Subtitled A short history of planet malfunction, the film poses the question: Why have we have reached the present crisis point between East and West? A committee of real and animated 'experts' are appointed to investigate, in a hypothetical driven by the filmmaker. Comments are also heard from students and luminaries such as Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Robert Fisk. Issues from globalisation to diminishing oil reserves and terrorism are thrown into this animated mixing pot.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fittingly absurdist, narrated by a droll English voice actor as if it were a news magazine on some minor channel owned by the BBC, Bruce Petty's alarmed view of the world fits neatly into - and is drawn from - the leftist view of 'the West' - as a rather meaningless generalisation, of course. But once we accept the innate bias it makes entertaining viewing. The chaotic cartoon style that is Petty, the rich tapestry of actors like Robyn Nevin and Barry Otto inserted into drawings as members of an international committee trying to grapple with the condition of global haywire, and the constantly moving scenario, give the film a circus like quality.
The mix of serious, academic information packets with the satirical tone of Petty's script carries us into armchair problem identification with ease. Well, sometimes it gets a bit confusing and garbled, but we always know it's being critical of what man has done, mostly Western man. And there is the measured narration, imposing the sense of structure - even when the structure isn't all too evident.
Specifically on the West's conflict with the Middle East, the blame is laid at colonial and post colonial activities - and the emergence of modern day global haywire. One of the film's most savage attacks is directed at the IMF and its bully boy status as the enforcer of poverty on the poor nations. Who can argue with that.
But the film's greatest achievement is not the political commentary or even satire; it is in turning this material into cinematic entertainment with an acidic touch, combining visuals and audio elements with verve.
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GLOBAL HAYWIRE (M)
CAST: Documentary featuring Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Arundhati Roy, George Monbiot, Suad Amiry, Amin Saikal and Robert Fisk, and actors Robyn Nevin, Barry Otto, Marjella O'Shea
NARRATION: Tom Baker
PRODUCER: Claude Gonzales
DIRECTOR: Bruce Petty (and animator)
SCRIPT: Bruce Petty
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Pearce
MUSIC: Elena Kats-Chernin
OTHER: Sound design by Sam Petty
RUNNING TIME: 79 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 10, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.