FAFA: Siam Sunset (1999)

What do you do when your wife is killed by a fridge falling from the sky?

Perry (Linus Roache) is a colour consultant for a paint company in England.  After his wife’s untimely passing he wins a bus trip to outback Australia. The b-grade tour is led by straight faced and competitive Bill Leach (Roy Billing) whose main goal is to beat another bus tour to Darwin. The mixture of passengers include the ever smiling and singing Stuart (Alan Brough) and secretive Grace (Danielle Cormack) a woman on the run from her troubled past and her super creepy boyfriend, brilliantly captured by Ian Bliss.

Written superbly by Andrew Knight and Max Dann, Siam Sunset was the directorial debut for the enchanting John Polson back in 1999. Perry is plagued by constant, yet hilarious, misfortune and the bus trip is not the ideal getaway anyone had wished for.  There’s an earthquake, a flood, a suicide, a madman and a crash that forces the passengers to stay in the roadhouse from hell.  Rations of tinned beetroot, anyone?

Throughout the chaos, Perry’s goal is to find the colour ‘siam sunset’ amongst the rich browns, reds and golds of the desert, a project close to his heart.It is a rare moment on film that truly breaks ones heart as Perry finally confronts the grief of his wife’s death and with it we find the significance of his beloved siam sunset, the audience must weep with him.

Initially billed as a comedy Siam Sunset is so much more, it shows us that when we open our eyes to the world we can’t escape our pain, no matter how far we travel. Winning Best Film at both the Hawaii Film Festival and the Puchon Film Festival in Korea as well as the Rail D’or a Cannes this Australian film will leave you smiling, and the song ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’ stuck in your head for at least a week. It ends on a magnificent Magnolia-esque scene that will have you completely confused but strangely better for it.

Siam Sunset was released theatrically in Australia on September 9, 1999.

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The only available trailer on the Internet is in German, but you get the gist!

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