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The Captive
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday, November 23, 2014 - Edition No 924 
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SKI TO THE MAX

SYNOPSIS:
Caught in a traffic jam, motorists daydream about skiing and other adventure sports. Their imagined or recalled experiences take place in spectacular locations all over the globe, and include some unexpected incidents including an encounter with the pop star Pink.

Directed by the German Willy Bogner, Ski To The Max belongs to a long national tradition of the mountain film - in the 20s, this genre was where the legendary Leni Riefenstahl (best known for her Nazi rally film Triumph Of The Will) got her start. Nowadays the home of the mountain film is the IMAX theatre, which allows the viewer to pig out on postcard imagery (snowy peaks, rocky clifftops) like never before. Reviewing IMAX movies is always a challenge, because their pleasures don't have much to do with what's usually considered film art. It's all about the adventure for the eyes offered by the sheer presence of these superlatively bright, crisp images, thrown up on a screen the size of a house. I can mock the lame dialogue and acting in Ski To The Max, but I'm still a sucker for its exhilarating illusions - I get butterflies in my stomach every time I see the stars zoom down the mountain, with the intrepid cameraman skiing along behind. (Not being much of a sports person, I can only wonder if these vicarious physical thrills would yield the same response from those accustomed to the real-life equivalents.) Of course there's a phony side to the film's hype - particularly its claim to bring us face-to-face with the majesty and purity of nature. As in Riefenstahl or Disney it's a kind of pre-packaged wonderment: natural landscapes get transformed into monumental kitsch, complete with vast amounts of product placement. The critic Matt Zoller Seitz has written well on the disappointingly limited use made of IMAX technology thus far, imagining what it would be like to see IMAX films made by gifted Hollywood directors such as Brian de Palma or John Carpenter. (The same could apply to experimental filmmakers - say, Stan Brakhage, Matthew Barney or Paul Winkler.) At the end of his article Seitz proposes the mindboggling notion of IMAX porn, which in fact would fit very easily within the medium's non-narrative aesthetic and aim of overpowering the viewer with real life spectacle. Right now we can only dream...
Jake Wilson



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SKI TO THE MAX (G)
(US)

CAST: Pink

DIRECTOR: Willy Bogner

PRODUCER: Willy Bogner

RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 5, 2001 (Melbourne); July 12 (Perth)







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