The Plains of Heaven

Australia, 1982

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In this inversion of the buddy-film two technicians manning a tracking station on the High Plains pursue diametrically opposed ways of coping with the isolation. The ageing Cunningham seems to be rejuvenated by and obsessed with the landscape while the younger Barker withdraws into the station and its attendant technology. Return to Barker’s Melbourne becomes a descent into a fragmented, nightmare cityscape. The denial of cause and effect explanations for behaviour invites a metaphysical interpretation of this ambiguously down-side existential drama of disorientation and alienation not dissimilar to Werner Herzog’s visionary dramas although without the German director’s quirky black humour. Cast: Richard Moir, Reg Evans, Gerard Kennedy.

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