Friday, September 28, 2007

The Cars That Ate Paris

The Cars That Ate Paris; Comedy, Australia, 1974; D: Peter Weir, S: Terry Camilleri, John Meillon, Kevin Miles, Rick Scully, Melissa Jaffer

A great economic crisis rules is suffocating Australia. George and his brother Arthur drive in a car towards Paris, a small city in Australia, but on their way they have a car accident. George dies while Arthur wakes up in a hospital in Paris. Soon the mayor Len forbids him to leave the city whose inhabitants deliberately cause car accidents in order to sell the scrap of the vehicles remains. Their car fetish is bizarre, but then a conflict with younger drivers erupts, who demolish the town, so Arthur escapes.

One of the weakest films from ambitious director Peter Weir, who ironically made better films in Hollywood than in his homeland Australia, is a mild, tame, anemic and shaky (horror?) comedy, "The Cars That Ate Paris", which vaguely speaks about possessive society that doesn't let individuals leave it. The story is full of bizarre scenes that elaborate the fetish of the inhabitants of Paris, a small town in Australia, who are mad about cars (for example, in a store they get medicine, food and milk for ordinary tires) and it lacks a clear thread with a clear message (here it's is only poorly hinted that the economic crisis caused the inhabitants to arrange deliberate car accidents of passer-bys to survive), while the humor isn't especially funny. The movie is just solid and nothing more, even slightly chaotic, but Weir's humane, left oriented touch can be occasionally sensed even here.


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