Director of Photography: James Ballard.

Australian actor Frank Magree has been a staple on Australian television when he burst onto the screen with Russell Crowe in Romper Stomper (1992). Now he’s branching out, making his Writer/Director debut with Sengatan.

Based on true events, an Australian man living in Bali, who strategically befriends tourists for his own benefit, may have got in over his head. Is he playing or getting played? Through self-narration, the protagonist takes us on an unforgettable journey of how greed can corrupt one’s happiness.

Cinematographer James Ballard (who also appears in the film) captures both the intimacy and personal nature of the story and his awareness that there’s universal messages about hope and perseverance unfolding here. And it’s not really that surprising that this film is a poignant one. Ballard doesn’t shy away from the more challenging parts of the journey, though he avoids a lot of the gratuitous exploitation that can be so common with this kind of film.

Reviewed at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

Written by Vanessa Abbott. 

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