Rodd Rathjen’s floating prison

'Buoyancy' is Australia's submission for Best International Feature at the 2020 Oscars. We talk to the director of this brutal and beautiful film.

It sounds like a recipe for disaster: shoot your first feature film at sea, in the confines of a small fishing trawler, with a largely untrained cast, most of whom don’t speak English. For extra points, shoot in the wet tropical heat of a Cambodian summer and make it a harsh story without much of a feelgood factor.   

But writer-director Rodd Rathjen refuses to sound heroic when he talks about the making of Buoyancy, a film that manages to be both brutal and beautiful; a tense thriller and an important social justice narrative that will probably be the most important and internationally acclaimed Australian film of the year.

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Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk