Emma Diaz in Friends and Strangers (2021)
Emma Diaz in Friends and Strangers (2021)
Friends and Strangers © Bonsai Films (2021)

ACMI presents

Friends and Strangers

James Vaughan | Australia | 2021 | MA15+

This event has ended and tickets are no longer available.






ACMI Member



Fri 30 Dec 2022 - Sun 22 Jan 2023

See below for additional related events

Sydney filmmaker James Vaughan's debut feature film as director returns to our screens after having charmed audiences at film festivals around the world.

James Vaughan’s Friends and Strangers had me cackling at its dry and gleeful absurdity… It’s mumblecore par excellence but laced with a satire of white Australia and its historical amnesia.

The New York Times

Twentysomethings Alice (Emma Diaz) and Ray (Fergus Wilson) take a spontaneous camping pitstop on a road trip home to Sydney. They’re not romantic interests, they’re not really friends, so what are they doing there, lying side-by-side in a tent in the middle of nowhere? How do we find ourselves in these situations, and for that matter, why do any of us do anything, ever? Friends and Strangers is a chaotic and contemplative exploration of colonialism, privilege, and existential ennui in 2020s Australia – the new Australian ‘mumblecore’.

Curator's note

Director James Vaughan’s capture of Sydney focuses on a particular slice of Aussie ‘ordinariness’. From pretty seaside jaunts to the expansive living rooms of affluent Eastern suburbanites, there’s a spectrum of white Australia on display, romantically shot by cinematographer Dimitri Zaunders. There are fleeting moments that show off that glorious Harbour, and even more fleetingly, the sweaty inner-city, working-class backstreets, the only place that appears purposed with activity.

There’s a deliberate disaffection built into this film, a generalised ‘drift’, and much like the open-plan houses and loose, care-free days, the dialogue, quintessentially Aussie, has an infinite ellipsis at the end of each sentence. It’s as if the characters have forgotten something or everything.

Gleefully absurd, deadpan and unobtrusively political, Friends and Strangers marks the arrival of a bold new voice in Australian cinema.

Format: DCP
Language: English
Source: Bonsai Films
Courtesy: Bonsai Films
Runtime: 84 mins



Viewers under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Contains strong coarse language


Cinemas, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

How to get there

Not an ACMI Member yet?

Experience ACMI in the very best way. Get a range of discounts and invitations to exclusive previews.


Multipasses – see more films in this program for less

Best 22 of 2022 program

There are no upcoming related events at this time.

ACMI building at night - photograph by Shannon McGrath

Plan your visit

COVIDSafe visitor guidelines, information on accessibility, amenities, transport, dining options and more.

Start planning
Hero gnocchi - Jake Roden

Looking for dining options?

Our restaurant, cafe and bar in the heart of Fed Square features a seasonally driven menu developed by acclaimed Melbourne chef Karen Martini.

ACMI Shop items - red and blue colour scheme


Melbourne's favourite shop dedicated to all things moving image. Every purchase supports your museum of screen culture.

Shop online

Join our newsletter

Get updates on the latest news, exhibitions, programs, special offers and more.

You might also like