Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

Three To Go: Michael (1969)

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From the director that brought us some of my favorite films, including Dead Poets’ Society (1989) and The Truman Show (1998), this Peter Weir film looks at the changing social tides in Australia during the Vietnam War. This is one experimental film that I thought could have benefited from a more structured narrative. It was hard to catch on the first view that the war scenes in the beginning are a film or possibly a fantasy of war and activism. The main character, Michael, befriends the activist, Grahame, and this influence contrasts with his conservative, middle-class family. Michael feels caught in between two worlds, two generations. I also thought the segments from YouthQuake were an interesting inclusion, but I wish their significance would have been more obvious. Still, I think this film helps to define the independent film movement, the birth of the anti-Hollywood avant garde in Australia. Michael won the Best Film Award at the 1970 Australian Film Institute Awards.

As far as further analysis from cinephiles smarter than me, I couldn’t find much. The Australian Broadcasting Company and MichaelDVD.com both have short write-ups. From viewing this film, I can see similarities in themes with Dead Poets’ Society – feeling stuck between parental control and youthful rebellion, chasing nonconformity amidst social pressures. A bit confusing, but worth viewing.

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