Cast: Monic Hendrickx
Running time: 90 minutes
For love, sometimes we must risk everything.
When Tahmeena (Monic Hendrickx) stumbles onto John's (William McInnes) isolated farm, he has no choice but to take her in. She's been badly injured and speaks no English. While John's not inclined to welcome visitors, not since the suspicious death of his wife, he's even less inclined to involve the police. So he goes about his business as he waits for her to heal when he plans to send her on her way.
An initially reluctant voyage of mutual discovery begins as these two strangers gradually learn to communicate and connect.
Tahmeena brings the homestead back to life, reopening John's eyes to the beauty of his land. In return, John does his best to track down the lost daughter she sent ahead before herself fleeing Afghanistan.
As the layers of mistrust and hurt are peeled away, a love affair - passionate and poetic - unfolds to reveal the beauty of freedom, hope and choice.
But John and Tahmeena can't stay hidden away on the farm forever. They won't be truly free until they venture out. And when they do, the men who think they own Tahmeena come looking for her … and they won't leave without her.
Starring Australia's William McInnes (Look Both Ways) and Holland's Monic Hendrickx (Nynke), and written and directed by Peter Duncan (Children of the Revolution), Unfinished Sky is a superbly layered love story for grown ups, set against the rugged and tense beauty of country Australia.
Unfinished Sky explores the nature of loss and the language of love. It's about finding the courage to trust again, the risks we take to protect those close to us and the devastating consequences of small town secrets.
Discover why Australian film festival audiences have voted UNFINISHED SKY an audience favourite at every festival in which it has screened.
INTERVIEW WITH MONIC HENDRICKX
"The film is a remake of a film I made about 8 or 9 years ago and it was my first leading role, The Polish Bride, and I was asked to do it again but abroad. I liked the thought, but it doesn't feel like a remake as it has been quite rewritten by writer and director Peter Duncan. In The Polish Bride I played a Polish woman who comes to Holland. She worked as a prostitute, but she didn't want to, and she was beaten, and fled to eventually get to a farm, and there was a love story between the woman and the farmer. Now it is an Afghani woman who is coming to an Australian farmer so that felt like a totally different part for me to play; the language is really different, here in this story I am going to look for my daughter, because my daughter is already in Australia, in The Polish Bride, the daughter was back in Poland and I wanted to earn the money to send back to her. So it was different enough for me to want the part. I really like the theme - two people coming from totally different areas of the world, totally different worlds, finally, step by step they come together and bond, and I think that is a beautiful story to tell.
"It is a story of trust, and not trusting, and how that impacts on you. In the beginning, they are really suspicious and looking at each other, and then eventually, slowly, they get used to each other and attached to each other, and fall in love.
"Having my character speak Dari was scary, but it is not a film with a lot of dialogue for me, so that is a lucky thing. But I had to learn Dari. I had a Dari speaking teacher in Holland, he spoke it into my mini disc, and I would sit on the couch, listening, trying to remember the words. Sometimes it seems like Dutch, it is not, but there is a similar tonal quality. There are some sounds which seem connected; it is a European language actually. In Australia I had a dialogue coach who helped me to get the sounds right, the accent right.
"I became too good at driving a tractor. I had a few tractor lessons and that was one too many because it was going too smoothly in one take and I had to act as if she'd never drove a tractor. It was fun.
"Tahmeena is from Russian Afghani roots. Her husband and her father died - they were killed by the Taliban - and she let her daughter flee with neighbours. When you don't have a husband, and you don't have a father left, as a mother standing alone, you are nothing in Afghanistan, so she flees to Australia to find her daughter.
"Refugees all over the world have stories that are quite similar. It must be really hard to get into a totally strange and new world, not knowing the language and the culture. Tahmeena must be awfully scared at the beginning, but during the film she becomes more confident and that is a beautiful side of the story as well. By the end she is really blossoming, she comes to life again."