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AGAINST THE INNOCENT

Australia, 1988 (MIFF 1988)

Director: Daryl Dellora

Daryl Dellora's first feature-length film is a brilliantly executed, exactingly researched project flirting with the traditional line between drama and documentary, in its detailed examination of 'terrorist' and 'counter-terrorist practices in Australia today.

Margaret Cameron plays Monika Sch-leyer, a German activist in Australia to lecture on the state of international and local 'counter-terrorist' activities Around these convincingly dramatised sequences a number of other figures, both real (Don Dunstan) and otherwise, discuss the same issues and their implementation in Australia - the Hilton Bombing in 78 being the most concrete example (The film presents the now widely held view that the bombing was the work of Australian security organisations designed to justify their own existence and push for increased power).

Dellora has extracted some impressive performances out of his actors (particularly Margaret Cameron as Schleyer and Terry McDermott as a nervous senator spilling the beans) that indicate an assured hand at the helm, without ever losing sight of the important issue at hand.

Whilst openly acknowledging its debt to the German political cinema of the 70's, such as Germany in Autumn and to a lesser degree Australian models such as Against the Grain and Exits, Dellora drags political cinema into the late eighties with a dazzling mix of techniques designed to engage audiences and challenge traditional forms, both narrative and documentary

"In foregrounding the constructed nature of the film and in violating the codes of TV journalism which pre-package ideas and opinions for a viewer constructed in terns of a consumer of film, Agamst the Innocent puts the viewer to work, insisting on its subject as complex, and irreducihle to loaded terms such as "security", "terrorism' and "national interest' ' - Daryl Dellora

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