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anthony carew presents cane toads


the unnatural history of cane toads and the natural history of the chicken
The Unnatural History of Cane Toads & The Natural History of the Chicken
I'd seen numerous Mark Lewis films before I knew he was actually Australian.  The Sydney-based documentarian is cut from the Errol Morris cloth: drawn to odd people and absurd stories; his subjects just as often English or American as Australian.  A serial newspaper clipper, Lewis collects peculiar articles of the 'man bites dog' variety.  Especially if there's a dog involved.  For Lewis is perhaps the world's only "comedy nature documentary" filmmaker.

Forsaking the 'safari animals' of natural-history norms, Lewis concentrates on critters in immediate proximity to humans: cows, dogs, cats, rats.  In his remarkable The Natural History Of The Chicken, Lewis views his titular subject - so often thought of as mere supermarket product, spat from industrialised slaughterhouses - from an inspired angle.

Here, interviewees' anecdotal yarns give life, emotion, personality, and a soul to an animal whose 50 billion deaths each year account for an astonishing 90% of all food-industry fatalities. Lewis's first ever feature looked at, quite possibly, the least loveable of all lifeforms. Cane Toads: An Unnatural History is undoubtedly an Australian classic, a pilgrimage into the wilds of the Deep North in search of the true spirit of this amphibian scourge. The subtext of such is clear: as far as invading, all-conquering, environment-destroying foreign species go, the cane toad ranks second only to the white man.

Anthony Carew, 2007

Anthony Carew is a Melbourne-based writer, raconteur, and radio-presenter.  His pithy, sometimes slanderous observations on cinema, as Film Carew, are published in Inpress Magazine weekly.

Cane Toads
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