Australian Screen

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In the Winter Dark (1998)

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clip Duck, cat, baby

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

Clip description

Ronnie (Miranda Otto) has slept through another attack, during which her 11 Muscovy ducks have been mutilated. Ida (Brenda Blethyn) leaves for church in the nearby town. Maurice (Ray Barrett) recalls how they got married – when he thought she was pregnant. He enters the bedroom where their baby died, remembering that the cat lapped up the baby’s spilled bottle. He retreats in haste to go fishing, as Murray Jacob buries the remains of the dead ducks.

Curator’s notes

The film experiments with both the form of the script and the style of the images, as we see in this clip. Each character is given a dream sequence, but we’re sometimes unsure who’s doing the dreaming. The narration is all from Maurice, but he admits he has been experiencing Ida’s dreams. There’s often a blurring of the sense of reality – as with the actual blurring of the image beside Miranda Otto’s face, late in the clip. The presence of dead animals is common in the first half, giving both a sense that life in the bush is lived close to death – but also a hint of the supernatural. Ronnie is almost made out to be a modern witch; the dead animals may in a sense be some kind of sacrifice.

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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.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • 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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