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Australia, 1998 (MIFF 1998, Australian Showcase)

Director: Nadia Tass

With Amy, Nadia Tass demonstrates the breadth of her talent as both director and producer. The quirky comic elements of her previous successes, including Malcolm and The Big Steal, are retained in Amy, but there is much more in store. Amy was struck deaf-mute after witnessing the death, on stage, of her muso father, Will (Oz rocker Nick Barker). Her only form of communication is through song. In the process of grieving, she moves with her mother Tanya (Rachel Griffiths) into a run-down Melbourne terrace. Here Amy's secret is uncovered by luckless musician Robert (Ben Mendelsohn).

Part rock & roll morality play, part satire, Amy is emotionally compelling. While the suburban setting recalls the chaotic solitude of Malcolm, Amy is a lot deeper and more focused. Writer David Parker has successfully teamed the musical elements with a truly Australian setting. As the young Amy, Alana De Roma is singularly powerful; as the world-weary adult figures of the film, Griffith and Mendelsohn adopt their characters with effortless grace and warmth.

The production is well suited to the unique mix of genres in Amy. The locations contrast the softer light of magnificent countryside (where Amy and her mother briefly reside in self-imposed exile) with the grimier starkness of Melbourne suburbs. David Parker doubles as cinematographer, creating a rich tapestry of images which supports the film's various moods with an acute sensitivity. With Amy, the Tass-Parker partnership proves there are few other filmmakers in Australia capable of bringing to the screen this ambitious combination.

Nadia Tass & David Parker are guests of the Festival.

Nadia Tass, one of Australia's most respected and unique filmmakers, initially pursued an academic career in Arts and Psychology. Her first feature, Malcolm (1986), was an immediate success consolidated by subsequent projects including Rikki and Pete (1988), Pure Luck (1991) and Stark (1993).

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