MIFF 2011: Melbourne on Film Program 1

23 Jul

Recommended for: The elderly, people from Melbourne, history teachers.

Score: N/A

Part one in a two part program of short historical films about Melbourne. Part 2 screens on Friday the 5th of August.

The American(1959)

Tongue in cheek film begins with an American standing on Princess bridge narrating what sounds like a postcard to his mother while ogling at a passing lady *wink wink nudge nudge*. Interesting predecessor to the Barry McKenzie films with the crude depictions of Australians as easy going, sports mad, beer swilling white supremacists blokes

Melbourne Wedding Belle (1954)

Twee short about a Englishman arriving in Australia for his daughters wedding at St James church. Father of the bride pops into the horse races on the way, only to bet his wedding present with hilarious, albeit predictable, consequences. Meanwhile the groom, an upstanding Doctor no less, stops in the pub, has a bit too much too drink and realises he’s forgotten the ring at the hospital. Serious film scholars are divided over whether or not he is shagging one of the nurses. All of this is narrated in limerick form, the writers going on to produce many successful commercials for Windscreen O’Brien.

Life in Australia(1966)

While worthy of inclusion and historically interesting I must admit I was starting to pray for an interval at this point in the program. FACT: people ate a lot of roast chicken.

The Cleaners (1969)

Ever wondered who cleans up the rubbish? The cleaners that’s who! Part moral hygiene, part Allen Ginsburg inspired buddhist chant this 1969 short is a flashback to a time when littering earned you a gentle tsk tsk rather than a $200 fine. Much like the Grateful Dead’s 20 minute guitar solos were replaced by the Knack in the 80s, we later learned the virtue of having a simple message.

The Melbourne Concert Hall(1982)

Well shot documentary of the Melbourne Concert Hall and Arts centres construction between 1973 and 1982. The only documentary on the program with interviews, it provided some cerebral relief as well as being a bit of porn for audiophiles.

Sunday in Melbourne (1958)

Odd little film, not least because of it’s socialist bent, Sunday in Melbourne was probably my favorite filmette of the bunch. Footage of men and women in hats going to the church and drinking by the yarra is juxtaposed with footage of catweazel-esque homeless men. “Is he winning or has he dropped out of the game?” muses the narrator over footage of one such lovable tramp; it’s a moment that seems surprisingly incongruous for the time and alarmingly more radical than anything shown on television these days.


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