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Echoes of Paradise

(Phillip Noyce, Australia, 1987)


 


There are echoes of, if not paradise, at least Ingmar Bergman’s The Touch (1971) in Phillip Noyce’s earnest soapie about a melancholic woman (Wendy Hughes) who flees the emotional catastrophe of her married life for the more exotic possibilities offered by Thailand.

Unfortunately, Noyce and writer Jan Sharp seem more intent on reinstating a miserable status quo than exploring the implications of the passionate romance that Hughes shares with a Balinese dancer (John Lone).

The film tries clumsily to avoid the racism inherent in its adventure-holiday premise, with Rod Mullinar as the Aussie entrepreneur of a "small Thai empire" sensitively stopping tourists from taking Polaroid snaps of the noble natives.

Echoes of Paradise stands on the trembling threshold between the two eras of this under-discussed auteur’s career: the politically progressive independent of the ’70s, and the Hollywood journeyman of the ’90s. A partial and still unstable synthesis would come only later, with Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) and The Quiet American (2002).

MORE Noyce: Blind Fury, The Saint, Sliver

© Adrian Martin January 1993


Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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