Four years after The Adventures Of Priscilla opened the Film Festival, STEPHAN ELLIOTT takes on national stereotypes with Welcome To Woop Woop.
Last time Stephan Elliott was in Edinburgh, he decapitated a Scottish icon. ‘Everywhere I went I had Bonnie Prince Charlie under my arm. I spun around at one stage and knocked his head off. For the photographs, I had keep putting his head back on.’
Fortunately, the Australian director is only referring to a souvenir statue given to him by Drambuie, the Film Festival's former sponsor. With his new movie, the raucous Welcome To Woop Woop, it was his head that certain critics were after.
'The general reaction so far has been shock,’ he admits. 'I've pulled every vomiting beer gag out of the hat. Everybody has gone in there expecting to laugh out loud, but what they got was quite a tough movie with a very serious
Stephan Elliott: doesn't give a XXXX about the critics
undercurrent. A lot of Australians are going to be really offended by this. Those who think they’ve come so far with their lovely cappuccino machines and coffee shops. Well, I say stop being so fucking politically correct.’
Welcome To Woop Woop comes on like Fellini suffering sunstroke in the outback. American conman Teddy (Johnathon Schaech) flees to Australia when a scam goes wrong, but ends up married to nymphomaniac Angie (Susie Porter) and trapped in an isolated town somewhere in the Northern Territory. Angie’s dad (Rod Taylor) is a tough old geezer who's partial to a bit of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and he'd rather kill someone than let them leave. Around him the inhabitants guzzle XXXX, fart, belch and swear magnificently. Imagine the outback bar scene in Priscilla
extended to feature length, and you're getting close.
'In the current moral climate, there are only six stories to tell because you've got to have that moral ending,’ says Elliott, who’s happy with his confrontational style. 'But the morals are going to change. Good old Northern Territory - the first place in the world to actually start legalising euthanasia. Eventually it's just going to be too hard to keep vegetables alive on machines, it's going to cost too much money. Then they're going to start clicking the machines off. When that happens, a lot of morals are going to start shifting, and when the morals start shifting, a lot more stories are going to open up. What I’m trying to do with my films is push the envelope towards that.’ (Alan Morrison)
ﬁ Welcome To Woop WOOp, Fi/mhouse 7, Sun 23, 9.45pm, Cameo l, Sat29, 70.30pm, £6 50 (£4).
BFI New Directors
Life's a drag: Stevan Rimkus in lay Of The Land
66 THE lIST 20—27 Aug 1998
The Full Monty, Under The Skin, Bha/‘i On The Beach and Ga/Iivant — Brutush cinema, for all its troubles, malntarns a certain diversity. But the titles here are connected by more than therr nationality, for each director (or In the case of The Full Monty, the wnter) enjoyed a helping hand at an early stage in their career from the BFI New Directors scheme.
Over 60 shorts have been commisSIoned since the scheme was launched in 1987. Seven frlms make up this year's crop, including Lay Of The Land by Scottish director-producer team Fraser MacDonald and Becky Lloyd. It tells the story of a former gay basher who trues to pick up a drag queen, only to discover the object of his affection IS straight. Questions of sexual Identtty, particularly from a Scottish male working-Class perspective, are to the fore.
'It came about because I heard of a drag queen who lived in Musselburgh,
and I thought that was an amazing Image,' says MacDonald, ’But then I asked myself why I thought that was so unusual. Later the scnpt became more about homophobia, and how homophobia IS an extension of maSCulInIty.’
MacDonald, currently writth a feature scnpt from Luke Sutherland's recent novel Jello Roll for shootrng rn I999, believes that Lay Of The Land benefited from the lengthy development penod offered by the scheme.
'It really opened up the scnpt a Iot,‘ the Napler Unrversny graduate says. 'There's no feeling In the world Irke golng through something wrth a red pen, realising you've written frfteen lmes when a "yes" would have done. I suppose It's an Immaturity and an underconfidence in what you can achreve with just a look.‘
(Alan Morrison) Q BFI New Directors, Fi/mhouse 7, Wed 26, 4.45pm, £6.50 (£4).
Separating the Kanes from (llc‘ mere/y able
The Book Of Life Jesus (one, down to end the world Ill Hal Hartley's rnetaphySICal masterpiece See revaew on lollowrnn pages The Book Of Life, Cameo 7, Sat 22, 8pm, Cameo 7, Wed 26, 70 30pm, [6 SO ([4)
Tim Roth and Ray Winstone Two actcns, both graduates of the hints ef Alan Clarke, discuss the late director's llelllf‘lTilJl role on Brntush Cinema. The Clarke retr()s;,)ectrve continues dally, and Includes a rare screenth of the banned TV versron of Scum Tim Roth and Ray y‘t/instone Scene By Scene, Film/louse 7, Fri 2 I, 6pm, [9 50 (£4) Scum, Fi/mhouse 3, Sat 22, 7.20pm, £4 50 (£3)
The Hole The dIrecitor of The River adds musrcal Interludes to a tale of mullennral anxrety See review on followmn pages The Hole, Fi/mhouse 7, Tue 25, 7pm, [6 50 ([4)
Terry Gilliam The dlrector of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas explarns Just how you put Hunter S Thompson on screen Terry Gilliam Scene By Scene, ABC, Wed 26,
6. 75pm, £9.50 ([4)
Cinema Under The Stars Past films by Terry Gullrarn dazzle outdoor audrences as part of the Stella Screen Tour Time Band/(S, Fri 2i, Twelve Monkeys, Sat 22,‘ Brag/l, Sun 23, City Chambers Courtyard, 9.30pm, free Pi Number theory, cabalrst consprracy, capttalrst greed and mental breakdown conspire In a frlrn that reinvents the term 'SCIence frctlon’ Pi, Cameo 7, Sun 23, 8pm, £6 50 (£4)
Atom Egoyan and Michael Danna Director and composer discuss how musrc, sound and Image came together in Exotica. Atom. Egoyan and Michael Danna Scene By Scene, Fi/mhouse 7, Mon 24, 6pm, £9.50 (£4).