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THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS

Australia, 1974 (MIFF 2002, Australian Showcase)

Director: Peter Weir

Peter Weir's first feature was a highly unusual black comedy. Misunderstood for years, The Cars That Ate Paris has overtones of J.G. Ballard's urban science fiction and Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend. In the opening scene travellers enjoying an idyllic country drive in a devilishly clever parody of 70s cigarette commercials. A peaceful reverie is shattered when their vehicle hurtles off the road crashing with a single survivor, Arthur Waldo.

Waldo finds himself in the hospital of an isolated outback town called Paris. The area is cursed by an unusually high number of automobile accidents. It transpires that these 'accidents' are the backbone of the local economy: a local doctor carries out bizarre experiments on the crash victims; vehicles are stripped of parts and personal belongings. Packs of local youths race and conduct a peculiar kind of demolition derby in reconstructed wrecks looking like day-glo versions of Mad Max vehicles. Waldo is torn between uncovering the final, deadly secret of Paris or getting the helI out of town. A new 35mm print of this Australian classic.

Peter Weir (Sydney, 1944) is one of the most internationally acclaimed Australian directors. After local success with films like Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Gallipoli (1981) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), Weir moved offshore for Hollywood hits like Witness (1985), Dead Poets Society (1989) and The Truman Show (1998).

See also...

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK

Peter Weir's film adaptation of Joan Lindsay's classic, largely faithful to the original novel, describes the collapse of a rural Victorian boarding college following the mysterious disappearance of ... More »

Boat Building

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Homesdale

Homesdale is an expensive private guest house on a remote island where the guests are encouraged to live out their fantasies. They have contrived to do this with considerable facility. Mr. Malfrey ... More »

THREE TO GO - Michael

Should Michael follow the straight and narrow path of conformity, or listen to the prophets of change and revolution? The question is: in which world does Michael belong? ... This episode won the ... More »

Whatever Happened to Green Valley

Peter Weir makes a spoof current affairs documentary. Playing a TV reporter himself, he demonstrates how the reporting of Green Valley, a housing commission estate, had been subjected to very harsh ... More »

27A

Winner of the 1974 AFI Best Film award, 27A is an electrifying film experience, led by a remarkable performance from Robert McDarra. This Australian classic, which has never before screened at MIFF ... More »

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