The Null Device


I went to the Tropfest short film festival on Sunday afternoon/evening; they had the Melbourne screening outdoors at Yarra Park, on a big portable video screen (with big chunky pixels). The main event was in Sydney, but there was a secondary event in Melbourne, via satellite; buth cities got their own compéres and live entertainment. (Melbourne had some live funk/groove/chill-out band I didn't see and a DJ who played upbeat reggae (in daylight) and house (after dark); all rather Chapel St., or south-of-the-Yarra at least.)

Ah yes; the films. 16 in total, and a bit of a mixed bag. Boomerang, I Can't Get Started and Wilfred were amusing, as was Lamb (in a bittersweet kind of way). (The last two ran back to back, which was thematically rather apt.) Late Night Shopper (of no relation to the Scottish slacker comedy) was a nicely tense piece of Tarantinoesque violence set in a supermarket; Murbah Swamp Beer was a lighthearted documentary about the consequences of a semitrailer full of beer crashing into a river on a long weekend, with plenty of interviews with the locals. The Thing in the Roof was competently suspenseful, a sort of minimalist horror piece, F.A., a mock public-service announcement on the addictive consequences of filmmaking, was quite amusing, and How Am I Driving was a stylishly shot critique of materialism. Oh yes, and the Tropfest trailer (done by last year's winner) was quite well done, even if it pushed the bootywhang angle a bit too hard.

On the down side, The Flying Nut did look like it had been done in a weekend in Flash (as it had been), and was (IMHO) rather feeble, both technically and conceptually. (It was meant to be a short humorous piece based on the wannabe terrorist who tried to set his shoe on fire onboard an airliner.) Matchbox (the one with the guy in a match suit looking for the girl in a matchbox suit only to find her having run off with a guy dressed as a cigarette lighter) seemed like Comedy Company-grade material, and Tragic Love also seemed a bit weak, relying on celebrity impressions as the main joke (though one thing I noticed about it was the dig at Australia's least favourite Scientologist; I wonder whether a film made somewhere where his ex-wife didn't come from would portray Tom Cruise in such an unflattering light).

Also, I wonder whether anyone from main sponsor Intel will have a stern word with the compére for thanking "the Mac operator" in the crew towards the end.

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All Hail Discordia: It seems that some AudioGalaxy user has taken it upon verself to inject some chaos into the orderly organisation of searchable songs and artists on the service, and other downloaders have mirrored it, advertently or otherwise. Let's just say that I'm fairly sure that "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" is not by Radiohead.