The Dressmaker hit our screens recently and has gone straight to no.1 at the box office. It was always going to be ‘Film of the Year’ with the Horsham locals. We have a special ownership, a lasting affinity and the need to see it again because I, like half the town, spent the night at the theatre ooohing and aaahing over our very own movie stars and missed great chunks of the story line. Oh yes – there’s Kate, Liam and the great Judy Davis, but our stars were Ashley, Sam, Cam, Paige, Angus, Allan, Rachel and all the other locals who were lucky enough to score parts as extras in this beautiful movie. The football scene featured players from Laharum Football Club – and alright, Liam Hemsworth – and is set at Jung, a small community 10 minutes from Horsham and a place I lived for a few years with both my girls being among the 24 students who attended Jung Primary School in the early 1980s.
The Dressmaker has a theme of revenge and the negative impact that a close knit community can have on someone who is on the ‘outside’ for whatever reason. It got me thinking about life in a small town and I know for me and my children, that impact was the most positive influence of our lives. We lived in a small house on the outskirts of town which we renovated lovingly and set about engaging in country life complete were three sheep, a Boxer dog, a cat and chooks. We had just moved back to the region from Melbourne – my two girls having been born in the city.
Happily, their lives reflected mine of the 1950s – they were free, safe, fun loving and adventurous among neighbours who cared about each other. An active mothers clubs for the schools, committed tennis club members who would produce an afternoon straight from The Dressmaker, a cricket club and a social group who worked hard to restore the town’s old hall and, of course the Jung Market which, sadly, is the only thing still going strong.
Firstly the pub was demolished, then the Post Office was closed and lastly the school was closed. These are the first steps of the certain death of any of our small regional towns. The closure of services which allows people to gather and socialise as a community, has had the same ending as the movie. Watching and enjoying The Dressmaker and its people living the quiet and affable life of the 1950s left me with a lump in my throat and a yearning for the good time gone past.
Have you seen The Dressmaker yet?
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