Wake in Fright (35mm) M

John Grant walks through the harsh yellow light of the outback carrying a suitcase and a gun in an image from the film Wake in Fright
25 February
Arc Cinema
Dir: Ted Kotcheff, M, Australia, 1971, 109mins, DCP,

In a two-building town in the Australian desert, young schoolteacher John (Gary Bond) orders a beer in an otherwise empty bar. He’s waiting for the afternoon train that will take him to the next town, from which he plans to travel home to Sydney for the summer holidays. 

But when John gets waylaid by a gambling spree that leaves him broke, he falls in with some hard-drinking locals (Donald Pleasence, Jack Thompson and Peter Whittle) who ply him with alcohol and force him to participate in a gruesome kangaroo hunt. Over the course of just a few days, John loses his money, inhibitions, self-respect – and almost his life. 

Initially shunned by local audiences when it was released in 1971, Wake in Fright is now considered a pivotal film of the Australian New Wave for its violent and brutal depiction of life in an outback community. 

‘Powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing’ – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Presented on a 35mm film print from the NFSA collection. 



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