A few months ago The Turning movie aired on the ABC (Australia’s public broadcast network), and I had recorded it, and only recently was able to watch it. To my disappointment, not the entire thing was aired (and the time had passed to watch the ‘extras’ online – partly my fault for waiting so long). Now this was an interesting cinematic experiment, because, there were 17 ‘movies’ within this one movie. Each of them was by a different director, had a different cast, and in different locations. Which sounds very weird, and indeed the viewing experience (of what I saw) was weird. So only 8 of the 17 were shown by the ABC, and I sort of understand that they were reluctant to have to air what I think was in total 4 hours (if that was the case they could have palmed us off to an additional digital channel – or better advertised the condensed nature or done it over two nights). And I was going to discuss the film, but now knowing I saw so little, it feels slightly wrong, but I’ll do a bit, despite my condensed viewing.I have to say it was weird. From an viewer’s perspective it’s hard to figure out what on earth is going on. Like, who is this character, why does this story matter. I’ve read The Turning (a few years ago admittedly) and some things were familiar, but others I’m like, who is that again and why do I care what is going on? But it was great to see the book brought to life. It is very strange to have the same character portrayed by different actors, but that’s also really cool. And I think part of the experience of The Turning film is that you really just have to get swept up in it, and use what you see to understand. You can’t rely on them giving you all the information via a spoon aeroplane.
It’s pretty clear that this is an ‘arty’ sort of film, and that’s compounded because of the 17 directors, plus it’s based off of Tim Winton, so, that means things are going to be odd. The actual book is also a bunch of short stories, which are actually (for the most part) related, and the same characters pop in and out. But the book itself is a head scratcher sometimes. But it wasn’t too hard to pick up things, you just had to pay attention a bit, and the knowledge from the book helped too.
Some pretty big names were involved in this movie, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne and Miranda Otto. Of course not all of them were involved in the same segments. And thinking about it the cast list has to be pretty large for 17 short films!
In terms of the film itself it was interesting and quite enjoyable, with some very clever cinematic moments. And I’m quite disappointed that I haven’t seen all the parts because it would have made more sense, and would have been a more complete experience. Hopefully sometime in the future the ABC shows us ALL 17 short films. I think it’s definitely worth a watch, if you’ve got 4 hours to spare.