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A review of some of harrison ford and peter weirs film productions

Web Resources Commanding Waves: The Films of Peter Weir Peter Weir helped to define the rebirth of Australian cinema, while addressing some of the most pressing concerns of the nation in the s and s.

Peter Weir

His intriguing images of Australia, evocative and transcendent, made an impact in the international art house scene, eager for compelling visions of geo-political areas and cultures overlooked by mainstream cinema. After achieving international recognition as an emblematic Australian filmmaker, Weir made his transition to Hollywood while maintaining a sense of experimentation and artistic exploration. His films, including his Hollywood ones, can not be pigeonholed in terms of themes, genres or geographical locals; but they do display an approach to filmmaking, a sensibility, a drive, that amount to one of the most searching trajectories in contemporary cinema.

These illuminating views complement each other: Weir is more of an observer, a dreamer, even a debunker, than a mythmaker, and his sensibility — sometimes bordering on, but never fully reaching, a comic pitch — is ironic rather than tragic. A glance at the careers of actors who have worked with him suggests that Weir has been a catalyst of their growth.

A review of some of harrison ford and peter weirs film productions

He elicits natural performances from children and first-time actors, while extending the range of established talent from Mel Gibson to Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. His own career has been one which parallels this aspect of his filmmaking: Formative Years Born inand raised in the Sydney harbourside suburb of Vaucluse, Weir attended a private boys school before doing the first year of an Arts degree at the University of Sydney.

During the long trip he met his wife and future production designer, Wendy Stites, and made his first film, of sorts: Weir returned to Australia at a propitious moment. The earlier period of Australian film production, from the s through to the s, had long dwindled, and there was mounting governmental will to rekindle Australian film output 13 features were produced in Australia in the s; in the s.

Weir would benefit from this initiative, after making modest in-roads as a stagehand at the Channel Seven television network. On the potential evident in these first endeavours, Channel Seven offered him the opportunity to direct film clips for a television program: The Mavis Bramston Show.

A year later, he became trainee director at the Commonwealth Film Unit, which was beginning to produce feature films after having subsidised mainly documentaries for decades.

Peter weirs film witness essay

It was at the Commonwealth Film Unit that he would write and direct his first short feature: The film was his contribution to a trilogy called Three to Go, with each segment fashioned by a different director, dealing with various aspects of contemporary Australian youth culture. The success of these two films secured Weir a study grant from a government body appointed as a precursor to the Australian Film and Television School.

Weir used the grant to return to England inwhere he spent time on film sets at Pinewood and Elstree studios in London. On returning to Australia inWeir resumed work at the Commonwealth Film Unit, directing a series of short documentaries, some intended as educational resources.

In these early non-fiction pieces, Weir experiments with filmic elements that will become characteristic of his subsequent work: These characteristics are all at play in Incredible Floridasa minute portrait of the Australian composer, Richard Meale.

He was apparently already developing this skill while working on these early documentaries.

Two of them — The Billiard Rooman opaque seven-minute piece presenting two young men playing billiards as they discuss whether they should withdraw from university, and Australian Colour Diary 43, an minute documentation of three visually and musically distinct bands performing live on stage — appear, in retrospect, to be studies in mastering the close-up shot, as repeated shots of faces provide a commentary on adolescent angst in the former, and artistic expression in the latter.

A longer documentary of 55 minutes, Whatever Happened to Green Valley? Weir shared the filmmaking project with six residents of the community whom he assisted in producing short films to document their personal experiences. The viewings are preceded by his own brief mockumentary, a parody of previous patronising reports of the community.

  1. Arthur had not deliberately caused the initial death that traumatised him, nor the death of his brother, yet was paralysed with guilt over both. Guy becomes conscious of his own degradation when dozens of Indonesian women press their vulnerable bodies up against the car window, and he flees directly to Jill to try to mend their relationship and to curb his excessive opportunism.
  2. Landmarks in mechanical engineering - ebook of the city point works of harrison flow of water over weirs then only eighteen in. The trappings of breeding and class, which signified power in the old world, are useless in the face of uncanny, intimidating natural forces.
  3. It was in the wake of its success that Picnic was released in the United States and quickly became a favourite of art-house cinemas. He has shifted from a neurotic state to a psychotic one.
  4. The manager entertains the guests with bizarre activities, at times cruel or threatening, some of which get out of hand.
  5. Picnic at Hanging Rock In his next project, Weir portrayed another insular community, in a rural environment, which collapses under pressures it cannot bear.

As Weir makes his transition to fictional features, these too will often convey implicit social commentary. It soon becomes apparent that the events are being staged and filmed.

These kinetic images of upheaval and abandon are juxtaposed with a shot that could pass as one from The Truman Showof identical suburban houses, out of which the suit-clad protagonist strides, newspaper neatly folded under arm.

The film ends inconclusively with a tracking shot of Michael looking forlorn, ambling away from his new friends in no particular direction, while heavy-handed lyrics on the soundtrack lament: The narrator of The Year of Living Dangerously, Billy Kwan, suggests that such a feeling of disenfranchisement may well be a preoccupation of Australia, as an immigrant nation: In Michael, Weir was clearly consolidating his artistic sensibility.

The continuous sense of movement, created through rapid editing, brief scenes and the layered effect of moving cameras filming moving subjects, is effective here in conveying social and personal upheaval and will become a characteristic of his directorial style. Viewing the film today, Weir appears to have exercised remarkable restraint with dialogue for a first-time feature director, suggesting unusual talent for telling a story through visual and other aural means.

Some film theorists, most notably Rudolf Arnheim, have argued that exploitation of uniquely filmic devices is the principal hallmark of a great director. In an interview with Sue Mathews, Weir explained it was so unusual in the s to hear the Australian accent on film, that the actors were uncomfortable speaking, so he conceived alternative ways to move the story forward 3.

The manager entertains the guests with bizarre activities, at times cruel or threatening, some of which get out of hand. The film, with touches of macabre comedy and horror, begins with a group of guests arriving on the island. A sign adorns the imposing front gate, declaring: When they convene around a dinner table, their spontaneous revelations manifest various characteristics of traumatised psyches: Weir himself has a fleeting part as a performer in an evening organised by the manager, where the entertainment is a ploy to taunt and humiliate the guests.

An elderly guest, Mr. Levy James Learwho may have killed a man in bizarre circumstances, desperately pleads that they stop, so as not to reveal his shameful secret.

Reactions as perturbed as Mr. During a dinner party, one of the residents, Kevin Grahame Bondcomments: The scene typifies the somewhat disjointed exuberance of a film whose creative kernels and underlying concerns will be more persuasively realised in future projects. The event triggers a previous trauma: The corruption and hypocrisy of the conservative town leaders, as they orchestrate their death traps after attending church services, are surpassed by the younger generation.

If the elders manipulate passing cars into accidents, the youth take the sadistic instinct further by themselves driving cars through town a review of some of harrison ford and peter weirs film productions weapons to taunt, and ultimately murder, the elders. The final sequence of the annual fancy dress ball, abruptly interrupted by roaring vehicles, is a daring display of imaginative black humour by a young director learning his craft.

The initial scene of the ball — a swirl of garish colours, with balloons and streamers floating amongst outlandish outfits of vicars, sailors, cowboys — cuts to a stark exterior night shot of a hilltop where a herd of car headlights menacingly appears.

Animal sounds emanate from the vehicles, as a cut returns us to the town to show the cars — in fancy dress every bit as garish as the elders, with silver spikes and bumper bars boasting red teeth — wreaking havoc on the ball and eventually the entire town.

Arthur obliges reluctantly at first, but then proceeds systematically with the killing. After the murder he exits his car, solemnly removes his hat in a grotesque gesture of respect for the dead, and stares at his victim in disturbing silence for a long take of 25 seconds. The murder sequence is made up of a total of 12 assaults, each shown in consecutive individual shots, rapidly edited.

Arthur had not deliberately caused the initial death that traumatised him, nor the death of his brother, yet was paralysed with guilt over both. In murdering the youth, he does act with volition, but overcomes the symptom of his guilt his driving phobia in the very act of killing. He has shifted from a neurotic state to a psychotic one.

As Arthur gleefully departs Paris, we wonder if he might in fact be taking with him the sadistic practices and murderous heritage of the town he is abandoning. Picnic at Hanging Rock In his next project, Weir portrayed another insular community, in a rural environment, which collapses under pressures it cannot bear. But where The Cars that Ate Paris, with its highly-strung male protagonists and stylised town, borders on the absurd, Picnic at Hanging Rock explores the uncanny as it emerges from the realistic setting of a boarding school, at the dawn of the twentieth century, in the recognisable landscape of the Australian bush.

Picnic opens with a landscape composition covered in a veil of mist, which gradually clears to reveal a large rock. While our gaze rests on the a review of some of harrison ford and peter weirs film productions, the mist reappears in the lower half of the frame, threatening to enshroud it once again 4. Instead the image slowly dissolves into a low-angle shot of the imposing monolith, now dominating the sky, its power palpable.

Peter weirs film witness essay

The sequence is accompanied by an ominous sound, reminiscent of a didgeridoo, that seems to emanate from the earth itself. The hum fades as the subsequent shot introduces the comparatively feeble and prosaic colonial school boarding house. As they are driven away in horse and cart from the confines of their institution, their delicate faces to the wind, they remove their white gloves and trustingly launch into their surroundings, only to return hours later, devastated by the unexplained disappearance of three students and a teacher.

  • In these early non-fiction pieces, Weir experiments with filmic elements that will become characteristic of his subsequent work;
  • The Films of Peter Weir Peter Weir helped to define the rebirth of Australian cinema, while addressing some of the most pressing concerns of the nation in the 1970s and 1980s;
  • How do non-indigenous Australians of European heritage reconcile themselves with a landscape that confounds them?
  • As the family sails from the confines of the river to the expanse of the ocean, Charlie comments in voiceover;
  • An elderly guest, Mr;
  • He will continue to explore traumatic episodes in his next film, which makes a poignant statement about the expediency of war.

When one girl is found alive after a week alone on the rock and she is unable to recall any aspect of her ordeal, the intrigue only deepens. How do non-indigenous Australians of European heritage reconcile themselves with a landscape that confounds them? The nation may well be on the verge of federation, but its people still exercise no real control over their appropriated territory.

The trappings of breeding and class, which signified power in the old world, are useless in the face of uncanny, intimidating natural forces. It was the artistic quality of Picnic, its sensibility for the uncanny coupled with its period-piece atmosphere, that garnered this film, and by extension the Australian film industry more generally, serious critical accolades abroad.

The film certainly established Weir as a significant directorial talent. The story can be read as either a spiritual awakening or a psychological break down of the protagonist, David Burton Richard Chamberlaina white corporate lawyer, married with two daughters, who is called upon by a friend at legal aid, Michael Zeadler Peter Caroll to defend four Aboriginal men charged with murder.

While working on the case, David comes to believe he may be a spirit from the Aboriginal Dreamtime and he finds it increasingly difficult to function as a family man and professional in white society.

The film incorporates many of the same filmic techniques as Picnic — slow motion, timelapse photography and eerie sound effects — to create as intense an uncanny atmosphere, and as intriguing a mysterious undercurrent. In an interview, Weir explains that Wave evolved out of a period of reading and talking about Aboriginal culture and that he remains frustrated that in the film he captured so little of what he learnt 6.

In a series of scenes in which David is conversing with other characters, for example, the background of his shots, unlike that of his companions, is infused with over-exposed lighting, subtly suggesting the prophetic, supernatural gift the script suggests David possesses. An early sequence of David and his family including his stepfather, an Anglican minister at a backyard barbeque, overshadowed by a prominent church, recalls a similar scene in Michael, of the protagonist and his family exiting a church service.

The scene in the earlier film served to illustrate the extent to which Michael felt alienated from his environment; here too, the church will come to symbolise that with which David cannot reconcile himself, namely the Western tradition of rationalising mysteries. With this in mind, it makes sense that he would insert a dialogue within the film to address the propensity to represent non-Western cultures in a patronising way.

When David suggests to his legal aid colleague that there may be more going on with the Aborigines on trial than is superficially apparent, the pragmatic solicitor retorts: It was in the wake of its success that Picnic was released in the United States and quickly became a favourite of art-house cinemas.

Peter weirs film witness essay

As in Wave, The Plumber features a character — anthropology student, Jill Judy Morris — who is left troubled after an encounter with a non-Western culture. Jill has recently returned from fieldwork in New Guinea where, while undertaking research for her Masters thesis, she experienced a threatening encounter with a male sorcerer who entered her tent uninvited. Jill seems to have felt both afraid for herself and uneasy about her own intrusion into the lives of an indigenous people.

The trauma of this encounter will be triggered once Jill is back in Australia living in university housing with her husband, a medical doctor specialising in the nutrition of indigenous peoples. She is visited by Max Ivar Kantsa plumber who proceeds to wreak havoc in her bathroom, as well as with her politically correct disposition, which is already troubled by the incident in New Guinea. When the sorcerer intruded upon Jill during her fieldwork, Jill apparently chose not to expel the interloper or to leave the tent herself.

Jill appears to feel confused and guilty in the face of his unexpected reaction: Weir makes adroit use of shot compositions and editing to subtly convey the internal association Jill is constructing between the plumber and the sorcerer.

Weir immediately cuts to still photos of indigenous research subjects. The split image forms a single face, half black and half white. As the camera zooms in on Max, drawing him into the apartment, the shot retains only a trace of the black image.

It would also seem that Jill is reliving the emotional impact of her experience with the sorcerer when, rather than taking immediate measures to expel the raucous plumber from her home, she allows him to destroy the bathroom and drive her to a state of emotional distress.

  1. With the labour of locals, and the help of his wife and children, Allie develops a functional small town — on a piece of land known as Jeronimo — and succeeds in building an enormous ice-making machine.
  2. The last wave review by hm f - peter weir follow cinafilm on social media never miss the latest movie reviews from critics and film harrison ford. His own career has been one which parallels this aspect of his filmmaking.
  3. Curtis drives him to visit the hordes of desperate young prostitutes who elicit business at the local cemetery.