Zone 39

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Zone 39
Directed byJohn Tatoulis
Produced byColin South
Written byDeborah Parsons
StarringPeter Phelps
William Zappa
Music byBurkhard von Dallwitz
CinematographyPeter Zakharov
Edited byPeter Burgess
Distributed byBeyond Films
Release date

  • 22 May 1996 (1996-05-22) (Australia])
Running time
95 minutes
Budget$4 million[1]
Box officeA$21,976 (Australia)[2]

Zone 39 (The Zone) is a 1996 Australian science fiction psychological drama film directed by John Tatoulis. It stars Carolyn Bock, Peter Phelps and William Zappa, and runs for 93 minutes.[3]


The film tells the story of a future where the environment has been ravaged, leaving the world desolate. Two surviving factions, the New Territories and the Federal Republics, have been at war for 40 years. Finally, they have agreed to peace terms thanks to the efforts of the Central Union (CU). One of the security experts for the CU, Anne (Bock), decodes the encrypted messages of her boss, only to discover that one of the security zones has suffered a deadly contamination. Mysteriously, she dies shortly thereafter, leaving her soldier husband Leo (Phelps) devastated.[4]

To recuperate, Leo is assigned to guard duty at the border outpost named Zone 39. The remainder of the film deals with Leo's struggle to cope with isolation and the death of his wife.[4] She appears to him in hallucinations, perhaps brought on by the tranquillizers he has been taking.[5]



The film was shot at Crawford Studios in Melbourne.[6] Director John Tatoulis:

In Zone 39, I was exploring a couple of things. One was the way in which a person deals with grief, the loss of a loved on. I truly believe that someone doesn't die until we stop thinking about that person. I think once we forget that person, once that person ceases to live in our memories, then that person is truly dead. Often it takes a long time for that person to truly die in people's hearts. I wanted to explore this theme in an environment that I think we're heading towards, one of being like a society that is particularly unfriendly to the individual and particularly isolates the individual and controls that individual.[7]


  1. ^ Australia's Final Frontier by JIM SCHEMBRI The Age 23 May 1997 p 5
  2. ^ "Australian Films at the Australian Box Office", Film Victoria accessed 13 November 2012
  3. ^ Staff (2004). The Scarecrow Movie Guide. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. p. 723. ISBN 1-57061-415-6.
  4. ^ a b Brennan, Sandra. "Zone 39 (1996)". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  5. ^ Ruffles, Tom (2004). Ghost images: cinema of the afterlife. McFarland. pp. 64–65. ISBN 0-7864-2005-7.
  6. ^ "Zone 39", Cinema Papers, February 1997 p24-25, 46
  7. ^ "Interview with John Tatoulis", Signis, 20 May 1997 accessed 21 November 2012

External links[edit]