Oyster Farmer

Director: Anna Reeves

Australia-U.K.| 2004. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 90 min.

We’re pleased to open the festival with this well observed comedy by talented first-time director Anna Reeves. Jack Flange (Alex O’Lachlan) moves from Sydney to a small town to support his ill sister. Unable to pay the medical bills from his job with a gruff local oyster farmer, Jack robs an armoured van and posts the money to himself. When the river postman suffers a heart attack, Jack’s package falls into the drink, and he’s left pondering who has wound up with the proceeds of his robbery and how long he’s got before the law comes calling. Jack’s panicked search for the missing loot is the lever by which the lives of the river folk are pried open in this study of how a newcomer shakes up a tight community. Beautifully filmed in widescreen around the spectacular Hawkesbury river near Sydney, Oyster Farmer is a small, carefully composed film that rejoices in the parochial lingo and mores of its richly textured characters. The excellent ensemble cast includes veteran Jack Thompson as the leader of a group of Vietnam veterans.

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