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Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: G
Runtime: 62 min
Produced In: Australia
Directed By: Kathryn Millard
Produced By: Kathryn Millard
A blend of fiction and historical evidence, RANDOM 8 explores issues raised by several famous psychological experiments, including the work of Stanley Milgram at Yale University in the 1960s who studied human obedience to orders, even when the orders were "immoral" or caused pain to others. Inspiration also came from the work of American sociologist, Bill Gamson and colleagues, in which groups were asked to carry out unjust requests made by an authority figure.
From one of Australia's most distinctive filmmakers, RANDOM 8 is an eerily compelling film with a futuristic "sci-fi" surface, and at heart a thought-provoking essay about some of the big questions of our post-war era. In groups we are told what to do, but do we always do so? Do groups give us courage to obey or do they inhibit us? How do protest and change emerge?
A randomly selected group of eight people from all walks of life are brought together in a bare room, mobile phones are confiscated, and cameras record their reaction to a series of instructions that escalate in intensity and in degree of challenge.
Millard's interest in "social theatre", in using performance to explore human behaviour, has given us, in RANDOM 8, a remarkable exercise in "structured improvisation". Made with a minimal budget but maximising dramatic effect through the austere setting and the "real time" shooting, the film is an elegant, emotionally intense example of a form of "new cinema" led by artists and ideas rather than traditional film industry conventions. This is cinema that may be low-budget but is not "low-fi": it is about big ideas, aimed at wide audiences, and has high aspirations as cinematic art.
With: Kate Box, Nicholas Brown, Tina Bursill, Jeanette Cronin, Matthew Edgerton, Ksenja Logos, Ivy Mak, Ned Manning, Gibson Nolte, Tim Spencer, Elaine Hudson and Mark Evans.