OYSTER FARMER

PART 1

Rating: MA

Running time: 87 minutes

Australian theatrical release date: 30 June 2005

DVD borrowed from: Murdoch University Library
                                    (Call# FS 791.4372 O9801)
Written and Directed by: Anna Reeves

Producers:
-Main Producer: Anthony Buckley and Piers Tempest
-Line Producer: Sue Mackay
-Executive Producer: Jonathan Shteinman

Cinematographer: Alun Bollinger

Film Editors: Jamine Trevill and Peter Beston

Composer: Stephen Warbeck

Production Designer: Stephen Jones-Evans

Film Location:
Hawkesbury River at New South Wales, Australia

Production Companies:
Anthony Buckley Films and Tempo Productions

Co-production companies:
Showtime Australia New South Wales Film and Television Office
Ocean Pictures Dendy Films
Beyond films
Little Wing Films

Genre: Melodrama, Romantic Comedy, Drama.


Casts:

Character

Names of Celebrity

Jack Flange

Alex O’Lachlan

Brownie

David Field

Mumbles

Jim Norton

Pearl

Diana Glenn

Skippy

Jack Thompson

Brownie’s Wife, Trish

Kerry Armstrong

Jack’s Sister, Nikki Flange

Claudia Harrison

Slug

Alan Cinis

Heath

Brady Kitchingham

Oyster Farmer, Barry

Gary Henderson

Old Man Peterson

Bill Wisely

Barney

Brian Howarth

Oyster Farmer 1

Ian Johnson

Oyster Farmer 2

Peter Johnson

Oyster Farmer 3

Lloyd Spencer

Budget and Box Office figures:

Release Date - 29 July 2005
Distributor - Cinema Guild
Opening Weekend - $4245 (in two theatres, where it is $2,122 on average)
Total Lifetime Grosses –
                                    Domestic:        $15,456           0.9%
                                    Foreign:           $1,772,376      99.1%
                                    _____________________
                                    Worldwide:     $ 1,787,832


Interviews:
The Filmaker:
This is Anna Reeves’ first time directing and writing a film. She would rather name her genre as a melodrama than a romantic comedy with drama. She wrote this show for her brothers who complained that her short films were too complicated to understand for them.
http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=10473&s=Interviews

Anna Reeves think that it’s not a just radio or play. The moment she went to the Hawkesbury River, she had to look closely at the place and feel the central of conflict of the story. She knew that she wants somebody who can take the character that be identified by their looks as someone from Sydney. There are, of course many varieties to write the story. But then she wants to get a story that can touch people’s heart. She also had a crazy thought of whether or not a woman can actually control the sex of the oysters.
As for the Pearl character, there were many girls or ladies who actually went for the audition but she wants a person who has a strong sexual behaviour.
(Interview from the DVD)

When it comes to reviewing this feature of the film, critics went both ways. For instance, some say that the show is still cliché while some have had lots of appraisal for the whole show. Out of a scale of 5, some have rated 2.5, while some have rated 4.

There are a lot more reviews that can be found, and most, but not all the opinions are congruence with the Australian public and views.

Details of online presence in the web literature:
The information found in the web is pretty easy to find probably because it’s a newer movie compared to the others and also an award winning show. There are various valuable information available in the internet. This includes having the box office webpage and a breakdown of the gross profit of this particular show in the theatres.


PART 2

Critical Film Review
The movie is a show that is based in New South Wales, Hawkesbury River. There is very clear didgeridoo music at the background of the entire movie.
Jack, a mystery man who is in need of money to help his injured sister, went to the oyster farming community in Hawkesbury River to work for the two oyster farmers, Brownie and Mumbles, the bad tempered man. There, he met Pearl, a lady who is very different from the other female villagers. She uses her dogs to show all the villagers about women’s capability of doing their own things without needing men to instruct them to do something. This is because, the oyster farm is a very men-dominant community where women were only expected to stay at home with the kids, while men go out to work and socialise.

Upon the day of arrival to the oyster farm, Jack was allocated to work with some men but due to desperation of money, he used the frozen lobster to assault the workers’ head and immediately, he stuffed the stacks of cash from the security truck into the envelope and dropped it into the mailbox with the mailing address from the parcel that states his new home address in the oyster farm.

However, things do not go the way he wants. The man who collects the mails had a heart failure when he was on his way to send out the mails to every villager. Jack’s parcel happened to be there but then according to one of the villagers, it’ll be time for finder’s keepers at that point of time. Even in the bar, when the men were sitting together, they were actually talking about Pearl, saying that she took the shoes from all these situations because she always has nice and expensive shoes and boots to wear. But in actual fact, Pearl works according to her likes and dislikes. She doesn’t stick to one job for long. She was once the cleaning lady but she became the post office helper. This has in a way, aroused the suspicion of Jack about his parcel that is filled with money. Jack went haywire, to and fro the post office to check for his parcel that has not reached him yet. The terrible service that came from the old man in the post office has made Jack even more angered. Jack began to suspect everyone around him. He then stole Pearl’s favourite dog, Smokey and locked it at home, so that Pearl will go and return him his parcel. But unfortunately, Smokey was too hungry and it was already time for its meal. It then bit the remote control and swallowed the whole remote control. However, like we all know, a remote control will not be able to be digested easily by a living creature, and so, Smokey went out of breath and eventually died.

Jack’s suspicion against every villager lasts until the time when he met Pearl again and started to question her if she had really seen the parcel. However, after a while, he felt guilty and thought that he should have trusted Pearl for most of her efforts in work went to her shoes.

Jack felt very bad but he couldn’t apologise to Pearl admitting that he killed her dog, because he was interested in her. He then asked for solutions from Brownie so that Pearl won’t be so depressed again. Brownie suggested that Jack could just buy her a new puppy and the time will wash away her memories about Smokey.

At the end of the show, Nikki Flange had to go to the bigger hospital for her medications. Jack was there in the train half way through but thought of going back to Pearl again. Pearl was happy to see Jack and they both had a good time at the wooden jetty.

On the other hand, Brownie and his wife were aiming for the championship of the best oysters. During the process of watching the oysters, both of them were initially quarrelling until their son came into the room. Brownie then was curious of how Trish get to keep the oysters fresh. Trish said that she sings to them but Brownie thought that it was cute and too childish to sing. Well, I guess after that they probably have sung, because during the awards winning for the best oysters, Brownie’s oysters were the best and this was approved by a few different examiners. They got very happy and Brownie even gave his wife what she always wanted – a bathtub.


The critical uptake
 “Öyster Farmer is the best Australian film of the year.” Louise Keller.
www.urbancinefile.com.au

David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz
Margaret: I think the performances are great. It could have been really fantastic if it had been tighter and it had given more to those individual stories. I think it's too diverse. There's a lot to enjoy.
David: The two main relationships are really strong. Some of the other elements were slightly fuzzy. Overall I think this is really a terrific film.
Margaret: I’m giving it 3.5 stars
David Stratton: I’m giving it 4
http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1402321.htm (3.5-4 stars)

Oyster Farmer is a curious Australian movie in that its production values are more impressive than the story itself. First and foremost, the music throughout the movie is brilliant in that it suits the movie perfectly. The cinematography is likewise first class - the aerial scenes of the Hawkesbury River in particular are stunning. Also, the editing is tight and keeps the movie from bogging down - the editor and director deserve commendation for keeping the movie flowing.
The story itself is quirky and sometimes makes quantum leaps in credibility but, hey, what interesting movie doesn't? The acting is believable and allows you to understand the characters in most cases.
As a simple tale of life in a remote river community, the movie works quite well and deserves its reputation as a significant Australian film. Not great, but quite good
http://imdb.com/title/tt0379918/ (7 stars)

"Reeves' debut feature follows a meandering but scenic course, much like the serpentine Hawkesbury River that serves as its beautiful locale."
Ken Fox, TV Guide’s Movie Guide

"Reeves discovers an allegory for the ebb and flow of life in these uncertain times."
Maria Garcia, Film Journal International

"A well-observed study of outsiders distinguished by precise performances from a well-cast ensemble."
Richard Kuipers, Variety


Position of Australian Film and Value
The movie Oyster Farmer has the resemblance of the Australian culture in many ways.
First of all, the river is one of the main attractions in Australia. And in an oyster community, the boats are the main form of transportations to the villagers.
The show also portrays the typical Australian family, where the wives are expected to stay at home and take care of her child while the man will go to work and drink to have fun at the pubs or bars. The wives’ highest expectation is just looking forward to having a bathtub at home.
Well, there are also some aspects of modern Australians as well, where kisses are a symbolization of love.
There was also a scene where there was an aborigine sitting in the pub with all white men. This is also a situation that we often see in the Australia. The importance of a family to a man is also shown in the whole show where Jack is concerned about his sister’s wellbeing that he was willing to steal money from the company that he had just gotten, in order to cure his sister’s injury.
However, there is one thing in this show that is different from the other Australian movies is that all the females in the show seem to be tough and strong, even though some of them are skinny.
On the other hand, another thing that makes me feel that the show is a very Australian movie is because the music played with the didgeridoo. This is because the didgeridoo originated from the aborigines and therefore, there is a top of mind recall to the audiences that this show is an Australian film. In addition, with the strong Australian accent, I truly think that this movie has shown the many cultures of Australia.

      

Bibliography review:
http://imdb.com/title/tt0379918/
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/oyster_farmer/?critic=outlet4
http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1402321.htm
http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=10468&s=Reviews
http://www.infilm.com.au/reviews/oysterfarmer.htm#top
http://www.filmink.com.au/search/displayarticle.php?article_id=3555
box office:
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&id=oysterfarmer.htm