Review / ‘The Last Impresario’ (M) *** and a half

FILMMAKER Gracie Otto’s father Barry and sister Miranda rank high among the aristocrats of Australian acting.

Following a different path, Gracie has made a film featuring actors and their work environments. It runs for 83 minutes which is, to my mind, not long enough to pay its material adequate attention. You might call it information overload.

The Last ImpressarioThe main passages in which it applies brakes to the headlong career of impresario Michael White are those in which Gracie stands back and allows him a loose rein to reminisce about a life in the performance industry, risk-taking with other people’s investments, among notables and dramatic properties now household names because of his participation.

The list of interviewees contains 50 names providing sound grabs short enough to garner praise from any TV news producer. Gracie has combed old programs and media clippings highlighting Michael’s role in their success.

I found him more interesting than loveable, a bowerbird with an enormous archive of priceless memorabilia stored in houses of family and friends. We observe him, admire his achievements, thank him for the memorable moments for which he has been responsible.

Theatre junkies, stage and screen, may get big buzzes from what Gracie has unearthed and pasted into her collage film. But I found myself yearning for images that stayed still long enough to read more of what reviewers wrote than merely what she thought we needed to see.

At Palace Electric

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