Category Archives: Uncategorized

Melbourne Fringe Festival 2019: Monster / Woman

Performed by: Sabrina D’Angelo and David McLaughlin

Melbourne Fringe Festival 2019

Quilt Room, Trades Hall, Tuesday 24th September 2019

 

This show was on last year at the Melbourne Writers Festival, I did not get to see it but my friend did and recommended it to me. I also saw Sabrina who was one of the models at the Dr Sketchys session at the same festival. I have wanted to see one Sabrina D’Angelo’s shows for years but have never been able to make it.

The show explores the lore behind the fable of Medusa from ancient times through to today with a lot of things in the show that I have not heard of. It shows the amount of research that went into the production as while the original Greek story is the most known, I did not know about Freud’s interpretation of the story.

Leading up to the show were some great promotional videos that hopefully will be included in the special features if the production ever ends up on DVD.

Sabrina is a great physical comedian, but this show was the chance to show off her more dramatic skills which she does as a great deal of the performance is just her head on a table. You wouldn’t think such a heavy concept based show would get so many laughs but it did.

David McLaughlin was excellent as the straight man and comic foil at times. He played seemingly a dozen different roles throughout the show well.

While the show does have strong feminist themes I would not say you have to be a feminist to enjoy it. There is a lot of things you could learn from it if you have an open mind.

An excellent show and right at home at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, this is the kind of production you want to have on the program.

Link:

https://www.facebook.com/thesabrinadangelo/

MIFF 2019: WTF Shorts

Docking (2019)

Director: Trevor Anderson

A man explores his fear of dating and then GIANT SPACE DONGS

Not really much to this one except for a dick joke.

====

Wet. Warm. Dribble. (2019)

Director: Aaron Petersen

A woman girls her heart to her lover, except this time she actually gives her heart. There is bloody spraying everywhere but the characters seem oblivious to it.

For the inevitable heartbreak the woman has to physically get back her heart from her lover who has carelessly put it on a side table.

This was a great funny short and got a good reaction from the audience. The director introduced it before the screening. I liked the actress in it and would see her in other roles.

====

SHHHH (2019)

Director: Mordechay Jonathan

A mother gets her baby to sleep just as the father gets home. Things escalate.

Rang true with the mother throwing the tea towel directly at the father’s head. Not sure about the pissing in the soup bit but my dad did once spit beer over a cake as he thought it would be funny. Lucky it was the cake that ended up in the bin and not him.

====

Mr. Mare (2019)

Director: Luca Tóth

A man finds out he has a parasitic twin poking out from his side, but awakes to find one day he is gone. The tiny man observes the man obsessively and ends up falling in love with the big man. There is a dog in the apartment but it is mainly a passive observer.

Nice lines in this animation and a great retro look.

This one got a lot of laughs with the absurd situations in the film.

Seemed to be some sort of allegory about AIDS with the man rushing out to get himself a woman to prove he wasn’t gay. The tiny man is unhappy with this and leaves.

====

All Inclusive

Director: Jason Anderson

This short shows various scenes from a cruise ship.

This film played by accident as it was meant to be a totally different film in this slot. I was confused as to why this one was included in this session.

====

The Procedure 2 (2019)

Director: Calvin Lee Reeder

A man gets kidnapped and wakes up strapped down in a room with a speculum in his mouth.

Seems like a lot of trouble to go to for a fart joke.

====

The Little Soul (2019)

Director: Barbara Rupik

A small figure emerges from a decaying corpse and begins walking. Everything goes strange and a Hieronymus Bosch landscape appears.

Very organic looking stop motion animation, always moving and very wet looking.

Unsettling to look at but still a compelling watch.

====

Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You (2019)

Director: Brandon Cronenberg

A woman with a strange device on her head gets experimented on. She describes her experiences and they become real. It always ends with her being in hell. Not really sure if she is still in a dream at the end.

A well put together horror style short that proves you do not need many locations or even people to do things. I do like the practical psychedelic optical effects with repeating images.

====

Slug Life (2019)

Director: Sophie Koko Gate

“I’ve got tits from space and an ass from hell!”

Set in the future, a woman prints her ideal boyfriend on a 3D printer.

Reminds me of early 2000s flash animation. Very unique character designs and animation.

The sun says hello to everyone.

====

Piggy (2018)

Director: Carlota Pereda

Sarah has all her clothes stolen by some bullies at the pool and has to walk home in her bikini. The man she saw in the pool offers her back her clothes in exchange for ignore what she saw in his van

Very disturbing and hard to watch in places like the bullying scenes and the hoons abusing the main character on the road.

MIFF 2019: Animation Shorts Program

Dance of the Dead (2019)

Director: Scarlet Sykes Hesterman

A bunch of animals lovingly made in felt lie in a display case. They all are extinct Australian mammals from the last 200 years. A new dead animal is wheeled in and the spirits of the extinct animals rise from their bodies to dance in the air and raise the new arrival’s spirit.

This was the graduation film from the director and it looks great. The felt animals were all made by different people and the animation of spirits works well with the stop motion of the felt.

There are 15 animals that are extinct that are show in the short and they are listed in the credits. The new animal is the first to become extinct from climate change in Australia. It was last seen in 2009 and only officially listed as extinct in 2019.

====

The Grave of St Oran (2019)

Director: Jim Batt

Writer/Narrator: Neil Gaiman

Two men arrive on an island to build a church, which keeps falling down. Troubling dreams plague one of the men who has visions of himself killing the man and burying him in the foundation to keep the church falling down. Heresy is spoken and the church still stands to this day.

This short is based on a poem by Neil Gaiman who also narrated. It took six months to film with paper cut-out style animation and practical in-camera effects such as the flickering for the fire. Producing the movie took several years and was funded via Kickstarted.

I enjoyed this animation as it had a storybook feel to it with the drawing and animation fitting a picture book come to life.

Even though there is just the narrator you do feel the other character’s voices and the overall theme is good.

====

Rules of Play (2017)

Director: Merlin Flügel

Mysterious figures in pink jumpsuits in strange landscape that turns out to be a playground. They have strange rituals to learn how to play on the equipment and various games that end of more esoteric.

Nice hand-drawn style animation with bold lines and geometric shapes. Only a few colours such as a pink jumpsuits but they work well and there was a lot of laughter from the audience.

====

Reneepoptosis (2018)

Director: Renee Zhan

Mini Renees explore the world of Renee with orders not to eat themselves, but they do anyway.

Very nice hand drawn animation for the figures and painted backdrops.

There are many strange creatures and landscapes based on Renee.

All the sounds of the creatures are made by Renee and the dialog is from Renee.

Kind of hits you over the head with the metaphor, but still good none the less.

====

Pulsión (2019)

Director: Pedro Casavecchia

In a series of scenes a young boy has a childhood trauma and become a disturbed adult.

It looks like a model of each scene but seems to be rendered in CGI, very well done and moody.

Disturbing tone and some supernatural elements in the story help sell this one. It was hard to watch in some places.

====

Intermission Expedition (2010)

Director: Wiep Teeuwisse

Tourists in pastel clothes on holiday to strange landscape when foam appears and then keeps appearing, including erupting from a volcano, washing everything away.

Nice hand-drawn animation with good line work and complimentary colours on the outfits of the tourists.

Did not have any dialog but still managed to tell the story well.

===

The Hunt (2018)

Director: Mateusz Jarmulski

A young boy goes hunting with a bow and arrow and tape recorder, he stalks a dog who then tracks him. He ends up going for a swim and hides from the dog, but something bad happens. Does not really have an ending.

Great digital painted style animation with bold colours.

Is some symbolism with the church scenes and the skull turning giant for some reason. Never worked out what the tape recorder part was about.

====

And Then The Bear (2019)

Director: Agnès Patron

A young boy’s oedipal complex explained including a cowboy and a bear.

Great animation with chalk on black paper. What is missing suggests form more than if it was drawn. Of all the shorts I would buy frames of this one to put on my wall.

How to draw a cowboy:

  1. Draw a cowboy hat
  2. Draw the lit cigarette

====

Daughter (2019)

Director: Daria Kashcheeva

The relationship of a father and daughter explored.

Stop motion animation using roughly constructed puppets, but there is a ton an emotion conveyed with no dialog.

This short had the most pathos out of all the shorts in the program.

Even though you know the puppets are not real they seem very alive.

====

Entropia (2019)

Director: Flóra Anna Buda

Self-exploration in a psychedelic landscape with many strange creatures.

What is this a Frankie cover? I swear I have seen this style of art somewhere in their publication or related publicity before.

It all ends with lesbians because of course it does.

MIFF 2019: Present.Perfect. (2019)

Director: Shengze Zhu

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53SePKpKyNE

I was interested in this documentary as I have been a fan of Twitch streamers since the infamous stream back in 2012 that produced the ChkWhaleRoy incident and have since followed Beaglerush playing XCOM to the point where he caught the attention of the game developers and cheesed XCOM 2 so hard in front of the project head that they had to make changes to it. There is also a community that develops around these streams and I have been gifted a subscription two times by users who were handing them out by the dozens.

This documentary is different in that it follows some of the random “anchors” as they are called who are among the 422 million streamers who stream their everyday lives each day in China. There is talk of new government laws coming into effect in 2017 but it was only about 1000 or so accounts that closed.

The streamers shown are not gamers but rather just talk about their lives, do farm work, drive a building crane “I’m fucking bored!” or are sewing underwear in a factory.

This was always going to be on a hiding to nothing after coming off a Werner Herzog documentary just before it. There is no context at all apart from the title card and no narrative. There is more story watching Penny Underbust on stream playing Beat Saber.

I wanted to leave during it as a lot of people were doing but was blocked in by other people. Nothing to see here, move along.

MIFF 2019: Meeting Gorbachev (2018)

Directors: Werner Herzog & Andre Singer

Featuring: Mikhail Gorbachev, Yuri Andropov, James Baker, Leonid Brezhnev, Konstantin Chernenko, Raisa Maximovna Gorbacheva, Miklos Nemeth, Vladimir Putin, Ronald Reagan, Horst Teltschik, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, Boris Yeltsin

Trailer

I always like to see a Werner Herzog documentary at the festival and thought his last one about the internet was not really up to his standard. Even though it is about Gorbechev, it is clear who is in charge as Werner talks of being “summoned” by the subject to complete the interviews required for the documentary also the mentions of how Gorbechev has clearly done his research into the film maker and knows what sort of questions he will ask.

The very first question Werner asks is assuming that the first German Gorbechev met would have wanted to kill him. Gorbechev flips the script by saying his neighbours on his family’s farm were German. Werner Herzog insists he is not Mikhail Gorbachev’s “buddy” even though they use first names in the film.

Was a bit much Werner Herzog calling Gorbechev’s home town “God forsaken” but you would expect that sort of thing by now.

As they describe in the documentary the USSR was crumbling by the time Gorbechev finally came to power and the succession of identical funerals for former leaders shows this but I am not sure it was necessary to show all three.

There are a lot of clips of former leaders shown from the time period including Margaret Thatcher speaking on nuclear weapons. Gorbechev disagrees with her views and says she goes too far. Was a comment from the audience “Margaret Thatcher is the perfect villain in everything I have seen her in.”

Interestingly there is a sequence from another documentary, Gorbachev. After Empire released in 2001 by Vitaly Mansky. I remember watching this on SBS TV in Australia specifically his old blind auntie crying and saying “My Misha!”

The documentary tells the story Mikhail Gorbachev and how he transformed himself from a simple farm boy to the leader of one of the largest nations on earth and was loved by the people as he would go out onto the street to talk to them. Would be hard to imagine Putin doing that these days.

You can see the bandage on Gorbechev’s hand in some scenes as he had to be delivered from the hospital as he really wanted to finish the film.

An excellent documentary and hopefully it will get a wider release after it finishes the festival circuit.

Bonus Q&A with Werner Herzog at TIFF

In conversation with Werner Herzog at TIFF

Gorbachev. After Empire (2001) | Vitaly Mansky

MIFF 2019: Amazing Grace (2018)

Director: Sydney Pollack

Featuring: Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, Southern California Community Choir, C.L. Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Bernard Pretty Purdie, Chuck Rainey, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypHZbtqSU48

“A WILD MICK JAGGER APPEARS!”

The long lost concert/TV special/video record of the recording of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 Amazing Grace gospel album was looked forward to by many and for good reason. I had known a bit about the artist before seeing this film but not that she could also play the piano as I had not heard that mentioned before.

They briefly touch on that the film was recorded for a possible TV special but technical problems kept it from being released. You do hear mention of water being spilled on a console during the recording at one point.

The film is divided into two nights two the first night being the first album in the double set and the second being LP two. As they said at the start of the show they would need several takes so I have no idea who long each song took to record. It does make sense seeing the head of the church sweating so much after two songs if they had already done it multiple times.

The choir was great dressed in silver vests and black threads and the audience seemed to be dressed up for the show too. It was the 70s but those clothes are still great.

The second night seems to be when word gets around as the space is full of people and even a couple of famous people tried to sneak in up the back (CRASH ZOOM ON MICK JAGGER).

Aretha’s father gets up to make a speech during the second night which does go quite well as he talks about her time in the church and that she never left it.

If I had to pick I would say the first night was my favourite in terms of songs and performance and less zooming in to Mick Jagger at random.

Some of the camera choices were odd but it is good you can see the mechanics of one of these films for once as you can see a camera operator moving into shot and then it switches to their footage. Less footage of Aretha Franklin’s nostril please.

It is a great concert film and deserves a wider audience.

J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius (2019)

Director: Director: Sandy K. Boone

Featuring: Penn Jillette, Richard Linklater, Nick Offerman, Gerald V. Casale

“Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke!”

Trailer

I do have some memory of the Church of the Subgenius and alt.slack when I first went on the internet in the mid-90s but had never really looked into it that much. I did however end up hanging out with a slightly similar group on alt.religion.kibology until well into the 2000s that had some people who I am sure where part of the same group.

After the documentary I talked to Paul Elliot of the now closed Polyester Books who used to distribute Church of the Subgenius and showed everyone the Dr Bob background on his phone.

The documentary follows a group of friends who decide to set up their own religion as a joke to appeal to other marginalised people like themselves. They never expected it to last hence 1998 being set as the year of Armageddon in their religion as it seemed far off in the future at the time.

I did enjoy the parts about sending pamphlets to random people and connecting with other people such as the writer of the Famous Potatoes zine. They also started broadcasting over CB radio and were surprised when other people started talking back.

The “pinks” were born representing the normal people and there was a conspiracy by them to supress your SLACK. Exactly what slack is, is not really explained but then again people do not ask that core concepts of other religions are explained.

The figure of the famous pipe smoking Dr Bob was from a public domain clip art library and its original source was lost to history.

After sending the original Subgenius literature to over 150 publishers in the USA a chance find by a book publisher in someone’s car leads to a publishing deal and they bought an artist on board to lay out the book properly in line with their beliefs.

As the founders say themselves you never know where references to Church of the Subgenius will pop up as it was an underground cult that never wanted that many members. It is good having the celebrity interviews and would have helped the Kickstarter funding and getting it screened but I think it would have worked without it.

Due to the popularity of the book an event is booked in San Francisco over two nights in a 900 seat theatre. Again the founders are surprised to the reaction to their show including the part with the smashing the watch and other people offer up their real watches to be smashed. After the success of the show they get correspondence from a church member saying they are not taking it seriously even though they wrote in the founding document for the religion that the entire point is to not take it seriously.

The pipe smoking Dr Bob was an easily indefinable meme before that was even a thing and it the group was popular with the media whenever they wanted a weird story to cover.

As with any church there will be splitters in fact they encouraged it. This did come back to bite them on the arse when people started talking out on their behalf after disasters and in particular the Columbine massacre. This had consequences for them in that their venue booking was cancelled and another church that tried to help them out was threatened.

9/11 is what changed everything as hate groups and religious extremists are now targeted as a national security threat. There is more us vs them in real life so having a religious group based hating the “normals” does not seem as relevant. As one of the interviewees said Donald Trump is the most Subgenius president ever.

It was a great documentary and managed to fit a lot in its short running time. It could have been a mini-series easily and they would have had to leave a lot of things out. The clips were entertaining but I am not sure they were all meant to have been played on a big screen as they were pretty low resolution.

That was a lot of people to wrangle for interviews and I was surprised they were still talking to each other after some of the things that have happened. Sometimes it is better not to meet the people you know from online but in this case it seems the people in the group have life-long friendships.

MIFF 2019: Shortlist

Shaw Brothers Double Feature – 36 Chambers of Shaolin/The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
Bacurau
The Day Shall Come
Hearts and Bones
Martha: A Picture Story
Measure for Measure
Morgana
Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks
No Time for Quiet
Beats
Happy New Year, Collin Burstead
Alice
Particles
Fire Will Come
Memories of My Body
Photograph
Daffodils
The Halt
We Are Little Zombies
First Love
It Must Be Heaven
The Tomorrow Man
The Gasoline Theives
The Kill Team
The Art of Self-Defense
The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash
Amazing Grace
Mr Jimmy
Bros: When the Screaming Stops
PJ Harvey: A Dog Called Money
Friedkin Uncut
Meeting Gorbachev
Midnight Family
Our Time Machine
Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
The Amazing Johnanthan Documentary
Los Reyes
Picture Character
The Seer and the Unseen
Present. Perfect
The Machine
The Hidden City
Return Home
Dudes
Europa Europa
Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors
You Don’t Nomi
Greener Grass
Come to Daddy
Violence Voyager
Memory – The Origins of Alien
The Waiting Room
Animation Shorts
WTF Shorts
The Art of the Score: The Film Music of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
The World Online
Australian Cities on Film
Morgana (talk)
Bruce Beresford in Conversation

Parasite (2019)

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Jo Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-sik, Jang Hye-jin, Park So-dam

Trailer:

The Kim family is a lower socio-economic/bogan family sharing a grubby basement flat making whatever money they can from odd jobs such as folding pizza boxes. They still seem to be good and nothing about them says they are breaking the law to try and make money. It feels like you need to understand more about Korean society and culture to get the most out of this movie.

A telling scene is where the son says he failed the university entrance exam four times and the father says 500 university graduates turn up for a job opening as a security guard.

An opportunity presents itself for the son to get a tutor job for a rich family and once he gets the position he engineers ways to get the rest of his family into the house as an art therapy teacher, driver and finally housekeeper. Lies beget more lies and build until they meet someone with a bigger lie.

As usual Song Kang-ho is brilliant in this and I try to see him in every movie he is in even the ones not directed by Bong Joon-ho as he turns up in Park Chan-wook’s movies also.

The settings are really good also with the small flat the family lives in and the rich family’s house once owned by a famous architect. What the family does not know is that brilliant architects often have their own secrets and sometimes don’t tell them even when they sell the house.

It is the stated policy of the South Korean government that they want to make the best movies in the world with the aim of having a movie that eventually wins an Academy Award. There is a movie quota system in South Korea and local movies often beat Hollywood blockbusters on local release. Bong Joon-Ho stocked up on DVDs and Blurays when he was in Sydney for the film festival as most of the content delivery is online in South Korea.

If you are a social studies fan you will like this movie as the rich characters talk about people “not overstepping their boundary” and complain about the smell of people poorer than them. The son of Mr Park almost rumbles the entire scheme by saying they all smell the same.

I would not say this is Bon Joon-Ho’s best work as I still like the Host more even just for the part where Song Kang-Ho is crying so much he can’t run away. If this film gets more people to go back and watch the earlier work of the director I would support it.

I was perplexed as to the actions of some of the characters in the movie. I cannot think why Mr Kim would decide to do what he did. The scheme had already unravelled at that point and the extra action would not make any difference.