Ann Turner | Australia | 1988
|Director: Ann Turner|
Producers: Gordon Glenn,
Screenplay: Ann Turner
Cinematography: Geoffrey Simpson
Editor: Ken Sallows
Music: Chris Neal
|Rebecca Smart (Celia Carmichael)|
Nicholas Eadie (Ray Carmichael)
Victoria Longley (Alice Tanner)
Mary-Anne Fahey (Pat Carmichael)
Margaret Ricketts (Grandmother)
Alexander Hutchinson (Steve Tanner)
Adrian Mitchell (Karl Tanner)
Rating: PG coarse language Runtime: 103 minutes
When Ann Turner’s debut film Celia was released in the US a year after it launched in Australia, it was renamed Celia: Child of Terror. Some saw this as an attempt to appeal to a late-night horror film audience, but if you’re looking for 100 minutes of seat-clenching shock and gore you will be disappointed.
Instead, expect a beautifully told, nuanced, and slow-burning psychological drama. The tension builds through a long hot 1950’s Australian summer as Celia’s real and fantasy worlds become increasingly entangled. A government plan to control a rabbit plague threatens her beloved pet Murgatroyd. The cold war communist scare threatens her friendship with her new neighbours. By night the ghost of her grandmother, and terrifying monsters haunt her dreams. There is a shotgun on the wall in Act 1. Will it be fired by Act 3?
Critics have praised the film for its subtlety and insight into a child’s imagination.
“This dark fable of childhood’s end ranks alongside Lord of the Flies, The 400 Blows, Stand By Me and Pan’s Labyrinth.”