DRAMA; 1hr 25min
STARRING: Xavier Samuel, Clarence John Ryan
Under pressure: from left, Ryan and Samuel
The West Australian wheat fields of 1968 are a harsh mistress to those who eke a living from them and a sealed world in which the rigours of black and white separation are irrelevant — at least to teenagers Ed (Samuel) and Paddy (Ryan). Ed, who is white, attends high school, while Aboriginal Paddy, who labours with his father on Ed’s family property, can barely read. The boys are best friends regardless and happy enough, as boys are. But external pressures are building.
Directed by Peter Carstairs, September captures the hazy torpor of country life, with its meditative cadence and epic, unbending scope, then sets the pastoral scene against something much uglier and more universal. The boys — both understated, both great — are up against the generational strictures of class, race and custom. And for that, their story of innocence compromised belongs in a sense to us all.