FILM – Motorkite Dreaming – 3.5K

1-motorkite-dreaming-519x760By Peter Maddern

A better understanding of the true nature of the Australian outback and it’s inhabitation by aborigines is something most city slickers would benefit from. There are probably few better to explain it all for us than film maker Charlie Hill-Smith whose work has focused on cross cultural worlds, especially in this country and the region including the ‘Nesias’ – Micro, Poly and Indo.

His protagonists are Daryl and Aidan who are embarking on an adventure, in the air on Mircolights (the kind of aircraft Leonardo DaVinci  may have conjured (and little more)) and their partners Elsie and Lexi, who remain on the ground driving along laden with supplies and fears of what may happen above them. Their proposed trek is from Adelaide across four deserts to Beagle Bay on the far north-west coast of Australia.

It’s made clear early on that both men are somewhat card carrying members of the loose cannon club with preparations somewhat constrained by a lack of training (licences only obtained  a few days before lift-off), experience and resources – notably cash for petrol – but off they go.

As any such journey may encounter, but certainly this one would seem more than likely to, our team gets into a range of fraught positions – crashes, bogged vehicles, unscheduled extended stays in the bush – and of course tensions between members resulting from male boneheadedness, tiredness and time out of the comfort zone of home.

However, the highlights come from Hill-Smith’s focus on the encounters with the land and the aborigines. Whether perceived as a blessing or a curse, this month-long journey sees the outback covered with water and Hill-Smith captures superb scenes over a flooded Lake Eyre and then the western deserts as the trek goes further north.

Two moments while they are in Kintore, a remote WA township, are perhaps the best of the film. Here we see a football carnival being played – who knows from how far away these people came for this – and paintings by local dot painters of their perceptions of their land viewed from above layered over with those taken from the Microlights.

There is something very skilful about the filmmaking here as well. While we are presented with maybe five or six players on the trek, the credits acknowledge the contributions of many more on the film crew. Keeping an authenticity about the adventure and isolation in foreign territory is another strength of this engaging documentary.

Microlighting (or the ‘Motorkites’ as the aborigines refer to them) may appear an enormous buzz but they are not without danger – it is noted that at least four people have died on them in one local’s memory alone – but beyond the adrenaline rush the perspective on the land and its people, combined with the contraption’s fragility, make this Dreaming riveting and enjoyable viewing.

Kryztoff Rating  3.5K

See our interview with Director and Film maker, Charles Hill-Smith below:


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