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HUNT ANGELS: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
A dramatized documentary about the life of Australian filmmaker Rupert Kathner (Ben Mendelsohn) who together with Alma Brooks (Victoria Hill) forged checks, stole equipment and bent rules to get their films made in 1930s Australia, all the while desperately hunting 'angels' with cash to finance their productions. Using archival footage and stills, the film reconstructs the era and the environment in which 'Rupe' tried single handedly but with the help of the good woman Alma, to kick start a film industry while lacking money, opportunity and facing overwhelming competition from America.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The world premiere of Alec Morgan's iconoclastic treatment of a documentary about 1930s Aussie filmmakers Rupert Kathner and Alma Brooks was the perfect choice to re-open Sydney's Chauvel, the city's last arthouse cinema, now operated by Palace Cinemas after smartly re-furbishing the old Paddington Town Hall venue.

It was the perfect choice partly because Kathner and Charles Chauvel were contemporaries - Chauvel is briefly seen in archival footage - partly because the subject is indie filmmaking, and mostly because it is the kind of quality arthouse fare that is typical of what the Chauvel is programming.

Innovative and entertaining, Hunt Angels plays with cinematic tools to bring the 1930s mood alive by clever use of digital technology. Archival stills and footage is seamlessly integrated and enhanced; for example, a still shot of the pipe smoking police commissioner of the time has smoke spiralling out of the still pipe. Other tricks put the film's re-enactment stars into the 1930s picture.

Well told story of pioneering (and buccaneering) filmmakers Rupe and Alma is absorbing and a salutary lesson to filmmaker's today. Nothing's changed, and if you want to make films, you might need to be unusually inventive - although Rupe's practice of rubber checks is not romanticised. He gets caught.

But the larrikin spirit of the man - and woman - is well captured in the film's stylish production, and the little known filmmaker finally gets to be a hero in an industry he was so passionate about he could even con a judge.

Two-disc DVD includes two hours of footage including behind the scenes and a collection of Rupert Kathner newsreels and feature film (Falling for Fame, The Glenrowan Affair, The Pyjama Girl Murder Case)

Published December 6, 2007

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HUNT ANGELS: DVD (M)
(Aus, 2006)

CAST: Ben Mendelsohn, Victoria Hill, Eloise Oxer, Peter Hansen, Greg Poppleton

PRODUCER: Sue Maslin

DIRECTOR: Alec Morgan

SCRIPT: Alec Morgan

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jackie Farkas

EDITOR: Tony Stevens

MUSIC: Jen Anderson

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tony Campbell

OTHER: Costume Design: Margot Wilson

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 30, 2006

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Two hours of footage including behind the scenes, collection of Rupert Kathner's newsreels and feature film, including Falling for Fame, The Glenrowan Affair and The Pyjama Girl Murder Case

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Palace

DVD RELEASE: November 7, 2007







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