The Plumber (Peter Weir / Australia, 1979):

Peter Weir in a joking mood: A high-rise complex is his hanging rock here, the oppressed return with a tool-belt. The housewife-scholar (Judy Morris) lives surrounded by fertility masks and Kama Sutra posters, her thesis about New Guinea natives is written to recorded drumming; the disrupting force is the shaggy plumber (Ivor Kants), who contemplates the perfectly efficient bathroom and starts hammering away at the tiled wall. The intruder is an insinuating physical presence ("The drains of this building are clogged with hair," he whispers to her as if telling a lewd secret), a playful lout, a reminder of social injustice, a balladeer, a trickster. A comedy about menace and control, privileged guilt and fear unmoor the anthropological mind until it comes to resemble the cracked plaster above the toilet -- the bathroom is claimed by the Other, who serenades with guitar and harmonica from within a jungle of pipes and scaffolding. Weir calibrates this Last Wave offshoot with compressed technique (it was shot on the fly for Australian TV), with material from The Tenant, Pinter's The Birthday Party and Del Lord's A Plumbing We Will Go. The set up is far more successful than the punchline, though a continuation of the discourse can be felt in such yuppie-horror yarns as Pacific Heights and The Guardian, Nakata's Dark Water, etc. With Robert Coleby, and Candy Raymond.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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