June 04, 1979 12:00 PM

The invasion of Australian films continues. Following The Last Wave and Picnic at Hanging Rock (both by Peter Weir) comes Phillip Noyce’s offbeat, nostalgic look at newsreels. The action takes place during the late 1940s and early 1950s and centers on a Sydney movie news company. By cutting back and forth between real events and the private lives of his fictional characters, Noyce effectively weaves a narrative of a decade marked by the end of World War II and the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. There’s a good sense of how public events sometimes influence private lives—in one scene, a cameraman’s wife leaves him largely because of his leftist politics. If the slow pace of the movie is bothersome, it’s probably meant to remind us of those long-ago days before TV speeded everything up. (PG)

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