Forgotten Films

One Night Stand (1984)

This Australian film has the kind of indie spirit that was the hallmark of the Sundance generation despite being made in the early Eighties. Four main characters. Single location. And the off-beat situation is unusually grim. Two boys and two girls are double dating when they become trapped in the Sydney Opera House just as nuclear war is announced.

Think Fail Safe meets Mannequin with the production values of sex, lies and videotape. But for all the movie's bizarre cross genre roots it's a refreshing demonstration of the strength of the human spirit when faced with potentially spending your last night on Earth with total strangers. Another entry in the occasional pre-apocalyptic movie genre, this film deftly shows what would actually happen in case of such an emergency.

Nothing much. People would still go on dates. They'd probably hang out. Some sex might go on. Then everyone might die. What's so lovely about this film, is that they are real people. You can't really tell them apart. They don't have stereotypes. In fact only the navy officer really stands out. We like them because they are like us. If I was in that situation, I'd probably go a bit stir crazy.

Director John Duigan would go on to make the classic coming of age dramas The Year My Voice Broke and Flirting. But this earlier work is a gold standard example of obscured greatness. I haven't watched it in some time, and I'm almost afraid to go back in case it's simply not as golden as I remember. But I might if nothing else to see what the Sydney Opera House looks like at night when everyone's gone home . .

Careful when you're looking for a copy though, because there have been about ten films with this title, including a pretty good ensemble piece by Mike Figgis. I bought my ex-rental copy from a Blockbusters in Headingly, Leeds in 1993 and I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else since. Good luck.

No comments: