Head On [DVD] [1998]

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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Overview

Synopsis

Head On
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. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Alex Dimitriades
    Alex Dimitriades - Ari
  • Image coming soon
    Paul Capsis - Johnny
  • Image coming soon
    Julian Garner - Sean
  • Tony Nikolakopoulos
    Tony Nikolakopoulos - Dimitri
  • Image coming soon
    Elena Mandalis - Betty
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