The Last Days of Chez Nous
Gillian Armstrong directed this quietly bittersweet and coldly ironic examination of the death throes of a crumbling marriage. Set in the lush summer light of Sydney, the film examines the dying marriage of Beth (Lisa Harrow), a middle-aged writer living with her French husband J.P. (Bruno Ganz) and her teenage daughter Annie (Miranda Otto). Beth and J.P. are maintaining their marriage through a delicate thread of disinterest and patronizing that is torn asunder with the arrival of Beth's younger sister Vicki (Kerry Fox). Along with the arrival of Vicki, Beth and J.P. take in a boarder, a clean-cut teen named Tim (Kiri Paramore). These two new additions to the family infuse the home with a new vitality, but that only holds the dissolution of the marriage in abeyance for a time. In an effort to make peace with her father (Bill Hunter), Beth takes him on a trip to the outback, where she believes she might be able to communicate with him. With Beth gone, J.P. and Vicki have an affair, and they abandon the family to start life on their own. Beth, now alone, feels a sense of liberation and purpose and begins to start her life anew.