Sunday, June 14, 2009

a good man

NB. this image has been illegally pilfered off the interwebs [thankfully documentary makers are too poor to sue let alone eat. thanks safini uberoi].

rachel rohrlach's mother doesn't believe in god anymore. holding her married daughter's hand with moist eyes meeting the camera she says "he either finishes the job or he makes them whole again". rachel audibly moans & the two share a visibly touching scene which strains the very core for its grit realism. these are the questions & answers which matter in life.

rachel's husband chris is matter of fact about his devotion to his wife of fourteen years. "the wedding vows were till death do us part." he shrugs with a grin in his voice "and we're both still here, unless she suddenly won't put up with me any longer". it's possible that not everyone would have maintained the commitment that he has demonstrated to his marriage.

chris is the self-titled good man of this film. essentially he's a rural NSW bush farmer who fell in love with the girl in town when they were both pretty fresh out of school. a man of incredible perception, wisdom & wit he jokes "you can't pull a bird in the bush without a holden ute" which is how he attributes to garnering rachel's attention initially at the beginning of their atypical small town courtship. everything was picture perfect until the day after they discovered and announced their pregnancy...

rachel suffered an incredible debilitating stroke overnight which has since rendered her as a quadraplegic without the power of speech. she communicates with the movement of her eyes and indiscernible moaning. there is no real likelihood of a change in her condition and they married with this knowledge late in her preganancy. "she's the one i fight with... the one i make love with..." says chris who loves his wife with a passion acknowledging his continued attraction for her although "things have changed" considerably between them in both a physical and emotional sense.

their's is a love story of epic proportions.

their story, their coping mechanism & how they've managed to produce and raise two children with the invaluable support of their extended family is an incredible standalone story as it is but then chris and his farming mate decided to open a brothel in the small sleepy town of inverell whose insidious underside didn't surface until this project became public & the shadows of the night were forced out into the limelight. you see they needed some extra money for their cash-strapped drought stricken farms & for rachel's ongoing medical expenses...

ever open-minded, decent & pragmatic chris says, "i don't want to be a house of ill repute -- i want to have a house of good repute [for service]." suddenly chris the farmer is embedded in the world of sexual politics in a ruralscape whose hypocritical conservatism is mind-numbing. and rachel is a madam...

this is a powerful tear-jerking feel-good lark of a flick whose raw delivery does not in any way detract but actually complements the DIY no frills essence which comprises the base foundations of humanity.

my pick for documentary prize for the sydney film festival. the impact of this beautiful awe-inspiring story has lingered on for days.

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