As a bibliophile, I was drawn to the title of this film. When I discovered that it was a new Aussie film and crowdfunded, I was even more curious. Basically, Book Week is a week in the life of "Mr C", a cantankerous secondary school English teacher during - you guessed it - book week.
The protagonist, Nick Cutler, is played byAlan Dukes with tragi-comic results. Although it contains elements of comedy and romance, as well as reference to zombies (everyone loves a zombie), it is not a Rom Com Zom film. More of a fall-rise-fall Greek tragedy, only set in urban Oz with music aplenty but not much dance.
Mr C, as a teacher and published author, is in good company: some of the most famous writers were teachers once, such as Shakespeare and Stephen King (who's the king?). However, the comparisons stop there. Mr C is definitely not a teacher doing the hard yards and inspiring the next generation.
The "acts' in the movie all begin with a literary quote from a famous author and there are many allusions to books and writing. You will have fun identifying these references, if you are as nerdy as me. From Rapunzel to Peter Pan to Hemingway, they are all dropped into the script seamlessly as Book Week is just an excuse for dressing up. By the way, Captain Jack Sparrow is a character from a movie not a book, but I digress.
Mr C is a bitter and twisted author and a disgraced one, so he must show he's a changed man if he is to realise his dream with his latest vampiric manuscript being published. What promises to be the best week of his life, starts to spiral over the next seven days. Will he hit rock bottom or will his luck change, and will he attain redemption? The film asks Mr C (and the audience) to consider what's important in life. These are not the only questions asked in the film, with questions such as: What is literature? Does anybody care about books anymore? Is a comic a real book? It also explores the theme that everyone is a bloody writer these days and I'm not talking about Facebook, Twitter, texting and blogging. Does no-one respect the written word anymore?
Jane Austen Anyone? (image courtesy of distributer)
Supporting characters include a seriously ill family member, Mr C's girlfriend, who also happens to be his boss, an irritating goody-two-shoes pupil, a one-night stand and an inept prac teacher, Nick's literary agent, and his star basketball player who can't stay out of trouble ("Stupid kid- why does he have to always learn the hard way?"). None of whom make for plain sailing. But I guess everyone has the right to be stupid. The dialogue is authentic and there are some great one liners. "Promise me you won't make any more promises." "I promise."
The setting for Book Week is non-specific Aussie suburbia. It features bedrooms, backyards, generic school classrooms and seedy clubs. These are not the places where dreams are made, but rather, quashed.
Book Week was both written and directed by Heath Davis who is a multi-award-winning filmmaker, teacher and journalist. He recently wrote, directed and produced the low-budget Australian feature film comedy, Broke. Davis has also directed and produced numerous music videos for artists such as Shannon Noll and Guy Sebastian. Currently, he is directing his next film Locusts, which is in production in Broken Hill and due for release in 2019. Davis said, "Book Week has been dancing around in the back of my head for many years now. In fact, the script was first penned in 2010 during my time as a frustrated high school English teacher." The parallels between the film and his own life are obvious. As they say, write about what you know. This film's duration is 99minutes and it was released in Australia in October.
I am not addicted to reading. I can quit when I read just one more book.