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New skin

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

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Dark, sometimes violent, but ultimately touching and beautiful, New skin delves into the minds and hearts of two people, and the struggle to maintain their individuality in a co-dependent relationship.

When Max (Anthony Hayes) starts seeing inner strength in his partner Lyra (Jessica Napier), he is confronted by his own weaknesses and his inability to communicate as a man and companion.

Max is driven back to the streets and the mundaneity of a life with no future.

As Lyra finds herself making progress and moving away from the stale vibes of a stagnant relationship, she makes attempts to show Max the light and gently coax him back to himself, and back to her heart.

Also starring Samuel Johnson and Marshal Napier.

Screens with The hitch by Writer/Producer/Director Damon Heriman (15 minutes).

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Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The hitch: a nice little black comedy in the sun-drenched Australian style. The performances are understated, the script is quirky and the humour as dry as the landscape. A great lead in to the feature and why aren't the big cinema chains popping the odd short in front of a suitable flick. It gets you in the mood to watch something bigger and deeper, just like an hors d'oeuvre sets you up for a couple of rounds with a knife and fork. Keep them coming, dudes.

New skin: a disturbingly real drama about breaking up and breaking down that made a great complement to All over the guy, which I saw the day after I did this. New skin has the same gritty, young, urban feel that pervades Erskineville kings. This is not entirely surprising as they were made in neighbouring suburbs and they were both created by Writer/Director/Stars writing about what they know. Sometimes the films get a bit self-indulgent but you have to expect that from the young: they are what they are.

What you end up with is an edgy drama about two people battering each other to death in their search for unity. Some couples click together from first sight, others have to work at it. Max and Lyra are both. Of course, there's some pretty weird shit going on once you realise that the two lead actors were in the process of ending their relationship as the film was cast. Don't you just love it when art matches life?

Anthony is good at being the lost, lonely and lubricious lad and he milks his character for all he's worth. It's always unsettling for me to see a writer cast himself as the star in the film he's directing but in this case it must've saved a lot of time in getting across the mood of the piece. Jessica has that independent/alternative Newtown feel which goes well with the character but the pregnancy didn't quite come across as desired (ie real). Maybe it's because everyone seems to be getting knocked up in the movies these days, possibly also on TV, but I don't watch TV.

New skin is a good little Aussie film that will look good on everyone's CV and showreel and more than just ok on the big screen. If nothing else, at least it isn't Hollywood.

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Running times

The hitch: 15 minutes
New skin: 56 minutes

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 4 March 2002 - Sydney

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