The Last Wave

Screening on Film
Directed by Peter Weir.
With Richard Chamberlain, Olivia Hamnett, David Gulpilil.
Australia, 1977, 35mm, color, 106 min.
Print source: HFA

O is for Oracles

A corporate lawyer defending a group of Aborigine men accused of murder embarks on a search for the answer to a cryptic prophecy. Meanwhile, the rains that are pouring in Sydney are attributed to an Antarctic cold front but eventually lead to an apocalyptic resolution. In a curious response to the disaster-film genre of the 1970s, director Weir uses a minimum of special effects, choosing instead to present a world caught between reality and fantasy. Echoing the lawyer’s uncertainty in his pursuit, Weir’s focus on the inexplicable reflects what is perhaps an unbridgeable gap between modern society and ancestral myths.

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive