Ten Thousand – Oz movie #17

Ten Thousand
director Biddy O’Loughlin

I suppose if Blake can write of eternity in an hour, I shouldn’t be surprised at the complexity one can create in a nine minute movie with no speech. The story is straightforward, the motives aren’t. It’s really very clever, starting with those graves we assume are of people near and dear to her, but at the end…well, who knows? And when she shoots the bounty man, she could have shot her handsome stranger too, but she doesn’t. For a moment we think it’s because it’s going to be a happy ever after ending. But was it ever going to be? When she shoots him, is it because he was going to shoot her, so even when he puts his gun down she follows through with hers? There will always be the money sitting there between them? Is it because she was always going to, but wanted it to be a fair fight, not in the back?

On youtube this is labelled ‘comedy’. I don’t think that this is a sufficient description and I wonder if it misses its audience as a result.

The filming is evocative, the music perfect. Casting the handsome stranger from a chance encounter at a backpackers hostel – what luck.

As I explore the natural habitat of Australia movies, I’m in awe of how long it takes to make even the smallest of films. They are years in the offing – that is to say, you can see the land, it’s really just in front of you, but getting there is incredibly challenging nonetheless – before suddenly all in a flurry, the whole thing is done in a few days because that’s what the dollars say.

I have a friend who is a ceramicist and sometimes a sculptor. I was truly shocked to listen to him talk about the process of the latter. You have to create a miniature. You have to explain how you are acquiring your stone. How you are going to make it graffiti proof. etc etc etc. By the time you’ve done all this, you’ve finished all the hard work with nothing to show for it. If you are really lucky your piece gets picked for some public place. But mostly it becomes a non-piece of art. The miniature still exists, but it isn’t what it was going to be.

Making film is like that only even worse. A huge amount of work on the way in and things that one might have thought entirely insignificant can thwart the project at the last minute. Heart-breaking, and it never stops. It’s not like you get your heart broken a few times like in real life, but then you find your true love. Even if you have a success – meaning no more than a project that actually finishes – you are most likely still get your heart broken next time too.

We all should be so grateful that people dedicate themselves to this desperately difficult art-form. It’s a pity that so much crap comes out of film-making we can forget that’s what it is.

One thought on “Ten Thousand – Oz movie #17

  1. Hey, I’m going to quote this next time someone starts talking dismissively about computer science research projects. It’s terrible how no one recognises them as an art form.


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