Filmmaker Mark Hartley explores Australia's hidden genre in this documentary that casually casts aside "official" film history to celebrate the demented genius of director Brian Trenchard-Smith, and the exciting wave of little-known but supremely entertaining films that entertained adventurous Australian filmgoers throughout the 1970s and '80s. Every film student worth his or her weight in celluloid has seen Breaker Morant and Picnic at Hanging Rock, but what about the lesser-known gems that didn't make the film-school textbooks? In his forward to Tim Lucas' book Mario Bava - All the Colors of the Dark, director Martin Scorsese states, "We have to keep resisting the idea of official film history, a stately procession of 'important works' that leaves some of the most exciting films and filmmakers tucked away in the shadows." In this documentary, director Hartley explores the films forgotten by "official film history" with the comprehensive eye of a true film buff. As a child watching such films as Snapshot and The Man from Hong Kong, Hartley immediately recognized how wildly disparate they were in tone and execution from the films that comprised Australia's traditional film library. Appearing like American genre films that just happened to be shot in Australia and cast with Australian actors, these so-called "Ozploitation" flicks flourished in the wake of relaxed censorship laws down under. Yet despite constant chatter about the "new wave" of Australian cinema, financially successful films like The Man from Hong Kong and Patrick that were popular both at home and abroad were never mentioned, sneeringly dismissed as "genre" films rather than Australian films. Perhaps in the wake of such successful Australian films as Wolf Creek and Undead -- and looking ahead to such films as the slasher shocker Storm Warning and the eagerly anticipated remake of Long Weekend -- curious filmgoers are finally prepared to discover what they've been missing all these years. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
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