The Null Device

MIFF: Contraptions

The Melbourne International Film Festival is upon us yet again, and I'll be going to see rather a lot of films over the next few weeks. This evening I went to see Contraptions, a double session of short films, featuring the new Wallace & Gromit Cracking Contraptions shorts and Bruce Petty's ABC-funded Human Contraptions animations. The Bruce Petty shorts were a bit disappointing; it wasn't the content that was the problem (they had some insights about the world we live in), but the waffly, semi-incoherent way it was delivered, full of non-sequiturs, gross factual errors (probably made deliberately out of a spirit of irreverence or "larrikinism" or something) and annoyingly insipid technobabble (the gimmick was that everything from sex to politics was described as a vaguely Rube Goldbergesque machine; this consisted of tacking on the words "module" and "unit" to various things). I'm half wondering whether the vacuousness was required in the ABC's impartiality contract as a condition of giving Petty (a known Communist of the old school) this series and/or fending off reprisals from Senator Alston's Inquisition.

The Wallace & Gromit shorts were a lot better, IMHO. Alas, I missed the first few, as the queue at the ticket pick-up office didn't move for a very long time. I managed to get a free ticket to another film for my trouble though.

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