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A beautiful young man has been summoned to an eerie meditation retreat by a dying theatre director. The young man has been given a tape of instructions; over a weekend he must perform ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Conor O'Hanlon ...
Conor
...
Dr. Elsja
Natasha Herbert ...
Lena
Susan Lyons ...
Verna
Margaret Mills ...
Anne
Ian Scott ...
Director
Jethro Lazenby ...
Little Joe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jethro Cave ...
Little Joe
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Storyline

A beautiful young man has been summoned to an eerie meditation retreat by a dying theatre director. The young man has been given a tape of instructions; over a weekend he must perform scenes from the director's life. He visits different rooms encountering five actresses who all portray key women in the director's life. They rehearse the boy to play the lead role in an as yet 'unmade film'. The dying director watches young boy's progress as he searches to inhabit the director's identity. It's an Alice in Wonderland tale and an unpredictable journey of self discovery for all concerned... Written by Megan Spencer - Director Perth Film Festival

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Genres:

Drama | Mystery

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11 June 2007 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

I Won't Grow Up  »

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Let yourself go
14 August 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

When I walked out of this film during the Melbourne International Film Festival, I fell in beside a bunch of 18 year old school students from the audience who were musing that if that's what film is all about then they are glad they haven't applied for film school. Thinking about this, and reading the other people's comments on this site, I am left with no doubt that to enjoy this film, the audience requires a certain degree of maturity.

It is a film which builds through a series of surreal scenes which time and again left me staggered both with their stark originality and their subtle rendering. The scenes focus on the central character meeting several different women and reenacting a series of different scenarios which have been penned from the real life experiences of a dying director. There is certainly a very strong tone of mystery pervading the film. It deals with subjectivity, the fraught nature of creation (in performance, film or metaphysically) and the subjugation of particular rationalities and identities in favour of other forms, realities and selves. It also deals with immortality.

Now all this sounds a bit heavy, but the material of the film provokes a genuinely cerebral engagement. What makes it work however, is its simplicity. It is beautifully shot, in a particularly fecund location, with an almost meditative quality to its scenes. It begs the audience to let go. To take the trip and immerse yourself in the confusion and possibility with the main character. I found the contrast between the simplicity of the film's aesthetic sensibilities and the perplexing (and somewhat foreboding) qualities of its social situations and subtexts absolutely tantalising. The unpredictability of the story and the inability to pin it down results in an exhilarating escape to a very different place. In some ways I experienced a similar exhilaration to what I did reading The Magus by John Fowles. Both stories took me away into a sort of fantasy where I was constantly left wondering what was around the next corner.

Some viewers evidently find that unpredictability unsettling. They find its bold meditations tiresome or boring. They are frustrated by the absence of clear filmic markers. By the invisibility of signposts to help you make sense of exactly what the characters might be thinking. These people thrive on structure and familiarity. They like to be given a clearly marked prism through which to view drama, its characters and its meanings. And that's fine for them. But some of us will revel in being disoriented and will enjoy being left alone and vulnerable to Coroboree's unique magic. The oft-observed inferiority (discourse) of the Australian Film Industry owes itself not to the creation of films which challenge and divide an audience but the absence of these films. I think Coroboree is a great Australian film.


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