AFRAID TO DANCE
Australia, 1989, 87 minutes, Colour.
Nique Needles, Rosey Jones, Grigor Taylor, Tina Bursill, Annie Byron, Tom Richards, Steve J. Spears, Allan Penney, Bill Young.
Directed by Denny Lawrence.
Afraid to Dance is a story about a young man and a young woman, their encounter, their romance, sharing a life of criminal activity. They are simply referred to as The Male and The Female. The Male is played by Nique Needles who had a career in the 80s and 90s, winning an Australian Film Institute best supporting actor award for his first film, The Boy Who Had Everything. The Female is played by Rosey Jones. A number of character actors in Australian film and television are in the supporting cast.
The film is set in Sydney, capturing its atmosphere. It was directed by Denny Lawrence, a writer who made a number of films for the cinema and for television in the 1980s including Emo Ruo, Archer, Army Wives.
1. A contemporary drama, the 1980s, young lives?
2. The Australian setting, the city of Sydney, the countryside? The importance of interiors and exteriors, light and shadow? The musical score, the range of songs?
3. The title, the reference to The Male and to The Female? Who was afraid? Possibilities – with a touch of pessimism?
4. The prologue, Jim Pratt? The video letter? The tone? The facts – and later understanding? The effect on The Female, The Male reading the letter? Kate and the change?
5. The character of The Male? Nique Needles’ presence and performance? In the city, in the bar? The tender aspects? Home, the friend and the bashing? Lies and talk? His use of money? Hitching? The Female, the plan to rob, the irony of the robbery? The town and The Female? Stealing, the car, the chase? Work and relationship? Platonic? The puzzle? The more ordinary aspects of their life? The supermarket? Terry and his wife, Grace? Talking, sharing, learning about The Female? His return to the city? Hotel, afraid? The stealing? The house, the letters, the video? Bed, sexual relationship? Possibilities or fantasy? His decision? Death and the meaning of his life?
6. The Female, the country background, stealing? Control? Writing, the wombats? Terry and his wife? The attraction, the lies, the shock? The history, rape, the accident? Her leaving, experience in the city, the puzzles? Sexuality, the effect? The video, letters? Hearing the news? The letter and the baby, some hope?
7. The robberies, the crime spree? Participation, the effect on each?
8. The bar and the robbery?
9. The bartender?
10. Terry, Kate, their contribution?
11. A glimpse of characters? Credible and plausible characters? Commenting on lives, emptiness? Pessimism, hope?