Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 234: Wed Aug 23

The Plumber (Weir, 1979): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm

This screening is part of the Animus Magazine season devoted to Peter Weir. Details here.

Cine Passion review:
Peter Weir in a jocular mood turns Hanging Rock into a high-rise complex, the oppressed return with tool belts. "You can tell a lot about people from their bathroom." The housewife-scholar (Judy Morris) lives surrounded by fertility masks and Kama Sutra posters, her thesis on a New Guinea tribe is written to native drums on a tape recorder. The surrealistic process has the witch doctor who once barged into her tent reflected in the shaggy plumber (Ivar Kants) who contemplates the perfectly organized lavatory and begins hammering away at the tiled walls. The tradesman is an insinuating physical presence ("The drains of this building are clogged with hair," he whispers as if telling a lewd secret), a playful lout, a wannabe balladeer, a trickster. He's also a reminder of class injustice, the client's status becomes her weapon—when she makes a point of correcting his grammar in front of a friend, he channels his fury into faux-Bob Dylan lyrics. The brain-eating malady and the vanished watch, theme and style, "pressure." A comedy of menace and control à la Pinter, where privileged guilt and fear unmoor the anthropological mind until it resembles the cracked plaster above the toilet. From within the jungle of tangled pipes and scaffolding the accusatory Other wails with guitar and harmonica, a matter of leakage. Weir calibrates this Last Wave offshoot with compressed technique (it was shot on the fly for Australian TV) and material from Polanski's The Tenant and Del Lord's A Plumbing We Will Go. "It's a wonder the place hasn't flooded!" The discourse continues in Pacific Heights, The Guardian, Funny Games.
Fernando F. Croce

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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