Fistful of Flies

Director: Monica Pellizzari
Screenwriters: Monica Pellizzari

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


It is difficult to watch Monica Pellizzari’s brazen portrait of contemporary teenage angst and not recall Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career. Though their rural Australian settings are separated by a century of progress, there remains a staunch similarity between the repressions afflicting their young female protagonists. Apparently the sexual revolution failed to make a pit stop in Fistful of Flies’s not–so–fictional town of Cider Gully.

Against its stylistic surrealism and comedic excesses, Fistful of Flies evokes a profound and painful realism as it traces the lives of three generations of women relegated to silence and subordination. Sixteen-year-old Maria, who defiantly refers to herself as Mars, is caught between an alien universe of Italo-Catholic conservatism and an imaginary future skewed toward sexual and professional self-determination. As Mars’s autoerotic indulgences and steadfast irreverence are met with ever-increasing brutality, she erupts in an act determined to break the cycle of abuse. Laden with humor and heartache and bolstered by an astonishing performance by Tasma Walton as Mars, Fistful of Flies witnesses its young heroine’s journey to replace self-loathing with self-love. Following an auspicious short film career, including 1993’s Just Desserts, Monica Pellizzari returns to Sundance with this first feature of uncommon bravery and poignancy.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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