It’s an unusual observation to make about a film set in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area like Mt Druitt, but “Streets of Colour” has the ability to emotionally draw us in by immersing us in a close-knit circle of friendship. While many films offer fleeting and superficial emotions, “Streets of Colour” takes its time to examine the depths. It transcends the ordinary and delves into the continuity of a lifetime; all centered around the power of friendship.
What’s intriguing is that the film’s protagonist is Tez, a 25-year-old drug dealer battling addiction and grappling with losing custody of a son he has never met. The story begins with a racially charged street fight that results in the death of Tez’s friend, setting off a downward spiral for Tez and his other closest friend, Kyle Madden.
The film’s key lies not in focusing solely on Tez but rather in exploring our relationship with him—a mix of curiosity and pity. We find ourselves questioning this enigmatic character. Can he truly overcome his addiction? Why does he guard so much of himself? Why is it so difficult for him to turn his life around?
Photo Credit: Adrianne Armida
While people generally seek excitement and entertainment in movies, those with titles that reflect such elements tend to perform well. On the other hand, films exploring repentance and atonement are met with caution, as not everyone is thrilled about the prospect of a drug dealer finding redemption — it sounds like a challenging theme to tackle. However, there exists a hunger for stories of hope and personal transformation. When a film offers such a narrative, it often resonates deeply and endures, even if it doesn’t immediately hook a wide audience.
“Streets of Colour” resembles more of a spiritual journey than a conventional movie. It certainly has its entertaining moments (such as the light-hearted banter between Tez, Kyle, and Akachi in the car or the playful exchanges between Kresna, one of the goons, and his boss). However, a significant portion of the film revolves around themes of redemption, emptiness, and philosophical discussions on life.
The character of Peter McAllum carries the film’s spiritual arc. Whenever Tez finds himself spiraling downward, McAllum appears out of nowhere to offer him spiritual guidance and pull him out of his rut. The final act is profoundly moving, particularly considering their hardships.
Ronnie S. Riskalla, the writer and director of the film, drew inspiration from his own life experiences. His creation grants itself the luxury that most films shy away from. It is deliberate, thoughtful, and meticulous. In the Australian film industry, there is a prevalent belief that audiences have short attention spans and must be bombarded with constant novelty. However, films like “Streets of Colour” defy this notion by gripping us completely, making us forget that we are watching a film.
The dialogue is also purposeful, with Tez sometimes being a man of few words while other times becoming highly agitated. His reticence and reluctance to reveal himself or overly express his emotions only serve to deepen the intrigue. It is often more engrossing to wonder about a character’s thoughts than to have them explicitly revealed.
The cinematography is tactful, avoiding unnecessary spectacle. The camera follows the dialogue rather than anticipating it. The film’s soundtrack also complements the narrative without overpowering it. The story progresses methodically, reflecting the passage of time and years. Our affection for exceptional films often grows with familiarity, much like our love for music. As a former Western Suburbs resident, I can relate to the film’s concept, further enhancing its resonance.
You can experience this cinematic gem at multiple locations nationwide. Check out the screening sessions below:
Casula Powerhouse | Saturday, July 22, 2023
Actors Centre, Leichhardt | Monday, July 31, 2023
Parramatta Riverside | Thursday, August 24, Friday, August 25, and Saturday, September 2, 2023
Village Cinemas | Sunday, August 6, 2023
The Backlot | Sunday, August 13, 2023
New Farm Cinemas | Wednesday, August 16, 2023