The Fringe Dwellers

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


In competition at the Cannes Film Festival and presented here in its U.S. premiere, Bruce Beresford’s The Fringe Dwellers is an accomplished adaptation of Nene Gare’s early ‘60’s novel of an Australian aboriginal family living in appalling conditions on the edge of a small outback town.

In many ways comparable to The Color Purple, The Fringe Dwellers is particularly admirable for its ensemble acting. The large, mainly aboriginal cast is faultless under Beresford’s sympathetic direction. Justine Saunders is a particular standout as the wife who must cope with a lethargic husband, fractious daughters, various unwanted in-laws, and who barely remembers the few aboriginal words taught to her as a child.

Beresford, whose work includes The Getting of Wisdom, Breaker Morant, Tender Mercies, and Crimes of the Heart, now appears committed to both American productions and more intimate, personal productions from his native land. Of his many outstanding films, The Fringe Dwellers will be remembered for its humanity and beauty.

Screening Details

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