Review: Aim High in Creation!
Anna Broinowski, 115 mins, 2013, Australia
Australian director Anna Broinowski sets off on an epic adventure to alter the course of history, to save her local Sydney town from the fate of fracking, by the hands of gas mine giants. Broinonwski’s passion is seen right from the start, as the film opens with her voiceover of many rejection phones calls to energy companies requesting an interview. As our ears become accustomed with the constant hang up bleeps, our eyes are presented with the continuous peacefully green beauty of Sydney Park. How will it be possible to rally enough support for her enviro-friendly anti-fracking message you ask? She had one solution… fly over to place in the world that dominates in propaganda filmmaking and learn from the best. North Korea.
Aim High In Creation! finds the balance between documentary and propaganda film making and as a result displays a surprisingly splendid comedic viewing. This is achieved through the dialogue between Broinowski and her handpicked cast for her upcoming short to stop gas mine production. Whilst Broinowski embraces the unquestionable cinematic laws in Kim Jong-Il’s manifesto, her fellow actors and actresses are less willing. They find themselves to be the Western voice of reason making remarks on the absurdity of their efforts however are willing to give it a go for the great good of saving Sydney Park. Thus much of the comedy is in participating as they find themselves constantly having to break out of their comfortable Hollywood practices.
In a similar vain to Federico Fellini’s 8½, it is a film about making a film. Broinowski’s self-reflective visual diary deconstructs the magic of cinema – plot, characters, camera, acting, music etc, right in front of our very eyes in the form of interviews with her Korean experts, only to put it all together again in the end. The camera constantly shifts between friendly insightful dialogue of North Korean filmmakers loving their creative outlet and us back at home viewing through the lens of her Macbook. Interestingly, this alienation of the viewer disappears half way through the film, as the Macbook is no long the medium to show personal footage of North Korea. Instead the film cuts gradually become seamless between the two countries. By the end of it all, the parallels between North Korean’s situation and Sydney Park both metaphorically and visually become blurred and you are taken aback as you begin to realise the power of people struggles to unite two worlds.
Whilst Broinowski is the middleman/woman between North Korea and Australia with her own agenda of wishing to stop fracking, the film is essentially a sweet cultural exchange of self-discovery as she is mentored by Kim Jong-Il’s favourite directors and actors. Her personal take home message and appreciation of North Korean film include the artist being valued higher than the farmer or worker and the joy of sacrificing for the collective, uniting as one to overcome all odds.
The bottom line: The revolutionary hero is the people. This film does not fail to deliver a multitude of personal stories ranging from afflicted farmers, corporate representatives, the initial distant actors, local crowd reactions, all the way through to an opening eye ironic spin on creative freedom within the rather expression-limiting North Korean nation. Worth watching.
Written By: Sandra Lee, April 2014