THE SPACES BETWEEN: AN INTERVIEW WITH IMOGEN MCCLUSKEY AND BÉATRICE BARBEAU-SCURLA
Originally Published: May, 2019
Michael Sun did a fabulous write up of an interview he held with me and Imogen Mcluskey. We talk about nostalgia, the suburbs and queer coming of age stories.
BB: It’s interesting you mentioned Louise because she’s the person who’s decided that in order to grow up and become her own person, she needs to leave everything behind. Whereas a character like Nina is her opposite, who’s very much embracing the safety and warmth of the suburbs and the routine she’s built there. She doesn’t want to venture outside of that because she’s afraid of feeling lost. When we were writing Suburban Wildlife, I was still Nina, living in my parents’ house, hanging out with the same high school friends (and my sister). Watching it now gives me a nostalgia for that time because having that routine gives you security, even though it can only sustain you for so long. And that’s the thing — Nina slowly realises the way she’s been acting is not sustainable and she has to try these new sins to discover who she really is, which is a beautiful gay woman.
IM: I see the car as being such a big mood — a big metaphor for suburbia. For so much of the film, the characters are looking out at the world or observing the world passing by from car windows. It’s this state of mind of not participating in life — just observing it — and I definitely felt that growing up in suburban Australia.
BB: I think the car is interesting because that’s what the suburbs are to me exactly — driving, going from place to place, house to house, and not actually getting out of the suburbs, not going in the city or the beach like most Australian films will have you do. I remember after high school we’d just pick friends up from different houses and drive around on a Thursday night doing nothing but listening to music. The suburbs to me are a kind of waiting place to grow you until you’re ready to go into the world.