Wake in Fright developed a reputation as Australia’s lost masterpiece.
After an extensive search that lasted years, the original film materials were finally located in a Pittsburgh vault in 2002, one week before their incineration. Following its screening in the retrospective programme at the Cannes Film Festival this past May, the North American premiere of the fully digitally restored film will be presented at the Festival by Ted Kotcheff.
Brutal, uncompromising and stunning, Wake in Fright tells the story of John Grant, a young teacher whose overnight stay in a rough outback mining town extends to a five-day nightmarish odyssey of drinking, gambling, hunting and more drinking, plunging him toward his own destruction. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971, the film remains as fresh and relevant today as it was nearly forty years ago.
“I loved the outback, with its unearthly colours and shapes, and this new digital print reveals colours and patterns I never saw in the original photochemical print of 1971. You will see the outback now as it actually is,” said Ted Kotcheff.
The film is based on a 1961 novel by Kenneth Cook, an Australian journalist, novelist and filmmaker who died in 1987.