Punch & Judy’s traditional puppet theatre receives an offbeat and subversive twist in this deliciously dark tale of revenge starring Mia Wasikowska.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Actor-turned-filmmaker Mirrah Foulkes directs this highly original, endlessly inventive feminist spin on the classic puppet show. Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman represent the titular duo, reimagined as a puppeteering couple whose artistic quarrels – and Punch’s mishandling of their baby – lead to an epic revenge fable awash with bloody satire and pitch-black comedy.
“It’s the mid-17th century in the anarchic town Seaside… and The Enlightenment feels very far away indeed. Seaside has spiralled into violence, mob rule and God-fearing hysteria. Amongst the chaos, one glimmer of artistry remains: Punch and Judy’s puppet theatre. Once a master puppeteer, the charismatic Punch (Herriman) has fallen too much under the sway of whiskey, but his wife Judy (Wasikowska) is a puppeteering genius and ensures that their shows are a hit with the baying crowds. When a Punch bender goes disastrously and violently wrong, Judy decides to wreak vengeance on those who have wronged her and, as she discovers, many others… Taking cues from everything from Monty Python to The Crucible to Kill Bill, Judy & Punch is an ambitious film that finds its own singular path.” — Sydney Film Festival
“There’s a savage, sometimes surreal wit to this anarchic tale… The lurid extremes of the traditional Punch and Judy plot are faithfully replicated here – expect dog-based sausage shenanigans and crocodiles… and spousal abuse. And it’s a testament to Foulkes’ confidence as a director and to the world she has created that this outlandish story sits as comfortably as it does in film.” — Wendy Ide, Screendaily