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Flirting (1990)

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clip The debate

Original classification rating: PG. This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

At an inter-school debate, Danny (Noah Taylor) and Thandiwe (Thandie Newton) speak to opposing sides of a motion that ‘intellectual pursuits are the highest form of human endeavour’.

Curator’s notes

This scene marks out Danny and Thandiwe as rebellious soulmates because of the way they subvert their own side’s cases using irony and subtle mockery. The two openly flirt with each other across the debating floor (hence the film’s title) in front of their teachers and fellow pupils. Even before either of them delivers their speeches, they establish a connection via the exchange of knowing glances. Danny defends rugby union, which he detests, while making his true feelings known via his sarcastic delivery. Thandiwe goes further by reciting the lyrics to risqué blues and rock’n’roll songs, ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’ (1954) and ‘Tutti Frutti’ (1955), complete with slyly sexual looks at the onlookers.

The choice of songs is notable not only for their sexual references but by their association with African American artists (respectively Muddy Waters and Little Richard). This linkage between African American music and Thandiwe, who is of African heritage, is made elsewhere in the film by the use of jazz on the soundtrack.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

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  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

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