I Peed on Fellini: David Stratton
David Stratton’s memoir (surely a strong contender for title of the year) is aptly subtitled ‘Recollections of a Life in Film’. It charts his journey from film-mad British schoolboy to eminent Australian film critic, whilst showcasing his encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema. Although probably best known in Australia as co-presenter of The Movie Show and At the Movies, Stratton’s involvement in the international film world goes considerably deeper.
The range of people he has met over the years – from Joseph von Sternberg to Quentin Tarantino – is staggering. We’re even given an oblique glimpse of youthful liaisons with Scandinavian actresses. On the home front, Stratton’s dedicated opposition to censorship is strongly evident when he recalls his time as director of the Sydney Film Festival. Later, his views about the unhappy circumstances behind the move from SBS to the ABC, and the difference between today’s Australia and the one he emigrated to make very interesting reading.
This frank and at times funny book is a must-read for film buffs. And, yes, an overawed Stratton did have an unfortunate encounter with Fellini at the 1966 Venice Film Festival!