info I contact
advertising
editorial schedule
acknowledgements
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter
donate

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive

contents

  

eddie & charlie, kings of the road

keith gallasch: richard j frankland’s stone bros


Stone Bros Stone Bros
THERE’S SOMETHING ODDLY FAMILIAR ABOUT RICHARD J FRANKLAND’S FEATURE FILM, STONE BROS. IT HIT ME AFTER THE SCREENING. IT’S PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, BUT IN ANOTHER UNIVERSE. IN PRISCILLA, A TRIO OF TRANSVESTITES HITS THE ROAD, LEAVING THE CITY FOR AN ALIEN LAND, CENTRAL AUSTRALIA, WHERE, WITH VARYING DEGREES OF SUCCESS, THEY REDISCOVER THEMSELVES. IN STONE BROS, THE WELL-MANNERED EDDIE TOO LEAVES A FRUSTRATING CITY WITH HIS ANARCHIC COUSIN CHARLIE, BUT HEADING TO “COUNTRY”, HOPING TOO TO CONFIRM A SENSE OF SELF.

This might seem the inverse of Priscilla’s journey, but Eddie is likewise carrying a burden—he looks too much like a “whitefella” and is desperate to confirm his identity. Not only that, Charlie has sold Eddie’s jacket, thereby losing a sacred stone held in trust which Eddie must now regain on a journey beset by misadventure and some very strange encounters.

Frequently on the trip people are not what they first seem or are in states of transformation. A hitchhiking, rock guitarist turns out not to be exotic Italian but plain Ozzie; a depressed drag queen (Bangarra Dance Theatre composer David Page) is revealed to be a cousin; a wedding host turns out to be Mary G (Mark Bin Bakar); a prison officer (Peter Phelps) reads bad anthropology and transforms into a naked New Age Man; and a cute little dog becomes a wild-eyed monster, kin to the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail but, in the end, nicer. Even the stone turns out to have a purpose more pragmatic than spiritual. And then there are lessons in fidelity and controlling anger and learning to love.

Writer, activist and performer Richard J Frankland’s film credits include the award-winning documentary Who Killed Malcolm Smith (1993) and the intense short drama No Way To Forget (1996), based on the filmmaker’s experience as a field officer with the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. No Way To Forget was selected for Un Certain Regard in the 1996 Cannes Film festival and won the AFI Award for Best Short Film. Another award winner was his moving short drama, Harry’s War (1999), about an Aboriginal soldier killed in Word War II.

Frankland’s tautly constructed short films don’t prepare you for Stone Bros, a laidback stoner road movie with bursts of farcical energy, angst both comic and serious, sentimentality and high drama, a few too many B-grade jokes and more themes than you can point a stick at. Finely photographed by Joe Pickering across a range of landscapes and graced with a huge variety of acting styles (Luke Carroll’s Eddie provides a well crafted centre), Stone Bros barely coheres at times. But as a welcome antidote to the morose Priscilla and a more pertinent account of Indigenous culture, and not least as an all too rare Aboriginal screen comedy, it’s fascinatingly original when not downright irritating. Stone Bros could achieve cult favour but, better, it might set a precedent, encouraging more comic visions of this country’s complex cultural realities.


Stone Bros, writer, director Richard J Frankland, actors Luke Carroll, Leon Burchill, David Page, Valentino del Toro, Peter Phelps, director of photography Joe Pickering, production designer Sam Hobbs, editor Meredith Watson Jeffery, music Shane O’Mara, producers Ross Hutchens, Colin South, Media World Pictures, distributor Australian Film Syndicate; www.stonebrosmovie.com.au

RealTime issue #92 Aug-Sept 2009 pg. 28

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

Back to top