What To Watch (April 2014)

Born to be wild? Me too, but from the outside my life more closely resembles an episode of Neighbours during a quiet week on Ramsay St.  While domestic bliss has its place, this month I went looking for adventure at the movies and found it, like a true nature’s child.  

In 1977, Robyn Davidson decided to walk from Alice Springs to the West Australian Coast with just a dog and four camels.  Her true story comes to life in Tracks, the film inspired by the National Geographic photos of her trip taken by Rick Smolan.

“I like to believe that an ordinary person can do anything,” was Davidson’s vague motivation, but her inner journey is revealed in more detail as we trace her epic physical tracks.

The moment we see the WA beach at the end, and the contrast of the bright blue ocean with the sameness of the dessert that has been crossed, is overwhelming.  If it were me having Smolen (Adam Driver) waiting there with the most amazing I-can’t-believe-you-really-did-it grin would tip me over the edge, but Davidson was fittingly unromantic and cool.  The cameo by Tim Rogers proves there is life after grunge. He is perfectly cast and brilliant, as is the lead, Mia Wasikowska, and of course, Adam Driver, who you don’t need to be a Girls fan to love.

I will never walk across a desert so for a more accessible adventure there is Exit Marrakech, screening as part of the Audi Festival of German Film.  It follows the summer holiday of a German student whose father is directing a big budget play in Marrakech, Morocco.  He escapes his Dad who is content inside the hotel confines and befriends a prostitute, goes to a village and drinks copious amounts of sweet mint tea.  Everything in the film is so true to my experience of travelling in this mind-expanding place that I felt as if I had just been there again.  The father-son relationship is movingly real and complicated and Morocco is the perfect backdrop to the traveller versus tourist theme this film also explores.

If you need a Berlin fix then I recommend Oh Boy, also part of the German film fest.  It is shot in black and white on the streets of Berlin and shows us a day in the life of 20-something Niko.  It starts with his girlfriend dumping him and just keeps getting weirder from there, proving that some of the craziest trips can happen close to home. The Audi Festival of German Film is at Palace Cinemas until April 11.  Tracks is screening nationally.

Penny Ivison writes monthly for PEARL on film & TV. If there’s anything you’d like to let Penny know about that’s happening in the Bayside or Peninsula area in 2014, you can find her on twitter on @pipsicedtea.