Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Innocence (2000)

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clip 'What did you do last night?'

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

Clip description

After making love with Andreas, Claire (Julia Blake) has breakfast with her husband John (Terry Norris), who asks what she did last night. After being vague, if not untruthful, she reveals she slept with another man but he refuses to believe her, accusing her of making an ‘absurd’ joke.

Curator’s notes

This scene establishes the comfort and apparent solidity (yet also complacency) of Claire and John’s marriage – that he asks her what she did last night without looking directly at her is telling. The fact that she seems able to recall the exact date they last made love is also significant.

The slow zoom of the camera creates suspense. We know the filmmaker is preparing us for an emotional revelation, but when it comes it’s not what we expect. John’s refusal to believe his wife is capable of infidelity speaks eloquently about their marriage. His reaction provides a satisfyingly unexpected outcome to the scene. In screenwriting terms, it proves that the most rewarding outcome of a scene is not always the most dramatic. By muting, or delaying, a dramatic event (such as an emotional outburst), the narrative can be made more effective by avoiding the obvious.

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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:

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  • 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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