47 FILMS: 37. THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS

In our continuing series of  ’47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams’, we look at Peter Weir’s debut feature film The Cars that Ate Paris.

One of the many, many joys of Mad Max: Fury Road was the appearance of the porcupine spiky cars that turned up early in the chase scene. An obvious nod to compatriot Peter Weir’s debut comedy/horror The Cars that Ate Paris which featured a VW Beetle that looked like Herbie’s bad-ass bastard brother.

The story of the film reads like a  Twilight Zone episode penned by J. G. Ballard. Paris is a pleasant pastoral town in rural Australia with more than a passing resemblance to Hobbiton, but it hides an awful secret. The town folk engineer car accidents which they then profit from. Arthur Waldo (Terry Camilleri) and his older brother, George Waldo (Rick Scully) are two such victims when they crash near the town with their caravan. Survivors of the crashes are usually lobotomized by the town surgeon with power drills, but Arthur is spared and befriended by the Mayor of Paris, Len Kelly (John Meillon). The young men of the town use the spare parts to soup up and weaponize their own vehicles, becoming increasingly resistant to the authority of their elders. Weir’s brilliant twist is to never quite reveal who is the most dangerous. Are the hooligans in their cars really more dangerous than the elders who have clinically set up a murderous cottage industry while still maintaining a parody of gentility in their daily lives?

Weir’s film is darkly funny, but never commits fully to the silliness of its B-movie Oz-ploitation origins. Death Race 2000 retooled the same model in a much more exuberant manner. Weir would progress to the wonders of Picnic at Hanging Rock and Gallipoli, and later Hollywood fame with Witness, Dead Poets Society, Master and Commander and The Truman Show. But already with The Cars that Ate Paris, the topic of a closed world with its own strict rules is there, and will fascinate the Australian director for years to come.

For more of our 47 Films to see Before you are Murdered in your Dreams’ Click Here.

HARRISON FORD REVEALS SECRET BEHIND PLANE CRASH

HOLLYWOOD – Revealed for the first time, the truth behind Harrison Ford’s plane crash on a southern Californian golf course.

It was the moment when the world came together as one – Palestinians and Israelis, ISIS and Bill Maher, One Directioners and people who are not twelve-year-old girls – united in a common prayer. Harrison Ford crashed his antique World War II era ST3KR Ryan aeronautical plane on a golf course, causing the entire world to hold its breath, until we found out he was okay and then we got busy joking about it on Twitter. But only now in an EXCLUSIVE interview with the Han Solo/Indiana Jones/John Book star, can we reveal what actually happened on that fateful day.

So I was taking the old girl up for a spin and I was flying around just enjoying the view. It’s something I like to do. It’s very zen and in the moment. And as often is the case when I’m flying, I start reflecting on the injustices of the world. I have a very sensitive social conscience and it irks me that there are so many poor people in the world, even here in the USA. Perhaps especially! Amidst all this wealth, there are people sleeping rough. You see them under bridges, in the canyons. It’s shameful, truly. And then there’s the environment. We have been suffering a drought here for two years. The water is basically gone. And no one seems to care about it. In fact, we’re making it worse. That’s when I saw the golf course.

This is the Penmar golf course in Venice?

That’s right. I looked at those guys swinging their pathetic sticks and pinging those stupid dimply golf balls around on that pristine green lawn and it got me to thinking: they’re watering that grass with our water. This is Southern California. It should basically be a desert, but no. All that water pumped into the land, not for a park for children, not for a garden for all, but so leathery old plastic surgeons can pretend to play a sport that basically involves walking. All that wealth, all that land and all those resources, including water, are wasted to make some fat white guys happy as they play a moronic sport.

Wait are you saying you intentionally…?

I hate golf and I hate golfers. They’re a bunch of assholes.

You reported engine trouble.

Sure I did. And maybe that was the reason, or maybe just maybe those golfers will think twice before they step onto the fairway knowing Harrison Ford is in the air above them like a movie star drone of environmental and social justice.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in December, 2015.