Wake in Fright

  • Wake in Fright

Ted Kotcheff’s Australian cult classic Wake in Fright (1971) opens for a weeklong run at Gene Siskel Film Center, screening in a restored print from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Adapted from a novel by Kenneth Cook, it’s the tale of a boozing Sydney schoolteacher who lands in an outback mining town and gets pulled into the local yahoo culture. As Drew Hunt observes in his four-star review, “This lifestyle seems to consist entirely of constant drinking, random fistfights, anarchic destruction of other people’s property, and kangaroo hunting—the last of which is depicted in two graphic sequences. (To this day Kotcheff maintains that no kangaroos were killed on his set, and that the sequences are in fact documentary footage spliced together with staged scenes.)”