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Julia (Kate Winslet), a young English mother of two young girls, Bea and Lucy (Bella Riza and Carrie Mullan) separated from her partner, embarks on a journey of self discovery in Morocco. Under the influence of the 60s, the world is heeding spiritual urges. But Julia overestimates the young girls’ capacity to roam freely without a structure, and finds that life can get just as complicated and even more dangerous than in boring old England. She does, however, meet Bilal (Said Taghmaoui) and falls in love with the free floating young Moroccan. But her plans to find an ego-less perfection through spiritual gurus is never fulfilled, and she has to make new decisions even before her journey is really complete.

"There's a sense of motion throughout Hideous Kinky, an exotic, colourful journey of discovery through Morrocco. Hypnotic, alluring and compelling, this is a road movie with a difference. We are privy to a glimpse of a very different world and culture that embraces different ethics, morals and codes. There are snake charmers, dusty markets, camels, exotic locations, Eastern/North African influenced music and colour liberally splashed everywhere. From the vivid kaleidoscope of dress, to the splendid fiery sunsets, here is a culture from which emanates a rich, complex pulse. It's against this background that the story of Julia's journey and search for self (Kate Winslet is wonderful, full of zest), is set. Seen through the eyes of two young children (Bella Riza and Carrie Mullan are extraordinary), it's a poignant tale, and one that could well outrage some, especially parents, who could justly feel that dragging two young girls in such dangerous territory is shocking. Roles are reversed, as the eight year old daughter is the one who just longs to be normal and go to school to learn like other children. Her hippie, alternate mother is a free spirit whose search for adventure is one of escape and salvation. Just as in life, issues are not always resolved but there's much food for thought in this striking and stunning looking film. Filled with rich, splendid images Hideous Kinky is a penetrating, intriguing glimpse of an exotic and intense culture next to which we can pit our own values and perceptions."
Louise Keller

"It may interest you to note that screenplay writer Billy MacKinnon (the director’s brother) was script editor on Jane Campion’s The Piano. Noteworthy perhaps because both that film and this one deal with people in foreign cultures, although in different periods and for different reasons. Nonetheless, there are some subtle character marks through Hideous Kinky, that may identify the Billy MacKinnon perspective (even though this is adapted from Esther Freud’s novel, so it’s not entirely original material). For example, there are persistent references to the people whose culture the central character/s invade. There is also an echo in the appreciation of the local landscape and the social mores. As Louise says, it is a colourful and dynamic film, a fabulous travelogue for North Africa. Winslet is perfectly cast, and so are the two girls (there was only in The Piano!), who deliver remarkable performances. I sometimes felt irritated by director Gillies MacKinnon’s unresolved scenes, although I do recognise life is like that and it reflects the book’s snapshot approach. However, it clouded my appreciation of what is clearly a marvellously made film with much to say – or ask?– about the "right" role of parents."
Andrew L. Urban

"Gillies MacKinnnon created a compelling vision of urban poverty and crime in Small Faces. In this film, he tackles the story of a woman's search for meaning during the hippie invasion of Marrakech in the early 1970's. Unfortunately, this 'journey is the destination' tale just doesn't come together in the same way as his earlier work. Part of the problem lies with the script, which takes way too many liberties with believability and (despite its best intentions) makes Julia come off as a spoiled selfish little rich girl. It also suffers from a directorial style which seems content to leave many sub-plots and characters undeveloped. Kate Winslet tries to make Julia credible, but the way the character is written makes it hard to have any real empathy for her. Said Taghmaoui gives a rather wooden performance as Bilal; which doesn't succeed in making him the exotic love interest he's meant to be. Bella Riza is a stand-out as the headstrong Bea, and Carrie Mullan is also fine as her younger sister. The cinematography is wonderful, with the Moroccan locations adding much-needed atmosphere. In the end, while its premise is interesting, Hideous Kinky is too muddled and unconvincing to be considered truly successful. But if you're looking for an antidote to the current crop of Hollywood 'dumbing down' movies, this could be a film for you." David Edwards

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Kate Winslet explains that in our FEATURE that Hideous Kinky is more than a travelogue.




CAST:Kate Winslet, Said Taghmaoui, Bella Riza, Carrie Mullan


DIRECTOR: Gillies MacKinnon

SCRIPT: Billy MacKinnon


EDITOR: Pia Di Ciaula

MUSIC: John Keane

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Louise Marzaroli, Pierre Gompertz

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 4, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: August 31, 1999


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