Filmhinweis: Wake In Fright

Erschrockenes Erwachen
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
114 mins, Australia, 1971

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Perhaps it says something about the difference between representations of American masculinity ? as shown threatened and emasculated in period films like Befreiung und The Deer Hunter ? and Australian masculinity, as shown here in this rediscovered gem, exposed with an unflinching, carefully constructed verisimilitude so precise it becomes a lampoon ? that it’s the Australian film that has retained its power.

Perhaps it also says something that the rampant, stylized homoeroticism of such films gets a climax in Erschrockenes Erwachen and in Befreiung we get a rape.

(Interesting trivia: Lead actor Gary Bond was gay in real life. He plays the effete school teacher who takes a walk on the wild side and ends up drunk on a dirty floor rolling around with Donald Pleasence, who’s disturbingly sexy in this film.) But what do I know?

For my money, this is better than, not only the two films I mentioned but also Straw Dogs, not least because it has a lot bigger balls and the courage of its depictions. That ‘roo hunting scene is real, real scary and painful to watch.

If nothing else, Erschrockenes Erwachen is one hell of a midnight movie.

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