Australian Sophie Hyde won Sundance’s World Cinema Director Award, and Berlin’s youth jury award, the Crystal Bear, with this striking first feature. Set in Adelaide on 52 consecutive Tuesdays, the film follows a year in the life of Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) who, along with the usual social and sexual questioning that 16-year-olds go through, is also responding to the gender transition being undertaken by her mother (played by non-gender-conforming Del Herbert-Jane).
Billie is sent to live with her dad, as her mother needs some space: Tuesday becomes their only day together. Alongside her mother’s dramatic transformations, Billie makes some physical explorations of her own with the help of two free-spirited seniors at her school. Billie interviews them as they experiment together, and films her discoveries. But when these private explorations are shared, questions are raised: why do we film ourselves? How do we represent ourselves and for whom?
The constellations of Billie’s unusual family, including a fun but flaky step-uncle, shift and re-arrange as Billie pushes the boundaries of acceptability and questions the strength of family loyalty. The choice to shoot the film on actual consecutive Tuesdays allows the characters to genuinely evolve over 52 weeks, especially since the previously unknown cast only received their lines a week ahead of time. Some choice casting brings a vulnerable humanity that is a pleasure to watch. — Jo Randerson