Alexandra's Project

Alexandras_project get Alexandra's Project

Year: 2003

Director: Rolf De Heer 

Writer: Rolf De Heer 

Budget: AUD 2 million (estimated)

Australian Gross: $844 494

Alexandra's Project is about a husband and wife, steve and alexandra.  steve works in an office and the two of them lead a seemingly happy and normal life.  until steve's birthday that is.  the day begins like every other day, except when he comes home from work alexandra has left him a surprise (and it isn't the party he's expecting).

what follows is an intense film that takes an original approach in examining a relationship between a man and his wife.  a relationship that looks fine on the surface, but underneath it hasn't been good for quite some time. we got revenge, lies, drama, truth, a video tape and even some brief female nudity.  needless to say the film isn't a light hearted comedy romp.  i have actually heard it being refered to as the feel bad movie of the year, although i think that is being a little extreme.

i saw the film about three years ago at the montreal world film festival.  all i knew was that it was a drama/thriller of sorts and that it was from australia - i tend to like australian films (other good ones: Lantana, Breaker Morant and Chopper to name a few off the top of my head) - there was also a very intriguing screen shot from the movie in the festival catelog that had me interested as well.  so with those three vague factors as my reasons i sat down to watch Alexandra's Project, and i was very glad i did.

the film is a very well written and well directed taught thriller that does a lot with very little. the budget for the movie was quite small but the director, rolf de heer, used what he had to create a very intense and styalistic experience.  most of the film takes place during the one day and in one room, but with the use of editing and light and nice camera work i was drawn right in.  i also tend to like films that play with visual ideas and setting a film mostly in one room with only an actor or two i found pretty original and well executed.

the performances by gary sweet and helen buday are also worth mentioning.  when a film only has two main actors for the bulk of the time, there performances take on that much more importance and these two come through with shining colours.

the film actually won the golden zenith at the montreal world film festival for 'best film from oceania' and it did well at the box office in australia.  however, outside of the australian market it barely made a splash - especially here in north america (i'm not even sure if it was ever released in north america).  so if you are in australia and missed it when it made its mark on the box office or if you are elsewhere on this planet and never even heard of it, don't forget about Alexandra's Project.