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Australia 1978
Directed by
John Duigan
96 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Mouth To Mouth

Made for $130,000, a piddling sum even in its day, John Duigan’s coming-of-age film is a marvellous achievement. Originally shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, it demonstrates that budget is no barrier if you choose your subject matter well. Here the subject of four homeless teenagers trying to make their way in the world actually benefits from the low budget, the lack of resources both keeping the film authentic in look and free of unnecessary embellishments.

Serge (Serge Fazzetto) and Tim (Ian Gilmour) are two callow lads from Wonthaggi on Victoria’s eastern coast who arrive in Melbourne looking for work. There they meet Carrie (Kim Krejus) and Jeanie (Sonja Peat), two runaways from a girl’s reformatory. The boys have a few dollars and the girls have their street smarts and after some initial personal skirmishing they set up house in a squat in an abandoned warehouse on the CBD’s western fringe.

There is little plot per se but the strength of the film is the way it depicts the development of the kids' relationships with each other as they learn about themselves and each other in the school of hard knocks. Although fascinating as a depiction of Melbourne in the late 1970s in its simple cleaving to its subjects, all credibly brought home by the young inexperienced cast, it is no doubt as relevant today as when it was made.

FYI:  Bruce Beresford did something comparable with his account of a couple of teenage girls growing up on Sydney’s Northern beaches, Puberty Blues (1981).

DVD Extras: Interviews with Duigan, cinematographer, Tom Cowan and cast members, Ian Gilmour, Kim Krejus and Sonja Peat; Theatrical trailer.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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