Watermark

Youthful love and happiness are replaced by middle-aged bitterness and disappointment in "Watermark," an ultra-low-budget Aussie pic. Though the filmmaking team of Georgina Willis and Kerry Rock clearly have a distinctive vision, they need to find more original ways of expression.

With:
With: Jai Koutrae, Sandra Stockley, Ruth McDonald, Ellouise Rothwell.

Youthful love and happiness are replaced by middle-aged bitterness and disappointment in “Watermark,” an ultra-low-budget Aussie pic produced without the usual government funding. While no doubt an enterprising effort, the film’s at times confusing structure and the cliches in which it dabbles will make it difficult to attract a significant audience. Though the filmmaking team of Georgina Willis and Kerry Rock clearly have a distinctive vision, they need to find more original ways of expression.

Film starts with an attractive, if rather arty, sequence in which a young couple in love arrive by boat at a deserted beach and have fun in the summer heat. Years later, they have less fun at the same beach with two demanding daughters. The film cuts back and forth between the past and present, with the unfaithful and work-obsessed husband neglecting his frustrated wife, but an overall lack of clarity reduces involvement in the characters. A scene in which the wife discovers her husband’s infidelity when she receives flowers intended for his mistress is clumsily handled. Performances are a bit stiff and forced, and the relentlessly atonal music score becomes an irritant.

Watermark

Directors Fortnight / Australia

Production: A Potoroo Films production. (International sales: Potoroo Films, Sydney.) Produced by Kerry Rock. Directed by Georgina Willis. Screenplay, Willis, Kerry Rock.

Crew: Camera (color), Paul Kolsky, David Perry; editors, Willis, Rock; music, Allyson Newman; production designer, Willis; sound, Grant Beed. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors Fortnight), May 24, 2003. (Also in Sydney Film Festival.) Running time: 78 MIN.

With: With: Jai Koutrae, Sandra Stockley, Ruth McDonald, Ellouise Rothwell.

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