BATMAN AND ME is an Australian feature documentary film that examines obsessive pop culture collecting through the experiences of Batman collector Darren "Dags" Maxwell.
Against the backdrop of late 1980s Melbourne, Darren entered the world of sci-fi and pop culture fandom innocently enough: he joined the Australian Star Wars fan club.
"The guy who was running the Star Wars club had a huge collection of Star Wars merchandise," Darren says.
"He probably had the biggest collection of this stuff in the country. It would take hours and hours and hours to get through."
Inspired by this example, Darren began collecting Star Wars movie posters - but by 1989 his hobby had become an addiction.
"I was collecting Star Wars posters, movie soundtrack albums and Dune merchandise because I had a disposable income and I was living at home," he says.
"It was an addiction, I couldn't help myself. I just did it to be a part of the scene," he says.
Tim Burton's Batman was released that year, accompanied by what was then the biggest onslaught of mass merchandise for any one film in cinema history. Darren found himself at Ground Zero.
"Honestly, I didn't want to get into Batman collecting because I knew it would be a monster."
But after he'd bought an item or two, it was too late.
"Once you've given over to it, you'll get as much as you can, whenever you can, wherever you can," he says.
"It just took over."
Today, an entire room in Darren's house is occupied by his Batman collection - a situation he's not entirely comfortable with.
"I never go in there," he says.
"It's just a place."
Despite that, Darren is unable to let his creation go.
The new film from director Michael Wayne, BATMAN AND ME takes a hard look at Darren's situation and the wider pop culture climate.
Why do we collect? What does it mean to us? And can a collection become an identity?
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