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Breath review: Simon Baker’s directs a nostalgic tribute to surf culture. Portraits by Bohdan Warchomij for Luna Cinemas in Perth. Film Stills David Dare Parker. May 6, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online , trackback

“Breath’ the film, directed on debut by actor Simon Baker, condenses Tim Winton’s novel  into a  coming-of-age tale about a sensitive teenager, Pikelet (Samson Coulter), his reckless, platinum haired  friend Loonie (Ben Spence) and a  hippy couple living on the edge of town — Sando and Eva — played by Simon Baker and a reclusive Elizabeth Debicki. Narrated by Tim Winton himself the story veers from casual male brotherhood and friendship to a transition from the immaturity of the juvenile to the growth of maturity in Pikelet as he falls for the sexuality of Eva on Sando’s trip to Indonesia to surf on his own. He has to learn to deal with Eva’s dark side.


From the opening moment when white light floods the screen to focussing on an underwater scene the film’s colour grading has a misty and melancholic quality, as if emulating seafoam or mist from the crest of a wave. The cinematography (by Marden Dean and, for the water sequences, Rick Rifici) is as concerned with distribution of light as it is colour and movement, presenting open, oxygen-filled compositions. The stills photography by David Dare Parker eloquently captures surfing culture as it was in the seventies in Margaret River and Cowaramup Bay in Gracetown.

Most surfing films view surfing as a recreation for the young. ‘Breath’ revolves around a pair of teenage boys, surfers turned actors, Pikelet (Samson Coulter) and Loonie (Ben Spence), but the emergence of  older characters are integral to the vision. It is a coming-of-age journey tempered by a complex contemplation of the nature of growing up and thrill-seeking and approaching manhood.

Aesthetically beautiful ‘Breath’ is a fine Australian film.

Tim Winton and Simon Baker at Luna Cinemas Q & A Photo Bohdan Warchomij



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