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Get In The Garage
by Dust For Eyes

We're with the band as we look at the film GARAGE DAYS and hear some of the thinking behind it from its director Alex Proyas. Alex Proyas is known to the world as the director of goth-cult favourites THE CROW and DARK CITY. Both were highly stylised, dark and gloomy affairs with nightmarish undertones. For his follow up to those films he's gone in a rather different direction with GARAGE DAYS - a story about a struggling young band in inner western Sydney.

The band consists of four friends who spend most of their time getting nowhere. Their manager (a graduate of the Spinal Tap School of Band Management) of questionable talent organises only the occasional gig and doesn't make sure that the band turns up to the right venue.

The usual band relationship dynamics are going on. Despite having her eye on the drummer, the bass player is going out with the singer, but he's more interested in the girlfriend of the guitarist who is also sleeping with another girl. It's the sort of stuff that the soapie fans will love.

All of these goings on get in the way when a big shot manager has the band brought to his attention.

Proyas had a background in making music videos. He had directed clips for bands such as Fleetwood Mac, Crowded House, and INXS. It held him in good stead to make a film about the music business.

"I knew a bit about this industry, I wanted to make a film about it and it was the right time to do it."

The contacts made with working with INXS helped him in particular. Some concert footage used in the film was actually lifted from an INXS concert film.

Not all the footage was borrowed and pasted however. The climax of the film was filmed at the Homebake Festival in Sydney.

When he filmed the festival footage Proyas explained that he kept a calm façade so as to help out the others, especially the apprehensive and embarrassed actors playing the band members. How was he really?


Proyas went on to explain that it was a risk doing it this way, and it indeed it was. Yet the reaction that you would expect from a horde of festival-goers impatiently waiting for the next band was precisely what Proyas had wanted, and it works well for the film.

The film's tone and delivery has a slightly off kilter feel about it.

"I wanted a pop comic book feel to it," said Proyas.

The characters are ever so slightly exaggerated, and it does take a scene or two to adapt to this style. Once the film gets in its stride though, you are much more comfortable with the form.

Proyas said that he wanted to make a film a bit more stripped down, have a lower budget, and not have studio goons looking over his shoulder all the time. Still, some visual trickery and memorable images are still present in the film, especially during the film's more freaked out moments.

It's in the film's freakier moments and in the excellent comedic talents of Russell Dykestra (from STRANGE FRUIT) as Bruno the manager and Chris Sadrinna as Lucy the band's drummer that the film is at its funniest. The film is frantically paced and perhaps doesn't allow itself to breathe a little, thus lessening some of the emotional impact of the film.

The film isn't really about being in a band of course. Not unlike SINGLES, it's more about relationships surrounding the band. It's a look at enjoying the journey when striving to achieve goals that can be achieved whilst in a band.

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originally posted: 10/04/02 14:01:26
last updated: 10/05/02 05:41:01
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