Private Screening Of Lost Atlas
“I’m more proud of this than I was of Modern Collective,” said Kai Neville, shivering in a stiff Sydney afternoon wind, the navy corduroy jacket he wore more suited to his home on the Gold Coast. “I did it all for me and it’s all mine.” Kai smiled in a relieved sort of way, his hand […]
“I’m more proud of this than I was of Modern Collective,” said Kai Neville, shivering in a stiff Sydney afternoon wind, the navy corduroy jacket he wore more suited to his home on the Gold Coast. “I did it all for me and it’s all mine.” Kai smiled in a relieved sort of way, his hand gripping a leather pouch that contained his Macbook Pro – a machine holding in its memory the first-ever screening of his latest production, Lost Atlas.
Earlier that day, at Fox Studios in Sydney’s entertainment quarter, 12 men had sat In a dark, quiet viewing room and watched the film. It was the first time Kai had shown an audience and he was more nervous than he let on. “Really? Really?” he asked, when someone later remarked that the performance bar had risen substantially since his last film, Modern Collective. “Wow, I didn’t realise that. I guess I’m too close to it.” Close, indeed. It had been a very short period of time, between premieres and euphoria of Mod Coll dying down, and Kai picking up a camera again and booking plane tickets.
Lost Atlas itself is, as you coulda guessed, reflexive. Reflexive in that it was everything Mod Coll wasn’t. Where Mod Colldrew out its intros and, at times, over-defined each section, Lost Atlas was far more abrupt. No music fade-outs, or fade-to-blacks, just quick slices between song and location. A formula that, when written may sound abrasive, but touched by the expertise of Kai is as refreshing as lemonade in a world full of cola. Musically, the film’s also reflexive. A soundtrack of low-fi, chill-wave and dream-pop, mostly crafted by unsigned bands, lay the perfect backdrop for a film with such summery treatment. The Stab wave pool sequence was cosmic – night footage, complimented by fireworks and shimmering synthesisers. The Dirty Beaches track, Sweet 17, oddly suited Kolohe Andino’s surfing with its 60s surf drums, two-note bassline and sleazy vocal mutterings. Most of the picture-to-music connections aren’t obvious ones, but thus is one of Kai’s greatest talents – fresh perspective.
The film has a new format. No staged interviews. It’s littered with genuinely candid quotes from the surfers, who undoubtedly were unaware they were being filmed, otherwise wouldn’t have said half the things said. The quotes made the surfers more personable, more real. Jordy’s discussion with Dane makes the South-African seem real likeable. But the crowning jewel of candid quotes was Dusty Payne’s line on women’s surfing, which you’ll have to wait for.
And speaking of Dusty Payne. “The most committed during filming for sure,” said Kai. “He worked the hardest and, for me, he’s the star of the show. The stand-out performer.” It was a very different Dusty Payne to what we’ve seen in Heats On Demand. It was a Dusty Payne who threw the best air of the film, a huge frontside punt, late-revert. It earned a rare but collective gasp from the small audience. “This is how fucked-up he is,” said Kai of the trick, “He told me afterwards that when he was in the air, halfway through, he was like, ‘this straight-air is lame,’ so he turned at the last minute into an air-reverse.”
It was great to see Dane Reynolds again, if only briefly. Without realising, y’probably forgot how good he is. He and Jordy don’t have a whole lotta screen time, but that’s just another commodity of the film – there’s nothing b-grade. Yadin Nicol’s there, his performance in a mould-breaking Indo section, stellar. Craig Anderson’s back too, relaxed as-ever but his flips and rotations more critical. Another pair who make sophomore appearances are Mitch Coleborn and Dion Agius. Mitch looks lightning. What knee-injury? Dion’s place is well-earned. His airs are more rotated and he is most certainly still relevant in this school. There’s a bunch of new faces, too: Wade Goodall, Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino, Owen Wright, Evan Geiselman, Andrew Doheny, Dillon Perillo all light-up and show that the frontside finner-to-reverse just became even more mongo. More wax applied up the beak and lots of tricks ended with front foot near nose. Especially the younger guns like Evan. Oh, and then there’s that John Florence kid, who’s second-best only to Dusty. His limp arms when approaching sections are so unorthodoxly-casual, that it becomes even harder to register the corked spins he stomps.
If you were worried about Kai being a one-hit wonder, don’t fret. ‘Cause Kai Neville has done it again. – Elliot Struck
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