Housos Vs Author­ity ‘‘sticks it to the man’’ ..............

Housos Vs Author­ity gives a voice to the bat­tlers, writes Vicky Roach

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - NEWS -

PAUL Fenech isn’t sure why it takes Baz Luhrmann and Hugh Jack­man so long to make a movie. ‘‘I don’t know what the hell they are do­ing,’’ says the can-do comedian, who gave him­self just eight months to de­liver Housos Vs Author­ity – the film that sprouted from his pop­u­lar SBS TV se­ries – to the screen.

Fenech, of course, is jok­ing. Kind of. It takes a pretty healthy ego to even at­tempt such an am­bi­tious feat.

‘‘I know the depth of the film­mak­ing is trick­ier, but es­sen­tially it just comes down to cam­eras and ac­tors and a script,’’ the writer-di­rec­tor-pro­ducer-ac­tor says.

‘‘To me, a lot of those guys are like heavy­weight fight­ers – they come out ev­ery four years, have one fight, and then go and sit in the sun for a while.

‘‘I guess that makes me like some sort of club fighter. I have to go ev­ery week oth­er­wise I can’t pay the rent.’’

Fenech, 39, is happy to po­si­tion him­self as a bat­tlers’ di­rec­tor – par­tic­u­larly as he be­lieves the po­si­tion was go­ing beg­ging.

The Tropfest-win­ning film­maker, who got his first job with ABC TV as a stage­hand sweep­ing floors, be­lieves most Aus­tralian fea­tures tar­get a small and se­lect de­mo­graphic.

Which might ex­plain why Housos fans around the coun­try have em­braced char­ac­ters, such as the cop-bait­ing, thong-slap­ping Franky (Fenech) and his dole-bludg­ing best mate Dazza (Ja­son Davis), with whole­hearted en­thu­si­asm in packed, paid pre­views.

‘‘The peo­ple I make films about are not the mi­nor­ity,’’ Fenech says. ‘‘The greater part of Aus­tralia is much closer to

Housos than it is to, say, The Slap, for ex­am­ple. ‘‘Aus­tralia’s poor cul­ture is grow­ing and there’s no voice for them. Don’t shoot the mes­sen­ger, but I would like to make a com­edy that’s rel­e­vant.’’ Even po­lice of­fi­cers ap­pre­ci­ate the hu­mour of

Housos’ rau­cous, in-your-face cel­e­bra­tion of the Aus­tralia’s author­ity-chal­leng­ing un­der­class.

While film­ing in Sydney’s west, cast and crew reg­u­larly caught the at­ten­tion of the lo­cal po­lice.

‘‘Ev­ery time we shoot a scene with the bikies or the Arabs, or any scene that has more than 10 peo­ple, a cop car will come by. But once they re­alise it is Housos shoot­ing, they usu­ally ask for a photo. I can’t be­lieve it. The po­lice are some of our big­gest fans,’’ Fenech says.

The ill-dis­ci­plined, foul-mouthed Franky and his mot­ley crew of low-lifes, pot­heads and pen­sion scam­mers have gen­er­ated more than their fair share of criticism. Be­fore the TV show had aired, A Cur­rent

Af­fair at­tacked Fenech af­ter mis­tak­ing it for re­al­ity TV. In Housos Vs Author­ity, the gang travel in a drugladen campervan from the western out­skirts of Sydney to the heart of Aus­tralia so Dazza’s foul-mouthed girl­friend Shazza (Elle Dawe) can be re­united with the dy­ing mother she hasn’t seen since she was three.

While their so­cially un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour reaches a lit­eral and metaphor­i­cal pin­na­cle when they spray paint Uluru, Fenech says he’s not sim­ply pro­vok­ing con­tro­versy for con­tro­versy’s sake.

‘‘Po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is great when it saves peo­ple from get­ting hurt, but when it in­fringes upon our right to have an Aussie per­cep­tion, a kind of Aussie hu­mour, that’s re­ally wrong,’’ he says.

‘‘And I kind of feel that hu­mour like ours is hark­ing back to that re­ally cheeky . . . I mean, ‘lar­rikin’ is such a corny word, but to me there is some­thing to that about the Aus­tralian char­ac­ter that’s very ap­peal­ing.’’

Housos Vs Author­ity opens to­day.

Housos Vs Author­ity’s Elle Dawe (Shazza), Paul Fenech (Franky) and Ja­son ‘Jabba’ Davis (Dazza).

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