David Stratton is perhaps one of the most well-known names when it comes to cinema in Australia, even those who don’t follow cinema that much have heard of the man. He was the director of the Sydney International Film Festival for many years, a film critic for Variety and along with Margaret Pomeranz graced our screens on The Movie Show and At The Movies for decades. David Stratton: A Cinematic Life examines the man in more detail about his life with the movies, and the Australian films that changed his life.
This is a wonderful documentary, not only for fans of Stratton and his work but also of Australian cinema. The love he has for the industry of his adopted land is truly a wonderful thing, and a reminder that Australia has produced some truly amazing films. The story back tracks Stratton through his early years growing up in England and how he got into cinema. He was the only one in his family to have the passion, and when he moved to Australia he really got a chance to shine and explore that passion even more.
He is perhaps one of the only remaining old school film critics, cataloging everything with a filing system. In fact, he has kept track of every film he has seen, which is well over 20,000! It is quite an amazing site to see how he’s kept track of everything, and of course with how many films he has seen in his life time. The love he has for cinema and this country is lovely to see, and for a critic such as myself it is very easy to relate to and continue to be inspired by his work.
What makes this film such a delight is to see members of the film industry talk about Stratton and everything he has done. Whether it be for films they have been in or just about the man that Stratton is. His talks with Sam Neill and Geoffrey Rush are huge highlights, and especially with Neil about Evil Angels quite moving. For those of us who are huge fans of The Movie Show and At The Movies seeing Stratton and Pomeranz together again is like being back with old friends. They made magic just by dissecting and discussing films, and the magic has not gone. To see their old arguments over films brought back so many memories, they made quite the entertaining duo.
David Stratton: A Cinematic Life is not only a film about a man and his passions but it is a love letter to Australian cinema. It is a very well put together film, and it could have easily run another hour because there is just so much that could have been put in. What is there however is interesting and engaging, it looks at some films that many may not even know about. It brings back so many memories of cinema and growing up watching Stratton and Pomeranz. This is a must-see film, no matter what it will certainly leave its audience smiling.