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|Directed by||Steve Jodrell|
|Produced by|| Damien Parer |
Paul D. Barron
|Written by|| Beverly Blankenship |
|Starring|| Deborra-Lee Furness |
|Music by||Mario Millo|
|Edited by||Kerry Regan|
|Distributed by|| Barron Films |
Shame is a 1988 Australian film directed by Steve Jodrell and starring Deborra-Lee Furness as 'Asta', for which she won both the 1988 FCCA 'Best Actor' and Golden Space Needle 'Best Actress' awards; as well as the FCCA awarding 'Best Screenplay' to both Beverley Blankenship and Michael Brindley.
Tragic happenings result from conflict arising from the active feminism of Asta Cadell, a robust professional woman, after her motorbike breaks down in the fictitious township of Ginborak during a lone tour of outback Western Australia.
She gives support to a young girl, Lizzie, who has been gang raped by local youths; a crime compounded by the neurotically tolerant attitude adopted by the town's citizens, including the police sergeant and even her father, who blame the girl for the boys' behaviour.
Asta is treated disrespectfully by men in the local pub. Directed to the town's mechanic, Tim Curtis, Asta stays with his family as a guest. Members of the family are visibly troubled and suffering from some sort of depressive condition.
One night when Lizzie cannot bear her parents' fighting anymore, she runs outside crying, where Asta reaches out to her, forming a protective relationship.
Asta's assertive personality brings her into conflict with the bullying female owner of a meat-processing factory and with the ruthless group of young men who have pack-raped several girls in the town. The youths turn their unpleasant attentions to her, at which she vigorously defends herself, inflicting injuries on some of the boys. She complains to the police sergeant, who explains that the boys are simply having fun, and threatens Asta with an assault charge, at which she reveals she is a barrister and not an easy target for his corrupt behaviour. She begins to speak more openly and energetically, in public and private, about the scandalous affairs which she has learned are occurring in this isolated town.
She becomes a role-model and source of strength to the violated and injusticed Lizzie, whose own father even struggles to deny the truth of what has happened under his very nose. Championed on by Asta, little by little, Lizzie draws upon enough courage to begin both straying further from the safety of her own house, and confronting her own father about his denial.
But even her own house and family become targets for the blind rage which erupts when the young violators and their complacent parents learn that Asta and Lizzie mean business—they are intent on pressing charges to get the boys imprisoned.
The women of the town come together as they fight back against the rapists. Unfortunately it is all too late for Lizze. As she hides in the police station whilst the town fights the drunken lads attacking the Curtis household, two of the boys find her. Despite screams of help she is whisked away in their car. Lizzie tries to escape only to be thrown onto the road and killed. In the final scene the town of Ginaborak stands in silence as her body is placed in the back of a truck.
Beverley Blankenship saw Mad Max and became excited about the idea of writing a film about a woman on a motorcycle. She discussed it with Michael Brindley and decided to make a modern-day Western. Blakenship wrote an eleven-page treatment which got finance from the Women's Film Fund for a first draft. They offered the script to Joan Long who was busy on other projects but then Paul Barron read a draft and became enthusiastic. Steve Jodrell became attached as director.Jodrell:
No-one really wanted to touch it because they couldn't work out what it was about. It was not quite entertaining; it was a little bit too art-house; it was a message film, and yet Michael and Beverly Blenkinship had always designed the film as a kind of B grade drive-in movie. They did not want it to end up in an art-house circuit. They wanted it to be an action flick that had some things to say in it, so that they get to the kind of demographic that they were appealing to, which was young teenagers and people in their twenties - and actually hoping the girls would drag the men along and, therefore, get across what they wanted to say.
Jodrell says that three weeks prior to shooting, the financiers had commissioned a new draft to be written, in which Asta was far more violent and vigilante-like. However it was not used.
The movie was shot over six weeks on location at Toodyay in Western Australia on Super 16mm.
Jodrell says the financiers were not supportive of the final film but Paul Barron managed to find investors to buy out their interests enabling the movie to be theatrically released.
There was an American remake for TV in 1992 starring Amanda Donohoe.
Shame was released on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in May 2011. The DVD is compatible with all region codes and includes special features such as the original theatrical trailer, interviews with Steve Jodrell, Simone Buchanan and Michael Brindley, and an interview with Deborra-Lee Furness.
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