Drafthouse Films has acquired the rights to Wake in Fright, a legendary Australian movie that has been all but lost for 40 years. The film played at Cannes in 1971, where it made a huge impact on people like Martin Scorsese. When Drafthouse was getting the release together, they asked Marty for his thoughts, and this is what he said:
Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright is a deeply – and I mean deeply – unsettling and disturbing movie. I saw it when it premiered in Cannes in 1971, and it left me speechless. Visually, dramatically, atmospherically and psychologically, it’s beautifully calibrated, and it gets under your skin one encounter at a time, right along with the protagonist played by Gary Bond. I’m excited that Wake in Fright has been preserved and restored and that it is finally getting the exposure it deserves.
In the film Bond plays a teacher trapped in the Australian outback both an alcohol-induced fugue and a town full of deranged derelicts - including Donald Pleasance, playing a boozed-to-the-gills doctor.
Here's a video of director Ted Kotcheff talking about watching the movie at Cannes with a certain Italian-American filmmaker sitting right behind him. Hopefully the video loads at the right place; if not, go to 6:25!
Wake in Fright is playing Fantastic Fest this year!