Jack Thompson (in the role, along with Petersen, that cemented his stardom) gives a torrential performance as a hard-living professional sheep shearer in director Ken Hannam’s evocative debut feature—the first Australian film to achieve widespread international recognition, when it premiered at the 1975 edition of the Directors Fortnight in Cannes. The year is 1955, and Foley (Thompson) has just joined a new team at a shearing station somewhere in the remote outback. Almost immediately, Foley finds himself in conflict with the station owner and in fierce competition with his fellow shearers—a motley crew that runs the gamut from fresh-faced new recruit to grizzled old drunk—until a looming strike against a government-imposed pay reduction gives everyone something to rally behind. A Hawksian portrait of male camaraderie, shot through with pungent outback atmosphere and gallows humor, Sunday Too Far Away remains one of the indisputable triumphs of the new Australian cinema.
“One of the most convincing explorations of men at work the screen has ever given us.”
Print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Kodak/Atlab Collection.