The Waiting City named ACFO Film of Year

13/01/2011

The jury of the Australian Catholic Film Office (ACFO) has awarded its 2010 Film of the Year to Claire McCarthy’s The Waiting City.

For the first time in the many years of the award's history, the ACFO has given its Film of the Year to a film which not nominated in the Best Film category at the AFI Awards.

Director of the Office and Jury Chair, Jesuit Priest, Fr Richard Leonard said the jury was surprised that this well-crafted and deeply humane film was passed over in every AFI category except for Denson Baker’s excellent cinematography.

"As good as many of the nominated films were this year, we thought this was an oversight which would not constrain our Award," Fr Leonard said.

Written and directed by Claire McCarthy, The Waiting City tells the story of a young Australian married couple, Ben and Fiona, as they arrive in Kolkata to collect a baby, Lakshmi, whom they have been negotiating to adopt for two years. The title refers to the impossibility of hurrying things in India. Everything takes time, particularly where paperwork and protocols are concerned.

Beauty and squalor

Filmed entirely on location in India, the jury praised this film for its distinctive atmosphere, the blend of beauty and squalor, the rich traditions (with their vivid and vibrant colours) and the variety of religious and transcendent spiritualities that are so sensitively woven into the narrative of the film. The Waiting City is also cleverly constructed, developing almost like a thriller, drawing the audience to be constantly anxious about the next move and what will be revealed. The performances from Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton are outstanding.

"Fiona and Ben’s journey to India is not just about overseas adoption and cross-cultural conflict, it is also about them confronting their marriage, what constitutes family life, their sense of humanity and the role of spirituality in our lives," Fr Leonard said.

Previous winners of the ACFO’s Film of the Year include Samson & Delilah, The Black Balloon, The Jammed, Ten Canoes, Look Both Ways, Tom White, Japanese Story, Rabbit Proof Fence, The Tracker, Beneath Clouds, Black and White, Australian Rules, Facing the Music and Looking for Alibrandi.


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