Beneath Clouds

Feature film, written and directed by Ivan Sen in 2002.

…its beautiful pictures tell a thousand words about what it is to be young, dispossessed and facing a predetermined destiny in Australia. triple j film reviews

Lena and Vaughn are teenagers each with reasons to be on the road. Lena is heading to Sydney where she believes her Irish father might be. Vaughn has escaped from a prison farm on hearing that his mother is dying. Their trip together is based on convenience and a gradual if unspoken development of an affinity. Each is driven towards to a parent. Can Lena’s father possibly live up to her hopes, even if she can find him? Vaughn, on the other hand, starts out already believing his mother has left him to fate, yet he yearns to see her a final time.

Both are Aboriginal, although fair Lena does not correct Vaughn’s assumption that she is white. This film is full of considerations like this to exercise the viewer’s mind. Beautiful lansdcapes are contrasted with violent incidents, and images of trees and sunflowers are interspersed with those of dead animals. Both characters are strongly portrayed, Vaughn’s anger frightening at times, whilst Lena is strong and calm. She takes life full on but displays in her expression a knowledge which makes her wary. The two move from reluctant companionship to a more subtle understanding. 

Australian Screen has three clips from Beneath Clouds.

ABC Radio National’s Julie Rigg reviewed the film.


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