7 MIFF highlights for music lovers

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A range of must-see music documentaries from this year's Melbourne International Film Festival.

This year’s Melbourne International Film Festival program is a real feast for music lovers.

There are a few docos on the schedule that have already made waves at Sydney Film Festival. Red Dog director Kriv Stenders’ examination of The Go-Betweens’ fraught career will get another run, with both Stenders and Robert Forster in attendance for post-screening Q&As.

There’s The Public Image is Rotten, Tabbert Fiiller’s portrait of John Lydon, dissecting his conflicting lives as Johnny Rotten, and the ringleader of Public Image Ltd. and there’s Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World.

There’s also a very special screening of There WIll Be Blood, with Johnny Greenwood’s Oscar-nominated score performed live by the MSO.

 

There’s a ton of premieres and unique highlights at this year’s MIFF, but if you want to explore music on film, you can’t miss these seven flicks.

Song To Song

Whatever you’ve heard about Terrence Malick’s divisive SXSW romance, the sheer amount of musical star-power is enough of a drawcard.

Beautiful A-listers Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman swan their way through Austin’s rock scene, with cameos from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Florence Welch, Lykke Li, Black Lips, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more.

Something Quite Peculiar: The Life and Times of Steve Kilbey

Based on The Church frontman’s autobiography of the same name, Something Quite Peculiar charts the ups and downs of one of Aus rock’s most eccentric figures. Mike Brook’s honest, brutal portrait doesn’t shy away from Kilbey’s sudden rise to fame and the struggle that followed.

A Life In Waves

We were lucky enough to have the legendary Suzanne Ciani in the country for Sugar Mountain Festival in January, and if you saw her, you’ll want to learn about her incredible 50-year career at the forefront of electronic music.

Get to know the unsung synth hero, the multi-Grammy nominee and prolific composer in her own words.

Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy

Making its world premiere at MIFF is the stunning story of Yolngu elder Djalu Gurruwiwi, who broke tradition by enlisting Gotye to help him protect the ancient Songlines of his people from erasure, and amplify them to the rest of the world. 

Revolution of Sound: Tangerine Dream

S U R V I V E’s acclaimed Stranger Things soundtrack, Grand Theft Auto’s dark, chugging sonic backdrop, the perfectly curated soundtrack for 2011 cult classic Drive, they all owe their sound to the groundbreaking work of German synth-rockers Tangerine Dream.

Margarete Kreuzer’s doco gets to the heart of the late Edgar Froese, who pioneered the now ubiquitous, dark psych synth sound.

Two Trains Runnin’

Common narrates this exploration of the earliest days of the Southern Blues scene, and the quest of 1964 quest of musical investigators to find missing Delta blues legends Son House and Skip James.

With performances from current legends Gary Clark Jr, Buddy Guy and Lucinda WIlliams, the film fuses three generations of blues music together into one overarching yet detailed landscape.

MIFF Closing Night Gala

We can’t publish the theatrical title of the Closing Night Gala film, but its relevance makes it essential viewing. Paul WIlliams’ documentary about the late Dr G Yunupingu is a poignant portrait of one of Australia’s musical treasures, and an important, timely opportunity to reflect on an incredible life.

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