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Strictly Ballroom

A life lived in fear... ...is a life half lived 

Year: 1992 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Can there be a loose cannon in ballroom dancing? Strictly Ballroom would have us believe so. Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) looks destined for great things in the upcoming Pan-Pacific Championships, but after he reveals a dangerously original streak in his dancing, things begin to go wrong. First, his partner is so horrified that she drops him to dance with veteran Ken Railings (John Hannan). Then the choice of prospective replacements is so dire that he chooses an amateur. All the time he is harangued by his mother Sheila (Pat Thompson), a dragon lady in a psychedelic leotard. But although Fran (Tara Morice) is just a beginner, she is not as clumsy and untalented as she at first seems - and just like Scott, she wants to do her own thing.

Entertainment rarely gets as colourful and energetic as Strictly Ballroom. While the basic plot might not be too original, Luhrmann brings a distinctive visual style to the film, all colour and energy, making the most of he extravagant and frequently ridiculous costumes. The film begins in a Spinal Tap pseudo-documentary style, but the humour is never cruel - instead, there is a sense of fond irreverence.

There is also a hefty dose of romance and some melodramatic plot complications mixed in, the end result being an all-round crowd-pleaser film of such feelgood exuberance that's impossible to resist. Let Strictly Ballroom sweep you off your feet!

Alexandra Schulman

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Screenings of this film:

1992/1993 Spring Term (35mm)
1992/1993 Spring Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Spring Term (16mm)
2001/2002 Spring Term (35mm)