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Film / Peel

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Peel, aka An Exercise in Discipline—Peel, is a 1982 short film (eight minutes) directed by Jane Campion.

A family, consisting of a man named Tim, his sister Katie, and his son Ben who looks to be less than 10, are driving along some Australian back road, returning from looking at a lot of land the man wanted to buy. Katie is in a bad mood, sniping at her brother for not liking her opinion (she's skeptical about the land), complaining about being late returning and missing music television show Countdown. Ben, obviously bored stiff, is bouncing oranges off the car window. When he starts flinging pieces of orange peel out the car window, Tim flips out.


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Tropes:

  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The opening title proclaims "A True Story / A True Family". While it is a true family, the story is obviously scripted. (Tim Pye, who plays Tim, went on to a long career as a writer for Australian TV.)
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Ben is acting out his boredom by thumping the orange against the window. When his father orders him to stop throwing orange peels out the window, Ben throws a tantrum.
  • Cabin Fever: A cramped car variant, as the three passengers are obviously hot and uncomfortable and tired of each other's company.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Katie starts dropping a lot of F-bombs after Tim parks the car and it becomes obvious she's going to miss her show.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: A couple of hours, it seems.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: An extreme closeup of Katie's rear end as she squats and pees in the grass.
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  • Minimalist Cast: Three people.
  • Not So Different: It's eventually revealed that Tim and especially Katie are just as stubborn and mulish as Ben. Tim and Ben get back to find that Katie has eaten an orange and thrown her peel out just like Ben did. Tim demands she pick the peel up just like he demanded with Ben. The film ends with Tim and Katie both sulking in silence while Ben jumps up and down on the roof of the car.
  • Shout-Out: Katie likes Countdown, which was a real show.

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