Arts & Entertainment

Friends And Strangers – A Connoisseur Of Nothingness

BY RENEE LOU DALLOW

Friends And Strangers, written and directed by James Vaughan, is, on the surface, a seemingly vacuous film about absolutely nothing. It requires a connoisseuer of nothingness to make something of it. The film begins with mundane, meaningless conversation between two well off 30 something drifters, who vaguely know each other. All set against equally banal, nondescript locations in our fair city of Sydney. Ray asks Alice if she drives an automatic or a manual. Turns out they are two diectionless people driving in the same direction but in separate cars. Ray and Alice stop at a camping ground on the way to their destination but can’t find the manager and end up staying without permission, which annoys other campers who grill them on whether or not they have the right to stay. When Ray asks one of them what time it is, he is told no-one has a watch and to never mind about those things, as there’s always tomorrow.

Suddenly we are back in the city driving through Surrey Hills and the Eastern suburbs with Ray and his friend Miles. Ray is on his way to film the home and family of prominent Watsons Bay Millionaire, David. The car breaks down on the way.

For a film seemingly about nothing this film really says something. We, in Australia, are disconnected and distanced. We are like a hill of beans. Do we need to be more European? Does the Queen look better in pink or blue? As Alice asks earlier in the film, “Is it about what’s right or what’s practical?”

Friends & Strangers is a clever film, though a little monotonous and bland.

★★

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