Shame (1988 film)

Last updated

Directed by Steve Jodrell
Produced by Damien Parer
Paul D. Barron
Written by Beverly Blankenship
Michael Brindley
Starring Deborra-Lee Furness
Simone Buchanan
Tony Barry
Music by Mario Millo
Cinematography Joseph Pickering
Edited by Kerry Regan
Distributed by Barron Films
Umbrella Entertainment
Release date
Running time
94 minutes
BudgetA$1,650,000 [1] [2]

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. [2] 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. [3]

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. [3]

The movie was shot over six weeks on location at Toodyay in Western Australia on Super 16mm. [2]


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. [3]

There was an American remake for TV in 1992 starring Amanda Donohoe.

Home media

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. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Chloë Sevigny American actress

Chloë Stevens Sevigny is an American actress, model, filmmaker, and fashion designer. Known for her work in independent films, often appearing in controversial or experimental features, Sevigny is the recipient of several accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, a Satellite Award, an Independent Spirit Award, as well as nominations for an Academy Award and three Screen Actors Guild Award. She also has a career in fashion design concurrent with her acting work. Over the years, her alternative fashion sense has earned her a reputation as a "style icon".

<i>Somersault</i> (film)

Somersault is a 2004 Australian romantic drama film written and directed by Cate Shortland, starring Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington. Shot in the winter of 2003, it was released in September 2004 and screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It also swept the field at the 2004 Australian Film Institute Awards, winning every single feature film award.

<i>That Darn Cat</i> (1997 film)

That Darn Cat is a 1997 American mystery comedy film directed by Bob Spiers, written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and starring Christina Ricci and Doug E. Doug. It is a remake of the 1965 film That Darn Cat!, which in turn was based on the 1963 book Undercover Cat by Gordon and Mildred Gordon.

Deborra-Lee Furness Australian actress

Deborra-Lee Furness is an Australian actress and producer. She is married to actor Hugh Jackman.

Abbie Cornish Australian actress

Abbie Cornish, also known by her rap name Dusk, is an Australian actress and rapper. Following her lead performance in 2004's Somersault, Cornish is best known for her film roles as Fanny Brawne in Bright Star (2009), Sweet Pea in Sucker Punch (2011), Lindy in Limitless (2011), as Sarah in Geostorm (2017) and for her work with writer/director Martin McDonagh in Seven Psychopaths (2012) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). For the latter, Cornish won her first Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the cast. In 2018, she portrayed Cathy Mueller in the first season of Amazon Video series Jack Ryan opposite John Krasinski.

Claudia Karvan Australian actress

Claudia Karvan is an Australian actress, producer and scriptwriter. As a child actor, she first appeared in the film, Molly (1983) and followed with an adolescent role in High Tide (1987). She portrayed a teacher in The Heartbreak Kid (1993) – the film was spun off into a TV series, Heartbreak High (1994–1999), with her character taken over by Sarah Lambert. Karvan's roles in television series include The Secret Life of Us (2001–2005), Love My Way (2004–2007), Newton's Law (2017) and Halifax: Retribution (2020). She won Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Television Drama at the AFI Awards for her appearance in G.P. (1996). She won two similar AFI Awards for her role in Love My Way and in 2014 for her work in The Time of Our Lives (2013–2014). As a co-producer and co-writer on Love My Way, she won three further AFI Awards for Best Drama Series in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Karvan was inducted into the Australian Film Walk of Fame in 2007 in acknowledgment of her contributions to the Australian film and television industry. From 2010 to 2011, she starred in the drama series Spirited, which she co-created and was executive producer. She appeared as Judy Vickers in Puberty Blues. Karvan has co-produced House of Hancock and Doctor Doctor (2016–current). In 2021 she co-created, co-produced and starred in the TV drama series, Bump.

<i>Shag</i> (film)

Shag is a 1989 American comedy film starring Bridget Fonda, Phoebe Cates, Annabeth Gish, Page Hannah, Jeff Yagher and Scott Coffey. Directed by Zelda Barron, the film features Carolina shag dancing and was produced in cooperation with the South Carolina Film Commission. The soundtrack album was on Sire/Warner Bros. Records.

Rachael Taylor Australian actress and model

Rachael May Taylor is an Australian actress and model. Her first leading role was in the Australian series headLand (2005–2006). She then made the transition to Hollywood, appearing in films including Man-Thing (2005), See No Evil (2006), Transformers (2007), Bottle Shock (2008), Cedar Boys (2009), Splinterheads (2009), Shutter (2008), Red Dog (2011) and Any Questions for Ben? (2012).

<i>Boys and Girls</i> (2000 film) 2000 American film by Robert Iscove

Boys and Girls is a 2000 American comedy film directed by Robert Iscove. The two main characters, Ryan and Jennifer, meet each other initially as adolescents, and later realize that their lives are intertwined through fate.

Carmelina Marchetta is an Australian writer and teacher. Marchetta is best known as the author of teen novels, Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road. She has twice been awarded the CBCA Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers, in 1993 and 2004. For Jellicoe Road she won the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association, recognizing the year's best book for young adults.

<i>Jindabyne</i> (film) 2006 Australian drama film

Jindabyne is a 2006 Australian drama film by third time feature director Ray Lawrence and starring Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, Deborra-Lee Furness and John Howard. Jindabyne was filmed entirely on location in and around the Australian country town of the same name: Jindabyne, New South Wales, situated next to the Snowy Mountains.

The Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) is an association of cinema critics and reviewers. It includes journalists in "media, television, major national and state papers, radio, national and state, online and freelance writers, Australian representatives from international magazines..and local specialist film magazines", and is based in Sydney.

Hilary Duff American actress and singer

Hilary Erhard Duff is an American actress, businesswoman, singer-songwriter, producer, and writer. Duff began her acting career at a young age and quickly became labeled a teen idol as the title character of the television series Lizzie McGuire (2001–2004) and in the theatrical film based on the series, The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003). Thereafter, she appeared in numerous films, with leading roles in Agent Cody Banks (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), A Cinderella Story (2004), and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005). She later began appearing in independent films playing a wider range of roles, such as an oversexed popstar in War, Inc. (2008), a suicidal and rebellious teenager in According to Greta (2009), and as the title character in the controversial The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019). She has also executive produced several of the projects she starred in, such as According to Greta, Beauty and the Briefcase (2010) and The Haunting of Sharon Tate. Since 2015, she has starred as Kelsey Peters on TV Land's longest-running original comedy-drama series Younger, for which she has received nominations for People's Choice Awards in 2016 and 2017.


Bootmen is a 2000 Australian comedy-drama film directed by Dein Perry. It was distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures in Canada and United States and 20th Century Fox Distribution in Australia and funded by the Australian Film Finance Corporation. Production was from 19 June to 18 August 1999 in Sydney and Newcastle by cinematographer Steve Mason who won two cinematography awards in the 2000 AFI awards and the 2001 FCCA Awards. It stars Adam Garcia, Sophie Lee, Sam Worthington.

<i>Beautiful</i> (2009 film)

Beautiful is a 2009 Australian independent film, written and directed by Dean O'Flaherty, which was released by Adelaide-based Kojo Pictures on 5 March 2009. The film marked the feature filmmaking debut of both O'Flaherty and Kojo Pictures. The South Australian Film Corporation provided approximately 10 per cent of the $1.5m budget, while the rest came from private investors.

<i>Sadie J</i>

Sadie J is a British children's television comedy-drama series about a girl named Sadie Jenkins, who is described as "the only girl in a boys' world" because she is surrounded by her Dad Steve, his apprentice Keith, her brother Danny, his best friend Jake and their dog Roger. It is produced by the BBC and airs on the CBBC Channel. The show premiered on 14 January 2011 and produced three series, with the final episode aired on 27 March 2013. As of September 2013, Sadie J is now shown in the United States on the Starz Kids & Family cable network.

Star Runners is a 2009 Sci Fi channel original film, directed by Mat King and written by Rafael Jordan, and starring Connor Trinneer, James Kyson Lee, Toni Trucks, Aja Evans and Michael Culkin.

<i>Mud</i> (2012 film) 2012 film

Mud is a 2012 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Sam Shepard, and Reese Witherspoon. Sheridan and Lofland portray a pair of teenagers who encounter the eponymous Mud (McConaughey), a fugitive hiding on a small island, and agree to help him evade his pursuers.

Natural Justice: Heat is a 1996 Australian telemovie drama about a motorcyle-riding lawyer, Asta Cadell, who heads to the rural Western Australia town of York. The film details police corruption, racism, violence and murder. Claudia Karvan stars in the lead role, which had previously been portrayed by Deborra-Lee Furness in the feature film, Shame (1988). Also in the cast are Sonia Todd as Jennifer Harivald, who is murdered; Steve Bastoni as Paul Tancred, a police sergeant who arrests Dacey Feguson for the crime and Jeremy Sims as Gavin Larson, a constable who brutalizes the Aboriginal townsfolk.

Clementine Ford (writer) Australian feminist writer

Clementine Ford is an Australian feminist writer, broadcaster and public speaker. She wrote a regular column for Daily Life for seven years.


  1. "Australian Productions Top $175 million", Cinema Papers, March 1986 p64
  2. 1 2 3 David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p218-220
  3. 1 2 3 "Interview with Steve Jodrell", Signet, 30 March 1998 accessed 19 November 2012
  4. "Umbrella Entertainment" . Retrieved 4 May 2013.