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Martha Ansara Presents New Australian Independent Cinema

Monday, October 8, 1979
9:15 p.m. Program II: Love Letters from Teralba Road & Backroads
Steve Wallace (Australia,1977)
Phil Noyce (Australia,1977)

Love Letters from Teralba Road
is “said to be based on a group of actual letters found in an abandoned flat in Sydney, extracts from which are used in the film. It is a study of a working-class couple unable to control or analyse their sentiments, much less express them. They live in a world of poor housing, killing jobs and rough pubs. He has a temper, gets drunk and knocks her about. She goes back to her boozy father; and the rest of the film is about their hopes and fears and speculations about coming together again (which is left on a question mark).” In this bleak milieu, with “characters imprisoned in their own ignorance and lack of articulation, director Wallace manages to concern us intensely with their fates.” — David Robinson, Times.
Between the separated couple are the “husband’s stream of letters, which are ironically communicative in a way ‘your ever-loving Len’ can never be when they meet.” — Colman, New Statesman.
1977 Australian Film Awards: Gold Award Short Fiction, Silver Award Photography, Special Award Creativity; Selected for Berlin Film Festival 1978.

• Directed by Steve Wallace. Written by Wallace and Moya Wood. Photographed by Tom Cowan. Camera Assistant: Martha Ansara. Music by Ralph Schneider. Edited by Henry Dangar. With Bryan Brown, Kris McQuade, Joy Hruby, Kevin Leslie, Gia Carides, Pat Jones, Don Chapman, Ashe Venn, Stuart Green. (1977, 50 mins, color, Print courtesy of Martha Ansara)

is an exciting road movie about racism filmed in Australia’s outback by the same director of the much acclaimed feature, Newsfront, which opened the 1978 New York Film Festival and had a theatrical run in the Bay Area this year. In Backroads, Gary, a young reserve-dwelling Aborigine, has tried to make it in white society, but the pressures of adapting to an unfamiliar lifestyle have led to the failure of his marriage to a white woman. Chance participation in a car theft unites him in a turbulent relationship with a white man, Jack King. They journey to Gary’s home, a run-down collection of tin sheds perched in the desert wilderness of New South Wales, where they are joined by Gary’s alcoholic Uncle Joe. Together the three embark on a seemingly aimless journey, out of the desert to a coastal oasis, escaping the vacuum of their former lives through jovial drunken escapades and petty thievery until one savage act of revenge means they can never return. “The relationships between the characters speak volumes about indifference, hopelessness and inbred prejudice.” — Tom Milne, London Observer

• Directed by Phil Noyce. Photographed by Russell Boyd. (1977, 60 mins, color, Print courtesy of Martha Ansara)