It’s not everyday you get hundreds of fans queuing outside the Rivoli Cinemas on Camberwell Road in Hawthorn on a scorching hot Thursday afternoon in December. They weren’t there to see the new Star Wars film, but the new Australian comedy drama, Swinging Safari and some of its stars.
Gracing the red carpet in her first major film debut was Kylie Minogue, followed by Asher Keddie and Julian McMahon and director and producer, Stephan Elliot. A bevy of Kylie Minogue fans lined up outside the theatre and in the foyer, many holding old memorabilia such as photos and records.
Best known for his previous film, the quirky classic The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Stephan Elliot newest picture goes back in time. Swinging Safari is set the summer of 1975 in a typical Australian beachside town. A semi-autobiographical telling of his own childhood in the 1970s the story is centred on three neighbouring families — the Halls, the Joneses and the Marshes.
But to understand the story, it’s time for a quick history lesson for all you millennials. The 70s were an exciting time for change in Australia, both politically and socially. From the introduction to colour TV, the rise and fall of Gough Whitlam, the end of the Vietnam War rise, the rise of the feminist and gay and lesbian movement, to name a few.
It was also the era of when people said and did what they wanted without caring or having consequences as we do now. It was a time when kids were kids and a grown up Jeff Marsh narrates his coming of age story. Inspired by Jaws and wanting to be the next Steven Spielberg, he begins making his own short films with his friends in backyard. His films often caused havoc. Throughout the film he develops a close relationship with a miserable girl named Melly. While story focuses mostly on the children, the story shifts to the parents and their misadventures and swinging lifestyles.
Although it was an enjoyable, light hearted film with great performances by the lead cast and period costumes and a vivid design, the film main’s downsides were its too many overlapping stories that it was trying to squeeze in and at times being too cringe worthy.
Parents will cherish the nostalgia of their young days, while their kids will wonder what were they thinking back then.
SWINGING SAFARI is now in Australia cinemas.