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Australia, 1982 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Peter Tammer

Peter Tammer is a Melbourne filmmaker who has been making films, mostly from within his own resources, for nearly two decades His last completed film, Mallacoota Stampede, won the Erwin Rado prize for Best Australian Short Film at last year's Melbourne Film Festival His new film is not only his best work, but represents a significant development in Australian documentary filmmaking Its subject is Bill Neave, a World War 2 veteran, who recounts his wartime experiences direct to the camera Some 40 years later, these events are as vivid to him as they were when he lived through them They involve violence, brutality, death, torture and cold-blooded murder The memories of these events are so vivid for Neave that he is still able to re-enact them and he does this on film, discussing such events with his long dead friends.

This presentation of the material raises a whole host of aesthetic questions about the nature of documentation, memory and its effect on the present, the recreation of events and the border between fiction and truth. Because these issues are raised, this film will undoubtedly go on to have a broader impact than a simple documentary might otherwise reveal.

However, to sum up, its first impression is, as Phillip Adams has said already, "as vivid as any chronicle of war you'll ever see The film records a soliloquy that evokes the past with a clarity rarely equalled in any autobiography or novel "

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