Corroboree

While some may find pic's murky gamesmanship intriguing, most viewers will find this cryptic, visually studied exercise an exasperating puzzle not worth figuring out.

With:
With: Conor O'Hanlon, Rebecca Frith, Susan Lyons, Natasha Herbert, Margaret Mills, Jane McArthur, Ian Scott, Jethro Cave.

“Corroboree” purportedly began as a series of filmed audition scenes for a scripted project by first-time director Ben Hackworth. The audition bits and pieces grew into a feature — length-wise, at least. While some may find pic’s murky gamesmanship intriguing, most viewers will find this cryptic, visually studied exercise an exasperating puzzle not worth figuring out (if indeed there is a solution). Fest gigs aside, prospects are slim.

Publicity materials describe content thus: “A director has organized a young man to visit him at a meditation retreat to perform scenes from the story of his life.” But even that much isn’t clear from the film alone. The lad (Conor O’Hanlon) travels to a remote lodging where he’s expected to participate in vignettes with a half-dozen older women, all reading dialogue from hand-written notes. An ailing man creeps around the sidelines, observing via surveillance cameras. There’s violence at the end, but it’s as pretentiously vague as everything else here. Landing between early Peter Greenaway and a series of indulgent acting-class exercises, pic’s main virtues are its formal compositions and co-scenarist Peter Savieri’s color-coordinated production design.

Corroboree

Australia

Production: An I Won't Grow Up production. Produced by Matteo Bruno. Directed by Ben Hackworth. Screenplay, Hackworth, Peter Savieri.

Crew: Camera (color, HDcam), Katie Milwright; editor, Cindy Clarkson; music, Rob McKenzie; production designer, Savieri. Reviewed at Toronto Film Fest (Discovery), Sept. 13, 2007. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Conor O'Hanlon, Rebecca Frith, Susan Lyons, Natasha Herbert, Margaret Mills, Jane McArthur, Ian Scott, Jethro Cave.

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