zara Collins ...
Paula
Jennifer Ross ...
Jenny
Joshua Missen ...
Daniel
Katrina Missen ...
Daniel's mother
Kate Jenkin ...
Jill
Albert Colbert ...
Justin
Dinesh Sanders ...
Juggler
Francis Welling ...
Robbie Hoad ...
Brad
Andy McPhee ...
Zen master
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Storyline

Financed outside the political funding system now controlling the Australian film industry, Maslin Beach demonstrates an interesting filmmaking strategy - no costumes, no sets, one location and action contained within real time. The film features a huge cast of over forty performers, ranging from noted actors such as Edmund Pegge, Gary Waddell, Nick Gill, Eliza Lovell and Noel Purdon, to cameo performances by table top dancers, sex workers and opera singers - all performing naked for this seaside extravaganza. A day on a beach like no other in the world... Enjoy! Written by Anonymous

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A CULT SUCCESS! See more »

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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Followed by Summer of Love (2001) See more »

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Ariantiche
Performed (in part only) by Charmaine Lyle
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User Reviews

 
The constant nudity will be a big factor in liking it or hating it.
10 October 2000 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

Maslin Beach is a real nudist/naturist beach south of Adelaide, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, in South Australia. It is also the name of an Australian film that used the beach as a location.

Maslin Beach is labelled a romantic comedy. This could be slightly misleading, as it is not a 'hilarious' film, nor is it really romantic in the traditional sense, but it does have light-hearted moments. Much as life itself, there are also moments of sadness too. It is also entirely shot at the nudist beach mentioned above, and nudity runs throughout the length of film. The viewer quickly learns to accept this as normal, and concentrate on the plot, not the copious amount of flesh.

Simon and Marcie (Michael Allen and Eliza Lovell) arrive by car at a beach-side car park. They take their belongings to the beach, and while they are walking, a voice-over from Simon talks about his confusion about what real love is. The rest of the film is an exploration of this, framed by one complete day at the beach. The basic story is of what happens to Simon's love life, but there are also many other characters highlighted in several separate vignettes.

When they arrive at the beach, both Simon and Marcie appear bored with each other. Marcie sees them as a 'Romeo and Juliet' romantic couple. Simon is just bored with it all. Next, we are introduced to Gail (Bonnie-Jaye Lawrence), Paula (Zara Collins) and Jenny (Jennifer Ross). They are walking down the beach together discussing Gail's chances of finding the 'perfect' man, aided by the 'powers' of a necklace that brought good luck to her Grandmother. However, there are many more interesting people on the beach, not all of them 'attractive' and young (part of the realism of this film).

To service the beach's patrons there is a flatulent, short-sighted ice-cream salesperson with a van. This is Ben (Gary Waddell), who is a friend of Simon, and is also his unofficial counsellor. I would think that this character is the main comic element. It is hard to say though, as there is nothing about Ben that would make you laugh aloud, unless you were intoxicated, male and very young! Maslin Beach does have a major redeeming feature though, and that is that it does not dwell too long on any one subject. As the quality of acting is variable, the script is suspect and everything about Maslin Beach is cheap, the lack of continuity is a positive boon. In fact, there is something about this film (not the nudity) that I find appealing. It is hard to define what it is, but it could be something to do with its bluntness, and downright 'Aussie' attitude to carnal matters.

The camera work in Maslin Beach deserves a mention. Sometimes it is very good, with some stunning static shots and 'pans' of the beach, cliffs and a sunset. As nudity is a major factor in this film, framing is an important aspect of the camera work. There is no sense of gratuity in the framing, meaning that the framing is done so that the camera does not dwell on 'private' body parts. This helps to ease any sense of viewer discomfort from being within the subject's 'personal space', and makes the film more tasteful. Not an easy task, given the location for filming.

Maslin Beach is neither a 'skin flick' for post-pubescent, testosterone charged males, nor a 'Mills and Boon' romance for under-appreciated women. Maslin Beach does not seem to fit anywhere in genre. The actors are not 'attractive' in the Baywatch sense, and are just 'normal' people that you would see on the beach anywhere. It does not have a message to put across and it would not even act as a tourism advertisement, other than perhaps to Naturists. Apart from the Australian accent, the filming could have been in any sunny country. What makes this film distinctly Australian is the fact that it is pointless (cinema verite?), and only Australian Cinema, and other medium sized National Cinemas, could consider such a rash option. At the same time, these medium sized cinemas have room for experimentation in the quest for identity, and a 'flop' is not going to damage their reputation too much. It is always possible, given that Maslin Beach is now a collector's item, that the film might become internationally popular, but it is very unlikely.

During this critique, I have been sounding highly negative, at times, about Maslin Beach. This is not the real position, as I found the film very easy to watch. I enjoyed it as a reflection of near reality and real people (and problems). The problems confronted in the film are those of the everyday, and a little low on spectacle. This does it no harm in my view, and I wish that more films dealt with the everyday like this. There is a connection here with the cinemas of Europe, and with French film in particular. They rarely deal with major disasters or catastrophes, but with the everyday. Hollywood is in direct opposition to this, and rides the crest of the hyper-real action/drama/angst wave. The pace too, is much faster in Hollywood, but it is not reality. Maslin Beach is not exactly 'Jacques Tati' either, but it is on the right track, even if it does ignore issues of multi culturalism, equality, gender orientation and so on, that are of such importance in current cinema. I am sure that you will either love or hate this film, with little room for a middle ground.


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