In the small mining town of Rosebery lives Alison. Alison lives with her family and things seem normal on the outside, but inside the walls of her house lays an entirely different story. After her father's suicide, Alison's world begins to unravel and she loses her sense of what is real and what is not, she becomes trapped in a never ending nightmare.
Well, I've covered exploitation, horror, SOV, and made-for-TV movies for my Australian movie marathon so I figured it would be appropriate to review a movie that represents Film Bizarro and the reason the site exists. With that, I'm referring to the underground cult experimental film, "Rosebery 7470", Stefan Popescu's feature film debut that took the Australian underground scene by storm. Having finally watched "Rosebery 7470" I can understand why and it reminded me as to why I got into experimental films in the first place.
Superficially, the story of "Rosebery 7470" isn't anything extraordinary; it revolves around the life of Alison Asquith, an autistic young girl who lives with her family in the small mining town of Rosebery. The general idea is that the movie shows the banal life of Alison and of those in Rosebery - everyone has their routines and patterns that they live day-in and day-out. Though not everything is 'normal' with hints of incest in Alison's family, not to mention Alison's mother is an overbearing religious fanatic who abuses and degrades the poor girl. Alison retreats inwards, but even inside, the nightmares don't end for her.
Like other psychological based character films, Alison loses her grip on reality - nightmares seem real and what's real seems like a nightmare. What separates "Rosebery 7470" from the herd though is Stefan's ability to create some truly terrifying sequences; he makes even the every-day seem horrific in this movie. Part of which comes from the movie's location; buried in the mountains and the trees, Rosebery is an isolated location. (Rosebery is a real mining town in Tazmania.) The set is a reflection to the character of Alison; the town seems normal on the outside but underneath the surface lays the ugly and stark reality of unpleasantness.
The reason Stefan is able to pull of his them of making the ordinary feel and look terrifying, as well as the town of Rosebery itself, and Alison's world in general, is Stefan's willingness to experiment. The cinematography is leading factor in the successful look and feel for the movie. Shot on 16mm film, "Rosebery 7470" regains a look that is lost these days with the perfection and sanitary images of DV and HD. The colors are muddy, there is real noise and grain from the film, and (as opposed to a filtered effect) the imperfections give it a look of surrealism from being rough and dirty. And as the movie progresses so does the darkness of Alison's world, going from muddy or harsh colors to frighteningly dark black and white images. Her nightmares look and feel like genuine nightmares, something very few movies have ever been able to capture. With Stefan treating the film as an actual artistic medium instead of merely being a narrative vessel, "Rosebery 7470" has an abstract quality that fleshes out the surrealistic nature of the movie. I'm sure Stan Brakhage would have been proud.
If I had to describe the movie in a way for people to understand of what it's like, I would say it's what "Blue Velvet" would have been had Stan Brakhage directed it. "Rosebery 7470" is an approachable movie for anybody, really. Those who are looking for more traditional horror movies certainly won't enjoy this one but as far as a non-traditional horror movie goes, "Rosebery 7470" is something exceptional. The story and characters are real, they're tangible; the focus and emphasis on the visual aspect makes, what is essentially a dramatic movie, have an incredible horror element to it. The haunting scenes will stay with anyone who watches it, and for those who seek out a movie with substance, will find plenty in "Rosebery 7470".