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Short Film (Full Length) – 1982

14 Jun 2017 - 08.15pm
Paul Ward
4 Nov 2009 - 07.00pm
Well 'Peel' is one of my favourite short films, so here's my shot at why: I reckon the slow-burn build up of tension in the cauldron of a car-trip gets to the guts of a family relationship dynamic. 'Peel' evoked a familiar scenario for me (maybe it says something about my own family car-trip memories!). You could call it dysfunctional, but it has its own recognisable, intriguing rules.

In 'Peel' the adults' behaviour is in need of discipline as much as the orange peel-shedding boy: when he hurls the orange at the windscreen looking for a reaction, you're on his side. The heat, tiredness and boredom has turned them all into kids in a sandpit.

Sure 'Peel' doesn't have a strong dramatic arc or rip-roaring pace (not much happens in terms of 'action') but part of the film's achievement - and frustration - is where Campion (bravely) chooses to end it. It doesn't 'resolve' in a conventional way (eg. with the boy being punished or the adults having a barney) but with the kid stomping on the roof and the listless oldies melting in the sun: you get the sense that this 'end-game' could go forever (as some family road-trips felt like they surely would).

For me 'Peel's' satisfactions are in the confidence with which Campion depicts that psycho-logical dynamic. And of course then there's the brilliance of casting a redhead family under that searing Aussie sun ... just adds to the roiling tension. Anyway, that's my defence: arguments welcome!
Sandy Mamoli
27 Oct 2009 - 09.53pm
Very impressive awards but am I the only one who doesn't get this film?
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