Having been an avid film watcher from birth, once I started uni, I got involved with people who either didn’t like movies, or only liked rubbish movies. I fell into a big black movieless hole and I’ve spent a few years now trying to dig my way out. I find myself in the hypocritical position of proselytsing for the Australian film, whilst having seen not nearly enough of them.
So. Geneva, summer, 2018. An education in Australian films. Bring it on.
#2 Wildside 1997-99
Not a movie, but a TV series set in seamy, seedy inner Sydney. Following the police and a sometimes friendly, sometimes not, crisis centre, it portrays in the most unglamorous way, those whose lives take place in this area. I’m full of admiration, having now watched thirteen (of many) episodes made, for the way they’ve managed never to take a single shot of Sydney that looks anything other than filthy and alienating, an ugly as sin proverbial concrete jungle. It’s really true, it is like this, even though the harbour and the overly rich people who live on it are so close that one can see these two parallel universes actually sharing territory. And since there is coke to be acquired and hookers to hire, there are, then, some grounds for interaction. The acting is splendid, the characters get under your skin. There are so many reasons to see this five star quintessentially Australian show.
Coincidentally, episode 13 is about the relationship of two Indigenous teenagers, they are in trouble, she’s pregnant, it’s all terribly moving and a nice juxtaposition to the very rural Beneath Clouds.
The music is very haunting. I’ve finally looked up the composer, Peter Best. He’s an Adelaide boy – why should that not surprise me – and he’s done a lot of amazing work in Australian cinema. So much so that his wiki page doesn’t even need to mention Wildside!
#1 Beneath Clouds 2002
People take the place of actors and their real lives are even sadder than their on screen personas. Damien Pitt died in a car crash in 2009, never having made another movie. Dannielle Hall, despite winning a Best New Talent award at the Berlin Film Festival and receiving other accolades was never offered another script. She became a bookkeeper and was pregnant at age 21 when interviewed in 2005. The moral of the back story? You have to be on the inside. Unless you are Ivan Sen, the director of Beneath Clouds. He has managed to make a career out of being on the outer. But for each Sen, how many Halls and Pitts are there?
It’s a wonderful movie, a perfect slice of rural Australia with a harrowingly sad, but still sweet, story on the top.
You can see this on youtube at the moment. I’m all for buying films, but there doesn’t seem to be a way of buying this, so youtube comes to the rescue, as it sometimes does.