Christina Ricci plays an American teacher going to work in an underprivileged Australian high school in Around the Block, new drama premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival next month. It appears her character, Dino Chalmers, is bisexual, as she has an Aussie fiancé but she meets out model Ruby Rose in a bar and ends up sharing a bed with her that night.
— Around the Block (@atbfilm) July 8, 2012
Christina has played gay before, notably alongside Charlize Theron in Monster, but this seems like a pivotal queer part as her character is the center piece of Around the Block; a positive influence on the kids to whom she’s teaching English lit. Directed by out director Sarah Spillane, TIFF calls the film “gritty and inspirational,” as the film largely chronicles Dino’s relationship with one student:
Her attention soon turns to Liam (Hunter Page-Lochard of Bran Nue Dae, which played the Festival in 2010), an Aboriginal student trying desperately to stay on course despite the fact that his father (Matt Nable) and brother (Mark Coles Smith) are criminal royalty in Redfern. Dino and Liam both become isolated, struggling with issues of identity, race, sexuality, and relentless societal and cultural pressures, to discover — almost too late — that the key to freedom for each of them may lie in the spirit of the other.
After its world premiere at TIFF, Around the Block will hopefully receive international distribution. It looks like it could be an updated version of Dangerous Minds in a different setting with some added incentive for queer female film fans. (Again, Christina Ricci and Ruby Rose + sex = butts in seats.) Keep up with the film on Facebook and Twitter.