With Love to the Person Next to Me

1987, 98 minutes

16mm Feature drama

Directed By:Brian McKenzie

In his early thirties, WALLACE (KIM GYNGELL) makes a quiet living driving a taxi. He lives in a poky flat beside a sea-side hotel. Through his window is a view over the beer garden next door and the Esplanade fronting it. In the distance, the choppy green water of the Bay carries its daily cargo of container ships, pleasure crafts and pollution.

WALLACE's girlfriend, a teacher, took up a country posting at the beginning of the year. Although they talk occasionally on the phone there seems less and less to say. WALLACE is very much alone now. In his spare time, WALLACE has begun to make cider. Using a domestic juicer and apples bought from the market, he experiments with blends. It is a skill he learnt in his mother's kitchen, and he turns to it now instinctively as it is both a link with the past and something he can do well.

WALLACE's main interaction with the world has become through the taxi he drives.

Recently, with the aid of a micro-recorder he has begun taping the stories people tell him in the cab. Their willingness to discuss the most personal details of their lives at first fascinates him, but gradually becomes an oppressive burden he can neither understand nor cope with.

One encounter, with a woman named IRENE, particularly appals him. She is on her way to visit the father she has not seen for over twenty years, the father who once sold her for sex when she was eleven years old. WALLACE plays the tape over and over again, trying to understand.

The flat next to WALLACE is occupied by GAIL (SALLY MCKENZIE), who supports herself with a job in a shoe factory. Unfortunately, she also supports SID (PAUL CHUBB), her live-in boyfriend, who in turn supports his mate BODGER (BARRY DICKINS). A pair of no- hopers, SID and BODGER aspire to a career in crime, regularly arriving home with stolen goods to hide in the flat, much to GAIL's annoyance.

WALLACE inadvertently finds himself being drawn increasingly in to GAIL's world next door. When SID's ute breaks down the afternoon before a big job, WALLACE and his taxi are enlisted to provide transport. They collect some keys from a crooked security guard, and WALLACE leaves them to it. However, arriving home after his shift the next morning, he sees them leaving the flat in a police car. Knowing that GAIL will know nothing unless he tells her, WALLACE tracks her down to the shoe factory and reports the apprehension. GAIL is not interested- how much of other's people's problems does he want to concern himself with?

Although offering no easy solutions, WITH LOVE... explores with subtlety and humour the responsibility each of us has to those around us in a society where older human values are under threat from the twin spectres of self-interest and alienation.

Putting aside the many disdainful reviews that appeared in the newspapers at the time the film was released, the following is a mildly positive (and interesting) rundown of the film and its themes.

Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria and the Creative Development Branch of the Australian Film Commission

Winner of the Ecumenical award at Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland.



Kym Gyngell
Paul Chubb
Sally McKenzie
Barry Dickins
Beverley Gardiner
Dalibor Satalic
Phil Motherwell
Terry Gill
Peter Black
Peter Hosking
Mark Mitchell
Tibor Gyapjas

John Cruthers

Brian McKenzie

Ray Argall

Mark Tarpey

Art Direction
Kerith Holmes

Assist art direction
Adele Fleur

Production Manager
Daniel Scharf

Assistant director
Deborah Hoare

Additional dialogue
Paul Madigan

Camera assist.
Kathy Chambers

Lighting Gaffer
Greg Harris

Boom operator
Mardi Somerfeld

David Greig
Ray Argall

Sound Editors
Andrew Plain
Anne Rutherford

Sound Mixer
David Harrison

Neg Matching
Meg Koenig

Colour grading
Ian Anderson

Stills photographers
Alan Mitchell
Janet McLeod

Chris Hunter

Piccolo Films

Production Company
Standard Films