Nar­ra­tion some­thing to Crowe about

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

Red Ob­ses­sion.

DI­REC­TOR War­wick Ross wishes he could tell a dif­fer­ent story of how Rus­sell Crowe came to nar­rate his wine doc­u­men­tary Red Ob­ses­sion.

‘‘I’d like to tell you that I met Rus­sell in a sleazy bar in Man­hat­tan and I got him drunk on a bot­tle of 1982 Lafite. But that’s not the case at all,’’ he says.

In­stead, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Robert Coe is a friend of Crowe’s and told him about the idea.

Crowe was keen but the three-month win­dow to get him to record the nar­ra­tion quickly turned into two, then one – un­til they were down to the fi­nal days.

‘‘Rus­sell was shoot­ing a film called Noah in New York,’’ Ross says.

‘‘Then Cy­clone Sandy came through, the su­per­storm, and swept across Man­hat­tan and, iron­i­cally, shut down Noah with a bib­li­cal flood. Rus­sell was then snapped up by Les Mis and some­where be­tween Les Mis and Noah he found three hours for us.’’

The doc­u­men­tary by Ross, who owns a vine­yard on Vic­to­ria’s Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, and co-di­rec­tor David Roach looks at how the great chateaux of Bordeaux are strug­gling to deal with the de­mand for their rare, ex­pen­sive wines – par­tic­u­larly in China.

‘‘Un­af­fected by the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis and mint­ing mil­lion­aires at this in­cred­i­ble rate, this is a new sta­tus sym­bol in China, the fine wines of Bordeaux,’’ Ross says.

Roach found when they got to France doors were opened thanks to ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and Mas­ter of Wine An­drew Cail­lard, and dur­ing in­ter­views ru­mours were fly­ing about the Chi­nese mar­ket.

‘‘Who are th­ese peo­ple who are buy­ing th­ese ex­tra­or­di­nary, ethe­real wines for thou­sands of dollars a bot­tle?’’ Roach says oth­ers were ask­ing.

‘‘Peo­ple said, ‘oh they’re rich and they don’t know any­thing about wine and they put Coca-Cola in the wine when they buy it’. So we started to hunt down those sto­ries.’’ To get to the bot­tom of it, they went to China. What they found was that, un­like in the West where you can find bro­ker­age houses set up to trade only in wine, the Chi­nese are the op­po­site.

‘‘The wine that they buy – whether it’s $2000 a bot­tle or $5000 a bot­tle – they are ac­tu­ally pulling the corks and drink­ing the wine,’’ Ross says.

‘‘So in many re­spects the Chi­nese seem to be hon­our­ing the pas­sion and art of wine more than the Western­ers, who are see­ing it as a com­mod­ity to in­vest in only.’’ So is the Coca-Cola ru­mour true? ‘‘Def­i­nitely true (but) not re­ally so much any­more,’’ Ross says.

‘‘Twenty years ago, the peo­ple that we in­ter­viewed were telling us that the wines that were go­ing into China, a lot of them were pretty ter­ri­ble and even said to us we would be adding Coke to them as well.’’

Red Ob­ses­sion opens to­day.

A Chi­nese bil­lion­aire in his $60m wine cel­lar in a scene from

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