The Singer and the Dancer – 1977
Ruth Cracknell – Mrs. Bilson
Elizabeth Crosby – Charlie
Russell Kiefel – Pete
Jude Kuring – Mrs. Herbert
Gerry Duggan – Doctor
Julie Dawson – Mrs. Rogers
Kate Sheil – Yong Mrs Bilson
Rob Steele – Jim Bilson
Kerry Walker – Rose Buckley
An older woman (Ruth Cracknell) does not speak to her daughter and detests everything about her. The only solace is with her regular visits to the doctor who drops her off along the road to spend her day in the countryside alone. One day at her favourite place in the country the older lady meets a young girl (Elizabeth Crosby) who is having relationship problems with her boyfriend, and they share their bitter memories. These meetings become regular therapeutic sessions.
Review by Noel Bailey
Age and memories blend like wine and cheese by the lakeside
Here’s a great opportunity to catch an early Gillian Armstrong work as she paints a tapestry of interweaving lives, not happy ones – just REAL ones.
Ruth Cracknell is old Mrs Bilson, at odds with, and at an enforced distance from her own daughter with whom, for many reasons she does not speak. She seeks refuge from an unbearable home environment that she herself has helped to create. Her only pleasure these days is solace in quiet places, alone with her thoughts and bitter regrets. It is an acidic existence. Elizabeth Crosby is misbegotten young Charlie, hoping to solidify a rocky love affair with her boyfriend by removing him from what she sees as the ‘temptations’ of the city.
The two meet by chance one day, when Mrs Bilson is dropped off at her favorite spot by the lake. Despite the cultural and age differences, the two are drawn together and these meetings become regular therapeutic journeys of experience. Gillian Armstrong tenderly evokes a drama which explores choices, past and present, hope ever on the horizon, friendship in the most unlikely places.
Thought provoking and meditational cinema – the quintessential Gillian Armstrong. Cracknell and Crosby are on fire here. See it!