Here Out West

This slice of suburban life, told across 8 interconnecting stories ,is an inspiring, clever tapestry with some knockout performances.

ABC’s new feature film Here Out West is a collection of scenarios taking place across a single day in Western Sydney.

Yet they will all interlock thanks to the inspired work of Co-Curious and Emerald Productions.

The cast is outstanding, the insights are compelling, and the diversity is uplifting. This tapestry of contemporary suburbia is both real and dramatic, and unlike anything else on screens right now.

The first story, “We, The Spiders” pivots around the magnificent Genevieve Lemon as Nancy, a vape-addicted, working class mother whose daughter Meghan (Contessa Treffone) has just given birth to her grandchild, Grace. But Megan is also under police watch, handcuffed to a bed, and mother and daughter do not see eye to eye on Grace in their lives. When she visits the hospital, Nancy is also begrudgingly baby-sitting a young Lebanese girl (Mia-Lore Bayeh) who speaks no English. But when she sees Baby Grace in a crib, everything changes.

“Give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things that I can…” she prays.

Her next actions will trigger the rest of the film, as we shift narratives to “Everything Changes” which centres around car park attendant Jorge (Christian Ravello).

Jorge is separated from his wife, trying to remain a good father to his soccer-mad son Felipe (Jaime Ureta). Yet when he encounters Nancy fleeing the hospital he tries to take matters into his own hands.

“Brotherhood” stars three young friends of varying heritage, Robi (Arka Das), Dino (Thuso Lekwape) and Rashid (Rahel Romahn), who run from housing commission flats, in the middle of a boys blue. Can they put aside their differences to help Keko (De Lovan Zandy) who is laying bleeding on the road?

In “The Eternal Dance” a woman (Leah Vandenberg) is watching her elderly Indian father clinging to life in a hospital bed. But when he begns speaking Bengali, she is unable to communicate until asking a stranger for a favour.

In “The Musician” former refugee Keko is trying to make his way in a new country and earn an honest income for his young family. But his unique trade in hand-crafting musical instruments is not in high-demand.

There are three more stories, “Brother Tom” featuring a Vietnamese family with actors Brandon Nguyen, Khoi Trinh,; “The Long Shift” with Anita Hegh and Christine Milo as nurses; “Closing Night” in which a grandmother (Gabrielle Chan) and granddaughter (Jing Xuan Chan) work the final night of a restaurant.

The way the stories interconnect is like a jigsaw of Western Sydney across a single day, and they work as small presents to unwrap. While dipping your toe into different communities, mostly without ever really knowing why, the links soon become obvious to the onlooker.

Along the way in addition to the cultural insights, are some fine acting performances, including Genevieve Lemon, Rahel Romahn, Anita Hegh and Leah Vandenberg.

With themes of survival, compromise, immersion, Here Out West is artufully constructed by writersNisrine Amine, Bina Bhattacharya, Matias Bolla, Claire Cao, Arka Das, Dee Dogan, Vonne Patiag, Tien Tran and draws upon the eye of directors Fadia Abboud, Lucy Gaffy, Julie Kalceff, Ana Kokkinos & Leah Purcell. Special mention to Blake Ayshford as Script Producer (and Executive Producer) for the challenge of cohesion.

The form is less Rashomon and more a passing of the narrative baton, but it works seamlessly without ever outstaying its welcome.

The amount of creatives who have had an opportunity here is wonderful. Don’t miss it.

Here Out West airs 8:30pm Sunday on ABC.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for placing this on my radar. Finally had the pleasure of watching this gem of a show. True ensemble work. Such a rich tapestry of cultures, languages & stories. Personal stand out was Leah Vandenberg. Reminded me of ‘Short Cuts’. Was hoping they would all be at the Chinese restaurant at the end, but that might’ve been too far fetched.

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