Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Novelist Richard Flanagan (Death of a River Guide) rewrote his screenplay for this film into his second novel, published in 1998. He also made his directorial debut with this Australian drama about European refugees who sought a new way of life in Australia. Flanagan lives in Australia's island state of Tasmania, the setting for this tale of a father seen from his daughter's viewpoint. Back in Hobart after a 20-year absence, unmarried 36-year-old Sydney resident Sonja Buloh (Kerry Fox) is pregnant and planning an abortion. The sight of her alcoholic father Bojan (Kristof Kaczmarek) recalls her childhood, and the film flashes back to show Bojan arriving from Slovenia with wife Maria (Melita Jurisic). One winter she abandons Bojan and three-year-old Sonja and vanishes into the night. Employed by Tasmania's hydroelectric company on remote corners of the island, Bojan is forced to have friends watch Sonja, but after a molestation of the eight-year-old Sonja by Picotti (Jacek Koman), Bojan begins working in Hobart to take care of her himself. He finds happiness with kind-hearted Jean (Essie Davis), owner of an apple orchard, but Sonja's objections to her father's lover, end the affair. When the bitter Bojan turns to alcohol, his drunkenness eventually prompts the teenage Sonja to flee. Shown at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival.
abortion, alcoholism, childhood, daughter, family, family-abandonment, father, molestation, pregnancy, refugee