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NZIFF: The New Boy


  • Sun 27 Aug 2023, 5:15pm




Listed by

Lisa Feyen

Set in 1940s Australia, an Aboriginal orphan arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun (Cate Blanchett) in this spiritual thriller from Warwick Thornton with music from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

In a tale of spirituality and survival, a young Aboriginal boy (Aswan Reid) is abandoned at a remote outback monastery run by Cate Blanchett’s as the rule-breaking Sister Eileen. Once taken in with apparent kindness, the “new boy” soon bonds with Sister Mum and farm manager George, and finds an uneasy place with the other orphans at the monastery. Unlike other orphans who are given an Anglo-Saxon name, the New Boy remains “the New Boy” and his “otherness” becomes more and more apparent as unusual powers are revealed—he cures wounds at a touch, handles snakes and conjures a shimmering light to comfort him in the night.

Intoxicating and mesmerising, Thornton matches concise storytelling with spectacular imagery and an incredible cast. Blanchett is compelling as the zealous nun who enjoys a regular swig of the communion wine, and an extraordinary central performance from Aswan Reid makes the film truly magical.

Rated M

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