'Not Quite Hollywood': Art vs. cash in Aussie cinema history
Mark Hartley's entertaining documentary explores the "Ozploitation" movement — a wild era of Australian filmmaking in the '70s.
Special to The Seattle Times
"Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation," a documentary written and directed by Mark Hartley. 100 minutes. Rated R for graphic nudity, sexuality, violence and gore, some language and drug use. Varsity, through Thursday; see page 17.
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Remember the Australian New Wave of the 1970s? No, not the one that brought us "Picnic at Hanging Rock," but the one that produced "Mad Max" and similarly profitable drive-in fodder.
While the enigmatic "Hanging Rock" may have gotten most of the ink, "Mad Max" and its spinoffs brought in more cash. Their story is told in unapologetically nostalgic and entertaining fashion by Mark Hartley, who discovered "Ozploitation" while watching late-night television.
In the early days, it wasn't unusual for such classy directors as Peter Weir and Bruce Beresford to dabble in Ozploitation. And such American marquee names as Dennis Hopper and Jamie Lee Curtis did their part to make Ozploitation marketable to other continents.
"Not Quite Hollywood" is jammed with well-preserved clips of the Aussie movies that started pushing the limits after censorship was essentially dropped in 1971.
There's a déjà vu quality to some of this. A few clips are reminiscent of early John Waters, especially "Pink Flamingos" and its fascination with dog poop and exhibitionists. And the blow-em-up-good chase scenes seem interchangeable with American drive-in movies.
Perhaps the most original aspect of Hartley's film is its insistence that much of the action wasn't faked — and that safety restrictions now make much of this footage unrepeatable.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org
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