Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Australia, 1999. Hollywood Partners, Savage Land Productions. Screenplay by Bill Bennett, Jennifer Cluff. Cinematography by Danny Rulhmann. Produced by Bill Bennett, Jennifer Cluff. Music by David Bridie. Production Design by Nicholas McCallum. Costume Design by Edie Kurzer. Film Editing by Henry Dangar.
Just prior to the second World War, an anthropologist (Martin Donovan) and his research assistant (Maya Stange) get married as part of their preparation to travel to a remote island near Papua New Guinea, where they intend to study its matrilineal society. Easing into a new marriage that started off platonically but blossoms into something deeper, they find a rift growing between them when she starts to notice that his research isn’t what it should be (he’s ignoring the women and only working with the men), while he decides that she’s interfering too much with his work (she’s mostly just supposed to type up his notes). They separate, she going to another island, resulting in some tragic culture clashing that takes the characters places of a Sheltering Sky-like horror. Highlighted by lush photography and a romantic story, this effective film is an enjoyable melodrama with great acting (especially a very strong Stange) and an intelligent screenplay.