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Wake in Fright Wake in Fright

Ted Kotcheff / Australia / 1971 / 108 min / English

Along Mad Max, Walkabout and Picnic at Hanging Rock, Wake in Fright is widely acknowledged as one of the seminal films in the development of modern Australian cinema. A long lost and bona fide masterpiece of bizarre and uncomfortable cinema. Forget about Lynch. The most sun scorched cinematic nightmare belongs to Ted Kotcheff.

Photos

When young teacher John Grant arrives to the small mining town of Bundanyabba, he only plans to say overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But as one night stretches to five and he befriends the jovial Tim Hynes and his mates Dick, Joe, and the inscrutable Doc (Donald Pleasence in a tailor-made role), John descends into an existential nightmare.

“The best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence.”
– Nick Cave

“It’s simultaneously terrifying and hilarious, a full-on shotgun blast to the face of rediscovered 1970s weirdness, something like finding out that there’s a classic Peckinpah film you’ve never seen, or that Wes Craven and Bernardo Bertolucci got drunk in Sydney one weekend and decided to make a movie together.”
– Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Wake in Fright is a deeply – and I mean deeply – unsettling and disturbing movie. I saw it when it premiered at Cannes in 1971, and it left me speechless. Visually, dramatically, atmospherically and psychologically, it’s beautifully calibrated and it gets under your skin one encounter at a time, right along with the protagonist played by Gary Bond. I’m excited that Wake in Fright has been preserved and restored and that it is finally getting the exposure it deserves.”
– Martin Scorsese

“May be the greatest Australian film ever made.”
– Rex Reed, The New York Observer

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