Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

news, local news, Mad Max, Private Capital, National Film and Sound Archive, Australians & Hollywood

Mad Max (1979), a film made during the Australian cinema renaissance of the 1970s, could have seen an unlikely international blockbuster. Its lead actor was an American-born unknown, and there were no big names in the cast. Its director and co-author, George Miller, was a former doctor who made his feature film debut with a violent, post-apocalyptic low-budget action film, often filmed in guerrilla style. But the dystopian Mad Max, with Mel Gibson as highway patrolman Max Rockatansky embarking on a revenge campaign against the motorcycles that killed his family, became a huge international hit. Both Miller and Gibson continued with great Hollywood careers. Miller’s later films included Lorenzo’s Oil, The Witches of Eastwick, Babe and the two Happy Feet animated features. Gibson found success on both sides of the camera, starring in films such as the Lethal Weapon series and directing and starring in the Oscar-winning Braveheart. The original film was followed by Mad Max 2 (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – both starring Gibson – and a “return visitor”, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) starring Tom Hardy. Although oil was a scarce resource in this world, there were still plenty of sucking cars – do what you want. All four films will be shown in the Arc Cinema at the National Film and Sound Archive to coincide with the exhibition Australians & Hollywood, a show only in Canberra that pays homage to contemporary Australian films, opening on 21 January. Among the items on display are the custom steering wheel from Mad Max: Fury Road. As mentioned, Mad Max started the franchise. Although it can be seen as Ozploitation compared to its contemporary Australian films like Picnic at Hanging Rock and Breaker Morant, its high energy, stunt work and distinctive vehicles and costumes made it a huge popular success. The dialogue was originally christened by Americans for the American market, where unknown slang was replaced, but the action spoke a universal language. Max. The story of settlers fighting looters is reminiscent of a western. That may be the highlight of the series. In Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, Max encounters Bartertown, directed by Aunty Entity (Tina Turner, who sings We Don’t Need Another Hero on the soundtrack) and is forced to fight a duel in the Thunderdome with Master (a dwarf) and his giant bodyguard Blaster. Max, who was later banished and wandering again, encounters another settlement, this time with children and teenagers. This had a much higher budget than its predecessors, but was criticized in some circles – Max spent less time in Wasteland and some elements, such as the children’s story, were seen as derivative. Miller returned to the franchise with Mad Max: Fury Road (of which Black and Chrome Edition will be shown on January 23). Although Hardy replaced Gibson, and the budget was huge – well over $ 300 million – this felt like a return to the early films. Mad Max: Fury Road won many awards, including six Oscars. And there will be more: Miller has a Furiosa origin story and another Mad Max tale on the way. For more information on Australians & Hollywood and the Mad Max screenings, visit



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