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STRANGE FITS OF PASSION

SYNOPSIS:
Alice, (Michela Noonan) embarks on a crusade to lose her virginity. She’s frustrated by a lack of available men and an unfortunate habit of breaking into a sneezing fit when lust beckons. She seeks solace in her gay friend Jimmy (Mitchell Butel), who seems to have it all worked out with his lover. But when she meets Francis (Jack Finsterer), a poet, things look to be improving. But are they really? Is she even looking in the right place? Should she be looking for Mr Right, when there could be Ms Right out there somewhere? Or what?

"Told with voice over narration very much from her point of view, Strange Fits of Passion could well be described as strange fits of filmmaking, with its spasmodic structure, episodic story and bursts of inventive brilliance. The naturalism of the dialogue and some of the performances (notably Mitchell Butel) jars with the overall style of the film, which (as Louise also notes) is at odds with the tone and mood of Cezary Skubiszewski's music. There is charm in the innocence of her seeking to lose her virginity almost as if it was devoid of all social baggage; this puts her character in some sort of context, although we are deprived of knowing much else about her. Then there is the shift in tones; once when the gay relationship breaks down between her friend Jimmy and his lover, leading to heavy drama, and also when a would-be lover of Hers fails to rise to the occasion - and the consequent scene of a strange fit of un-passion. . . While it lacks a certain cohesive dynamic, Starnge Fits of Passion is full of such well observed reality, sometimes getting close to the bone and challenges the preconceptions of what a rites of passage film - told from a young female virgin's pov - can be."
Andrew L. Urban

"Do you read the writing on the toilet wall? Strange Fits of Passion's Alice does, and the impact of the message 'Virginity is like a balloon – one prick and it's gone' hits home. Like one single drop of water that forms a series of ripples on still water, one thing is sure, life will never be the same again. Elise McCredie's debut film about a young girl's journey of sexual discovery is fresh and quirky with plenty of spark, yet lacks overall cohesion. It's an impressive debut with much to recommend it, but the script would benefit from a nip and tuck - it feels longer than its 92 minutes. Cezary Skubiszewski's haunting music is out of place here – it represents the melancholy of experience, rather than the insecurity of innocence. But I especially like the interlude with the Spanish teacher/Latin lover, that is filled with pathos, awkwardness and humour, with Alice's intimate, poignant relationship with gay friend Jimmy providing the film's warm spot. Perfomances are entertaining, and while the premise is far from new, there are enough layers of life on display to engage. It's about the idea of being in love, and shows the awkward side of youth, feeling excluded and worrying about not being pretty enough. Sometimes the easiest way to avoid rejection is to actively reject. Fantasy and reality are interwoven in bitter sweet fashion, enticing us on a journey that is both poignant, amusing and entertaining. Strange Fits of Passion has plenty of charm and attitude and is a good calling card for McCredie, whose talents will surely blossom."
Louise Keller

"Writer/director Elise McCredie has created an interesting but uneven first feature in Strange Fits of Passion. The premise of the film (a young woman desperate to lose her virginity) is almost quaint. But in her exploration of this idea, McCredie manages to pull off some wonderful vignettes about the tribulations and uncertainties of life and love. Alice's encounter with a Spanish language teacher and a magical sequence in a rooftop swimming pool are definite highlights. Also, McCredie’s willingness to treat gay and straight relationships on an equal footing is refreshing; and her story provides some bittersweet insights that will resonate with audiences. Unfortunately, Alice’s journey through the minefield of relationships in modern Australia is not structured effectively - so even at 92 minutes running time, the film seems to drag on occasions. Her use of imagined or dream sequences doesn’t help in that area, as they don’t really propel the drama. I also found the latter stages of the film to be rather overwrought and melodramatic. Michela Noonan announces herself as a bright new talent in Australian film with a tour-de-force performance as Alice. From almost farce to high emotion, she handles the role with an assurance that would put many more experienced actors to shame. The supporting cast are generally solid without being outstanding - the exception being Mitchell Butel who gives a wonderful performance as Jimmy. Another big plus for the film is the inventive and often striking cinematography. For all its faults, Strange Fits of Passion is an Australian film that deserves to be seen, and heralds McCredie as a director to watch."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

See Andrew L. Urban's interview with

Elise McCredie

STRANGE FITS OF PASSION (M15+)
(Australia)

CAST: Michela Noonan, Mitchell Butel, Samuel Johnson, Steve Adams, Anni Finsterer, Bojana Novakovic, Rob Carlton

DIRECTOR: Elise McCredie

PRODUCER: Lucy Maclaren

SCRIPT: Elise McCredie

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jaems Grant A.C.S.

EDITOR: Chris Banagan, Ken Sallows

MUSIC: Cezary Skubiszewski

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Macgregor Knox

RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 28, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: August 14, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Siren Entertainment







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