06 September 2020 (released)
06 September 2020
Billed as the first proper showcase for indigenous Australians Dark Place is a compilation of short films. And this is a true compilation as there’s no link or binding story which is something of a relief as that can lead to contrivances that upset the balance of anthology films sometimes.
Opening with Scout (director Kodie Berford) this is a non too subtle comment on trafficking, racism and male power as women are kept in a bunker and pulled out to serve the customers with whatever they may desire which sex and violence. Its overseen by the pimp who is as slimy as they come. It has a very grotty sleazy appearance actually enhanced by the pimp in his slick attire. The ending is somewhat predictable which lets down an interesting segment.
The next one is Foe (director Liam Phillips) about Eleanor who is having treatment for a sleep disorder. There are family issues that she keeps up with through her video diary. Being prone to sleep walk she wakes up with dirty feet and a bloody dress, then bloody knife in her bed but there is something else going on. A very good premise that builds well but again let down by the wrap up.
Vale Light (director Rob Bstalin) goes up a notch as a lone mother moves in to her new home with daughter Isabel (Issy). A moving in party gets out of hand which is dealt with by neighbour Diana who just walks in and they all leave quite as anything. After this Issy, who senses something begins to spend more time with Diana as a sort of weird friendship develops. A very well shot film that with a satisfactory ending, if a mite predictable.
Shot in black and white The Shore (director Perun Bonser) looks beautiful offers up a meditative take on the vampire story. There actually isn’t that much going on and is one to wallow in the photography rather that bother too much about the story.
Finally there is Killer Native (director Bjorn Stewart) a blunt as they come send up of colonial racism and not a bad satire on the UK at the time. Idiot couple and ‘rat pie’ connoisseurs Tom and Sally have moved to Australia full of the imperial 'this is our land' ignorance and bravado. rouble is, it’s not theirs because there is the indigenous population and there’s also something else that is disputing both their claims and it is not happy. A bloodfest of stereotypes that is a very entertaining if not much else.
Overall a very mixed collection that gets stronger as they go along though that’s not to say that any are actually bad. What Dark Place confirms is that there is talent aplenty in Australia waiting to be tapped.