Australia, 1985, 87 minutes, Colour.
Noni Hazlehurst, Graeme Blundell, John Jarratt, Barry Rugless.
Directed by Jackie Mc Kimmie.
Australian Dream is a satire about suburbia written and directed by Jacki Mc Kimmie. She had won acclaim and awards for a short feature with Noni Hazlehurst, Stations. This film also stars Nonie Hazlehurst and has an entertaining performance by Graeme Blundell. John Jarrett also appears as the sex fantasy symbol.
The film goes over material familiar to audiences from the Barry Mc Kenzie films as well as Don's Party. It seemed somewhat derivative when presented in the mid-'80s. However, it focuses on the materialism and competitiveness of suburbia, the limitations of vision in materialism, the foolishness of the consequences. Graeme Blundell is expert at conveying the stupidity in the suburban Australian male. Noni Hazlehurst is attractive - and makes her character more complex than that of Blundell's. There is an assorted gallery of characters from the street as well as Bruce Ragless impersonating a National Party Queensland politician who hopes to be the next Premier. The references to '80s Queensland politics are enjoyable for audiences critical of the Right-wing Queensland way of life.
Unfortunately, one might say, the satire, while being mockery and critique, is also a mirror of much of Australian suburban behaviour.
1. An effective satire? The targets? Comic style? The Australian tradition? Impact on Australian audiences? World-wide audiences?
2. The atmosphere of Queensland, suburbia, middle-class homes, clubs, riding schools, football matches, shops, suburban parties? The contribution of the musical score: the rock songs, the satiric songs behind the credits?
3. The film as the work of Jacki Mc Kimmie: first feature, viewpoint, feminine viewpoint on the Australian dream?
4. The opening song and its satiric lyrics on the Australian dream? Comparisons with the American dream of success? Materialism and the limitations of its horizons? Self-seeking and the limited goals of life in suburbia? Their consequences for lifestyle? Foolishness? The contrast with fantasies of romance, sex and fulfilment? Dorothy’s final question 'Was that it?' To what purpose, the satire on the Australian dream?
5. The portrait of the Stubbs family: life in suburbia, the house, the posters, the focus on meat, appliances? The similarity of the houses on the street? The street forming a community? Monthly parties - and the humour and inanity of fancy dress? The wives having to work to prepare the parties? The housewives gatherings, the tantalising with sex, consumerism? The two children and their upbringing? The Australian housewife, the little woman? The background of politics, study? Platitudes and television commercial style? Manner, speaking style? Moods? Relationships? Sexuality? Time passing in marriage, boredom? Expectations and stereotypes? The party and its preparation? The riding school, the football match, exasperations with the shopping rush, supermarkets, the police ticket? The house, pressures of business? Dressing up for parties? Foolery, lechery, the robberies, eating? The determined enjoyment? Folly and fantasy? Australian standards of living? Going where?
6. Noni Hazlehurst's Dorothy: pleasant, at the housewives' gathering, the sex products and the sex symbol? Dorothy as wife and mother? Her writing course, the chain-smoking lecturer and his reaction to her writing? Typing, fantasy? Her romantic style? Cliche and soap opera? The technical device of her typing, voiceover and reality? With Geoff at the rally? The stereotyped wife and little woman? Her escapes - fantasising about the naked Todd at the meeting, the yacht, the cowboy, sexual liaison - and waking up to reality? The black nightie and Geoff asleep (with the ironic comment from her story)? Waking up to her birthday, the large breakfast in bed, shopping at the space-style supermarket, the riding school and Todd, driving her son to the football match, the police ticket, making the salads, cleaning the house, bad moods, dressing up as Geoff’s fantasy, coming in the nightie, the politician and entertaining him, the party, Todd’s arrival, the stealing of the TVs, helping return them, the clash with Geoff? In the van with Todd - 'Was that it?'!
7. Geoff and his meat business, his dressing for the meeting, his being sent up? Graeme Blundell's comic style? His speech at the rally, his speaking with all the meat references? The party, his attitudes? The political stances of the Queensland Right? Asleep at night, breakfast in bed, busy? The interview with the politicians and defending his right to be candidate? Cranky with Dorothy? Insensitive? Attacking her, the children? Rousing everyone to be happy?, Disapproving of the rock music? Of the behaviour at the party? The arrival of the politician, his concern? The television interview and his anti-Canberra speech? The clash with Dorothy? The birth of the twins? His being ensured of candidacy? A satire on the suburban Australian male?
8. The son and daughter and their lifestyle, influence of their parents, sport, the party, television, drinking?
9. The politician and Queensland politics, his speech at the rally, cliches and platitudes, his size, the meeting and his exercising his power? Coming to the party - urging people to act as if he wasn't there? Dancing, attracted by Dorothy, the swim and his swim shorts, the police and offering them a drink? Utilising everything for politics? Using the media? The birth of the twins and his capitalising on it: family themes? (The irony of the political rival and his television ad, the list of socially conscious issues and his being dismissed as a homosexual?)
10. Todd: at the start with his boots, arriving as the sex symbol, the dance, earning a dollar? The riding school? His band and the playing? The robberies of the television sets? Dorothy helping him? As Dorothy's fantasy - at the rally, the cowboy, the yacht, sex?, The fantasised Australian male? The reality? The finale in the van?
11. The gallery of people from the street: the jogger and his going to trendy seminars, rebirthing? The pregnant woman dressed as Mary and giving birth to the twins? The adulterous pair and the various attempts to get together? The range of friends? Costumes and their foolishness? The street community? Forced to enjoy themselves? The meat and the salads? Drink? Dancing? The arrival the police and their joining in? The street part as one of the highpoints of life in suburbia?
12. The two Mormons and their visit, the vodka and orange, their dancing, being sick, being taken by the police?
13. Suburban life: jobs, families, everybody washing their cars at the same time, mowing their lawns?
14. The saleswoman with her sex appliances, permissiveness done in TV commercial style?
15. The place of satire: mirroring society, mocking, a critique?