DRAMA; 1hr 29min
STARRING: Julia Blake, Firass Dirani
Terror australis: Blake and Dirani
Fortunes can turn on a dime, and for elderly Jewish widow Ulah Lippmann (Blake), going tranquilly about her business in suburban Melbourne, that reversal takes place at her front door. Seized by a wounded young Palestinian man (Dirani as Sadiq Mohammed) on the run from the police after the bombing of a synagogue, she is forced into her tidy flat and held hostage by the self-proclaimed soldier, who also detests Jews. Hunted, desperate and alone, Sadiq’s plight is just as dire.
Blake and Dirani set the extreme scene with the thrust and parry of attuned teamwork. But director and co-writer David Pulbrook has a surprise in store: given the opportunity to turn Sadiq in, Ulah makes an extraordinarily selfless choice, and their shared story diverges into territory unfamiliar to them both.
Last Dance re-examines a bitter, long-standing conflict through the prism of individual experience. It’s cleverly written and wholeheartedly performed, yet its resolution is so dewy-eyed that what sets out to be challenging and impactful becomes progressively difficult to accept.