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In 1969, the world watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they walked on the moon -- but not without the technical expertise of the Aussies at the dish.
Australia has a long tradition of feature films, dating back to the very earliest productions. In recent years there have been two main types of Australian-made films getting attention -- films like The Matrix and the upcoming Star Wars episode, which are essentially visiting talent backed by overseas businesses creating 'content' for cinema screens. The other type of film is the cute Ocker flick, films like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Mr Reliable, even Crocodile Dundee.
They sell Australia as quaint and largely primitive, peopled by broad-speaking characters. Broadness is fine in satire, but too often these films are apologetica, betraying a cultural cringe. Which is why The Dish was a pleasure to watch.
Movie Poster, The Dish
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|Although The Dish walks the line between satire, iconography and reality; its performances are controlled enough to make the characters real and worth empathising with.
Shown as one long flashback, The Dish is the story of the unrenowned band of Aussies with their bemused and frustrated American NASA counterpart who put their lives on the line to transmit the first human footsteps on the moon to people throughout the world.
I was one of the millions who sat in front of a black and white tele listening to endless narrative as we waited for Armstrong and Aldrin to come out of their sleep cycle, take that one small step, and make easily the most famous misreading of a line (One small step for A man) in history.
Meanwhile in the next state Australian scientists, undistinguishable by the look of them from any other Australian public servants, were facing the challenge. While every eye was on the tv screens, it didn't sink in that it was Australian science that would make this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle possible.
One of the fascinating things about this BOTS (based on a true story) film was the reaction of the Australian preview audience. It was wonderful to see a bit of pride in the smart blokes instead of the physically-gifted few who so often grab the limelight.
While it is annoying not to find an official website or such documenting the fictionalisations that were necessary to make the film, nevertheless The Dish does remind us that there are unsung heroes everywhere, and that some of the most important changes in our world are born in the hearts and minds of geeks.
Highly recommended fun film
|by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release October 26, 2000
For credits and official site details, see below
See also: The Castle
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 1-Oct-2000 Last updated: 16-Oct-2000 Last Tested: 8-Jul-2014 Last tested: 15-Jan-2009 Last Compiled: 08-Aug-2014
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