Set in the Australian wheat-belt in 1968, September is about two 15 year-old boys – one black, one white – whose friendship begins to fall apart under the stress of a changing world. The boys try to hold their friendship together in spite of the pressures imposed upon them by a turbulent social and political climate.
Set in the Western Australian wheat belt in 1968 September is a coming of age story involving two boys; Ed, the white landowner’s son, and Paddy, the aboriginal farmhand’s son. They have grown up together and are best friends. But all that is to be challenged over one September.
Directed by Peter Carstairs, September is a gentle film. The golden browns of the country and the glorious sunsets are captured to great effect giving the film a rich texture. Carstairs has a great eye for composition.
The location and production values were fabulous, as you got a real sense of the era and the isolation. The landowner’s farmhouse being on top of the hill looking down on the run down old home of the Aboriginal family, said so much. And I loved the boxing ring beautifully set up in the middle of the landscape where the boys’ physical interaction is played out.
The pace of the film was a little slow. The story took a long time to get going and at times lacked propulsion. Once underway though, I found it engaging and quite moving.
The way the boys’ relationship began to mirror their fathers’ was compelling. The message of race and class, clear.
The performances were all really strong. Xavier Samuel and Clarence John Ryan as the two boys were terrific. As the mothers, Alice McConnell and Lisa Flanagan really moved me. Their performances were detailed and subtle.
All in all, September is a beautifully shot film with a poignant message.