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FISTFUL OF FLIES

SYNOPSIS:
Struggling to come to terms with her sexuality, 16 year old Maria Lupi (Tasma Walton), the only daughter of conservative Catholic Italians, clashes with her sexually repressed mother (Dina Panozzo) and violent, philandering father (John Lucantonio). The parents want Maria to get a husband, but she is more interested in a career and her only ally is her grandmother, Nona (Anna Volska).

"Monica Pellizzari’s film, which we are told has been developing in her mind from childhood, is a patchy and curiously detached work with caricature-like characters for whom we care very little. There is nothing subtle about the film. It is heavy handed in many ways, including the irksome repetitive images of the flies of the title - on faces, belly buttons, hands … making me wonder whether they were well trained flies or if honey was the attraction. But having said that, Tasma Walton gives a fresh and convincing performance as Maria, who is obsessed with her sexuality - masturbation, admiring her breasts, and shocking her family by wearing tampons as earings. Walton is the best thing that comes out of this film; if nothing else, Pellizzari has given a talented new star her first film role. The extremely photogenic Dina Panozzo gives a patchy, badly directed performance as the hung-up mother; Anna Volska is sympathetic as Nona, but I was somewhat distracted by the very obvious wig, which sat like a tired mushroom. The interesting casting of talented voluptuous songstress Maria Venuti as the unglamorous Magdelena shows her versatility, but her character is never properly established. Some interesting camera angles - shooting beneath the glass as the wine is poured, and some bizarre ideas, such as the obsession with garden gnomes - sadly do not help the film to ever quite gel."
Louise Keller

"No film succeeds as admirably in alienating an audience than this pretentious Australian film. Always destined to be controversial from the outset, Fistful of Flies is a highly fragmented film the sole purpose of which seems to be to be to offer the moviegoer the most unpleasant movie experience of all time. Writer/director Pelizarro has had a tough life. Not that one's knowledge of that should be used to pre-judge this film, but it's clear that it's an angry, vicious and uncompromising work, from an angry director. There's nothing wrong with a film that examines the independence of women in the cinema, and the film maker makes some valid points, but she seems intent on doing so at the very expense of the audience she's trying to embrace. This is an ugly film, in every respect, and despite the strong performances of the two women, Fistful of Flies has little artistic merit and no sense of identity. It's unlikely that Fistful of Flies will discover an audience, because, quite simply, who on earth will want to suffer through this film's interminable nastiness?"
Paul Fischer

AWARDS: Best Directorial Debut, Best Cinematography - Stockholm Film Festival, 1996; Elvira Notari Award - Venice Film Festival, 1996

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FISTFUL OF FLIES (M)
(Aus)

CAST: Tasma Walton, Dina Panozzo, John Lucantonio, Anna Volska, Maria Venuti

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Monica Pellizzari

PRODUCER: Julia Overton

SCRIPT: Monica Pellizzari

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jane Castle

EDITOR: James Manche

PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Lissa Coote

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Total/UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 29 1997



Tasma, Dina and Anna Volska







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