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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