Urban Cinefile
"You will meet producers who will say I've got a meeting with my writer, we're writing this script. You know that he's sitting in the room saying Well, why don't you have the broad take off her clothes in that scene? and that to them is writing."  -Jackie Collins
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A DVD
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

CARS THAT ATE PARIS, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Arthur (Terry Camileri) and his brother George (Rick Scully) smash their car and caravan near Paris, an outback Australian village off the main road that cannibalises car accidents for the wreckage. George is killed and Arthur, a weak and paranoid character with a bad driving history and traumatised by cars, is gently imprisoned in Paris by the dictatorial Mayor (John Meillon). The reluctant and shy George manages only glimpses of the secrets of the village, until the cars that have threatened the peace finally revolt.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Seeing The Cars That Ate Paris for the first time in 2004 is seeing it out of context; Peter Weir's debut feature is a darkly surreal comedy made accessible by a terrific performance from John Meillon, whose Mayor is a character study of small town self-importance.

The film demonstrates Weir's fascination with the power of cinematic suggestion, and he plays games with his audience, sending us off on red herrings and making us imagine what lies behind and beneath his strange setting in rural Australia.

The sparseness of the film's opening sequences set the tone for ambiguity and Weir rides that for all its worth, capturing moments, glances, semi-concluded scenes and non sequiturs in a string that's enthralling for film buffs, but probably not so satisfying if you're out on a date and wanting a straight narrative. If someone asks you what's it about, you'd be unsure where to begin or end.

Yet the film is highly sophisticated on many levels, especially for a first feature. For example, Weir uses the camera (his primary tool) to point, so that we acquire information visually.

We never get to know the villains - the specially prepared cars - or their genesis. But the nasty secrets that are hinted at and sometimes revealed as part of Paris culture, seem to belong to the humans. Is there, perhaps, a deep bond between the destructive forces of the two species - denied of course by both - that causes the final and fatal confrontation? Judge for yourself.

Published July 29, 2004

Email this article

CARS THAT ATE PARIS, THE: DVD (M)
(Aust, 1974)

CAST: John Meillon, Terry Camilleri, Kevin Miles, Rick Scully, Max Gillies, Danny Adcock, Bruce Spence, Kevin Golsby, Chris Haywood, Max Phipps, Peter Armstrong, Joe Burrow

PRODUCER: Hal McElroy, Jim McElroy

DIRECTOR: Peter Weir

SCRIPT: Peter Weir

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John McLean

EDITOR: Wayne LeClos

MUSIC: Bruce Smeaton

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Copping

RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes

PRESENTATION: 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced);

SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailers for the film, plus trailers for Peter Weir films The Plumber, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Green Card; Peter Weir's feature film The Plumber (76 minutes) is also included on the disc.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

DVD RELEASE: July 21, 2004







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017