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Films: H is for...

Harlequin

Simon Wincer was a director attuned to the sinister possibilities of Oz, with Snapshot (1979), in which a model is stalked by her boyfriend in an ice cream van, and this beautifully-shot mystical chiller. Aussie politician David Hemmings falls under the spell of eerie Rasputin-like magician Robert Powell, holding the senator and his ailing family in a firm grip with healing powers, telekinesis, and a wardrobe of increasingly outlandish costumes – clown, monk, Jesus robes, natty leather jacket-plus-trousers, and the climactic harlequin suit – set against unforgiving Perth landscapes with an eye for colour and composition which gives it the look of an Australian counterpart to The Shining, which its release predated by two months.

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