banner image

:: Rain

Rain is a coming of age story for pubescent Janey, just discovering her powers as a woman and the instability of her parent’s marriage as they spend the summer at their beach house. A charismatic photographer comes into their lives and a chain of events is set in motion that will end in tragedy.

Rain is Christine Jeffs’ feature directing debut, and is an adaptation of a novel by Kirsty Gunn. Jeffs short film, Stroke, won acclaim at Sundance and Cannes, and her ability with actors and camera is without question. The central performance of Janey, by Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki is mesmerising. That young girl has a career if she wants one. Even the very young Aaron Murphy, who plays Janey’s younger brother Jim, is splendid, evocative and natural. Small details of the delights and frustrations of childhood are wonderfully recreated and a sense of nostalgia pervaded the film.

Set on the coast of New Zealand in 1972, John Toon’s cinematography evokes the time and place beautifully, with some frames as beautiful as any artwork hanging on a wall. However all these things do not combine to make a satisfying film. The similarity in appearance of the two leading men, both with brown hair and stubble, made for a confusing beginning, where there were many flirtatious and wounded looks. The character’s motivations, particularly Janey’s, remain a little too opaque to fully get involved with them. And, quite frankly, not enough happened to sustain my interest. It was all rather bland family melodrama that would not be out of place on television soap. There is much foreboding throughout the film and by the end the climax had become a little predictable.

The soundtrack is composed by Neil Finn, his first foray into film scoring, and is on the whole, effective. Rain was selected to screen in the 2001 Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight and also screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival last year. The long wait until its commercial release indicates that perhaps this is a film for limited arthouse audiences only.

Screening at Cinema Nova