Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story: Film Review

Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story: Film Review

Director: Kate McIntyre Clere, Michael McIntyre

It's probably easier to title doco film Kangaroo: A Polemic given how the directors are clearly pulling the animal activist angle, aiming to enrage and engage the world over treatment of the kangaroo.
Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story: Film Review

It's the national icon of Australia - from their airlines to their football teams, the roo is symbolic of the nation. But according to the directors, the relationship in reality is different to the idealised one swathed in nostalgia and patriotism.

Starting with nighttime footage of a spotlight shining on a kangaroo, then a series of shots ringing out, it's clear the directors are going for the jugular, not messing around with emotional manipulation and aiming to shock.

Complete with music from a horror film, building to a crescendo before the crack of the shot rings out, it's fairly obvious the tone the directors want to strike with this piece - and while that's understandable, it's not exactly like this doco is as balanced as you'd hope for. Though, in fairness, as they uncover the levels of mistreatment and the combination of food implications and national pride / denial over what's going on, anyone who proved to be pro-the kangaroo culling may find themselves targetted.

However, it's telling that some of the language borders on hyperbole, with a plague proportions line bandied around repeatedly, with no scientific qualification for the claims.
Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story: Film Review

But Kangaroo - A Love/ Hate Story does raise some shocking issues, exposes some divides within our trans-Tasman cuzzies and proffers up more questions than answers.

From consumers saying their pets devour kangaroo meat to claiming that they're not sure about it, it's obvious that a discussion needs to be had over harvesting of kangaroos, the fact the National Heart Foundation's given the meat a health tick and that legislation is as effective as a wet bus ticket.

More interesting, the directors don't hold back from showing what's on offer.

From the opening shots of the hunting to some truly disturbing shots of what is done to the creatures and a land-owner discovering what looks like a massacre, with limbs and fly-ridden heads on the ground, Kangaroo - A Love/ Hate Story does expose the cruelty that's going on unnoticed.

Equally shocking is footage of a land-owner who's purchased land for protecting the roos and who is living in fear after her farming neighbours head out nightly to shoot the animals as they are legally allowed to do so - even if they're not on their own land.

Unlike Trophy, which screened at last year's New Zealand International Film Festival,  Kangaroo - A Love/ Hate Story may not have the balance of a difficult topic mastered, but it does, however, effectively pour fuel onto a fire that clearly needs to be talked about sooner rather than later in a nation that is so clearly unaware of what's going on.

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