PostED THE 14.10.2014 AT 10:51AM
Yesterday, Ted Kotcheff presented his film Wake in Fright at the Lumière festival. The film, in a restored digital print, represented a grand moment, since the film had been lost for many years. The Canadian director shared his joy of presenting his film to audiences in France - the only country, he said, where the film was successful upon its release in 1971.
© Institut Lumière / Photo Anouck Nicolas - JL Mège Photographies
How do you assess your film, forty years after its completion?
When I see some of my films for a second time, I notice that there are things missing. With others, I am amazed at how good they are! The movies I like are the ones where I best achieved what I wanted. With Wake in Fight, I accomplished almost 100% of what I set out to do. It's the same with First Blood and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz [both also in the festival lineup]. In these three films, I managed to fulfill my intentions.
In your opinion, is the vision of Australia portrayed in the film the same Australia today?
I wouldn't know how to answer that. At the Sydney film festival four years ago, I asked the audience of 400 the same question. One person answered, "Are you kidding? This happens where I live! People still drink too much and still behave like that." However, the hunt for kangaroos is now banned. In the past, kangaroos were hunted to feed cats and dogs. When we showed actual scenes of the hunt, people realized it was a massacre. Some twenty years ago, they called me to tell me that the government had passed a law banning kangaroo hunting.
Did discussing Australia as a foreigner help you maintain a certain distance?
When you're a foreigner, you notice some interesting aspects that locals don't- especially certain behaviors. But when I decided to make the film, I was nervous because I was entering a world I didn't know. That being said, I'm Canadian. And when I arrived in Australia, I said to myself, "Well, this looks exactly like Northern Canada!" We have the same vast spaces that are neither reassuring nor comforting. It makes you feel claustrophobic and imprisoned. So there I had a solid foundation for my film.