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Peter Weir: Australian New Wave Meets “The Last Wave”

Peter Weir: Australian New Wave Meets “The Last Wave” (photo)

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Peter Weir was a key figure in the world of Australian New Wave cinema with his films such as “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “Gallipoli”. Then he moved to the United States and started making mainstream box office successes like “Witness”, “The Truman Show”, “Master and Commander”, and, of course (best movie ever) “Dead Poets Society” (…sigh). But his Australian films laid the foundation for his future success. Today, IFC is showing his 1978 film “The Last Wave”.

But before we get to why you should watch “The Last Wave”, it is worth a look at Weir’s ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, which was the film that truly put him on the cinematic map. ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ is a deceptively simple film about an all girls’ school in Australia in 1900. When the class goes for the titular picnic at Hanging Rock, three girls and their school teacher vanish under very mysterious circumstances. After the disappearance, the tension at the school builds and builds until the Headmistress takes out her anger on an innocent orphaned student. The mystery of the disappearance is never solved and the unanswered questions make the movie absolutely haunting. ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ was one of the first Australian films to reach an international audience, so Weir’s follow up was highly anticipated.

That follow up was ‘The Last Wave’. The film stars Richard Chamberlain as a lawyer who is given the task of defending five aborigine men accused of the mystical murder of another. When one of the men appears in his dream (the man is played by David Gulpili of ‘Walkabout’ fame), Chamberlain’s work on the case turns into an absolute obsession. He also begins to fervently believe that Australia is on the brink of being decimated by a natural disaster. Needless to say he doesn’t sleep much. The movie is a surreal psychological drama that is a stark shift from ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, but it was 1978, so it is easily forgiven. The film is intense and strange and ready for rediscovery.

Here’s Peter Weir discussing “The Last Wave”:

The Last Wave airs on IFC at 1:35 pm ET.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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