MANDALAY (1994)

Australia (MIFF 1994 )

Culled from over 100 hours of footage shot over a 7 year period (1987-94), Mandalay is Maggie Fooke's already legendary diary film chronicling the campaign to save the ageing art-deco apartment block of the same name. The building, in which the filmmaker was a long-term resident, became the centre of a storm of debate concerning the future of St. Kilda and the nature of re-development suitable for the faded but still grand bayside suburb.

Shooting on Video-8 without any additional crew, Maggie Fooke has captured the unfolding of events over such a long time with remarkable economy, a never-in-doubt authenticity, and a startlingly candid style.

As the fight for Mandalay continues, benefit concerts, court appeals, demonstrations, and union bans all unfold. Tenants come and go from the block, nearby buildings are torn down or redeveloped, Robin the tram conductor develops a vegie-patch. Personalities emerge, primarily those of the residents, creating a whole other human text running parallel to that of the development issue - romantic relationships begin and end, a child is born. It's this personal canvas that makes the film so engrossing and via which it transcends the level of a simple activist record.

Finished literally days before the Festival and just transferred from video to 16mm, we are thrilled to present the World Premiere of Mandalay, in, where else, St. Kilda.

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