Monday, January 15, 2018

Wanna get REALLY angry? Watch the new Aussie doc, KANGAROO: A LOVE-HATE STORY

It's from Australia -- where else? And if you've ever been there (TrustMovies has, a couple of times) and watched with delight all those kangaroos and wallabies in the wild, you've probably been left with an indelible impression and love for this remarkable species. And trust me: You won't get anything like the same result from visiting a zoo. The first time I journeyed down under -- this was back in the 70s -- I heard from some people about what horrible pests kangaroos really were. But then, when I asked around a bit, I was told by others that this was all bullshit, coming from the industries and government officials that wanted to "harvest them," and that, when dealt with properly, the kangaroo population posed little real problem at all.

That was over 40 years ago, and the situation has apparently only grown worse since then -- with kangaroo meat (eaten by both humans and our pets) becoming more popular and the industries that cater to this growing larger and more powerful. No film I've watched in a long while -- including anything, even, about America's current and unspeakably racist and venal sleazebag President -- has made me angrier and more disgusted than the new documentary by Kate McIntyre Clere (above, right) and Michael McIntyre (above, left), entitled quite properly KANGAROO: A LOVE-HATE STORY. I admit that you probably have to be an animal lover to get this worked up, but the filmmakers do a bang-up job of showing you what is going on (along with why), how awful it truly is, and what might be done to halt this -- if enough citizens finally speak up and hold their elected politicians' feet to the fire.

Those feet, by the way, belong mostly, as expected, to Australian politicians (and corporations), but they also include many others internationally, since Kangaroo meat and skin/hide is sold worldwide. What we learn here about how the industry and their lobbyists tried to subvert our own state of California to their needs will open many eyes and also show us, thankfully, that the USA still has some politicians willing to fight for what's right.

Kangaroo approaches its tale and goal using everything from history to statistics to a lot talking heads (here with their bodes shown as well, since we're so often in the wilds of Australia) who follow our kangaroos as they hop and play and are killed -- in the most awful of ways that allow them to die slowly and horribly by hunters who just don't give a damn. Their joey, too (the term for kangaroo young) are affected just as terribly. There is a scene here of one injured joey trying so hard to hop away that it will likely break your heart.

Sure, the film is biased. It wants to preserve a species, for Christ sake. But it allows the "other side" to have its say, and then pretty much pulls the rug out from under it, whether the speaker is a politician or a farmer who insists that the kangaroo cannot be stopped except by hunting them down. We see the ongoing results (over quite some time) of a public relations campaign to denounce these animals as "pests" and how, when done skillfully and long enough, this can turn a population against its own "national" animal.

Wildlife experts and preservationists have their say, too, and it is equally intelligent and anger-making, as we perceive yet another example of how the wealthy, corporate and "elected" are growing richer even as they destroy our planet and the life upon it. Kangaroo is a documentary you'll want to share with everyone you know, but you'll also have to warn them that it is not an easy watch. It is a salutary one, however. This is a movie that will put you on the alert and maybe drive you to action.

From Abramorama and running 99 minutes, Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story opens this Friday, January 19 in New York City (at the Village East Cinema) and Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Music Hall 3) and will then, over the coming weeks, open in another 15 or more cities. Click here to see all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters.


Nikki said...

Such an important film. These movie makers are so brave and we hope so dearly their film addresses the ongoing destruction and suffering. Thank you for this incredible review.

James van Maanen said...

Thanks for posting, Nikki. I, too, hope their wonderful and important movie can help counter the kangaroos' destruction. At the very least it will alert a lot of people about what is going on.