Wake in Fright

It’s a high season for machismo at the movies.

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It’s a high season for machismo at the movies. Wake in Fright, an oldie reissued as a goldie, is a restoration drama from Australia. Hard-drinking, male-bonding, kangaroo-slaughtering Aussies, awash in amber fluid, take a young English teacher (Gary Bond) under their wing. Result: a moral and spiritual buddy-gangbang, set in the outback, with a collector’s performance from Donald Pleasence. Unpopular with Australian audiences in its 1971 release year – no one wants to look in a mirror and see an ugly face – the film vanished for three decades. It was shown at Cannes in 2009, where celebrity ravers included Nick Cave and Martin Scorsese. The nocturnal kangaroo hunt scene, hideously violent, has gathered a coterie notoriety.

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