Friday, July 03, 2009

More MIFF drip-feed

Being a/the major sponsor of MIFF must give The Age some scoop-rights. Today the Melbourne broadsheet has published some info not yet on the MIFF website, nor emailed out in the festival's Widescreen e-newsletter. Apparently, we're to be treated to some Melbourne punk from the 1970s and 1980s with a retrospective called Punk Becomes Pop: the Australian Post-Punk Underground. According to the article in today's paper, the retrospective:
will feature films, video clips, live concerts and lost Super-8 footage of bands such as the Boys Next Door, Primitive Calculators, the Models, Essendon Airport, Plays With Marionettes and Crime & the City Solution.

Highlights include a digitally restored version of Richard Lowenstein's post-punk classic Dogs in Space, featuring Michael Hutchence in a role based on Sam Sejavka from the band the Ears, fashion designer Alannah Hill and actor Noah Taylor; Lowenstein's documentary on the making of the film, Living on Dog Food; Haydn Keenan's Going Down, which has been described as "Sex and the City for the post-punk set"; and Punkline, about fabled St Kilda venue the Crystal Ballroom.

I haven't been around MIFF for long enough to know if this is a new direction for the festival. For the last couple of years at least, retrospectives have focused on directors rather than themes or actors (MIFF's other previously-announced retro is on Anna Karina). It seems MIFF might be taking a leaf out of ACMI's and Melbourne Cinémathèque's books, who have been doing this for some time.

I have no familiarity whatsover with the Melbourne punk scene. In 1979 I left my home-town for Adelaide which was my base for the following seven years. And during that time, though I travelled widely throughout South and Western Australia, I pretty much lived in a social and cultural time-warp. Do any readers have any opinions about this retrospective? Are these likely to be hidden gems? Trash or treaure?

The full MIFF program will be in The Age on Friday 10 July. As a MIFF member, I'll be getting mine from the program launch on Monday 6 July, so expect some posts announcing some highlights that Monday and Tuesday.

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