Sunday, March 18, 2007

Film - Ten Empty

A number of weeks ago I got to attend a screening of a unfinished new Australian film Ten Empty, two-thirds of the way into it's editing period. It's set in Adelaide, stars mostly unfamiliar actors (Jack Thompson has a supporting role), and cost around $1million. It's a small-scale drama, and fairly interesting, though unfortunately it's yet another Australian film where ugly Australians hang out in their crappy loungerooms getting drunk/yelling at each other/whining about how hard their lives are etc. At least this film doesn't end up with a failed bank robbery/drug deal (Little Fish, Idiot Box, The Boys and every second Aussie film from the last 5 years). And despite the editing being unfinished, it kept me involved.
It was an unusual experience as there seemed to be a lot of major editing work needed. The story was all there, but nobody in the film was particularly likeable or sympathetic, and the motivations of the characters frequently made no sense at all - for example you were left wondering why one person was still in a crummy relationship with another when in real life you'd imagine they'd have left years ago.
The fun part was talking about the film afterwards. The producer wanted to chat - firstly to make sure that everything made sense (all the practical points of the plot did, but emotionally it didn't), and secondly whether we liked and/or enjoyed it. Being a film that seemed to have potential but didn't currently work at all, it was interesting to consider all the options they'd have to consider for making changes.
I felt very sorry for the first-time director. Unfortunately he doesn't have one of those films that just get shot and then stitched together easily - the editors had a lot of major work left to do on it. Good luck to them.

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