The story of howWake in Fright
came to circulation is a fittingly strange one. It debuted at Cannes in 1971, then had a limited run through America (under the name "Outback") and its native Australia. But after that, it vanished.
Martin Scorsese was at that Cannes screening, and called the Australian story "a deeply - and I mean deeply - unsettling and disturbing movie." But violence is integral to its grotesque architecture, and a heavy pour of the stuff tells the tale of one man's chaotic unraveling. "Visually, dramatically, atmospherically and psychologically," says Scorsese "it's beautifully calibrated and it gets under your skin one encounter at a time, right along with the protagonist played by Gary Bond."
Wake in Fright is a story about a slightly polished, very waylaid teacher. He's off to see his girlfriend in Sydney, but first he'll need to kill a day in the outback's wildest reaches, the Yabba. Genuine kangaroo hunts, vomit sex and booze-soaked gambling are on the local itinerary, and our teacher's along for the ride.
So why haven't you seen the film Nick Cave calls "the best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence"? Well, it took forty years to unearth the original negative, which was holed up, oddly, in Pittsburgh, destined for cinematic euthanasia. Fortunately, the footage was restored and then picked up for US distribution by Drafthouse Films. This weekend, Texas Theatre gives Dallas its chance to see the cult favorite, on the big screen, in 35mm.
Just to be even nicer, they've offered up two pairs of tickets (take a first date, naturally) for lucky, Mixmaster contest winners. Email me at Jamie.Laughlin@dallasobserver.com with the subject line "Sounds Brutal, Mate" by 4 p.m. Thursday to make the cut. I'll draw the names randomly and alert winners via email.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.