By Simone Mundy
I had the pleasure of attending the sold out World Premiere of Girl Asleep last night. Filmed entirely in Adelaide, Girl Asleep is based on the critically acclaimed theatre production from South Australia’s Windmilll Theatre group. Girl Asleep is universal in its coming-of-age theme, which we can all relate to. And it has a warm, nostalgic feel about it, that Adeladies will adore.
Image credit: Girl Asleep Film
Greta is played by the perfectly cast, Bethany Whitmore. She is supported by comedic and heart-warming performances from a list of talented local females including Janet McMahon, Maiah Stewardson, Imogen Archer and Tilda Cobham-Hervey. Directed by Rosemary Myers and produced by Jo Dyer – Girl Asleep is where creative Adeladies represent — Boom!
Girl Asleep has Australian coming-of-age cult classic written all over it. If you don’t want to know any more details then stop reading and get tickets for the final screening for the Adelaide Film Festival on Sunday, at Palace Cinema.
It’s a fantastic movie, and you’ll be supporting the local film industry and a cast and crew full of incredible Adelaide women.
Image credit: girlasleepfilm
For those who can’t help themselves, read on.
The opening scenes of Greta meeting ‘the geek’ and the subsequent tension when she is appropriated by the ‘cool girls’ is reminiscent of Rushmore’s style and Puberty Blues’ Australiana – a huge compliment, since they are favourites of mine.
Back at home Conrad (Matthew Whittet) and Janet (Amber Mc Mahon) play the loving but cringe-worthy parental roles, providing a slew of laugh out loud moments. Those of us old enough to remember how exotic a Chinese dinner was before Adelaide became the multicultural melting pot it is today, will enjoy the family dinner scene where the point of view is shown from a lazy susan.
The styling in Greta’s house, (a real home in Panorama) is a credit to the art department. My own home resembles the interior of a 70s caravan — complete with floral wallpaper, oddly shaped built-ins and wood panelling. I feel as if I should invite the crew over for kabana and cheese on toothpicks!
Getting to know Greta through her friendship with Elliot (Harrison Feldman) we learn about her plastic horses, pen pal letters and treasure box. The things she struggles to let go of. I remember the sadness of putting away Sunshine, my beloved My Little Pony, when I hit a certain age. Sunshine used to talk on the phone to my friends in high pitched voices. I may as well tell this story publicly before my older brothers do it for me.
A highly anticipated birthday party comes complete with brilliant Disco Inferno choreography. Unlike all the teen parties I went to where the young guys were trying their best to melt into the walls — everyone gets their super freak on at this party.
Mean girls making mixtapes provide the catalyst for Greta’s escapism. At 14 I can remember the boundaries between reality and imagination getting blurry. The intense curiosity tethered by a fear of the unknown will be familiar to many. A precious box goes missing (whose didn’t?) and Greta enters a twisted dreamscape.
The dreamscape could be the lovechild from an orgy between M. Night Shyamalan, Bjork and Spike Jonze raised on Mighty Boosh episodes. Lovers of the original theatre production will obviously notice the changes in the dream world – demonstrating the broader visual possibilities that film has over stage with its visually rich symbolism. Although the dreamscape trip took me further from Greta’s real world for longer than I would have liked – it was absolutely worth the journey.
At the end, I felt like Girl Asleep was a bit like my coming of age and probably yours too. Everyone can relate to embarrassing moments with family and friends, frightening new experiences and getting lost in our own imagination. It made me feel better about my own (slightly awkward) teenage years.
It’s a great South Australian movie and you should definitely go and check it out!