Saturday, August 05, 2017

MIFF- The House Of Z, Pecking Order and Patti Cake$

It's that time of year again with the start of the Melbourne International Film Festival this week. On Friday night I went to see my first MIFF film, the documentary The House Of Z on the American fashion designer Zac Posen. It covered his childhood growing up in an artistic family in NYC, and the rise of his fashion label with his mother and sister working by his side. As his popularity grew he got funding support from Sean Combs ("the hip-hop years"), but his celebrity and the GFC ultimately led to the downfall of the label and his relationships with family members. Zac then started over from scratch, assembling a new team and going back to his atelier roots to re-energise his creativity. With interviews from all the key players in Zac's life and fashion label, it's an interesting insight into what can happen when you gain success at such an early age.

Tonight I started my evening with the New Zealand documentary Pecking Order about the members of the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club. It covered not only the internal (and generational) politics of the club, but also everyone's preparations for the annual National Show, which was like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for chickens. There were some amazing characters in the film, and we were fortunate enough to have Director Slavko Martinov introduce the film and do a Q&A after the screening, where he spilled some of the secrets of the bird show circuit.

My other film for the night was the drama/comedy Patti Cake$, which featured Aussie actress Danielle Macdonald as Patricia Dombrowski, an aspiring rapper from New Jersey. With her friend Hareesh by her side, they strive to make their dreams come true while facing down the doubters both within the community and her own family (her mother is brilliantly played by comedian Bridget Everett). Once Patti and Hareesh encounter the African-American anarchist Basterd they form an unlikely musical union under the name PBNJ and record a demo in the hopes of breaking into the music business. It's a great film about not giving up on your dreams and being resilient in the face of adversity.

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