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Doco: Not Quite Hollywood

nqh-mainOf the stack of DVDs that I watched over the last couple of weeks, I have to say that NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD is the one that I think I enjoyed the most. This documentary examines a faction of Australian film-making (known as Ozploitation), from the 70s and early 80s which is often overlooked, or even maligned. However as Not Quite Hollywood demonstrates, the products from this period not only have some amazing stories and interesting characters behind them, but also had a far-reaching effect on some of today’s most well known film-makers.

The documentary itself is slick and well paced. The first fifteen minutes contain more cuts than most feature films. The pace, outrageous personalities and considerable use of classic archival footage lure the viewer into an industry which may seem initially uninteresting, when compared to the likes of Hollywood. From that point on you’re continually bombarded by anecdotes and tall tales relating to the Australian film industry and the characters involved in those early days.

What keeps you interested — and adding movies to your ‘must see’ (or your ‘must see again’) list — is the fact that these anecdotes are extremely entertaining. What stands out most of all though, is the sheer audacity with which these guys (and girls) threw themselves into these films. Call it naivety, or perhaps they are real examples of that ‘larrikin’ persona that we Australians like to imbue ourselves with, but the stories of utter stupidity, risk taking, nudity, and dumb luck that pepper the early days of ‘Ozploitation’ production are spellbinding and more than a little awe-inspiring.

Anyone who was anyone in Australian film making during the 70’s and early 80’s makes an appearance in Not Quite Hollywood, along with quite a few of the American contributors. All speak extremely candidly about their experiences and memories from the time. Most in good humor, and mostly with a real sense of fondness for each other and their experiences.

Sadly, for anyone under the age of twenty-five the chances are that the names of many of the people who appear in this wonderful documentary will draw a blank, especially those from behind the scenes. The fact is that I could fill the rest of this post with the names of those people, but there doesn’t seem to be much point, because without seeing and appreciating their work, they’d just be a random list of names. One name however, without whom it is doubtful that this documentary would have been made, will be immediately recognized by any fan of modern cinema: Quentin Tarantino.

Tarantino lends himself to this production not as a contemporary to the subjects of the documentary, but as an absolute fanboy. His enthusiasm for the Australian movies which flooded the exploitation houses during his childhood is infectious. To be completely honest, I’m not a Tarantino fan, or at least I wouldn’t say I was until seeing him genuinely gush over these films. My hope is that fans of Tarantino’s work will be influenced to see Not Quite Hollywood and, as a result, adopt some of the man’s appreciation for these classic Australian genre films.

Usually, when I’ve watched the feature on a DVD and decided to review it for this site, I begin trudging my way through the DVD extras. In the case of Not Quite Hollywood, I was so intrigued by the content of this release, that I made may way through the two DVDs in one sitting. Devouring the plentiful extras and looking for more… but let’s put that down to greed, because there’s no way this release could cram any more in. [source] [buy]

©2008 City Wide Films
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