Doc­u­men­tary raises bar as sym­bol of Oz cul­ture

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film - with Ju­lian Wright

FILM­ING two fe­male backpackers bar­tend­ing in a rough Out­back pub for six weeks al­lowed Ho­tel

Cool­gar­die direc­tor Pete Glee­son to ex­pe­ri­ence the en­vi­ron­ment from a new per­spec­tive.

The Wa-filmed doc­u­men­tary fol­lows 20-some­thing Fin­nish backpackers Lina and Steph, who are forced to head to Perth to look for work after their money is stolen in Bali.

The job they se­cure is bar­tend­ing at Den­ver City Ho­tel in re­mote Cool­gar­die, about 550km east of Perth, where they nav­i­gate the ad­vances, in­nu­endo and off-putting com­ments from the male-dom­i­nated clien­tele, and put-downs from their boss.

After some ex­pe­ri­ence with these re­mote pubs, Glee­son thought it would be a fas­ci­nat­ing place to film.

“I wasn’t in the min­ing in­dus­try; I used to go out and work as a labourer now and then while I was at film school,” he said.

“I’d be out there on the drink­ing side of the bar and hear the go­ings on, and these bars can be great places; a lot of fun can be had and they can be rau­cous and wild.

“I be­came in­ter­ested in mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary set in that bar; what does this cul­ture look like from the other side of the bar and through the eyes of peo­ple that visit? I thought the bar could act as an in­sight­ful mi­cro­cosm for cul­ture in gen­eral.”

Glee­son said he was in­trigued to ob­serve how out­siders would re­act to, and be­have within, an en­vi­ron­ment they were un­fa­mil­iar with.

“You’ve got this dom­i­nant cul­ture at work and all the norms and ex­pec­ta­tions and es­tab­lished po­si­tions in this en­vi­ron­ment, and then these new­com­ers come in and are ex­pected to adapt,” he said.

For pro­ducer Melissa Hayward the footage prompted her to re­flect on how she han­dled sim­i­lar en­vi­ron­ments.

“It taught me how I do things in that en­vi­ron­ment and what I should take on board and shouldn’t,” she said.

“I’ve been in re­gional ar­eas in Aus­tralia, and as an older woman and per­son of this cul­ture, I nav­i­gate that space au­to­mat­i­cally and it comes fairly nat­u­rally in ways, but it high­lighted as­pects of that cul­ture that per­haps I have be­come used to and per­haps should nav­i­gate in a dif­fer­ent way.”

Pro­ducer Kate Ney­lon re­alised the uni­ver­sal na­ture of the doc­u­men­tary when she recog­nised pub be­hav­iour she had seen out­side of Aus­tralia.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d469605

Pro­duc­ers Kate Ney­lon and Melissa Hayward with Ho­tel Cool­gar­die direc­tor Pete Glee­son.

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