|Image: Mad Max 2|
Writer and film critic Adrian Martin marks the launch of his new book The Mad Max Movies (Currency Press and ScreenSound Australia) with a discussion about the connections between George Miller's films and the films they remember, rework and rewrite.
Mad Max screens with Kiss Me Deadly and Mad Max 2 screens with Raising Arizona as part of ACMI's Remembered By cinema program.
'In the Mad Max films, George Miller draws less from his immediate predecessors in independent '70s cinema (such as Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman or Terrence Malick) than from a handful of seemingly classical directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Sam Fuller, Jacques Tourneur, Raoul Walsh, Budd Boetticher and Robert Aldrich (whose Kiss Me Deadly  obviously provides inspiration for the character of the Greek-Australian car mechanic played by Nick Lathouris).
But in the borrowing and adapting of tropes from these masters, their formalist and modernist potentiality is heightened, brought into sharp relief. In this crucial sense, the Mad Max films are essays in film criticism, history and theory: they reinvent, help us to see anew, their forebears, and action-horror directors can do this no less than the critics-turned-auteurs of the French New Wave.'
The Mad Max Movies by Adrian Martin, Currency Press & ScreenSound, due for publication May 2003.
Adrian Martin is film critic for The Age. He is the author of Phantasms (Penguin, 1994) and Once Upon a Time in America (British Film Institute, 1998), and co-editor of Movie Mutations (British Film Institute, 2003). He has won the AFI Byron Kennedy Award (1993) and the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing (1997). He is co-editor of the Internet film journal Rouge (www.rouge.com.au).