When he discovers she is living in the same city as he, Andreas (Charles Tingwell) is moved to contact an old flame from his youth, Claire (Julia Blake), the young woman who was his first true love 50 years earlier. He is a widower, but Claire is married to the very much alive - though physically distant - John (Terry Norris) but she hesitatingly responds. Soon, however, the flames of passion are reignited and the lovers discover their love has matured along with them. John can't imagine Claire being in love; she must be ill...but nothing he says will alter her feelings for Andreas.
Review by Louise Keller:
Now released as part of the Iconic Australian Film Catalogue, Innocence is a gentle film that evokes memories of young love that have ripened into full bloom. Essentially two love stories merged into one, Paul Cox has taken the theme of rekindled passions in the autumn of life and explores its complexities, mysteries and realities. Beautiful to look at, images of today meld into those of yesterday; a moment in time rediscovered as simply as wiping a steamy bathroom mirror.
We are captivated by evocative images of two lovers meeting, laughing and loving, with all the hopes and expectations of a glorious summer. From bumbling to practised, we readily accept the two love stories from different times as one. The young lovers are repeatedly shown meeting and greeting as a fast train rushes past. Time never stands still, it seems to moan. Their precious moments are but stolen ones. The story unfolds naturally; Cox's script thoughtful and perceptive, capturing multiple textures and colours.
Love scenes between the older couple (rarely seen on screen) are handled with good taste and courage. Just as Cox revealed a naked 75 year old Sheila Florance in 1991's A Woman's Tale, here successfully portraying two lovers in their seventies is no mean feat. Innocence is about love - then and now, who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Julia Blake, wonderful as Claire, reveals the vulnerability, doubts and passion with an affecting honesty. Terry Norris as Claire's husband, is outstanding as a man blinkered by his complacency and locked in his own self-obsessed world. He takes his wife totally for granted and knows nothing about expressing his feeling. This is the character that affected me most; he's tragic, pathetic, funny and our hearts ache for him.
A slight reservation in the casting of Charles 'Bud' Tingwell; I would have liked to see Norman Kaye in this role. Kaye broke our hearts in Lonely Hearts and could do so again. But it's good to see him and Cox regular Chris Haywood in cameo roles nonetheless.
This is an essay about love, never sentimental but heartfelt and moving. It captures the peace and harmony of two souls who have a connection; no one said being grown up was easy. With its haunting recurring theme of eight simple notes, Innocence is a rich and evocative cinematic work, exuberant with inner complexities of life's adventures of the heart.
The DVD offers a commentary by Paul Cox & Paul Grabowski, a behind the scenes featurette, biographies, trailers, cast and crew interviews, photo gallery and Paul Cox short film 'We Are All Alone My Dear'.
Published December 6, 2007
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INNOCENCE: DVD (MA15+)
CAST: Julia Blake, Charles Tingwell, Terry Norris, Robert Menzies, Marta Dusseldorp, Chris Hayward, Norman Kaye, Joey Kennedy, Liz Windsor
PRODUCER: Paul Cox, Mark Patterson
DIRECTOR: Paul Cox
SCRIPT: Paul Cox
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tony Clark ACS
EDITOR: Simon Whittington
MUSIC: Paul Grabowsky
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tony Cronin
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Paul Cox & Paul Grabowski, behind the scenes featurette, biographies, trailers of Paul Cox films, Paul Cox short film (We are All Alone My Dear), interviews with cast and crew, photo gallery.
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: December 5, 2007