#Sundance: Mark Lewis Gets Down with 3-D Cane Toads

by Anne Thompson
January 30, 2010 8:05 AM
1 Comment
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Thompson on Hollywood
With 1988's Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, Australian documentary filmmaker Mark Lewis (The Natural History of the Chicken) introduced Sundance audiences to the cane toad--an amphibian imported Down Under in 1935 to control sugar cane larvae. Of course, the cane toad did nothing of the kind, and turned out to be a remarkably adaptable--and toxic-- creature, capable of killing dogs and pets with its poison glands. This time with Cane Toads: The Conquest, Lewis celebrates the toad as he tries to restore the balance by suggesting it's not all the toad's fault. He takes us from the toad 16 million years ago, through Puerto Rico and Hawaii to Australia and the evolution of the new and improved 3- D "Ava-Toad."

The movie is hilarious. Folks try to destroy the rapidly expanding toad population, hitting them with cricket bats, golf clubs and spearing them for sport. Think absurdist Peter Greenaway's The Falls meets Errol Morris's Fast, Cheap & Out of Control. My four-part flip-cam interview with the genial Lewis follows:

Part One: Why Return to the Cane Toad, and why use 3-D?

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Part Two: Dramatic Vignettes, Wallace the Wonder Dog (Rescue 911)

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Part Three: Scientists Defend Cane Toad, Mating, Romance, Monica's Pet, Dairy Queen

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Part Four: The Ava-Toad, 3-D as Future-Proofing

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1 Comment

  • Jennifer Barnes | January 31, 2010 4:18 AMReply

    Keith who talks about the cane toad in the film and his method of removing the cane toad from our property, has travelled far and wide, has seen many things in his life, had many experiences, and certainly not lived his life only in Gordonvale, only his retirement,.and has a very blanced outlook on the environment. Those who live with the cane toad wish it gone to where it came from. Definitely an example to mans studipity in introducing a species without knowing the end result. The people in the 1930's used the knoweldge they had, do we do any better?

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