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Monday, October 27, 2008


I love a good documentary. And I love documentaries about filmmaking or the film business in general. SO when I got tickets to Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story Of Ozploitation!, I didn’t know what I was in for, but I was sure it’d be pretty entertaining.

Not Quite Hollywood kicks off at a time when the Australian film industry was on par with that of Iceland and Venezuala. In other words, there were few films that ever came out of the country. Sure, some productions shot there. But they were films that used the Australian landscape as a backdrop. They weren’t Australian made films. And then, taking a leaf from Russ Meyers and bawdy English films of the sixties, Australians started doing it for themselves. Comedies gave way to horror and the Australian film industry was born. It went through it’s ups and downs, but never gave in and did it all with a sense of humour that only the Aussies have.

The documentary itself is highly entertaining. Essentially, the film is a bunch of talking heads interspersed with clips from the films the filmmakers are talking about. But it never once becomes a dull, boring affair. The people involved in the making of these films are in themselves entertaining characters. And while a few names will be unfamiliar, their stories are no-less hilarious. Some of the films that crop up are recognisable, notably, Razorback and Mad Max. But a great many of the films are obscure films few of us will have seen. Having said that, there were a few curiosities mentioned that I wouldn’t mind checking out!

Of course, there are a few familiar faces. Quentin Tarantino pops up with his encyclopedic knowlege of exploitation flicks and offers a few insights. Jamie Lee Curtis, the star of the Aussie horror, Roadgames has some things to say. And crazy old Dennis Hopper provides a lot of laughs as his antics on and off the set of Mad Dog Morgan are recounted with a wry grin. But it's the many unfamiliar faces of the Australian exploitation scene that provide most of the entertainment.

It’s not a documentary that will set the world on fire. Nor will it be mentioned at the Oscars. But Not Quite Hollwood is the perfect balance of information and entertainment. It never takes itself too seriously and provides us with a view into a part of the film industry we’d probably never see. A great documentary that’s well worth checking out.


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