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Wake in Fright

(Rated M)

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"Did you have a good holiday?"

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Wake in Fright is a profoundly disquieting insight into the white Australian psyche directed by Ted Kotcheff (and so very far removed from his later hit Weekend At Bernie's). Sydney teacher John Grant (Gary Bond) has been working at a remote school in the sun-baked Outback. To spend Christmas with his girlfriend in the city, Grant needs to travel via Bundanyabba, or 'the Yabba', a nearby mining town rife with back-door two-up games and a suspicious attitude towards anyone who doesn't chain-drink. When he loses his money in a rookie gambling mistake, Grant is forced to spend the night with the locals, including Dick (Jack Thompson) and the menacingly bear-soaked town doctor (Donald Pleasence). He doesn't have a good night.

Why You Should See This Film

It's nothing short of a masterpiece of the Ozploitation genre. Nick Cave has called it "the best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence", Martin Scorsese describes it as "a deeply – and I mean deeply – unsettling and disturbing movie" and Wake in Fright also happens to be one of only two films to ever play twice at Cannes. Required viewing with a crowd (and a beer).

Warning: There is a particularly gruesome, real kangaroo hunting scene in the film, which may disturb some viewers (even more than everything else in the film).

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  • Year: 1971
  • Rating: M
  • Director: Ted Kotcheff
  • Cast: Donald Pleasance, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty
  • Duration: 114 minutes
  • Language: English
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