Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

No Worries (1993)

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clip Speeding Matilda

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

Clip description

Matilda (Amy Terelinck) rescues a lamb in distress beside an almost dry waterhole, then realises she’s late for the school bus. She drives at high speed to the bus stop, on a flat, dusty road. The driver, Mrs Palmer (Fiona Press) warns her about being late.

Curator’s notes

An entertaining introduction of the idea that country kids like Matilda grow up much quicker than city kids. The scene also gives a strong sense of the horizontal landscape, which Elfick uses to good effect.

The early part of the film shows just how independent farm kids like Matilda are brought up to be – she can drive a car or a tractor, and her closest friend, after her parents, is probably her faithful dog, Dingo, a classic red kelpie. The script was by prolific English playwright David Holman, who wrote a play after a three-week trip into the outback to research the effects of a drought. The play was performed all over the world, but Holman rewrote it for the screen adaptation. The film gives a vivid sense of the terrible human cost of drought, in terms that are highly accessible to a young audience, but without sugar-coating its message. That may be part of the reason it was ignored by Australian distributors, who deemed it uncommercial. David Elfick, as producer and director, eventually took it around theatres himself, where it found enthusiastic audiences, especially in country areas.

The film has also sold very well overseas, winning a couple of major prizes – including first prize at the Berlin Children’s Film Festival in 1994 – one of the most prestigious awards for children’s films.

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