Brendan is really enjoying MIFF and this week has seen a mixture of commercial and not so commercial films. First up is Certain Women which has 3 interlinking stories in Midwest smalltowns, starring high calibre actresses Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern. Laura steals the show 3 stars.  Kristen S also stars in Personal Shopper, a film which people have either loved or hated. It’s a ghost story—a drama with some thriller elements and a bit of comedy. Kristen gives a nuanced performance and Brendan really loved it 4 stars. Brendan’s favourite film was Terrence Davies’ Sunset Song based on a novel and a part of British folklore—set before WW1.  The performance by former model Agyness Deyn blew Brendan away and the cinematography was superb 5 stars!!

Brendan later reviews Absolutely Fabulous–the movie. He actually got to interview the leads on ‘the gold carpet’ in his other job!!! Both were very lovely and approachable and Brendan talks briefly about the topics they discussed. Unfortunately the film didn’t live up to the ‘lofty expectations’ 2.5 stars.  David also talks about Morrissey from The Smiths fame because he’s touring in October.

Special guests this week are:

11:53 to 27:57 mins–Neil Armfield is, at present, the co artistic-director of the Adelaide Festival for 2017 (amongst his many hats). Neil has been in the theatre world since 1980 and had come to Adelaide from Nimrod NSW to join Jim Sharman at the influential Lighthouse Theatre. Neil directed Twelfth Night which they then filmed with a great ensemble of actors that Jim collected- including Geoffrey Rush. He returned to Sydney and helped in the purchase of the Belvoir Theatre which ran without an artistic director for 9 years.  He’d developed a personal style & connection with a great group of actors and became artistic director in 1994–staying for 17 years.  He then directed another film– Candy (2006) with Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish and years later, Holding The Man (2015). Neil is now working with an old colleague from Belvoir (Rachel Healy)as co-artistic directors of the Adelaide Festival 2017 and are ‘cooking up a really interesting festival’. He talks about the experience of putting a fest together and also the Centrepiece Opera–Barrie Kosky’s production for Glyndebourne Opera of Handel’s Saul. Neil details Kosky’s stellar career, here and overseas, including his direction of the very memorable 1996 Adelaide Fest and the award winning series of operas in Berlin. Barrie has made opera ‘alive’ and exciting, with Saul getting responses akin to a rock concert. The look of this opera is spectacular –‘like an extraordinary Baroque dream’and it has a ‘twist’.   There are four performances commencing on 3 March 2017 which is quite ambitious for an opera in a fest.

32:59 to 48:22 mins–Director Emil Wolk and performer Kate Fryer are here to talk about Laughter and Tears–a mixture of circus and singing via a collaboration between Victorian Opera and Circus Oz–on at the Palais Theatre on 13, 16 and 18 August.   It involves 2 episodes 1) Laughter which is ‘a unique prologue to the tragic events of Pagliacci’ where entertainers ‘prepare to perform a comedy of forbidden love for the local townspeople…’ and 2)Tears which is the well known opera Pagliacci . Kate was an actor and did children’s theatre until she got an epiphany regarding circus & physical theatre at two very physical shows in the 1996 Adelaide Festival. She trained at Circus Oz in Melbourne and got cast in The Tempest in a company which created very physical Shakespeare works. She and a colleague then moved onto to Circus Oz and Rock n’ Roll Circus etc. Emil was exposed to opera, famous performers and wonderful experiences through his father, who was a principle baritone at Covent Garden. After school he studied mime and ‘tumbling’ with teachers that were ‘incredible characters. He semi-retired from the more physical work and moved to Port Macquarie with his Aussie wife but was invited to do work overseas and for The Victorian Opera. Laughter was devised & created by [themselves]. Emil sees Laughter as a homage to all theatres like the Palais and Tears as a political commedia piece based on Fascism with the clown being Mussolini.

50:31 to 1:18:39 mins–Photographer Matt Irwin is here to talks about his coffee-table book  Melbourne – a love affair. Matt has been a photographer for 25 years. As a teenager he wanted to be a film-maker and had an appreciation of beautiful images.  He started travelling Melbourne’s streets with a camera-seeing them as beautiful -and learnt some camera and video techniques via a TAFE course. He felt no-one else saw the streets as he did and he did it for himself initially. Friends showed interest so he did some markets and got positive feedback and started making money. He likes taking misty shots and his subjects tend to be buildings and laneways.  He explains why and likens it to the paintings of Jeffrey Smart who is his favourite artist. He has travelled all over the world and explains how he views things, including seeing beauty in things that others don’t. He definitely has ‘an eye’ and describes what he does when looking around for a subject; and also the role of  instinct, patience and technical combinations when deciding on and taking a shot.  He and our hosts discuss the inadequacy of mobile phone cameras to take a high quality photo and reproduce what you ‘see’, and how the digital camera allows people to experiment as opposed to analogue. Then they all chat about the changes in Melbourne over the years, Matt’s video-making experience, his web series, cards, prints and colouring book. For people who want to see his products in the flesh there are Stockists and his original work at his Art Space.

1:19:18 to 1:31:38 mins–Edwina Bolger is Curator at Linden New Art in St Kilda and is here to talk about 2 ongoing exhibitions– Lagangu by Alick Tipoti and Duplikator by Samuel Tupou –both on until 9 October. Edwina has been working in the arts for 27 years–in commercial galleries, not-for-profit organisations, Craft Victoria and the Arts Centre.  She’s been at Linden for 4 years and has been involved with the name change and the change of strategic direction to show more mid-career artists and give them opportunities.  Edwina has always been a ‘maker’; doing stuff with her hands. She studied Fine Arts at uni, did a postgrad in Museum studies and Conservation and then a DipEd. Mentoring artists is a priority at Linden and those who win first prize in the Linden Art Prize get a mentoring program which gives them an idea of a broader picture than just their studio practice. They also run Speakeasys which are professional development workshops.  As for their latest exhibitions–each year Linden puts on an indigenous show with some help from Port Phillip Council. This year Edwina has worked with 2 mid-career artists– Torres Strait Islander Alick Tipoti and Brisbane-based Tongan/NZ artist Samuel Tupou. Aleck is known for his lino-print work and mask-making.  He also paints and sculpts. Samuel does streetart, popart, screenprinting with designs inspired by a traditional woven Tongan cloth. Both artists draw from their heritage to bring the images to life.  Next exhibition is the Linden Postcard Show on from 21 October 2016 to 29 January 2017. Entries close on 12 Sept.