The new ACT government CBR initiative, the promotional video Canberra: The World's Most Liveable City is a beautiful thing made especially beautiful by all the beautiful Canberrans in it.
Coordinate, the agency responsible for the "brand project", say the video is part of "a new gateway site ... designed to disrupt long held perceptions [of Canberra] launched to provide a contemporary 'front-door' to Canberra online".
And in the two minutes 50 seconds of the video's soothing action (everything is in calming slow motion and set to a serene and dreamy rendition of The Church's Under the Milky Way, written by Canberra's Steve Kilbey and soothingly lisped by Canberra artist Chanel Cole), one scarcely sees a person over 30. Of unattractive or even plain people (such as the elderly, the fat, tattooed bogans, etc) there is not a glimpse.
Instead it is a city of radiant kiddies and of lithe young things in their late 20s. The lithe young things have not only perfect bodies but perfect teeth, the latter dazzlingly displayed a lot in just the sorts of joyful smiles you expect citizens of the paradise of The World's Most Liveable City to be wearing. And in the video the young things are endlessly dining, and on very fine foods and wines.
When you love Canberra city but when you like to see it faithfully portrayed, Canberra: The World's Most Liveable City will bring conflicting emotions. You can see that the city is being artfully idealised, and you want to have a little scoff at that. And yet you feel some delight at seeing some of the city's actual loveliness lovingly portrayed. The lovely lake of the video sometimes really is that lovely. The perfect dawns and twilights of the video really do happen here, thanks to the special, best-in-the-world clarity of our pure, sub-alpine bush light. Some of the special Canberra places of the video really are rather special, and in (for me) the most Gosh!-making moment of the film the brilliant Nishi Building staircase is enhanced by the posing on it of a glamorous (of course under-30) woman with a glamorous, live, Wedge-tailed Eagle.
Alas, in the creators' supplied (and a little pretentious) explanations of the video's contents, we discover that this meant to be "a wink to Canberra's reputation as the seat of power – the home of government – with [the eagle] a representation of power, freedom and spirituality".
But with the pride the video stokes may come a little embarrassment. Like all advertising this little epic is full of fibs, in this case visual fibs. We might, for the sake of truthfulness, prefer the world to be shown just one or two of our city's hundreds of warts. But the Canberra of this video is not a true city at all (there is no traffic in this Canberra, no crowds, no suburbia). Since everything in the video is in flattering slow motion (everything in life looks better slowed down) there is nothing of the actual city's metropolitan buzz, clatter, and frenzy. The place described in the CBR video is not a city but a kind of exclusive Heaven. It is exclusive because one must be young and beautiful, well-to-do and with perfect teeth (and perhaps even with one's own pet Wedge-tailed Eagle) and appreciative of fine truffles and perfect coffee, to qualify to live there.
You will find the new gateway site and video, "designed to disrupt long held perceptions", at www.canberra.com.au