Saturday, August 06, 2016

MIFF- Weiner, Destination Arnold and The American Epic Sessions

To begin my Saturday MIFF session I headed to the Comedy Theatre for the documentary Weiner. Filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg received behind the scenes access to Anthony Weiner's return to politics as he ran for the Democratic nomination for New York City mayor in 2013. The film was a fantastic exploration of Weiner's attempt at redemption from his previous sexting scandal, and how the truth always manages to catch up with you in the end. You really felt for his wife Huma Abedin and the campaign staff as scandal broke out yet again with the revelation of "Carlos Danger" and the media circus that followed.

Next I went to the Kino Cinemas for the Australian documentary Destination Arnold by Sascha Ettinger Epstein. The film follows aspiring Indigenous bodybuilders Natasha Lawrence and Kylene Anderson, who dream of making it to the Arnolds bodybuilding competition as it comes to Australia for the first time. Filmed over two years you get to experience the struggles of both women as they try to stay committed to their goals.

My final film for the day was The American Epic Sessions by Bernard MacMahon on the big screen at Hoyts Melbourne Central. This fantastic music documentary featured modern day musicians recording vintage Americana songs on a 1920s Western Electric Scully recording lathe that cuts their three and a half minute live takes directly onto vinyl. With the sessions overseen by Jack White and T Bone Burnett, there were a wide range of artists from different genres invited in to record ranging from Nas to Elton John to Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. My favorite sessions were with Alabama Shakes, Los Lobos, Auntie Geri Kuhia, Pokey LaFarge, The Avett Brothers and Beck. It was a great exploration of the history of music in America as this first recording machine captured numerous genres and artists on record for the first time in the 1920s and 1930s.

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