I was 2 layers of uninvited: triple J's Marieke Hardy gave Claire her tickets, and Claire kindly took me along.
We had to hand in our phones and cameras at the start so we didn't leak any information or take any photos during the movie. In return we got a green raffle ticket, which we promptly lost. I also didn't actually hand in my camera and proceeded to take some prizewinning illegal photographs, until I got caught by a surprisingly mild-mannered security guard.
As karma for violating Baz's copyright, I lost my camera at the afterparty later that night, including all the photos I hadn't yet uploaded from my coming-of-age overseas trip 4 months ago. Gone forever is the video I took of Aggy dancing to the Black Lips at Coachella and several photos of black dogs.
Our assignment for the evening was to track down adorable Aboriginal child-starlet Brandon Walters. It proved slightly more difficult than originally thought on account of the several decoy Aboriginal children scattered throughout George street cinema, and the fact that Pip Edwards has exactly same hair as he does.
Every time I swore I saw Brandon, it turned out to be Pip.
Guests were seated in numbered cinemas throughout the George Street complex according to their ranking in Baz Luhrmann's eyes. Accordingly, Claire and I were seated in Cinema Number 1, along with the upper echelons of Sydney's Media. The feeling of elation that came from watching a movie with Fernando Frisoni and Jackie O was quickly replaced by the feeling of extreme boredom that came from watching a movie about cattle.
But when we weren't exchanging sarcastic comments and complaining about how much we missed our phones, I gradually began to enjoy the cartoonish Baz aesthetic - sky that is not the colour of sky, technicolour bruises, and heaps of silhouettes. It was also a joy to see Ben Mendelsohn make it in to the movie (has there ever been an Australian film he hasn't been in?) as well as Jacek Koman - that guy with the enormous forehead from Secret Life Of Us and Moulin Rouge.
One of the interesting things about watching movies with George Negus and Marcia Hines is that you pay extra attention to audience reaction. It was particularly fascinating to hear the audience lol at all the wrong moments. Every time Hugh Jackman emerged glistening from the water, or Nicole Kidman said some uncomfortably trite line ("Let's go home, there's no place like it") the audience could barely stifle their guffaws. In this sense, Baz has failed in creating a modern romantic classic. Audiences aren't as sentimental and willing to suspend reality as those that saw Gone With The Lol back in the day. We are resistant to cliches and will most likely refuse to canonise lameness- I personally can't wait to never see Australia again.
I'm not sure what Ruby Rose or Matthew Newton thought, but I found the stolen generation aspect the most interesting dimension of the movie. It's given much more screen-time than I had expected, and I'm keen to hear what people in the know have to say about its representation. I tend to think it was pretty well done, but will also be easily swayed by any contrary opinions that portray Baz as a middle-class cunt in a cravat. And while it might be easy to take issue with the supply of alcohol to an aboriginal minor and the bizarre post-script about Kevin Rudd's apology, you can't argue with the hilarious portrayal of Hugh Jackman as someone pretending to understand Indigenous culture. He's pretty much the 1930's equivalent of a white woman wearing a sari/kimono.
The afterparty of Baz Luhrmann's Australia was held at Sydney Hotspot The Ivy, and we were driven there by chartered buses playing stirring instrumentals from the soundtrack. The Ivy, decorated to replicate the Mission Ball scene and looking as enchanting as a small indigenous child, was a bit disorienting at first.
Keeping with the non-vegetarian spirit of the movie, there were off-putting amounts of meat being served. It was also a really different crowd to what we were used to- it was weird going to an event and not seeing Danny Clayton.
Claire was then faced with unusually complex questions of etiquette: what happens if a middle-level celeb you know is talking to someone even more famous, would going to say hello look as though she was trying to muscle in on the action? For e.g. would it be imprudent to interrupt Dan Wylie's conversation with Geoffrey Rush?
Gradually we settled in to a comfortable rhythm. Inspired by Thorpie (also spotted chatting to Dan Wylie), we commenced lap after lap of the Ivy and pointed out celebs at a rapidly efficient rate.
And finally. There he was. Sitting with his lovely family: the unmistakable star of BL's A: Brandon Walters. The. Adorable. Aboriginie.
We probably could've just asked for a picture with him, but we were way too startstruck. So instead I took this:
So anyway, would you like to see a collage?
Well it's a college of all the celebrities we spotted throughout the night, featuring proportional representation of the number of times we saw Wes Carr.
[click to enlarge]