Ladies’ Lounge

Monique Bettello’s short film Ladies’ Lounge, shot by cinematographer Lucy Campbell, was reviewed as part of the Australian short film program at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) in 2019.

Review by James Cunningham.

A scene from 'Ladies' Lounge' - DOP Lucy Campbell
A scene from ‘ Ladies’ Lounge’ – DOP Lucy Campbell

A 1960s housewife, in an act of devotion, risks everything when she chains herself to the foot rail of a regional pub to protest discriminatory drinking laws. Until the mid-1970s, woman were not permitted alcohol service in the main bar of Queensland pubs and were segregated to an area called a ‘Ladies’ Lounge’ in which they were denied service unless accompanied by a man.

After extensive researching, the filmmakers – film school students, director Monique Bettello and cinematographer Lucy Campbell – decided to write a screenplay.

The film is gorgeous, with elements of A Place to Call Home and even Far from Heaven. It’s steeped in a rich, nostalgic Australiana with a beautiful, semi-faded colour palette. Aided by exquisite costuming and an authentic 1965 Chevrolet, Ladies’ Lounge could just be the most beautiful short at the festival.

James Cunningham is the Editor of Australian Cinematographer Magazine.

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