With its art-house sensibilities and focus on atmosphere over plot, Reflections in the Dust will not appeal to the masses and nor does it want to do so. Unashamedly confronting, Reflections in the Dust exists to create discomfort, providing an allegorical telling of the domestic violence issue in Australia.
Living in a dystopian wasteland, Reflections in the Dust follows an abusive schizophrenic clown (Robin Royce Queere) and his daughter whom he calls Freckles (Sarah Houbolt), with their experience shown as a series of disturbing interactions that coincide with interviews that confess the pairs internal thoughts.
Functioning entirely as a metaphor, Reflections in the Dust feels like a student project which allows the film to be experimental, even if coming across as ambitious. Where there could have been the opportunity to be nuanced, Reflections in the Dust instead makes no cause for confusion, putting the feral actions of its main player on full display in what will be very uncomfortable for audiences.
Freckles child-like behaviour is the result of ongoing abuse, which further causes her to possess a deep-seated fear of isolation with the wasteland serving as a representation of this. The clown finds unnerving comfort in control, using abuse to achieve obedience to which he is abhorrently able to justify.
Reflections in the Dust is black and white in both cinematography and purpose; highlighting a societal issue which at this point in 2019 has claimed ten Australian women’s lives.
Reflections in the Dust screens at selected cinemas across Australia from 7 March 2019. For more information, visit: www.thebacklotfilms.com for details.
Image: Sarah Houbolt and Robin Royce Queere feature in Reflections in the Dust – courtesy of The Backlot Films
Review: Hagan Osborne