Strangerland opens at Triskel Christchurch Cinema Friday 12 February and runs until Monday 15 February. Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving star in drama set in the Australian desert charting a relationship pushed to the brink as the on-screen couple Kidman and Fiennes confront the mystery of their children’s disappearance.

Newcomers to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari, Catherine and Matthew Parker’s lives are flung into crisis when they discover their two teenage kids, Tommy and Lily, have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits. With Nathgari eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the townsfolk join the search led by local cop, David Rae. It soon becomes apparent that something terrible may have happened to the children.

Suspicion is cast, rumours spread and the town begins to turn against the Parkers. With temperatures rising and the chances of survival plummeting with each passing day, Catherine and Matthew find themselves pushed to the brink as they struggle to survive the mystery of their children’s fate.

[quote title=”Kim Farrant – Director”]Strangerland examines how people react in times of crisis and how our deep fear of the unknown and our abhorrence of feeling pain can push us over the edge emotionally, psychologically and physically… especially sexually. When I was twenty-two, my father died. Even though I knew he was dying, I was still not prepared for the overwhelming grief and surprising primal desires I experienced in the face of his actual death. I found myself wanting to connect, to feel fully alive, to make love, to fuck, to feel something… anything… other than the dark cloud of grief shrouding my heart. The loss left me feeling powerless with nothing to hold onto. Sex conjured the illusion that I could regain control… but it was momentary… and then the despair, the uncertainty of life came flooding back in. This pivotal time in my life was a major inspiration for making Strangerland.[/quote]

Farrant embarked on the project with writer Fiona Seres who she feels has an understanding of life’s tragedies. Together they spent two weeks in a room to focus the project. Here they shared war stories and crazy moments of their youth, brainstorming characters and story strands and creating an eerie world for to develop the characters in.

Both city girls, the Australian desert was the great unknown to Farrant and Seres. Fiona began writing the script which was later infused with additional writing by Irishman Michael Kinirons, Mullingar native now living in Cork.

[quote title=”Kim Farrant – Director”]Nathgari is a remote and unruly world where nature is cruel,” says Farrant. “The climate is unbearably hot and the locals are hardened by life; a rural town like any other with severe weather conditions.[/quote]

Farrant used Strangerland to spotlight the tragic flaws high-pressure situations can bring out in people and the lengths they go to, to maintain public personas and suppress their most untenable feelings.

[quote title=”Kim Farrant – Director”]The vanishing of the Parker children in this mysterious landscape echoes centuries of unresolved white anxiety about the outback and an abiding paranoia that the land was somehow punishing them for taking it from the Aboriginal people – by taking their children. There is a long history of children going missing in the Australian bush.[/quote]

Strangerland screens at Triskel Christchurch Cinema Friday 12 – Monday 15 February. Tickets are available here.

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