Welcome to the Australian outback, to the land of Mad Max

Welcome to the Australian outback, to the land of Mad Max
Welcome to the Australian outback, to the land of Mad Max

In the outback, the Australian hinterland where the plains unfurl their dusty soil to the blue of the horizon, time leaves no imprint, just touches of color. Green when plants benefiting from slightly less rainfall than usual emerge from the cracked earth. Golden when the blazing sun of a cloudless sky finally dries up the surrounding tufts of grass. Red when it burned everything.

In Mad Max 2. The Challenge, released in 1981, the arid heart of the island continent, suffocated by years of drought, was as dark as the postapocalyptic universe imagined by director George Miller. The desert was the setting for the dystopian western which revealed a then unknown young actor, Mel Gibson, in the role of Max Rockatansky, a solitary and taciturn anti-hero.

Forty-three years later, on this cold April morning, the January showers have tinged the immensity green. Wind turbines sweep the silence with their steel arms. Nothing else has changed in the wild expanses of the Mundi Mundi plains, on the western borders of the state of New South Wales, a thirteen-hour drive from Sydney, where the filmmaker had set up his cameras, in the early days of her career.

Even the sign indicating a panoramic viewpoint, Mundi Mundi Lookout, the only element in the film that designates a specific location, still stands there, upright, facing the wind. Over the years, enthusiasts have made it a place of pilgrimage. In the southern winter of 2022, George Miller also returned there to film scenes of Furiosa. A Mad Max saga, the fifth part which will be revealed on May 15, in world premiere at 77e Cannes Film Festival, during an out-of-competition session, and which is released in theaters on May 22.

On the road to Broken Hill in Silverton there is a sign reading ‘Don’t miss the old Day Dream Mine’. All photos were taken on April 24 and 25, 2024. JAMES TOLICH FOR “M LE MAGAZINE DU MONDE”

5 kilometers away, the filmmaker’s arrival was awaited with feverish excitement in the old mining town of Silverton. The town escaped its fate as a ghost town thanks to the frankness of Mad Max and the film industry. In 2010, the director’s teams had already scouted the area to Mad Max. The Road to Chaos, fourth opus in the series, but torrential rains had waterlogged the desert, transforming the devastated lands into green meadows. Discouraged, the film crews flew to Namibia.

A museum dedicated to “Mad Max 2”

This time, the enormous machine of eight hundred people did not miss its meeting with the inhabitants of the region, requisitioning all the surrounding hotels for more than two months. “There was a continuous flow of cars,” remembers Adrian Bennett, a British fan who crossed half the globe to settle in Silverton, where he opened, in 2010, a museum entirely dedicated to Mad Max 2.

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