Head On

( 1 )

Overview

In this gritty Australian drama, the nihilistic son of Greek immigrants indulges in 24 hours of hedonism in ethnically conflicted inner-city Melbourne. Ari (Alex Dimitriades), a 19-year-old layabout, spends his time picking up strange men for furtive sex; dealing, and doing, speed with his friends; fighting with his conservative father and beleaguered mother; and trying to look after his younger sister, Alex (Andrea Mandalis), who's involved in a clandestine relationship with a young Lebanese guy. Although Ari ...
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Overview

In this gritty Australian drama, the nihilistic son of Greek immigrants indulges in 24 hours of hedonism in ethnically conflicted inner-city Melbourne. Ari (Alex Dimitriades), a 19-year-old layabout, spends his time picking up strange men for furtive sex; dealing, and doing, speed with his friends; fighting with his conservative father and beleaguered mother; and trying to look after his younger sister, Alex (Andrea Mandalis), who's involved in a clandestine relationship with a young Lebanese guy. Although Ari rails against the racism of Australian society, he's also a bit of a bigot himself. And despite his enthusiastic participation in Greek activities -- weddings, fortune tellers, music, and dancing -- he's also repulsed by his culture's intolerance. Best friend Johnny (Paul Capsis), who defiantly dresses up as his own dead mother, is an outcast, but the straight-seeming Ari refuses to drop him. During the course of a single day, Ari fools around with his friend Betty (Elena Mandalis) and several men of various ages and nationalities. He also pines away for Sean (Julian Garner), a dreamy college friend of his brother's, who may offer a loving alternative to self-destructive excess. When Ari and Johnny are arrested and brutalized by a pair of race-baiting cops, however, the chance for redemption seems more remote than ever. Adapted from the Christos Tsiolkas novel Loaded, Head On marked the feature debut of writer/director Ana Kokkinos, herself an Australian of Greek extraction. The film was shown in the Directors Fortnight section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. This disc presents the film in its original theatrical aspect ratio.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
First-time director Ana Kokkinos crams more issues into her 100-minute debut feature than many filmmakers manage to work into their entire oeuvres. Frenetic, furious, and deliberately messy, Head On tackles the tortuous coming-out process of first-generation immigrant kids, the strife between Australian ethnic groups, and more familiar conflicts both sexual and generational. Despite its blustery electronic soundtrack and its in-your-face editing style, Head On recalls La Haine, Mathieu Kassovitz's elegant black-and-white dissection of racial conflicts in inner-city Paris. That said, a film this ambitious by a novice is bound to have its share of rough edges. At times, Kokkinos seems almost too intent on exploring every facet of her protagonist's complicated existence. Intriguing characters and ideas barely make it into the frame before the action sweeps off on the next tangent. Nevertheless, the fierce lead performance of Alex Dimitriades, the strong supporting cast (especially Paul Capsis), and the incendiary subject matter combine into a film whose scope and naked emotional power make up for its small structural deficiencies. A compelling riposte to bland, middle-class coming-out melodramas, Head On ventures out of the gay ghetto to take in the world as it really is.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/31/2000
  • UPC: 712267990221
  • Original Release: 1998
  • Rating:

  • Source: Strand Home Video
  • Presentation: Letterbox
  • Sound: Dolby Surround
  • Time: 1:44:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 40,721

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alex Dimitriades Ari
Paul Capsis Johnny
Julian Garner Sean
Tony Nikolakopoulos Dimitri
Elena Mandalis Betty
Eugenia Fragos Sophia
Damien Fotiou Joe
Andrea Mandalis Alex
Maria Mercedes Tasia
Dora Kaskanis Dina
Alex Papps Peter
Vassili Zappa Vassili
Technical Credits
Ana Kokkinos Director, Screenwriter
Jill Bilcock Editor
Catherine Bishop Production Manager
Anna Borghesi Costumes/Costume Designer
Andrew Bovell Screenwriter
Craig Carter Sound/Sound Designer
Craig Carter Sound/Sound Designer
Nikki diFalco Production Designer
Zev Eleftheriou Stunts
Jaems Grant Cinematographer
Paul Heath Art Director
Ann-Marie Hurley Makeup
Phillip Madison Jones Asst. Director
Phil Jones Asst. Director
Narelle Leitch Makeup
Dina Mann Casting
Christine Miller Makeup
Ollie Olsen Score Composer
Mira Robertson Screenwriter
Livia Ruzic Sound/Sound Designer
Roger Savage Sound Mixer
Jane Scott Producer
Zois Tsikas Choreography
Irine Vela Musical Direction/Supervision
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
2. Main Titles [1:20]
3. Intro to Ari [6:36]
4. Sean [3:12]
5. Home Life [4:07]
6. Back Alley Sex [3:17]
7. The Cup Don't Lie [8:32]
8. Johnny [5:48]
9. The Evening [36:33]
10. Johnny and Ari [8:38]
11. The Arrest [7:20]
12. Sean and Ari [8:51]
13. What I Am [2:10]
14. End Titles [3:22]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Trailers
      Beefcake
      Psycho Beach Party
      Edge of Seventeen
      Show Me Love
      Love Is the Devil
      Steam
   Chapters
   Theatrical Trailer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Essential viewing!

    This cutting edge film follows a young Greek man named Ari, for a 24-hour period in his angst-ridden life. He has no job, no prospects and is at odds with his Greek orthodox family as well as his burgeoning homosexuality. He feels he can't love or be loved and engages in numerous and meaningless sexual encounters with an assortment of strangers and other characters. When he's not doing that, he's hanging out in nightclubs or doing drugs. This is an excellent and intense film that puts a very original spin on the problems of the typical rebellious adolescent. Since Ari is Greek, living in Australia, is gay and has a strict family, things are more complicated for him. One can almost feel his fear, anger and desperation as he tries to live his life among a bevy of obstacles and other assorted frustrations. This is an excellent film that is highly recommended! A word of caution, this film has very adult oriented themes and features nudity and graphic sex.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews