Women who do exist

May 22, 1991

Women who do exist

By Anne O'Callaghan

The Company of Strangers, being screened during the Sydney Film Festival, is an endearing film about seven women stranded at a deserted farm house in the stunningly beautiful countryside of the Mont Tremblant region of Quebec.

Almost all the women are in their 70s and 80s and, with one exception, have never previously acted professionally.

Canadian National Film Board director Cynthia Scott says, "There are a lot of gloomy issues and problems that are a part of being old in this country. One of the problems for a lot of older people is that they basically don't exist in the eyes of society.

"What happened on the shoot is that the scenes where the women were just interacting and getting to know one another were the most wonderful and the plotty, story things kept being put aside."

The Company of Strangers was met with standing ovations at both Toronto's Festival of Festivals and the Venice Film Festival earlier this year. It is not difficult to imagine a similar reception here.

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