The Cinema des Antipodes preview of Fantastic Birthday

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It was a full house when members of three French-Australian organisations gathered at the Australian Embassy on March 8 to mark Women’s Day.

The Cinema des Antipodes provided an Australian film, a preview of Rosemary  Myers’ Fantastic Birthday,  ABIE provided the excellent wine, and they were joined by members of the Association France Australie.

The film, a zany ‘coming of age’ comedy with some darkly tangled Freudian overtones, had much of the audience laughing, and left others perplexed.

A well-known theatre director, Myers adapted the film from a play, Girl Asleep, that she directed in Adelaide.

The plot follows 14-year-old Greta into adolescent angst as her 15th birthday approaches. An introverted teenager in an extroverted family, Greta (excellently played by Bethany Witmore) is propelled into a surreal world of nightmares as her family happily line-dances on at her birthday party.  Somehow it all pulls together at the end, with some cross-dressing and expressions of love and acceptance.  Crazy?  Certainly, in that fresh, loopy Australian way.  But critics and audiences around the world love it.  The film won the audience award at the Adelaide Film Festival, Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival and it was selected for the Berlin Film Festival.

One of the rare Australian films to find a French distributer, Fantastic Birthday opens in France on March 22.