Friday, July 25, 2008

MIFF 2008 Day 1: Opening Night (Not Quite Hollywood)

Just got home from Opening Night. I've gotta say, I don't enjoy this event as much as the rest of the festival. It's a different crowd (it's more of a social event than a film event), it's is a very big crowd (and I'm not fond of big crowds). Traffic was terrible getting in with football events at both ends of the city. It would have been quicker to walk the last two kilometres. Memo to self: never, ever, ever use Flinders St. as access to the city on a Friday evening. Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre is a nice enough venue for a live audience, but it doesn't come close to the Regent for a film screening. Unfortunately that venue is not available due to Wicked's current season run.

Not Quite Hollywood
I enjoyed the Mark Hartley's new documentary and expect it will be well-received. It's certainly fun and entertaining, grabbing all the best bits of Ozploitation cinema from the 70's and early 80's. The interview with Quentin Tarantino is a real coup and adds much colour and perspective to this period of Australian cinema. Many of the players were interviewed and turned up on stage along with the director and crew after the screening - I counted at least 26 of them. The film is a warm homage to a little appreciated era of Australian cinema. I'd only seen two of the films it featured: Alvin Rides Again and Stone. The former I saw as a teenager in the mid-70s. I distinctly remember it was rated M, which meant I could see it, whereas the original Alvin Purple was rated R and I couldn't. It was very, very raunchy and would probably get an R-rating today, such is the conservative contemporary climate. The latter I saw at ACMI in January.

Personally, I found the film a little on the long side. I found myself looking at my watch a couple of times. About 15 minutes could have been shaved off without too much impact on content. I'd have liked more in-depth and incisive interviews, rather than the 5 to 20 second grabs that were frenetically cut and edited. I realise the point was to replicate the mad energy of the original films, but I'm not a big fan of this style. The film does assist

Tarantino reveals that an early scene in Kill Bill 1 is a direct homage to Richard Franklin's Patrick, when the main character wakes from a coma-like condition and spits (in Kill Bill, this was performed by Uma Thurman).

All-in-all, I had a good time and gained some appreciation for the Ozploitation genre. I'm also planning to see Richard Franklin's Road Games and possibly Colin Eggleston's The Long Weekend.

Not Quite Hollywood screens again at MIFF on Mon 28 July 9.15pm and is being released on 28 August.

Images: Dead End Drive-In; MIFF artistic director, Richard Moore (with flowers), Not Quite Hollywood director Mark Hartley, and crew.


Kamikaze Camel said...

I'd suggest trying to get ahold of Dead End Drive-In. I'm a very big fan of the film. It's about how the government traps unemployed youth in a detention camp after tricking people by offering cheap drive in movie ticket prices to those without a job. The last act of the film is one big car chase sequence, the kind that QT directly paid homage to in Death Proof.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Hi Paul - if you need to get rid of your opening/closing night tickets next year, I'd be happy to oblige. ;)

Paul Martin said...

Glenn, I'm planning to see Dead End Drive-In next Saturday. Goran, you're welcome to use my double pass to REC on closing night - I won't be going.

And I'm pretty sure I won't go to Opening Night next year. I'd rather see two other films. NQH has a release anyway, as did Sicko last year.

syms covington said...

Opening night of any festival is always more industry social bash that film screening; I'm surprised that you were expecting anything else.

It was a great opening night crowd film, much like Happy Go Lucky was in Sydney, and set a great modd to start the fest - even the usual industry grumblers were grudgingly accepting of the doc.

syms said...

a great mood...

Paul Martin said...

I knew that, Syms. Last year it was at a much better suited venue.

I took a MUFF flyer out the front of the venue and noted that Richard Wolstencroft had - among his confessed rant - nice things to say about NQH, its director and the participants.