Toomelah screens at Cannes

Ivan Sen’s new feature film, Toomelah screened over the weekend at Cannes in official selection for the Un Certain Regard category which recognises young and emerging artists, producing daring and innovative works.

Toomelah follows the story of a ten year old Aboriginal boy, Daniel (Daniel Connors), and his fledgling career as a drug runner for local dealer and gangster, Linden (Christopher Edwards), in an outback town.

When Linden and his gang are sent to jail as a rival gang, led by Bruce (Dean Daley Jones) fresh from jail moves violently in to Toomelah, Daniel is left with few options, but an opportunity to clean up his act.

Variety‘s Alissa Simon gave the film mixed reviews. “Earnest acting by the cast of amateurs creates a certain monotone that isn’t helped by the editing — or lack of it… However, more expressive than any performance are the faces of the locals, which Sen dwells on at length.” Read full review.

Sydney Morning Herald‘s Stephanie Bunbury reports the audience at the official screening was held in “Spellbound silence” by the film, with a standing ovation at the end.

Ruby Boukabou, for Screen Australia in Cannes, interviews with Sen, Edwards and Connors.

Sen, whose past work includes Beneath Clouds and Yellow Fella, and whose family calls the Northern New South Wales town of Toomelah home said, “Cannes is so important for a film like Toomelah. You can’t really measure its value. Cannes really puts the film into a special place on the world stage.”

Rolf De Heer’s Ten Canoes, which ran in the Un Certain Regard category won 2006’s Special Jury Prize.


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