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Road to Nhill (1997)

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clip 'Ungrateful lot of bludgers'

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

Clip description

Bob (Bill Hunter) tries to phone various homes to determine which bowling ladies are home safely. He calls Jean’s husband but Jack (Alwyn Kurts) is outside emptying the teapot. The ambulance has gone astray, having been given the wrong directions. Two fire trucks have arrived at the accident scene and taken one of the women to hospital. Maurie the pig farmer (Paul Chubb) has loaded Jean (Patricia Kennedy) into his truck to take her home, but he lingers at the accident scene. Nell (Monica Maughan) and Margot (Lynette Curran) suggest to him that he ought to get going. He does so under sufferance, given that this is ‘his’ accident scene. He found them, after all.

Curator’s notes

The film has a series of beautifully judged performances, often in small roles. Paul Chubb’s pig farmer Maurie doesn’t want to leave the accident scene before he’s sure the drama is all over. He feels a certain ownership of the scene that overrules any concern about the elderly Jean, who’s sitting quietly in pain in his truck. Similarly, Alwyn Kurts gives us a superb comic picture of an elderly man’s dilemma as he tries to do two things at once.

The incompetence of the men in this film is both funny and tragic. They do everything the wrong way, and never know they are doing it, because the women don’t tell them. When Nell and Margot try to suggest to Maurie to get moving, he reacts crankily. So does Bill Hunter, when his wife questions him about some supplies he is supposed to have for a customer. There’s a quiet gender war going on in some scenes, and the filmmakers make it fairly clear whose side they are on. They were criticised for the way the film lampoons country men – but perhaps not by country women.

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