The last time I connected Australia and genre film was a few years ago, when I watched Picnic at Hanging Rock, an eerie coming-of-age horror that brought Peter Weir to global fame.
Little did I know that there had been many exploitation films happening in Down Under way before that, and even Picnic did not actually start the revolution. It came on the last remaining years of the genre's popularity in Australia, at the time when the country started to concern about its exported film and started paying attention to literary classics or period pieces.
Thus came Picnic and subsequent films, including My Brilliant Career if we'd like to expand our common brief knowledge of Australian film.
With that preconception of not many people in the world are aware of the country's illustrious film output, Not Quite Hollywood sets itself as a highly informative documentary that never forgets the root of its subject: being unpretentious, gory and fun.
Director Mark Hartley clearly shows his passion in the subject, as evidenced by his no-holds-barred methods in getting direct, many political-incorrect statements from the interviewees.
You cannot get better explanatory work of a country's cinema than from the people who lived the heydays of the industry and the sparks in their eyes still tell how much they care about the film.
It is indeed a labor of love, which in the case of documentary film can be self-indulgent. Yet, extensive research and galore of clips showing excessive force-for-fun and envelope-pushing sex are enough as reminders to keep Hartley on track.
His tight, focused script makes viewing the film like flipping through a well-designed magazine: each chapter is given a clear-cut category, and inevitable crossing-over is presented with determined degrees of importance easy for one to differentiate.
If the sentence tries to outsmart the film, believe me, nothing can.
What else can beat boobs, pubes, kung-fu kicks, buckets of blood, all presented in a sassy style with brain and getting the endorsement from Quentin Tarantino himself? There!
|(photo courtesy of Outnow)|
(Watched on DVD, Region 4, Sunday, January 3, 2010. Bonus features include a press conference of the film's premiere in Melbourne International Film Festival.)