The Age of Shadows (2016)

Director: Kim Jee-woon
Starring: Song Kang-Ho, Gong Yoo, Han Ji-Min, Um Tae-Goo, Shingo Tsurumi, Shin Sung-Rok, Seo Young-Joo, Kim Dong-Young, Park Hee-Soon, Lee Byung-Hun

I do like a movie that has the audacity to start you off in the middle of action, something this movie does in spades before it even tells you who the main characters are with a crazy chase across the rooftops with people firing and a resistance fighter being cornered and trying to be talked into surrendering by Captain of the Japanese police in Korea Lee Jung-Chool (Sang Kang Ho).

While his character’s motives may seem murky at the start, it gradually becomes clear he is actually trying to help the resistance while still appearing to do his job. This is made much harder when his superiors decide to give him a Japanese partner Hashimoto (Um Tae-Goo) who goes full attack dog and scares off the group.

The resistance fighters are a varied group and it is difficult to follow all the names at times. I do recognise some of them from other Korean movies though and they do play off each other well as some of them are working on their own agendas.
The differences in Lee Jung-Chool and Hashimoto’s approaches are most apparent when they are ordered to pursue the group to Shanghai and stop whatever they are up to. Hashimoto rushes around like a mad dog and Jung-Chool decides to go right up and meet the head of the resistance at his cover pottery factory.

As with several recent Korean movies there is a significant portion of the movie set on a train with the best scenes in the movie taking place in this scene. I particularly liked the breaking of tension in one scene with a baby’s shitty bum. Considering the torture scenes that happen later in the movie it is a welcome relief. Also I have heard that in the slapping scene where Hashimoto is admonishing his agents for letting people get aware there were 28 slaps in one scene, meant to be more than Takeshi Katano’s Violent Cop.

Once the group gets back to Korea the action ramps up considerably with them having to fight their way through the train station and Jung-Chool coming to their aid even though he has been told to do so and appears to be on the side of the Japanese.

As has been said in at least one other review it does feel strange to cheer for an act of terrorism in a film but the scene perfectly manipulates you into doing it with Bolero playing and the pacing and even having a character toast another just before the climax.

I have enjoyed this director’s other work in the past including the Quiet Family, the Foul King, A Bittersweet Life and the Good, the bad and the weird. I have not seen a Tale of Two Sisters and I Saw the Devil.

As Park Chan-Wook and Bong Joon-Ho tend to do he uses a lot of the same cast in his movies such as Song Kang-Ho so you know they will put in a good performance and I am a sucker for movies with that particular actor in them ever since Joint Security Area.

What I also enjoyed is the story being set in a World War II area of operations that has not been covered as much as Europe. There are many more European war stories it seems but not as many ones told from the perspective of non-western countries. Also it is a break from Korean war films as they always seem to do good business in South Korea but there is a quite a lot of them.

This movie is getting a bit more of a wider release and I would recommend it people who like war movies and also spy thrillers.

Shin Godzilla (2016)

Directors: Hideaki Anno, Shinji Higuchi
Starring: Hiroki Hasegawa, Hideki Akasaka, Satomi Ishihara, Ren Ohsugi, Akira Emoto, Satomi Ishihara, Kengo Kôra, Mikako Ichikawa

Yes, Godzilla has returned. No, it is not like any other Godzilla movie up until now. After producing Final Wars for Godzilla’s 50th anniversary Toho decided to rest the franchise for 10 years and even destroyed some sets to ensure this.
This movie can be considered Toho’s reboot of their franchise and marks the beginning of a new era of movies from the studio with a separate continuity to the Showa, Heisei and Millennium series. Even more confusing the recent US remake is also separate and is going to continue off on its own storyline.

How this movie is different is that it mainly concentrates on Godzilla as if it is a natural disaster being managed by various Japanese government agencies so you see everything from their point of view as they react to it and manage disaster recovery and trying to counteract the monster.

There are a lot of different ministers introduced, but the closest to main characters would be Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa) a junior advisor who ends up leading the anti-Godzilla taskforce and sassy US ambassador Kayoko Ann Patterson (Satomi Ishihara). In any other movie there would be a love story between the two but it is barely even considered here.
While there are a lot of meetings in the movie you at least get to see Godzilla earlier than the 2014 movie. He looks nothing like you would remember but to give away what it looks like when you first see the monster would ruin the surprise. It sure does look goofy looking.

Goofy-looking or not upon coming ashore the monster leaves a trail of destruction and causes many deaths, there is an attempt made to attack the monster, but it has to be stopped at the last minute due to civilians. The monster then returns to the sea.

The USA ends up getting involved but many in the Japanese government do not think they have their best interests at heart and the sassy Japanese ambassador has trouble getting her point across with the government officials. The leader of the ant-Godzilla taskforce is a lot more receptive to her and they end up working together.

There is a lot of planning and meetings and these culminate when Godzilla reappears having grown in size and the self-defence force tries to stop it from advancing on Tokyo and fails. Not like they did not try as they attack it with three waves of forces including helicopters, tanks and jets. In the movie they use footage of real vehicles for the scenes which is great along with the models for when some of them get wrecked.

The USA sends over its B2 bombers which seem to be doing well at first, but Godzilla evolves and destroys them easily with powers that it had not had before and are new even in the history of the Godzilla movies. Having used up its reserves it goes into hibernation leaving Tokyo in a sea of flames and many thousands of people dead.

Leaning on the UN council the USA it is going to make a nuclear strike when Godzilla starts moving again. Most of the Japanese government is understandably upset at this but agrees to start evacuating Tokyo. Yaguchi disagrees and wants to try his team’s plan of making a blood coagulant to try and freeze Godzilla. At this point it is a race against time for the teams’ plan to be carried out before Tokyo is destroyed for good. I am not going to reveal which plan succeeds or fails as that is half the fun.

This is not a movie for those people who complain “when are they going to get to the fireworks factory” you have to have a high tolerance of people in meetings and a lot of ancillary characters being introduced and discarded.
I did like the anti-Godzilla task force as Yaguchi himself says they are a bunch of “freaks and rejects” and he wants people with strong opinions and who have no qualms of expressing them. The group ends up working so hard that the cleaning staff feels sorry for them and brings them food and the other staff start complaining that Yaguchi smells.

The senior government ministers are a bunch of senior Japanese actors who I mostly did not recognise apart from Jun Kunimura as Chief of Staff who was recently in the Korean movie the Wailing. The older actors did have a lot of gravitas especially the Prime Minister Ren Ohsugi.

The monster effects seemed to be a combination of suit work and CGI and you could not really tell the difference between the two as they were so well integrated. I did like seeing actual models be destroyed like in the old days and there was some clever use of infrastructure with trains being used as weapons in one sequence.

The original music for the series also makes a cameo during some scenes, but if you want to hear the full tunes wait for the end credits where they play in full.

While the Neon Genesis Evangelion fans will soon be online posting comparisons in shots and so forth, there are quite a few here. In the NGE TV show the EVA units could only operate for five minutes due to their internal battery and the rest of the episode was spent building up to it. The same is the case here. The evolving state of Godzilla does remind me of the Angels in some ways as they were different each time as they changed after each one was defeated.

The previous short by the two directors the Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo is the direct predecessor to this movie and well worth watching.

While there was space left in the resolution of the movie for sequels it may not be by the same directors or even with the same set of characters. It was great to see Godzilla back in Japan but if you prefer more action in your Godzilla movies then I would recommend an earlier film in the series.

Girl Asleep (2015)

Director: Rosemary Myers
Starring: Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Matthew Whittet, Amber McMahon, Eamon Farren, Imogen Archer, Maiah Stewardson

Greta (Bethany Whitmore) has started in a new school and is not having a good time, the one good thing is that fellow outcast Elliott (Harrison Feldman) decided he wanted to be friends and comes back to visit after school, much to the surprise of Greta’s mum. During dinner that night Elliot comes up with the idea of Greta having a big 15th birthday party, but she isn’t on board with the idea. Her mum has other ideas and ends up inviting her entire year level at school, including the group of girls who hate her guts for no reason.

Greta lashes out at her mum, but eventually relents after her dad talks to her and she does not want to hurt her mum’s feelings.

The party turns out to be more strange than you would expect with people dancing through the door and someone gifting Schrödinger’s cat. When the mean girls turn up and give a really nasty present, Greta has to retreat back to her room and ends up falling asleep, a common occurrence after high emotion.

I don’t want to give away what happens in the dream but it is quite fun and appears at first to be the same party with some differences, but quickly becomes a vision quest where Greta must get back her music box from “the girl with the tiny hands”. It reminded me of the Labyrinth somewhat as there are fantasy versions of Greta’s mum and dad she encounters in the fantasy world and even a hero figure in the form of Huldra who guides her on the quest and finally helps her fight for herself.

I really enjoyed this movie as it was quite fun and had a lot of excellent situations and characters I feel like I want to visit again. Some of the dialog scenes during the school scenes were a bit awkward as we can all recall something similar in high school.

All the costumes were on point especially the ones the party guests wore. During the dream sequence it was even more so with the fantasy characters having the look of being homemade but still out of place in the normal world.

The original story is a stage play and the movie does keep a lot of the stage elements but I think it benefits from this as it makes it unique and something you would not normally see.

I did like the scene with the Chinese as it reminded me of the Women’s Weekly Chinese Cook Book that was released in 1978 and ingredients such as capsicum were hard to get at the time. Greta’s mum dressing up to serve the food and Elliot having training chopsticks also were nice points of this scene.

I also liked the bucket of chicken being used as a prop as were the other things like the basketball, the wall girl with the movie title and other bits and pieces in the movie including things going on in the background you have to watch out for or you will miss.

I did enjoy the performances of all the actors including the mum and dad with the dad Conrad (Matthew Whittet) wanting to crack jokes and look after his daughter and mum Janet (Amber McMahon) wanting her to come out of her shell. She is also the trendy mum and does not want her kids to be squares. It was a bit strange that the parents were still calling each other “comrade” as I thought that was a mid 1970s thing around the time of Whitlam.

Heaps of music in this and well used including the French pop star who turns up in the dream sequence. I did enjoy the dance scenes and have recommended them to people who like watching them.

The movie may only be short but I hardly noticed as there was so much going on. I would recommend it to anyone who likes movies that are a bit left of centre and coming of age stories with a difference.

MIFF 2016: Train to Busan (2016)

Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Starring: Yoo Gong, Ma Dong-seok, Choi Woo-sik, Jeong Yu-mi, Kim Soo-an, Jin-hee

Set on the KTX express train that you can get from Seoul to Busan a busy futures trader Woo Seok (Yoo Gong) and his daughter Soo-an (Kim Soo-an) get a train down to her separated mother in Busan on her birthday when the girl threatens to go by herself.

It is well established that the dad is very busy and he even gets her the same present for her birthday that she has already due to not knowing enough about her. The girl’s grandmother looks after her during the day, but the girl pines after her mother.

On the way to the train they come across emergency services attending a large blaze, but other than that things seem very quiet.

Arriving at the train we meet the other main characters including a newlywed couple with a brawny man and pregnant woman, a high school baseball team, a high powered business men, an elderly daughter and her mother and other passengers. Everything seems normal until some people run onto the train at the last minute and the daughter sees someone get jumped but the train moves off too fast.

After some passengers complain about a “weirdo” in one of the toilets they find a homeless man babbling about everyone being killed. At the other end of the train a woman goes into a fit and is attended by a train conductor, only to get attacked herself and start off the infection.

News reports are confusing telling of riots and the futures trader gets updates via his phone, but falls asleep and his daughter wanders off looking for a free toilet.

Once the attacks begin on the passengers there is no way to fight them in such close quarters so the best people can do is run away and lock the door. They also find out if the zombies lose sight of people they will stop attacking so they cover the window.

The train driver is in touch via the intercom and radios with the conductor, but is having trouble getting in touch with base. He is told they are to stop at the next main station and the army will take care of them. Of course this is the worst thing they could do and things take off from there growing even more desperate as not everyone gets back on the train in the same spot, having be cut off from the main passengers by zombie filled carriages.

Everything gets more desperate towards the end and no one seems really to be safe in this film. People only looking after themselves and making the people who escaped through the zombies go off by themselves end up sealing their own fate. The young girl wonders to her dad why you can’t live your life helping other people when he tells her she has to look after himself.

The zombies are a mindless rolling wave of violence in this movie and the incubation period of the infection tends to change depending on the requirements of the plot.

The weapons used in the movie are what you could find on a train, with an extra riot shield and baton they pick up at one of the stops. This film has one of the best “arm yourself for battle” scenes I can remember in recent history. Having thick packing tape on your forearms guards against bites and the characters remember to take off any coats of clothing that can be grabbed.

They don’t just go in swinging either, they have to use tactics such as timing when tunnels are coming up due to the zombies vision being based on movement and then going after sounds by throwing things away from them. They lock the door at the end of each carriage as the zombies can’t open it.

Due to unavoidable circumstances the train eventually has to stop, leading to a final confrontation and everything up in the air. God bless diesel locomotives, is there nothing they can’t do?

It is an excellent horror action thriller movie, but different in tone to most Hollywood versions of the same story. Due to not having much access to guns there is always a danger of someone getting bitten and people are prone to being very emotional and crying that they could not save people.

There is an undercurrent of the government not knowing what it is doing as the futures trader’s inside tip of being rescued goes awry as the big rescue does not turn out that way.

This movie has been a big hit in Korea and also screened at several film festivals including the Korean Film Festival in Australia. As far as I know it has only screened with Seoul Station at MIFF.

This is the director’s first live action film but you could not really tell as it seems to be well put together and runs along at a good pace.

The little girl is the heart of the film even though her crying does get annoying towards the end. Kind of sucked the big muscly dude did not get more screen time, but he did get a good send-off holding off a swarm of zombies allowing his wife and the other passengers to escape.

There is scope of a sequel in the story, I would like to see “Return ticket to Seoul” where they send Thomas the Tank engine back up the line armed with machine guns and rocket launchers.

MIFF 2016: Seoul Station (2016)

Director: Yeon Sang-ho

Set 24 hours before the events of Train to Busan this is the story of the initial zombie outbreak and the people who try to survive it. Being a prequel you already know the ending is not going to be good, but you have to keep watching to see how long the people will survive for.

This film was made concurrently with Train to Busan but released after it. I wouldn’t say it was necessary to watch this movie before the other movie but it does give a back story to the initial outbreak and how it managed to spread so far.

The initial infected person is a homeless person and his brother has a lot of trouble getting treatment for him as people just seemed annoyed by him. When he finally does get help it is too late and the body is missing when they go back to get it.

A young woman and her boyfriend living in a cheap hotel have a break up over the boyfriend pimping her out to make the rent. Angry Dad finds her ad online and is on the trail. The woman storms off and turns off her phone.

The zombies attacking the train station is confused with homeless people making too much noise by authorities. The young woman gets caught up in the fleeing homeless and ends up stranded in the holding cell of a local police station surrounded by zombies.

Angry dad and the boyfriend go back to the hotel, only to be attacked by zombies and have to escape via the roof. Angry dad manages to bully the boyfriend into doing what they need to get out and back to the car.

Things get progressively worse as the night goes on and even the arrival of the authorities does not help as they completely misread the situation and even are responsible for a large amount of survivors being killed by not letting them escape.

It is a downer ending but as good as it can be in the circumstances. Someone turns out to have been lying all along just to get people to do what he wants. There was an audible “Nooooooooooo!” in the screening I saw it at when it was revealed what was going to happen to one of the main characters.

It is a very unique animation style, almost reminding me of roto scoping in some places. This is not a kid’s film as it is very violent with a lot of zombies biting people and violence.

I would recommend this film if you have already seen Train to Busan and want to see a further extension of the story.

MIFF 2016: The Lure (2015)

Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Starring: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Jakub Gierszal, Zygmunt Malanowicz

Two mermaids named Silver and Golden are found by a group of musicians having a drink by the river and recruited to work in a nightclub as part of their act. Although Silver (Marta Mazurek) is happy to go along with working in the club, Golden (Michalina Olszanska) still lusts after the hearts of humans as that what they live on usually. This causes a lot of trouble with their working conditions and one of the mermaids falls for the bass player. They can also communicate with each other telepathically and have the power of sirens.

While this is a retelling of the little mermaid story, it is more of the Old Testament version with moments of extreme gore. While not a full on horror movie there are times when the mermaids grow sharp teeth and attack people and one of them is fully sawed in half at one point.

This movie is a musical and does have dance numbers. There used to be a whole genre of Eastern European Communist musicals back during the Cold War that are available online if you look for them.

While the film does have elements of camp and comedy it is not really a funny more or a fun gory romp. It is more of a serious story in the mode of an allegory on love and what people are willing to give up to find love.

The story is set in the 1980s and does manage to keep with this area rather well with no real clangers I can see with the costumes or hair.

The two actresses playing the mermaids walk around nude for a lot of the film but for some reason they do not have functional genitalia while in human form “like a Barbie doll” it is described and when they have tails there is just a slit in the tail (I will refrain from jokes about fish fingers).

The sexuality of the mermaids has a question mark over it as one of them does have sex with a female police officer and they kiss each other with tongues whilst on stage. They are not really fully regarded as “human” by either themselves or the other characters. Even their merman friend said they are “only on holiday” in the human world.

There is a lot of music in the movie and dance numbers. A lot of the plot development happens during the songs also. The soundtrack can be found on iTunes and Spotify.

I would recommend this movie if you liked the Little Mermaid story but want to see a different darker version of the story and also enjoy movies with musical numbers.

MIFF 2016: Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016)

Director: Werner Herzog
Featuring: Kevin Mitnick, Elon Musk, Lawrence Krauss, Lucianne Walkowicz

“Helloooo, my name is Werner Herzog”

An interesting, but scattershot documentary that is frustrating in that it covers a lot of ground across topics that are very deep like skipping a stone across the surface of a lake and barely covers any of them.

Topics such as artificial intelligence, game theory, interplanetary travel and others get the same time covered as quackery such as people being “allergic” to Wi-Fi.

It almost becomes a parody of a Werner Herzog as they have at least one quip from the director in each segment that the audience laughed at due to the director’s Teutonic dryness. Even Kevin Mitnick got a laugh after the director described him as a “Demigod of hacking” and then he appeared as a normal man.

The story of the family who were a victim of trolls was strange with the baked goods on the table and the woman claiming that an abstract concept was the manifestation of evil. People can do evil things a concept is not evil unless you apply it to do bad things.

The online gaming segment could have been a documentary of its own, I did like Tom running across the rope bridge and the director saying “no need for a further introduction, that was perfect” also Werner wanting to talk to Chloe about her online characters to which she went “MAH TRIGGERS!” and refused. He did seem genuinely disappointed of not getting to discuss dark elves.

I am not really the audience for this as I know a lot about the internet having been on it for 20 years and have studied aspects of it in detail. As a popular surface-level documentary on the internet this show do fine. It does ignore that the main purpose of the internet was to connect people and technology was only part of this.

MIFF 2016: Kedi (2016)

Director: Ceyda Torun

Despite trying to be good and rescheduling a session from the previous night I still did not get to bed until quite late the previous night so I kept nodding off during this documentary but hopefully managed to see most of it.

The story covers the cats of Istanbul that do not have owners in the traditional sense more that they are the responsibility of the community and the cats themselves decide who they are going to adopt and they tend to have right of way to come and go as they please.

I have heard of some cats adopting people other than their owners in Australia and people paying the vet bills and looking after other people’s pets but not on this scale where it seems to be part of what is expected to be part of the community.

If you like cats at all I would recommend this documentary as the cats have different personalities such as the “neighbourhood psychopath” who would not let her “husband” have even a tiny grain of cat food. The “milk thief” who turned up to as a tiny kitten on the roof and now rules the roost and a cat that swatted at a customer trying to sit on a chair and now sits by her window with his paw raised until she lets him in.

There are several examples of people feeding carts en masse such as cooking 20kg of chicken per day for a bunch of cats and one man who used feeding stray cats as a method of treatment for his mental illness and now it is his life to look after the cats.

There is also some coverage of why cats are so important in Turkish society including the sewers being built that attracted rats and every house had to get a cat. Also Istanbul being a world shipping hub meant that a lot of cats jumped ship from all over the world and ended up living in the city.

This documentary sold out both its screenings at MIFF and got an encore screening that will probably sell out. Hopefully it will get a local screening in the future or DVD release as it should be very popular.

MIFF 2016: Talking Pictures – Jerry Lewis: The King of Comedy

Federation Hall, Saturday 6th August
Featuring Alan Finney, Shaun Micallef, Santo Cilauro, Chris Fujiwara, Frank Woodley and Lawrence Mooney

This session was recorded so I will just go over the highlights as I remember them.

There was an interesting mix of speakers including Chris Fujiwara who has written about Jerry Lewis and the Australian comedians who were a mix of working comedians and more senior ones with an interest in Jerry Lewis. Shaun Micallef in particular came across as quite the scholar of comedy and admitted to taping the soundtrack of Jerry Lewis movies from TV so he could practise lines from them.

Frank Woodley hit Lawrence Mooney over the head with an empty water bottle to demonstrate physical comedy is still funny. He also admitted to stealing a couple of jokes from Jerry Lewis for his TV show including one that took 6 months to practice and was only in the show for less than half a minute (the juggling of an funeral urn containing ashes).

Santo Cilauro said that growing up in a non-English speaking household the main things they watched were wrestling and Jerry Lewis movies as they did not require an understanding of the language to follow the story.

Most of the comedians on the panel admitted to being strongly influenced by Jerry Lewis to get into comedy and Shaun Micallef mainly did impersonations of his act during his university revue days.

There was some discussion of Jerry Lewis’ days working with Dean Martin but most of the time was taken up with his movies and that it would have not been the same if he had came along earlier as his comedy relied on people seeing him to work. Also that he plays the loser who wins on his own terms in his movies which is not as popular these days.

Even in his more serious movies such as Scorsese’s the King of Comedy he runs like he is in character and they did have nods to his character work such as the white socks and the scene with him holding the door shut to make it look like the other person was having trouble opening the lock.

There was some discussion on the Nutty Professor that Buddy Love was closer to Jerry Lewis’ real life persona but he still hams it up by having fey punches dubbed in with Hollywood punch sounds.

The movie the Patsy was also discussed with the big finale being a reshoot based on one of Jerry’s routines made to look like it was improvised but it could not have been as there was so much involved.

It was an interesting discussion and I would like to see more Jerry Lewis movies in the future now knowing a bit more about him and his movies.

MIFF 2016: Meal Tickets (2016)

Director: Mat de Koning

Featuring: The Screwtop Detonators, Dave Kavanagh, Nici Ward, Will Stoker, Matt Doust

While I had seen and photographed the Screwtop Detonators a couple of times (1) (2) but I never really followed them closely as there were a lot of bands that I was seeing at the time and still do as it can be years in between seeing some bands for me. The Bittersweet Kicks were active around the same time in Melbourne and I ended up seeing them more as they played at my local a lot more (until they got banned for good with the help of Spencer P Jones, but that is another story).

Screwtop Detonators 2008

Screwtop Detonators 2008

I am not close friends with the band members, but some of them are on my friends list on Facebook whatever that concept means these days. I will try not to let that influence my judgement on the documentary too much but having someone I know in it is different than just someone I know making the documentary.

The director was originally friends with the band and just started hanging out and filming them as something he did. Must have had a good video recorder as I did not have any decent video recording capability until I got an SLR with it inbuilt until 2011 and I had just been taking photos for around the same amount of time.

As happens in a lot of times with new bands you get someone wanting to act as their manager in this case Dave Kavanagh who thought he could use his connections and talent to make them into a big name. You cannot doubt that he was sincere about it but a lot of time when someone offers to help it is more for something they will get out of it than you will.

The band does get one US tour out of it with a lot of dates and a good experience. I would not have liked to be the members of the band watching themselves at the screening seeing the stuff they did and said 12 years ago as it would have been extremely embarrassing.

What also happened on their first tour is their roadie decided to leave the tour as it wasn’t working out for him as he was a shit roadie. He turns up later in his own band Will Stoker and the embers and even the promo photo for this doco is of his band.

As happens with a lot of bands they decided to move to Melbourne to make a go of it on their own, which meant dumping Dave as their manager. While Melbourne is good for the gig opportunities, it also means you have a lot of competition. I was well aware of them during that time but only saw them a couple of times while they were active in Melbourne.

Nici Ward, the partner of Ben from the band is also a musician but that was not shown in this documentary. They did manage to find the exact clip that demonstrated how level headed and sensible she is. It could have made an interesting counterpoint including her musical endeavours as the women in music I know do not tell do fall into the bullshit of having to live the rock and roll lifestyle to prove themselves and then end up dying of cancer in their 50s or drinking beer through a hole in their neck.

Nici Blue Eyes 2008

Nici Blue Eyes the day after my birthday 2008

Most of the bands I know have to have another job to support their musical career as Australia is just too small. Bob Log III may live in Melbourne but has to tour most of the year overseas. Don Walker struggles to sell tickets in regional RSLs while the Cold Chisel cover band down the road sells out.

I do know that Nici worked hard in the crepe stall including on Black Saturday when she was outside. Ben and the other band members would have worked just as hard in other jobs and also trying to make a go of it with the band. So I understand their decision to break up the band and for Ben and Nici to move back to Perth.

There is a resolution with Ben Ward now being in a band called Leeches, some of the other members moving onto other projects and the one member who stayed in Melbourne playing in a few bands. Will Stoker is still performing but has not played a gig for a while.

The Q&A after the screening had the director and some of the members of the band including some who had not seen each other for 11 years.

Editing the film was a massive undertaking due to having 700 hours of footage and when the director finally decided to knuckle down until it was finished took another four years.

I can’t remember many of the other questions but Will Stoker said he did not regret anything that he did that was shown in the documentary.

It does make me think more about doing something myself in terms of a documentary. I have enough photos of bands after 12 years of taking photos of Melbourne. I will be contributing to the Fred Negro documentary coming up. I don’t really have the finances to start anything at the moment or a subject.

I would recommend this documentary to all new bands starting out to see what you will go through if you want to stick it out in a band for a significant part of your life.

Q&A at Kino Cinema at MIFF 2016 5/8/16

Q&A at Kino Cinema at MIFF 2016 5/8/16