MIFF 2013 – The Congress (2013)



Director: Ari Folman
Starring: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Sami Gayle, Michael Stahl-David

Robin Wright (playing herself) gets a harsh dressing down from her agent (Harvey Keitel) about all the bad choices she has made in her life. Her studio is offering her one more contract, but it is different from a normal movie contract, they want to scan her into the computer and use the digital persona to make movies without her input.

While she is hesitant at first, her agent manages to convince her and also helps her by telling a story during the scanning process. Cut to 20 years later and Robin arrives at the Futurist Congress which is in a “restricted animated zone” and a whole lot of stuff happens.

WOW! It’s hard to put into words how amazing this movie becomes once they cross over into animation. Even the live action sections, such as Harvey Keitel’s speech during the scanning process would be a stand out in any movie, but having the animated section takes it to another level.

It all seems to be hand-drawn animation also and is very creative. I liked the line “we apologise for the lack of symmetry in the rainbows” and all the things you see when the characters walk around with people who become whatever they desire.

There is also some satire relating to the current state of the movie industry with “the whole system changing” and sticking the boot into Australia for some reason. It also shows what happens when people alter their brain chemistry to get whatever they want, the entire world economy became redundant and people just shuffle around in the ruins dressed in rags living inside their own minds.

The clips from the fake movies where interesting with “Rad Rebel Robots” and the reworking on the riding the bomb scene from Dr Strangelove.

I had not heard of the story by Stanislaw Lem that the film was based on, but it looks interesting. The production was a multi-nation project due to the number of animators involved and you can see the work that has gone into it up on screen.

Not sure how well this movie will go in general release, but it should be a big hit amongst fans of animation and science fiction stories.

MIFF 2013 – I Am Divine (2013)


Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
Featuring: John Waters, Divine, Tab Hunter, Rikki Lake, Bruce Vilanch, David DeCoteau, Mink Stole, Edith Massey and others

While I knew of Divine and have seen a couple of the movies she stars in, I did not know the whole story. I seem to remember John Waters speaking in another documentary about Divine being his star and he manages to say something different here.

Divine may not seem totally outrageous today, but you have to remember being a trail blazer means ending up on fire yourself. It was a very conservative environment and it was a crime to be gay in those days in the USA (John Waters says it was more fun that way though.)

There are a lot of talking heads in this documentary with some clips of the movies that made Divine famous, if you wanted to see more of them you can go watch the films themselves I suppose.

I did learn a lot about the actor and also did not even know Divine was lined up to have a role on Married With Children not in drag just before he died.

I was happy to see this at the festival, sitting in the same row as I did for “The Movie Orgy” a few years back with almost the same people in the same chairs. Hopefully the documentary gets a wider release on DVD and TV in the future.

MIFF 2013 – Cosmic Psychos: Blokes You Can Trust (2013)


Director: Matt Weston
Featuring: Ross Knight, Dean Muller, John McKeering, Bill Walsh, Matt Lukin, Eddie Vedder, Buzz Osborne, Butch Vig, Dan Peters, Steve Turner, Mark Arm, Ray Ahn, Fudge and others

Can’t really be objective on this one, I put in money for the Pozible campaign and my name is on screen on the credits at the end. I have to say I am happy with the result and it is one of the best music docos I have seen. They also recorded the three gigs at the Tote in late 2012 and those will hopefully be on the DVD release.

It also shows that you think you have something figured out like the Cosmic Psychos and then it turns out you hardly know anything at all about it. One of the biggest fans of the band and also their friend told me there was stuff in here that he did not know about.

I saw the Cosmic Psychos at the Big Day Out in 1997 in the cattle pavilion at the Melbourne showgrounds and had heard about them before that, but didn’t really take photos of them until 2005 around the time of their Off Ya Cruet release. I even made a music video for one of the songs off the album, which I put on VCD as Ross doesn’t have a computer

There is a lot of talking heads in the movie, but it is broken up by performance footage and photos. Also having the demonstration of the drinking game with the 50c coin is something you would not see in a lot of docos.

It was interesting to see how they dealt with the split with Bill Walsh in the band. The last time I saw them in the same building both the bands they were in were playing at the same time and Bill and Ross did not cross paths. They were honest about it and have admitted they have moved on with their lives.

We all still miss Robbie Rocket, I’m not going to go into it. 2006 was a shit year with Robbie, Billy Thorpe, Ian Rilen and Lobby Loyde passing on. There was the tribute gig at the Corner Hotel that was a good send off.

Fred Negro's tribute to Robbie Rocket

There was a Q&A after the screening, but the band themselves seemed a bit reserved. It was interesting to hear Matt Weston hearing how he came onto the idea of funding the documentary through crowd funding and that he was not really that into the band before he started the project. Cheers to Paul Elliot who had a go of the 50c game and won himself a free ticket to the Psychos gig at the Hifi Bar.

The Cosmic Psychos are doing a victory lap to promote the doco with a double live LP on “beer and piss coloured” vinyl. They will also be playing over in the US with a big festival date at the same time as the Grand Final, if the Tigers are in it Ross said Matt Weston can play the bass.

MIFF 2013 – Mood Indigo (2013)


Director: Michael Gondry
Starring: Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh, Omar Sy, Aïssa Maïga, Charlotte Lebon

Colin (Romain Duris) lives a carefree life with his live-in lawyer Nicholas (Omar Sy) who cooks to amuse himself and sweeps off the table with a broom. When his friend Chick (Gad Elmaleh) comes over and says he has fallen for Alise (Aïssa Maïga), Colin says he wants to be in love too. Cue funny dance sequence with giant-bendy legs with Nicholas. Later at the party for the puppy he meets Chloé (Audrey Tautou) and they fall in love and eventually get married, but is not a “happily ever after” type story, but you will have to see how it turns out for yourself.

Once again I curse at my inability to describe something in words that really needs pictures and video to be shown fully. I would not want to spoil everything on display as that is the main joy of this film. Things like the live-in mouse who is a man in costume are never explained and also the giant room with all the people typing the dialogue for the movie on typewriters.

The “addicted to books” plot is very weird also, at one point Chick and Colin take a pill that lets them experience literature and Chick gets addicted and dissolves a book in solvent and then puts it into his eyes, leading to disaster.

You could compare this movie to Amélie, but that is selling it short as it has a lot more grit along with the creativity. I would have to say it was hipster pornography, there was polite laughter throughout the screening and I ended up giving one particular concept a single clap out loud before I could stop myself.

I enjoyed two of the supporting characters played by Omar Sy and Aïssa Maïga in particular, as Omar is cool and Aïssa is very beautiful, but in a different way to Andrey Tatou.

As I said I can’t really go into detail of all the concepts and just plain weird stuff in this movie without spoiling a lot of it, if you are a fan of the work of this director and also the actors I would recommend it.

MIFF 2013 sessions booked

I ended up getting two eMini passes and was persuaded to by a MIFF membership, but will have to see how that particular one pans out.

Mood Indigo
Cosmic Psychos: Blokes You Can Trust
I Am Divine
The Congress
A Field in England
Final Cut – Ladies and Gentlemen
The Act of Killing
Broken Circle Breakdown
Animation Shorts Program
WTF! Shorts
I Delcare War
Lygon St – Si Parla Italiano
Rewind This!
Aim High in Creation!
Comrade Kim Goes Flying
Talking Pictures – Juche Showtime: Capturing the DPRK on Film
Hong Kil Dong
John Dies at the End

MIFF 2013 shortlist

First read-through of the 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival program.

Good Vibrations
Mood Indigo
Closed Curtain
Shirley – Visions of Reality
The Broken Circle Breakdown
Final Cut – Ladies and Gentelmen
The Last Time I Saw Macao
Persons of Interest – Part 1 & 2
Fallout (documentary about On the Beach filming not the video game)
The Rocket
In Bob We Trust
Lygon St – Si Parla Italiano
Moon Man
Approved for Adpotion
I Declare War
Behind the Camera
The Missing Picture
Twisted Trunk, Big Fat Body
Comrade Kim Goes Flying
Aim High in Creation!
Kong Kil Dong
Hertiage Fight
Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer
The End of Time
Narco Cultura
Dirty Wars
The Moo Man
The Act of Killing
Pearblossom Hwy
Computer Chess
Rewind This!
Big Name No Blanket
A Band Called Death
Cosmic Psychos: Blokes You Can Trust
Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls
The Sunnyboy
The Congress
The Pyjama Girl Case
A Field in England
I Am Divine
Patrick (2013 remake)
John Dies at the End
The Trials of Muhammad Ali
Weekend of a Champion
Dragon Girls
WTF Shorts
Animation Shorts

East Side Story (1997)

Director: Dana Ranga

Tagline: Tractor! The Musical!

I had heard rumours and seen some clips of Eastern European communist musicals before, but I never knew that someone had made a documentary about them until my research on tractors turned up this title.

Through as series of clips of the movies, interviews with the people involved in their production, audiences and recreations of party review committees, this documentary attempts to tell the story of a forgotten era of cinema from behind the Iron Curtain.

I have to say after watching this that some of these films look like the best movies ever. It is very frustrating to find out after my own further research that the amount of these movies that are actually available today can be counted on the fingers of one hand. (When I first watched this documentary back in 2005, a lot less of these movies were available.)

It is a bit sad that these films were never considered as ‘art’ when they were released, as it means that many of them were just forgotten after the fall of communism. The people involved had a hard enough time making them in the first place and they deserve recognition for their achievements.

I also liked the funny anecdotes from this movie, such as Stalin liking to laugh it up with funny movies and having a fantasy for ‘boys photographing tractors’. The views of the audience members interviewed were also great to hear as you don’t normally hear their opinions in this sort of documentary.

This documentary comes very highly recommended and I am planning on buying a copy on DVD (along with the movie ‘Hot Summer’) as soon as I am able to so I can watch it again for the great musical clips.

Rating: 9/10

Buy the documentary on VHS (DVD too expensive)

Full movie now on Youtube!

DEFA Film Library – Cinema of East Germany

Hot Summer clips

No Cheating, Darling! clips

Full list of films in the documentary and availability:

Title Non-english Title Country Year IMDB entry DVD Youtube Clip
Adventure in Marienstadt Przygoda na Mariensztacie Poland 1954 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047373/ http://www.youtube.com
The Antique Coin Antike Münze, Die Bulgaria/GDR 1966 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058911/
AT 6PM at the End of the War В 6 часов вечера в конце войны USSR 1944 http://vobzor.com/page.php?id=1394 http://www.youtube.com/
The Bright Path Светлый путь USSR 1940 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0215582/ http://www.russiandvd.com/
Carnival Night Карнавальная ночь USSR 1957 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049397/ http://www.amazon.com/
Cossacks of the Kuban River Казаки Кубани USSR 1946 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041562/ http://www.ozon.ru/
Ernst Thalmann, Class Leader Ernst Thälmann – Führer seiner Klasse GDR 1962 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048038/ http://www.amazon.de/
A Handful of Notes Handvoll Noten, Eine GDR 1962 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0230272/
Hard Work, Happy Holiday GDR 1950
Hot Summer Heißer Sommer GDR 1968 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061756/ https://defafilmlibrary.com/
I Don’t Want to Marry Nu vreau sa ma însor Romania 1961 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0125960/ http://www.youtube.com/
The Jolly Fellows Веселые ребята USSR 1934 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025946/ http://www.russiandvd.com/
The Lovable White Mouse Geliebte weiße Maus GDR 1964 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058134/ http://www.amazon.de/Geliebte-wei%C3%9Fe-Maus-Der-Reserveheld/dp/B0000AMK3R http://www.veoh.com/watch/
Midnight Revue Revue um Mitternacht GDR 1962 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056411/ http://www.amazon.de/Revue-um-Mitternacht-Christel-Bodenstein/dp/B0012OVDZE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEeUzf6eq8M
My Wife Wants to Sing Meine Frau macht Musik GDR 1958 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051919/ http://www.amazon.de/
New Year’s Punch Silvesterpunsch GDR 1960 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0175168/ http://www.amazon.de/Silvesterpunsch-VHS-Erich-Franz/dp/B00004RXZ3/
No Cheating Darling Nicht schummeln, Liebling GDR 1973 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068999/ http://www.amazon.de/
The Swineherd and the Shepherd Свинарка и пастух USSR 1941 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034249/ http://www.ozon.ru/
Tractor Drivers Трактористы USSR 1939 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032050/ http://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/701881/?item=2396079 http://www.youtube.com/
Vacation on the Black Sea Vacanta la mare Romania 1963 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0175289/ http://www.youtube.com/
Volga, Volga Волга – Волга USSR 1938 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030947/ http://www.ozon.ru/
The Wayward Wife Lots Weib Czechoslovakia/GDR 1965 http://www.umass.edu/defa/
Woman on the Rails Dáma na kolejích Czechoslovakia 1968 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060279/ http://www.csfd.cz/

Oldies.com DVDs #1

I finally got around to watching Legend of the Superheroes after buying a few of the Warner Archive Collection/MGM Classics/Sony Screen Classics DVDs last year. I know some of them are now available only, but I cannot watch them there due to region restrictions. Also I noticed a lot of these DVDs have “not for sale or rent outside of the US” on them. Has not stopped some local DVD stores selling them at double the price though.

Urgh! A Music War

Has a large line up of bands playing from a concert recorded in 1980. Fans of the bands should know that while the popular bands of the time do play, they don’t actually play their most popular song. I did like the large amount of bands involved and some of the more interesting bands like the Surf Punks

They reminded me of Melbourne band the Twits are fair bit for some reason.

Legends of the Superheroes

I had heard a lot about this from various sites pouring scorn on it in the past few years. As a fan of the Superfriends cartoon series I was interested in it and not just to make fun of it. I turned out to be a lot better than I thought from the short clips I have seen. Having Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, Ruth Buzzi and a lot of other talented actors and comedians in it helped a lot. Even though the show was never picked up from the two pilot episodes, it does look like the people involved were having a good time and laughing for real at some of the jokes during the filming.

I found this great site with someone who went to the trouble of tracking down the original actors from the show and interviewing them

The Bed Sitting Room

Another one I had been meaning to see for quite a while after reading about it in Spike Milligan’s autobiography. It was originally a play and Spike also moved his parents out to Australia as he was so afraid of nuclear war. I was quite pleased with this one due to the cast and that it was very weird with no explanation as to why the strange things were happening other than “radiation”, it is also a lot more up in tone than most post-nuclear war movies.

Sid and Marty Krofft’s Greatest Saturday Morning Hits

After posting the following trailer to my friend’s wall, I got the message back “You are the ruler Tim! This is boss!”

I had to buy the show then, I did try and find the complete set via a VHS to DVD rip, but the seller turned out to be dodgy – what a surprise! so I settled for this one. There were other boxed sets, but they were either out of print or too expensive.

The rest of the episodes from each of the shows were interesting and even the widely derided “Bigfoot & Wild Boy” was not as bad as people make out. I would recommend this DVD for people who want a taster of some of the shows before they go looking for them online. I learned the lesson with the Banana Splits DVD boxed set as even the creators of the show got sick of it after a while, they had a buggy race that went for six episodes, should have gotten compilation DVD of the Danger Island episodes.


I had not heard of this one before I saw it on the Warner Archive Collection list on the oldies.com website, looked interesting at least. I ended up being a bit disappointed in it as it does have a good cast including George Carlin doing the narration, but they never seem to make enough of it including the jokes that fall a bit flat.

Luckily it still has an Beach Boys song they wrote for the movie.

And not forgetting Meatloaf vs. a car

Legend of Billie Jean

Q&A from the Cinefamily screening

I forgot where I first heard of this, but was intrigued by the trailer and the news it was having a rare public screening as it hadn’t really been seen since it was released in the 1980s. Also there were rights issues regarding the soundtrack that needed to be resolved.

This is the best DVD of the bunch as far as I am concerned. Sure it may be a bit over the top at times, it is very earnest and the soundtrack suits it perfectly. Also for fans of the Simpsons it is the chance to see an early role outside of Herman’s Head for the voice of Lisa Simpson, Yeardley Smith.

Pat Benetar – Invincible/Legend of Billie Jean music video

Product links:
Urgh! A Music War

Legends of the Superheroes

The Bed Sitting Room

Sid and Marty Krofft’s Greatest Saturday Morning Hits


Legend of Billie Jean

The “to buy” list

I have a lot of things I would like to buy, but do not have the money for at the time. In this situation I usually make a note of the item in the back of my yearly pocket diary and make a point of buying from that list first when I am going to buy something.

I have had items it takes several years before I buy them though as I get distracted, the reason I know this is that I keep all my yearly pocket diaries dating back to around 2000 with all the appointments and notes so I can see what I have done each year.

For the current year (2012) the items on the list are:
The Aimed School (aka School in the Crosshairs)

Girl of Time DVD

Nobuhiko Obayashi is a cool dude and I enjoyed his movie House very much. He also is an inspiration on continuing to do something even if people tell you it is “stupid” and you will make a fool of yourself, which is what happened while making House. His lighting crew also spent hours looking for the tiny screws out of his glasses as he treated them nicely.

Sci-Fi Invasion 50 Movies set

Yes, I did watch this recently

A lot of these movies are public domain/shovelware, but I did enjoy the last “50 movies” box set at least the movies I watched from it. I can’t remember who I lent it to these days.

Buddha’s Palm

I do like the Shaw Brothers re-releases by Celestial Pictures, even if a lot of them are only coming out on VCD/iTunes these days. The cases are always good to look at also (the western versions are toned down somewhat and do not have the cardboard slipcases.)

Why yes, I do already have Demon of the Lute on DVD http://hkmovies.timchuma.com/demonofthelute.htm

Five Element Ninja (aka Chinese Super Ninja)

I like the original trailers more than the re-worked ones for the re-release. The older ones have more character and are not so slick as the newer ones, which also leave out a lot of the jokes from the original movies making them look more serious than they really are.

75 Years of DC Comics

I really enjoyed reading “the Golden Age of DC Comics, 365 days” and this is the definitive guide to DC comics. It is also quite hefty and more of a “fireside study” edition. It is so large a book that the publisher is re-releasing sub-sets of the book as separate editions.

What Did You Do in the War Daddy?

Saw this being talked about on Trailers from Hell and thought it looked interesting.

Gameboy with LSDJ/C64 with MSSIAH

I participated in a chiptunes workshop with Dot.AY and Derris Kharlan at ACMI http://blog.acmi.net.au/index.php/2012/11/chiptune-heaven/ and I wanted to follow it up. Despite all the bands and music I go to see I do not play myself and wanted something to play around with, even if I am not going to play live.

I do still exchange messages with Goto80 on Twitter and I have emailed him a few times. He used to live in Melbourne for a while. Unfortunately I have missed the last two Blip Festivals in Melbourne for different reasons. This is a shame as there is not really a “scene” for that kind of music and that is pretty rare considering how many other different types of music are played around town.

Super Inframan

Still kicking myself that I did not buy this on the strength of the box art in my local Asian DVD store when I had the chance. I did buy Oily Maniac http://hkmovies.timchuma.com/oilymaniac.htm and Bat Without Wings

“Lick it up! Lick-it-up! Aaaaaah!”

The Wayward Cloud

Wooooooo, boy! The watermelon scene was removed from Youtube, boo!

Trailer (NSFW)

Boxer’s Omen

Unfortunately the “Black vs. White Magic Battle” recommended by just the Youtube URL in print by Animal Collective has been taken down. I will try to resist the temptation of buying and watching all the Shaw Brothers movies at once.

Holy Flame of the Martial World

Hooray for Cinefamily! (http://www.cinefamily.org/) I would not have found out about this movie otherwise. They also have some great re-cut trailers including this one for Possession with the Knife as the soundtrack

Everything is Terrible DVDs

I have been enjoying watching the remixes on their site since late last year.

Looney Tunes Golden Collection 1-6

I do have the Australian-release “Best of Bugs Bunny” release, but the Australian releases never have the same extras or content. It would be good to have all these in the same place also.

Kurosawa Box Set

Out of print now, boo! Might have to get the films individually.

Emperor of the North

I forget how this came up, but I was watching Ernest Borgnine driving around talking about filming the fight on top of the train with Lee Marvin and thought it would be good to watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTHJpm8lt0Y

Humphrey Bogart box set

I have not seen a lot of these movies, would be good to be able to watch them all at once.

Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985

Found on Robin Bougie’s blog (NSFW) http://bougieman.livejournal.com/ looks like a lot of interesting stories in it.

House of Psychotic Women

Also looks interesting and I would like to find out more about the movies involved.

RIP Ray Harryhausen

I will get the movies later, but for now there are some books I am interested in buying.

Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life

Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook

A Century of Stop Motion Animation

Brain Pulse Music

Thanks to Drag City for including this in their weekly newsletter, looks pretty neat:


There is a CD http://www.dragcity.com/products/brain-pulse-music

And also a demonstration of the machine http://www.dragcity.com/artists/masaki-batoh/videos/111

I always enjoy reading the stuff from their newsletter and often send the links out to friends on Facebook including local label managers and people who I think would have a specific interest in the subject.