Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

Perfect Strangers

Year: 2003
Country: NEW ZEALAND
Run Time: 95 minutes

Once again Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" aria sends shudders up the spine in a suspense tale of fatal attraction. Burned before in romance, Melanie jadedly cruises the bar scene for male companionship. One night she's charmed off of dry land by a nameless and poetic stranger (Sam Neill) onto his boat. When she awakens they're on their way to his shanty-like "castle" on a deserted island somewhere off New Zealand's western coast. Soon the man's affections grow more ominous, even openly violent. And this, Melanie knows, is the bush, where people often walk in and never walk out. Remember, however, that in many animal species the female is deadlier. Those who recall Gaylene Preston's crowd-pleasing comedy "Ruby and Rata" (15th CIFF, 1991) and her intimate documentary "War Stories" (20th CIFF, 1996) will once again be swept away by her change of pace in a tale of obsession, possession, isolation, survival and, yes, love, reminiscent of Roman Polanski's finest psychothrillers.

Screenplay
Gaylene Preston

Producer
Robin Laing, Gaylene Preston

Cinematography
Alun Bollinger

Editing
John Gilbert

Principal Cast
Sam Neill, Rachael Blake, Joel Tobeck, Robyn Malcolm, Madeleine Sami

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