Gonna warn you up front: The two films covered in this week's episode are so different that you might get the bends when we transition from one to another. Yeah, there's sort of a common theme of escape, but one film takes a literal and energetic approach to the subject, and the other, spiritual and introspective. Both are worthwhile to check out, particularly since one is by one of my favorite filmmakers, Francois Ozon. But if you want to make a double-feature of them, just be prepared for the shock.
Particularly because the Australian film, Bran Nue Dae, is such a radical treatment of the themes of racial and cultural identity and exploitation. Born as a set of songs in which the indigenous band Kuckles explored their youths, the music eventually had a story built around it for its transition to the live stage. Now, Rachel Perkins opens the tale up with considerable energy and humor. The film tells the story of an aboriginal teen (Rocky McKenzie) who runs away from a Perth boarding school to rejoin his girlfriend in the coastal town of Broome -- along the way, we get wild caricature, broad comedy, and genuine, spiritual turmoil, mixed with eye-popping visuals and a veritable grab-bag of musical styles. It's a road movie, done the Australian way, fun yet still incisive.
Meanwhile, Francois Ozon brings his customary sensuality and intensity to Hideaway (Le Refuge), the story of a young drug addict (Isabelle Carré) who, following the fatal overdose of her lover, discovers she's pregnant with his child. Rather than have an abortion, as her departed lover's family would wish, she retreats to a beach house, to eventually be joined by her lover's gay brother, Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy). As always with Ozon, the character interplay is complex, clear-eyed, and gripping, although the tone is more elegiac and nuanced than Ozon's other matchup of expectant motherhood and the beach, See the Sea. The drama's smart, naturalistic, and moving -- Ozon at his best.
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