Quickflix, our Australian version of Netlix, has some quirks befitting its home base. We are living on a continent in which the word “quirky” almost defies definition. How does one explain the kangaroo or platypus or a word like “spruik”, pronounced sprook, meaning, to hold forth in public.

Quickflix appears to work in the same fashion as Netflix, offering one the option of creating a list of DVDs organized in a queue in the order in which you want them delivered. So far, so good. The postal service is excellent and the movies are delivered expeditiously from their distribution center.

The quirkiness lies in the order of delivery. I can never anticipate what might come next, for it has nothing to do with the order of my queue. They seem to ship out the movies they have on hand, not necessarily the films at the top (or even near the top) of my list.

It looks like we’re getting the movies no one else wants to see– the Australian movies. Not that I mind all that much.

One of the Age movie reviewers wrote a scathing op ed piece recently about the state of Australian cinema, suggesting that Australian directors and producers were picking perverse projects (art pictures) and running the industry into the ground.

A perspicacious reader responded the next day with the suggestion that it was virtually impossible for an Australian film to compete with a Hollywood picture even in Australia thanks to huge Hollywood budgets, advertising, distribution deals and exhibition contracts. I would bet that is true.  Canada had exactly the same problem.  It took protectionist measures after a brief, unsuccessful period of rolling over and playing dead.

Three of our latest titles from Quickflix had to do with the perils of promiscuity in one way or the other. Two of them were based on memoirs, “Romulus, My Father,” and “Home Song Stories.” Both were set in the early sixties.

Despite the title of the former, the central characters in both films were beautiful, immigrant mothers, dreadfully unhappy with the path their lives had taken. Even though the “heroine” of Home Song Stories is much more calculating than the mother in ‘Romulus’, they are equally desperate, unbalanced, and unable to face the future in what appears to be a bleak new land.

The third is an aboriginal movie called “Ten Canoes,” a story within a story, one of the strangest films I’ve ever seen. In this case, the central parable serves as a warning to a young warrior of the dangers of infatuation with one of the wives of his brother.

All were exceptionally well done, Keep ’em coming, Quickflix. We’ll get to the top of list eventually, that Canadian film we want to see. I suspect some other Canadian has rented it and lost it or is just keeping it too damned long.

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