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Local delights in Galore

By 27 June 2014 6

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There was a strange excitement at settling in to watch Galore.  Written and directed by Rhys Graham, Galore is set and filmed in Canberra.  There are many things that go on in Canberra, be we don’t tend to see a great deal of films shot in and around our fair city.

For this Canberra girl who grew up in Kambah, the scenes were captivating.  Lake Tuggeranong, Urambi Hills, Kambah Pool and Scrivener dam all vie for a local filmgoers attention.  I must confess to spending much of the film trying to place the locations, a distraction that someone from out of town may not have.

Galore revolves around young love and teenaged angst.  We follow two friends, Billie and Laura (beautifully played by Ashleigh Cummings and Lily Sullivan), exploring themselves in a long hot summer – the week before the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

There is a tension building slowly in the background with the smoke on the mountains clear in most panoramic shots, along with the wailing of fire engines in the background from time to time.

For me, the movie perfectly captured the sense of claustrophobia being a teenager in Canberra can create.  As Laura shares a scene in her diary, she describes herself as being too big for her body, as needing to run to get things out.  She encompasses a sense of frustration, wanting and needing more – not knowing what.

Scenes set at Kambah pool are reminiscent of adolescence.  A burning need for more to do: without truly understanding or appreciating the beauty of the place in which we live.

Throughout the movie, the winds brew and the sky gets darker.  The tension of the distant fires is matched by the tension between the characters.  A love triangle, the introduction of a stranger, an unexpected twist…  And then the fires.

I enjoyed Galore, but much of the enjoyment came with the familiarity of the scenery and indeed the lives of the characters.

If Galore wasn’t set in Canberra I would merely write it off as a fairly depressing movie on teenaged angst and move along.

As it stands, if you spent your teenage years swimming in the river and smoking fags in the underpasses around Canberra – you might find yourself along for the ride and transported to a different time.

Galore is showing at Electric Palace Cinemas.

palace-cinema

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6 Responses to Local delights in Galore
#1
davo1019:29 pm, 29 Jun 14

Warning, if you are one of those people that doesn’t like reading bad reviews on the internet then stop reading now.

I was invited to go and see Galore having no idea what it was about. I was informed that it was a “film set in Canberra before the 2003 bushfires”. I replied that, sure, I’d love to go and see yet another “worthy” Australian film.

I should explain that “worthy” is a code word in our household for works that have been produced by an artist that are intended to be appreciated by other artists. Works of literature are an example where authors write books that are intended to be read by other authors and admired for their craftsmanship. Australian films are a great source of worthy output. Our films get such large tax breaks that they tend to be made by film makers who want to make films that impress other film makers and win awards at film festivals; as there is no commercial incentive they are not made to entertain audiences and there may even be an aspect of deliberately not “pandering” to the audience’s wants so as to not compromise the “art”. It’s less pleasure and more of that bitter tasting cough medicine your mother gave you because she thought it would do you good, but is much more likely to just be unpleasant.

The still in the Youtube video above summarises what you are going to see in this film: a lot of extreme close ups of teenagers sucking face. The rest of the story is a group of characters who have had bad things happen to them continue to have bad things happen to them during the story. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic and as they make a number of bad decisions you don’t really feel sorry for them when the inevitable resulting bad thing happens to them. It’s really only Isaac (great to see the Kiwi contingent of Canberra affecting their beached-az accents) you feel sorry for getting caught up in all of it.

The bushfire plot line seems to have been added in simply as a reason to base the story in Canberra, if you took it out then the story could have taken place in any Australian city. The bushfire is really just another bad thing that happens to all of the characters at the end of the film. The bushfire in the film makes it look like the characters are fleeing a slightly over-sized hazard reduction burn–perhaps the CGI budget didn’t extend to making it look more like this.

I did enjoy the location spotting in the film and laughing at how the geography of Canberra has been distorted. It’s also comforting to know that the teenagers of Canberra behave exactly as portrayed on A Current Affair. When Billie asks her mother if she can have a glass of wine because it’s her birthday and then proceeds to pour herself a pint of white got a laugh from the audience.

Having taken my medicine I left the cinema wondering what I was supposed to have taken from the film. I certainly wasn’t entertained and neither did I learn anything but it was certainly worthy.

#2
justin heywood11:16 pm, 29 Jun 14

davo101 said :

Warning, if you are one of those people that doesn’t like reading bad reviews on the internet then stop reading now.

I was invited to go and see Galore having no idea what it was about. I was informed that it was a “film set in Canberra before the 2003 bushfires”. I replied that, sure, I’d love to go and see yet another “worthy” Australian film.

I should explain that “worthy” is a code word in our household for works that have been produced by an artist that are intended to be appreciated by other artists. Works of literature are an example where authors write books that are intended to be read by other authors and admired for their craftsmanship. Australian films are a great source of worthy output. Our films get such large tax breaks that they tend to be made by film makers who want to make films that impress other film makers and win awards at film festivals; as there is no commercial incentive they are not made to entertain audiences and there may even be an aspect of deliberately not “pandering” to the audience’s wants so as to not compromise the “art”. It’s less pleasure and more of that bitter tasting cough medicine your mother gave you because she thought it would do you good, but is much more likely to just be unpleasant.

The still in the Youtube video above summarises what you are going to see in this film: a lot of extreme close ups of teenagers sucking face. The rest of the story is a group of characters who have had bad things happen to them continue to have bad things happen to them during the story. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic and as they make a number of bad decisions you don’t really feel sorry for them when the inevitable resulting bad thing happens to them. It’s really only Isaac (great to see the Kiwi contingent of Canberra affecting their beached-az accents) you feel sorry for getting caught up in all of it.

The bushfire plot line seems to have been added in simply as a reason to base the story in Canberra, if you took it out then the story could have taken place in any Australian city. The bushfire is really just another bad thing that happens to all of the characters at the end of the film. The bushfire in the film makes it look like the characters are fleeing a slightly over-sized hazard reduction burn–perhaps the CGI budget didn’t extend to making it look more like this.

I did enjoy the location spotting in the film and laughing at how the geography of Canberra has been distorted. It’s also comforting to know that the teenagers of Canberra behave exactly as portrayed on A Current Affair. When Billie asks her mother if she can have a glass of wine because it’s her birthday and then proceeds to pour herself a pint of white got a laugh from the audience.

Having taken my medicine I left the cinema wondering what I was supposed to have taken from the film. I certainly wasn’t entertained and neither did I learn anything but it was certainly worthy.

Good review there Davo.

#3
Kaz9:22 am, 30 Jun 14

I didn’t like this film. I dragged my poor unsuspecting partner along yesterday, keen to see a movie set in Canberra and starring Ashleigh Cummings (who we know from Miss Fisher%u2019s Murder Mysteries). The plot was dreary and the characters unlikeable. Maybe it%u2019s just the old fart factor %u2013 we%u2019re a generation older than the main characters %u2013 but it portrayed Canberra as boring and small-minded, and teenagers as thoughtless, drunken thugs. Weirdly, almost everyone in the theatre looked much older than us, so we wondered what motivated them to see the film %u2026 and what they thought of all the swearing and punch-ups. Like Davo says, Australian films are bloody awful! I go to a lot of movies, from a lot of countries, and most have something positive going for them. This one was just depressing.

#4
Maya12312:09 pm, 30 Jun 14

The Official Trailer made me never want to see this movie. Thank you for warning me off. It looked dreary and pointless. And where was the bushfire? I saw a bit of a burn off, but no bushfire, no dark red sky, no cinders falling from the sky, no wild wind, as I experienced during the bushfire…and my suburb was kilometres from the fire front.

#5
John Moulis7:33 pm, 30 Jun 14

The film critic in the Sunday Telegraph slammed it.

#6
davo1019:06 pm, 30 Jun 14

John Moulis said :

The film critic in the Sunday Telegraph slammed it.

What a fantastic review. My favourite bit:

As we all should know by now: if you have seen one-and-a-half Australian coming-of-age dramas, you have pretty much seen them all.

Therefore, it’s hard to come up with any reason why you should endure the shambolic snoozer that is Galore.

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