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With the release of the The Bank on DVD immediately after its cinema release, director Robert Connolly hopes to satisfy audience fascination in the process behind the film, he tells Andrew L. Urban.

The release of the DVD of The Bank so soon after its cinema season is a deliberate move to cash in on the momentum of attention to the film, says director Robert Connolly, who has crafted a DVD aimed at satisfying popular interest in filmmaking.

"People are becoming more curious about the filmmaking process"

"People are becoming more curious about the filmmaking process," he says, "so I hope that this will lead – in years down the track – to audiences demanding higher quality films. DVD technology will play a role in pushing the artform."

After six months of continuous theatrical release somewhere in Australia, The Bank was re-released on January 31 for a two week season, in the wake of receiving seven nominations in the Australian Film Critics Circle Awards (presented February 22, 2002 in Sydney). "The Americans do this very well," he says, "getting their DVDs out right after the cinema release. Look at Moulin Rouge …"

Connolly used the commentary on the DVD as "the spine of the whole DVD, and I refer to other elements on the disc. For example, when David Wenham falls in the water [leaving the party hosted by bank boss Simon (Anthony LaPaglia), in pursuit of an angry Michelle (Sybilla Budd)], I point to other elements relevant to that, such as the deleted scenes and the special photos we had done."

Connolly’s careful planning and dedication to the DVD is part of his effort to make the film as accessible to audiences as possible. "We didn’t shoot a doco of making the film, but we did do interviews with all the cast and the heads of departments, so we have a little doco with each of these elements. For example, this may well be one of the last films actually edited on film, and we shot editor Nick Meyers at work on it."

As for the criticism leveled at showing too much of the making of films, because the information might spoil the enjoyment, Connolly is vigorous in his rejection. "I disagree completely; as a classical musician (violin) listening to a piece of music and knowing how it all comes together is enticing. Similarly if we are more knowledgable, we are more appreciative of films. The more literate people become, the more demanding they become of artists."

"I tried to capture a sense of sitting in your lounge room"

Focusing on storytelling and stylistic elements in his commentary, Connolly talks about the structure of the film and how the subplot and main plot were used and fused. "I didn’t prepare a script for this, just a few reminder notes. I know the film so well so I tried to capture a sense of sitting in your lounge room, talking it through."

Published February 21, 2002

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Robert Connolly

The Bank DVD released in February 2002 is for rental only. The DVD for sale is released four months later, in June.



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