2014 / Director. Aidan Prewett.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Whenever I watch a documentary I hate feeling like I am being educated. I prefer to obtain the information without feeling like I am being spoon-fed and a doco that entertains me will always win out over others. This year has been a great year for documentaries and I've seen some fantastic ones. Some of the standouts have been I AM BIG BIRD, THIS IS LIFE and THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG ... and I can now add A VENUE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD to that list!
I didn't know much about this film prior to tonight and I chose to see it based on its title alone. The name conjured up so many possibilities and my curiosity was well and truly spiked. The film's director, Aidan Prewitt, and producer Schy Peterson, were invited to the front to introduce the film and with only a brief thank you to the audience they kept their cards very close to their chest. The lights dimmed and the film began. It immediately caught everyone's attention and the audience was clearly responding favourably.
A VENUE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is a unique and refreshing documentary, which explores a concept that most people would never have given much thought to. What do rock stars and dictators have in common? Of course the answer is that they both have the ability to command an audience. With obvious parallels between Adolf Hitler and Mick Jagger, the film has its premise and sets about presenting a very funny, unexpected and captivating journey. Made in Melbourne, director Aidan Prewitt puts himself in the limelight as the camera follows him through the corridors of Hi-Sense Arena. Like a rock star he walks through a set of doors and onto the main stage where he is greeted by a stadium full of people. Cut to black and we are taken back in time to explain how he came to be in this position. Through his investigation Prewitt travels the world and interviews notable performers and event-designers and taps into their own thoughts and experiences. Personalities such as Dick Cavett (talk show host), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and Paul Provenza (comedian & director) share their views about commanding crowds and other behind-the-scenes personalities share stories about experiences like Woodstock and Altamont.
Throughout the film Aidan Prewitt plays with the audience and cleverly laces his story with an on-going ruse, which ultimately highlights his conclusion before he has even presented it. I found myself catching on to some of his shrewd tactics midway through the film and spent the rest of it in awe of his filmmaking. Blending amazing stock footage of mass-congregation with topical parallels, the concept is highly original and his method of storytelling is affective and highly entertaining. This is a documentary that could easily hold its own amongst bigger, highly produced films and proverbially piss all over them. With any luck it will enjoy attention at international film festivals and strike a chord wherever it plays.