Four punked up Japanese surfers venture up the spectacular east coast of Australia in a 1961 EK Holden, to the tunes of many a pop song. Shark (Taki Abe), Kimiko (Miki Sasaki), Yuto (Keita Abe), and Gunja Man (Nobuisha Ikeda) drive, dream and surf their way through a road trip that exposes them to some of Australia's major landmarks...like the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple... and the Big Sheep. And of course, the Big Surf.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The (latest) new wave of Australian filmmaking is here: Bondi Tsunami is a child of the MTV era, a film made with the digital tools of the 21st century, the sounds of contempo music and the visual edginess of a brave young world whose language is hip. Flooded with humour, Bondi Tsunami is like a long video clip, but the characters aren't the members of the band: they're the members of a group who come together in an old Holden in search of the zen zone of surfing nirvana. Nothingness is a state of relaxed mind...
Multi talented Rachael Lucas has designed this film much like a Russell Mulcahey might design a 3 minute music clip, and given that deliberate approach, she has managed to deliver a fluid and engaging film. It eschews traditional linear story telling, yet it retains a sense of progression; it avoids talking too much, yet it communicates on a visceral level. She has no money yet she invests in the film's impact through a combination of stylistic direction, music and editing.
This is the new leading edge of the Australian filmmaking envelope, both in style and substance. The surrealism surrenders to humour and the humour surrenders to iconography, pop culture and moments of sheer fun.
Made for credit card debts and distributed by the entire Lucas family who supported her, Bondi Tsunami also connects with the surf culture in Japan. Australia and Japan share a few other cultural traits, including a sense of the absurd, of humour and of fate. At least it looks like it.
The extraordinary soundtrack boasts some 30 tracks, half of which have been composed for the film, some by Lucas herself, who also sings a few. Fresh and volatile, Bondi Tsunami is likely to end up labelled the first major Australian cult classic of the 21st century.
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BONDI TSUNAMI (PG)
CAST: Taki Abe, Miki Sasaki, Keita Abe, Nobuisha Ikeda
PRODUCER: Anthony Lucas Smith, Naomi Lucas Smith
DIRECTOR: Rachael Lucas
SCRIPT: Rachael Lucas
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rachael Lucas, Dean Pinsak
EDITOR: Michael Jones
MUSIC: Racahel Lucas and others
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Burlesque Productions
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 30, 2004
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
VIDEO RELEASE: June 15, 2005