There is an Outdoor Cinema at the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, in a magical grove of manna gums, with the natural canopy high overhead just sparse enough for the twinkling stars to shine through. What shows? That would be stuff that turned left at the lights, planted the foot and ripped the rear view mirror off, and then ate it.
The Ecoplex Cinema sits at the edge of Bush Camping, in the area known as Africa. It consists of a large 6m x 6m screen purpose built between two ancient eucalypts, a six-speaker Super-Sonorama surround audio experience (which when coupled with Ultravision 3D effects and glasses REALLY puts you in the picture), and the action (or inaction) is projected by vintage 16mm gear out of a 1978 Jayco SuperTourer Caravan (with annex).
It’s a setting for estranged dreams and endearing nightmares, a wonderland of neurosis that’ll perch on your shoulder and follow you home. Programmed by Jim Knox, the material on show aims to “enlarge the horizons of the viewer, provide wholesome entertainment, afford helpful stimulation, and remind of the responsibilities one has towards society”. It’s non-aesthetic, dis-aesthetic, hypo-aesthetic and tasteless. It’s Weimar Republic allowable. It’s pre-censorship Soviet strange. It’s new wave autistic. It’s a recipe of indigestible ingredients that disconnects the senses from the language that makes sense of them.
According to Jim, it’s about time some ‘primo 80s Mandarin kung foolery/fantasy nonsense’ was shown. Some of the choice cuts for The 26th Meredith include:
Magic of Spell, the sequel to Child of Peach (another take on the Japanese folktale, The Story of Momotaro), which follows Peach Boy and his shapeshifting friends Tiny Cock, Tiny Monkey and Tiny Dog, as they duke it out with a cast of evil characters, including Ginseng Boy. It’s pretty nuts, and somehow absorbing, Jim describing it as ‘Monkey on best bathtub mescaline. Giant flying peaches that zap laser beams at kung fu evil wizard zombies’.
Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 work The Adventures of Prince Achmed, which is supposed to be the oldest surviving full-length animated feature film, draws from the One Thousand and One Nights tales. Reiniger developed her own silhouette animation technique that involved the manipulation of cardboard and lead cutouts, something like puppet shadow play. Dungen’s most recent album is a belated soundtrack to the film.
The Ecoplex runs basically all night, and is designed so you can drop in for a short or long while at any time – many of the films shown are indeed shorts so you don’t need to set your watch for the start of a feature.
Friday night: 9pm till late
Saturday night: 9pm till later
IN OPTICALLY ENHANCED ULTRAVISION!!!
Only ULTRAVISION with SUPER-SONORAMA provides you with that “you-are-in-the-middle-of-it-all” effect. Accept no substitutes! (not available in indoor hardtop-type cinemas – exclusive to the Meredith Supernatural Ecoplex)
We swim the sewers of cinema now-and-past, to salvage unfamiliar objects of wonder and delight. Join us at the Ecoplex as we celebrate both new and misremembered (and damn strange – of course) instruments of celluloid enchantment.
Drop in for a little while, or a long while. It’s Supernatural, it’s impious scrub cinema. It’s a must see attraction.
Roll yr peepers over the sandwich board at the Ecoplex caravan for more info and scheduled screening times.