Facets Cinémathèque

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November 13–19, 2015

Chicago Premiere

Cut Snake

Film still: Cut Snake
"A ferocious but emotionally exposed performance from Sullivan Stapleton"
  —Hollywood Reporter
"A strange and interesting beast... The director hangs the pieces together with such grace that the film's evolution into neo noir, which is roughly where it sits, feels as true to form as the shaggy carpets and chunky shirt collars"
  —The Guardian

"Mad as a cut snake" is an Australian expression for either extreme anger or total craziness, and in Cut Snake, it's hard to tell the difference. This film is a tense, psychologically driven crime thriller in which one man discovers his biggest enemy to putting the past behind him may be only himself.

Set in Melbourne in the mid-1970s, Cut Snake tells the story of Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell), an ex-convict who is trying to make a new life for himself in a new city. He has found honest work and even becomes engaged but the prospect of this new life is challenged when his foreboding and charismatic cell mate Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton, Animal Kingdom) tracks him down upon his own release. Sparra is not at all pleased to see Pommie, as Sparra has yet to tell Paula that he has a criminal record in his past. As he juggles both Pommie's and Paula's expectations, Sparra finds him caught between two worlds of extremes, fitting into neither, and as his desperate desire to build a new present collapses under the weight of his past, his journey takes a dramatic turn. Each character is prepared to fight to extremes to keep up the fragile illusions that give their lives purpose. Sparra finds himself enigmatically drawn back toward a world and a man that he was certain he had wanted to leave behind.

In the skilled hands of three very talented stars and director Tony Ayres (The Home Song Stories), this is a thriller where contradictions confound expectations, where the rugged becomes embroiled with the sensitive in a fatalistic grasp. "I've been passionate about making Cut Snake for many years now. For me, it's the combination of it being a thriller and a relationship drama which makes it so exciting."—Tony Ayres.

Directed by Tony Ayres, 2014, Australia, 94 mins.


  • Fri., Nov. 13 at 7:45 pm
  • Sat.–Sun., Nov. 14–15 at 5:45, 7:45 & 9:45 pm
  • Tues., & Thurs., Nov. 17 & 19 at 7:45 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation