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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, October 2, 2014 - Edition No 917 

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EFTHYMIOU, STAVROS : TRUE LOVE AND CHAOS

Andrew L. Urban goes on location in Melbourne to interview Stavros Efthymiou about the making of True Love and Chaos, an unusual road movie that blends humour and tragedy.

On the set of True Love and Chaos, Stavros Efthymiou talked about his ambition for the film: "I want to capture a mood somewhere between happiness and melancholy," he said, admitting that British urban dramas had a big influence on him, especially during the time he grew up in London prior to migrating to Melbourne.

"I want to capture a mood somewhere between happiness and melancholy," Stavros Efthymiou

True Love and Chaos, he says, is a road movie: young lovers Mimi (Miranda Otto) and Hanif (Naveen Andrews), a charismatic young Anglo-Indian, set off across the Australian continent from Melbourne towards Perth, led by Mimi’s wish to reunite with her mother, and unknown to her, for Hanif and his mate Dean (Noah Taylor) to escape from Dean’s brother, Jerry (Ben Mendelsohn) an off-balance dope dealer from whom they have stolen a stash.

"They are not what we think; people tend to jump to conclusions and they are often wrong."

"But it's really about characters who have ordinary wants and needs, and the world's got in the way," says Efthymiou. He wants to surprise the audience that the first impressions of the characters is wrong or at least incomplete, as they are fully revealed. "They are not what we think; people tend to jump to conclusions and they are often wrong."

Others in the high calibre ensemble cast include Noah Taylor, Ben Mendelsohn, Genevieve Picot and Kimberley Davies. Weaving also starred in Efthymiou' award winning short, Road to Alice. This debut feature, produced by Ann Darrouzet, is handled internationally by Beyond Films, who took to the script's "intelligent and contemporary" mood, according to Beyond's Melbourne manager, Kim Dalton. The film has an individuality, a mood that signals a fresh, yet complex style.

"I'm particularly interested in humour that's not driven by funny lines but by the situation."

"It's fast moving, with lots of humour," says Efthymiou. "I'm particularly interested in humour that's not driven by funny lines but by the situation. The ideas came from a lot of different directions in a blur, then started to crystallise. There were things I was interested in…like Greek mythology - I’ve realised that after writing it, mind you. All the characters want is a bit of love and tenderness and don’t know how to find it, and I was fascinated by the way events take over - with a purpose you might think. Seeming coincidences…but I don’t believe in that."

"All the characters want is a bit of love and tenderness and don’t know how to find it,"

The film begins with the chaos of Hanif’s and Mimi’s affair going hot and cold, and the chaos of Hanif and Dean heisting Jerry’s bag of dope - and getting chased by an enraged Jerry, propelling them into Mimi’s VW as she heads off for Perth. The trip, the equivalent of London to Moscow by car, has its adventures, among which is a chance meeting with Morris (Weaving), a singer in a travelling rock group, who has a big impact on Mimi - causing friction with Hanif. The journey becomes more and more fraught, but it also helps define Hanif’s feelings for Mimi. The climactic scenes bring revelations and eventually a tragedy, as fate seems to swipe its careless hand over the lives of the characters.

"The upside of a low budget, is you just have to be more ingenious with what you have." Production designer Steven Jones-Evans

Production designer Steven Jones-Evans had a tight budget with limited travel for a film that crosses a continent. "The upside of a low budget," he says, "is you just have to be more ingenious with what you have."

First time producer Ann Darrouzet says the financing took a year, "and was very trying at times…We wanted to get high production values and a big soundtrack with a small budget."

"It’s a lead role for a charismatic, sexual Anglo-Indian" Producer Ann Darrouzet on the casting of Naveen Andrews

On casting Naveen Andrews, Darrouzet says it was impossible to cast within Australia. "It’s a lead role for a charismatic, sexual Anglo-Indian. We did some screen tests but without success. Stavros has seen Naveen is things like Buddha of Suburbia and felt he was perfect…."

The target market for the film, Darrouzet believes, is under 25, city and country: "Universal…the young girl looking for identity and issues of responsibility."

"...punk was dead and I was depressed so I came to Australia, " Efthymiou

Efthymiou grew up around Australia Rd at Shepherds Bush, "but then punk was dead and I was depressed so I came to Australia. For three years I worked as a shunter at the railways, at factories … went to Sydney College of the Arts because I wanted to be a painter, moved to experimental videos and got obsessed with narrative. I was about 28 when I felt I wanted to make films." He is now 35 and especially enjoys the editing process. "And production least…everyone thinks you’re an egomaniac."



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Stavros Efthymiou on set

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Efthymiou with Naveen Andrews on set


The cast









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