by Roderick Conway Morris

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In the Budding Groves of Melbourne Academe


By Roderick Conway Morris
VENICE 28 March 1997

 

Directed by Emma-Kate Croghan. Australia.

This is a well-paced funny tale of adolescent angst, rampant hormones and joie de vivre in the budding groves of Melbourne academe. Alice (Alice Garner), a graduate student, is four years overdue with her thesis, "Doris Day as Female Warrior," and spends most of her time ducking under tables to avoid her professor; her younger chum Mia (Frances O'Connor) is frantically trying to switch faculties to follow her favorite prof, while being thoroughly beastly to her adoring lesbian lover Danni (Radha Mitchell). Mia and Alice are looking for a suitable candidate to share the warehouse apartment they've just moved into. But will shy but sweet Michael (Matt Day), who is desperately trying to escape the drug-crazed medics he is rooming with, hear about it before someone else gets there first? Alice looks set to fall for the classicist, campus Casanova and part-time gigolo, Ari (Matthew Dyktynski). This is 23-year-old director Croghan's first feature, and that of most of the cast, and all acquit themselves with conviction and verve. Despite the very low budget, the film looks good and has some nice visual as well as verbal gags -- altogether a remarkable debut for a sparky group of young talent.


First published: International Herald Tribune

© Roderick Conway Morris 1975-2016