Year:  2022

Director:  Matty Hannon

Rated:  M

Release:  2 May 2024

Distributor: Garage/Madman

Running time: 91 minutes

Worth: $15.00
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Matty Hannon, Heather Hillier

… re-introduces us to an Earth that not only brings life to those inhabiting it but is very much alive itself.

On a personal journey that will make you fall in love with the natural world, filmmaker Matty Hannon documents his travels across continents in search of adventure and a life close to nature.

In his early 20s, Ecology student Hannon packed up his surfboard and travelled to Indonesia, trading a world of desk jobs and mobile phones for a new way of life. Taking up residence in a thatched hut with no running water or internet access, he was welcomed by the locals as family and made himself a home amongst the community. Early on, it’s easy to want to dismiss Hannon’s story as one of a hundred Eat, Pray, Love-style narratives of a privileged outsider “finding themselves” via international travel and disconnecting from the grid. However, through his interactions with his Indonesian family and obvious dedication to fully immersing himself in another culture’s way of life, rather than playing tourist or impartial observer, Hannon quickly dispels any cause for discomfort. Fluent in the language, Hannon doesn’t rely on talking head interviews with subjects here, rather allowing conversation to flow naturally in a way that offers him the opportunity to capture unscripted slices of life.

5 years after his arrival, Hannon makes the decision to move back to Melbourne and reconnect with his biological family — a choice that lasts only a short time before the culture shock and impending depression and anxiety prove to be too much, and he once again hits the road with just a suitcase and his surfboard, this time with a one-way ticket to Alaska. What follows is a journey spanning years, an ode to nature and the unique landscapes and wildlife that Hannon encounters during his 50,000km motorcycle trip in search of freedom.

Switching between the same naturalistic and unobtrusive documentary style he perfected during his years in Indonesia, and a more dynamic, confessional almost vlog-like form, Hannon re-introduces us to an Earth that not only brings life to those inhabiting it but is very much alive itself. With stunning natural views traversing untamed country from British Columbia to Patagonia, Hannon’s tale is a reverent one despite the many hardships faced along the way. He provides a space for insights from a diverse range of voices, including that of permaculture farmer Heather, who plays a larger role in Hannon’s story than he ever could have expected. And yet, all the while, he never loses his own distinctly Australian identity—hearing colloquialisms like “stoked” or “bloody amazing” being used to describe some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet just adds to the charm. The road to Patagonia may be the road less travelled, but it’s one that’s worth the ride.