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Artists Take on The Miscreants

George Gittoes
Eye opening, hilarious, disturbing and informative are just some of the words that describe former Bundeena resident George Gittoes recent film The Miscreants. Video


In his third film Gittoes travels to Peshawar near the troubled Pakistan Afghanistan border. As he takes us up close into this unstable part of the world Gittoes aptly quips: "This was a theater of terror, and I had a front row seat". Confronting the Taliban head on Gittoes is prepared to pay the ultimate price but uses common sense to avoid it. Though the opening scene at a movie and music burning in which he tangles with an extremist toting an AK-47 questions this sense.

The film goes beyond a simplistic Taliban bashing and documents the lives of the locals who live in their terror. By immersing himself in the local lifestyle he reveals a people not of religious extremists but people like ourselves who want to experience joy as well as give it. We discover the locals passion for movies and music as well as delving into the local industry that both produces and distributes them. The focus on local content is emphasised by one DVD shopkeeper who points out that movies of American blondes don't sell because "We want to see the local stomachs, that makes them very excited".

The local stories are wrapped in the "Warrior" genre which resembles a bollywood type film with spontaneous bursts of song and over the top acting. The movies though as with any form of entertainment are heavily frowned upon by the Taliban and their followers often leading to destructive consequences. Gittoes befriends the producers and actors to inquire what drives them to make the films  given the inherit risks..
The Miscreants

While this is a documentary it does not conform to the traditional rules of the medium with the creator being a passive observer. Gittoes is an artist first and sees it as his duty to bend the rules and experiment to give his vision maximum effect. At times The Miscreants comes across as a documentary within a documentary but it is this series of layers within the film that makes it such a memorable experience.

An early release of the film was screened at the Sydney Underground Film Festival with plans for a wider commercial release early next year.


The Miscreants

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