FoodxFilm Festival Review: When Tomatoes Met Wagner (2019)

Over on Soda & Telepaths, as part of the FoodxFilm Festival coverage, I watched When Tomatoes Met Wagner, a film about people playing classical music at tomatoes and then putting the tomatoes in jars to sell… it was actually fascinating

5 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Films I’m Excited To See

Film Festivals have had a hard go the last few years, having to adapt to the pandemic meant that a lot of them have had to move online. Over the last month I reviewed films for one of those festivals, the Sydney Underground Film Festival, but coming up throughout the month of October is the 6th Annual Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. 

Between the 1st and the 31st of October, the MDFF will be showing over 20 feature-length documentaries and dozens upon dozens of shorts. There’s so much on offer that it’s going to be a challenge to pick what to view… luckily for you, I’ve skimmed through the list and picked 5 documentaries that I’m most looking forward to in order to influence your decisions of where you put your money because that’s the kind of thing I do.

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The World’s Best Film (2020) – The World’s Sweetest Documentary

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

There is really no pithy opening paragraph I can come up with to properly start this review of a film that, rather charmingly, calls itself “The World’s Best Film”. I tried, couldn’t think of anything… mostly cos I was just too damn charmed by the film to really bother with the normal format of these reviews.

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Origin of the Species (2020) – I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Origin Of The Species Info

Do you remember the Tay Twitter bot? For those who don’t remember, this was a Twitter bot that Microsoft designed in order to try and get an AI to learn how to have a normal human conversation… and because they put this on TWITTER, that bot went from sweet and charming to full-on Nazi in under 24 hours. It was a quick lesson in how quickly an AI can learn and how that learning can be used to create something terrifying… and the limits and uses of AI make for an interesting time in the Sydney Underground Film Festival entry Origin Of The Species.

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Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché (2021) – Obsessed with This

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

After the gut-punch of a documentary with Lydia Lunch, it feels right to wash it down with a documentary about another performer that broke boundaries in her own unique way. The idea of course was to try and watch something that was a little lighter and maybe a little easier to take on… stupid me forgetting that the Sydney Underground Film Festival thrives on really just fucking with the audience. So, time to talk about Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché.

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Fanny: The Right To Rock (2021) – Wonderful Feeling

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Fanny: The Right To Rock Info

The history of music is filled with some truly great female bands. The Go-Go’s, The Runaways and The Bangles just to name a few that hit big mainstream success. One band however is considered to be the first all-female rock band to be signed to a major label, a band that would influence all the others that followed, were championed by such icons as David Bowie and would open for bands like Slade and Jethro Tull… that band was named Fanny and they were at the forefront of women’s right to be rock stars (which is great because that gives their documentary a fantastic subtitle to put after the semicolon).

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Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over (2019) – Unearthly Delight

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

I’ll be honest and admit the name Lydia Lunch was not one I had heard of before I started watching the documentary Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over. Why would I? I’m an unhip Aussie who wasn’t even conceptualised back in 1979 when Lydia started performing with her band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (which… yeah, best band name ever, calling it now). In a way, I feel like not knowing anything about Lydia worked to my advantage because watching the film felt like being punched in the face with shock and awe, which feels like it fits in well with her aesthetic.

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Sleeze Lake: Vanlife at its Lowest and Best (2020) – Van-tastic

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Sleeze Lake: Vanlife at its Lowest and Best Info

There’s an old truism that “If you remember the 70s then you weren’t there”. This has also been applied to the 60s, largely because of Woodstock, but it can also apply to the 70s when everyone was just doing endless amounts of drugs… like, enough drugs that anyone who was around in the 60s or 70s isn’t allowed to ever talk shit about what drugs the youth of today do. Anyway, this era led to a lot of memorable big festivals where a lot of people did a lot of drugs. Today’s Sydney Underground Film Festival entry is about one of the lesser-known drug-filled festivals, but also one of the strangest.

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