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Across the Aisle attends MIFF! Phil reporting deep from the trenches of all the pleasures of MIFF (queues, choc tops, darting from one venue to the other) and Carla from her loungeroom on the Surf Coast annihilated on edibles. Films covered are Back to Back Theatre’s award winning Shadow – a luscious celluloid imagining of their stage plays that “wonders whether an AI-led near-future society will further disenfranchise the disabled community” and the gloriously deranged Give Me Pity! starring Sophie von Haselberg as Sissy St. Clair in her first Saturday Night Special – ingenue, entertainer, demonically possessed.  We also chat cinema going (how do you do it?) and what is Coming Soon. Enjoy!

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  • Produced and recorded by Carla Donnelly and Philip Thiel
  • Theme composition Mark Barrage
  • Sound editing by Shackwest

Phil: Hi there and welcome to Across the Aisle your monthly again guide to the arts in and around the City of Melbourne. Today we’ll view and discuss the curated double feature we’ve made for ourselves from the Melbourne International Film Festival, which for its 70th incarnation is back in cinemas as well as making lots of stuff available via its online platform. After the awkwardness, to say the least, of last year’s 69 and a half, it’s great to welcome back one of the city’s true Capital F festivals for its post-pandemic incarnation and official 70th birthday. As always on this show, I picked one thing and my co-host Carla picked another. First up is Carla’s choice Shadow by Bruce Gladwin, adaptation of a stage show from esteemed Geelong based theatre company Back to Back then, after an intermission in which we rush from Kino up Exhibition Street to Hoyts in the dark, it’s Give Me Pity! Exclamation mark! Directed by Amanda Kramer and starring the eerily familiar Sophie von Haselberg. I am Phillip Thiel and I’m really looking forward to diving into these two unique pieces of cinema with my cinephile co-host, Carla Donnelly. Carla Happy MIFF.

Carla: Happy MIFF. Back at it again.

Phil: What a delight.

Carla: Even though I didn’t attend a theatre, I could feel it.

Phil: Absolutely tangible.

Carla: Palpable. Yeah.

Phil: And a little chilly. Great to see you here in our studio. Let us go to the movies, Carla. Tell us about Shadow.

Carla: Sure. So I moved to Geelong ish. I moved to Geelong a year ago and then I moved out to the Surf Coast four months ago. So this has been my new home and obviously we’ve covered Back to Back before. They recently won I can’t remember what the name of the award is, but.

Phil: It’s the Ibsen?

Carla: he Ibsen, yes. It’s considered to be the Pulitzer of Theatre, extremely esteemed theatre company based in Geelong. So I thought let’s, let’s start doing Geelong work, Geelong artists. And I thought this was a perfect opportunity to start doing that. And so the Shadow blurb goes “This ground-breaking film from world renowned theatre company Back to Back wonders with an AI led near future, society will further disenfranchise the disabled community, disability community, based on their acclaimed stage production, The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes, this compelling drama from the Geelong based ensemble Back to Back, the recent recipients of International Ibsen Award, follows a trio of intellectually disabled activists who hold a town meeting to weigh up the impacts of artificial intelligence. Fearing the worst, they devise plans to safeguard their community and the world only for their discussion to descend into chaos. Eventually, they discover that their greatest threat is right there with them in the room”. So, you know, not light entertainment.

Phil: Sure.

Carla: As you can imagine from an Ibsen award winner winning company. First of all, I think merits a discussion on theatre to film translation. Obviously, through the pandemic, we’ve all seen a lot of online theatre productions prior and then mostly camera pointed to stage, right?

Phil: Mm hmm.

Carla: So I thought this. I haven’t seen the stage show, but it’s easy to imagine what it was because a lot of it does take place in the theatre in the round of how it would have been presented. But there is. Elements outside of the theatre with the actors walking around, it being beautiful. Geelong, of course, and. I feel like the imagining of this as a filmed piece worked really well. It was really seamless and it actually took me a while to sink into the theatre part of it. Maybe that’s because also I was sort of recognizing things in the film, in the film world, but I feel like that’s something to really mention from the first go. And so then we. I love the introduction because it’s such weighty things that are being discussed. But I found this actually, like not only thought provoking but really funny because, you know, you’ve got key characters of Simon who labels, you know, self-proclaimed mayor of this group of disabled artists.

Carla: And you’ve got Scott, who is the he’s the antagonist, he’s the autistic antagonist, self-proclaimed. And you’ve got Sarah, who is sort of almost like this in between mediator, who is like, I don’t, very vocal about I don’t want to be labelled as disabled. I find these, you know, these labels neurodivergent, you know, not paternalistic but minimizing or it doesn’t feel right for me and who gets to label us. So we’ve got this trio of characters that really drive along the narrative. But the thing that I found it’s so funny is it’s just so representative of, of us as humans as well, in that they have this town hall meeting to decide the future of disability with it descending into these kinds of chaos that, you know, you’d be familiar if you ever went to like a body corporate meeting or a town hall meeting and like how mundane we are as people as well. So it kind of hits so many great elements for me in terms of. I really learned a lot about disability advocacy, even though I’m disabled myself. I really laughed along at how we’re all human, and I thought that that was such an amazing way of putting that across.

Phil: Mm hmm.

Carla: Tell me what you thought about it, Phil.

Phil: Oh, I’ve just got so many happy memories of viewing this film. Really entertaining. And what do you do when a person with a disability makes a disabled joke and you become very much part of the joke? Yeah, as a non-disabled person as I am. And that was kind of thrilling for me. Keep it simple. Use small words they say to each other either as an act of advocacy or as an act of…

Carla: A read.

Phil: Mockery. Yeah, and that just is a continuous thread through this material. And the kind of stately wryness with which they deliver these barbs is fantastic. I really think the figure of Sarah is at the heart of the film.

Carla: Yes.

Phil: Partly because of her politics, as you mentioned, being so individual and thought through. She knows when it’s time to take a stand. Yeah. And it’s like everything crystallizes around what she has to say. And it was a compelling performance very much from that theatrical tradition. One element, in addition to the tawdry town meeting vibes that you’ve spoken about, is that there’s a reporter in the room, a kind of silent, dutiful journalistic figure. And I noticed as I was taking notes on the film that my affect exactly mirrored his you know, I felt very aligned with the dorky person there, just trying to listen and trying to learn and being on the outside, but potentially having some kind of role in receiving these messages or processing them somehow for myself and other people. And look, I just I loved it. And I love works of art that train the audience in exactly how to experience.

Carla: Yes.

Phil: The show, there was something about the kind of patience that was demanded of us as an audience that was reminiscent of being in a theatre. I was at home looking at my laptop, but I quickly saw that I was going to stay connected and riveted to what was happening on the stage. And look, it was really only when looking at the blurb and other material about the film that I realized just how much at the heart of this artificial intelligence was. As a topic, there is an A.I. robot voice called Tina, who has some engagements with the characters, but I thought those were the moments where I would have preferred to be in the theatre because there were props that seemed very theatrical around that I experience. But this kind of thesis that in the future and coming quickly, everyone will have an intellectual disability relative to artificial intelligence.

Carla: Right.

Phil: Is rightly something worth exploring and something that’s going to be best explored and best taught by people with disabilities. So in terms of that content, that’s in a way, despite the fact that I wasn’t connecting with it straight away, that is the content that has stayed with me and that I have genuinely been thinking about because I was introduced to it, introduced to it in this way that was so careful and hilarious and humane.

Carla: Hmm. Yeah. And it’s I mean, the majority of the performers have some kind of intellectual disability, so that’s obviously their arena that they’re concentrated in. But I see that as sort of moving outwards for people who are physically disabled like me, where, you know, when we start talking about the robot future, whether it’s AI or not, we talk about automated manual labour and we talk about a workforce that doesn’t really have any jobs to do anymore. This is this is also the arena that it goes into of universal basic income. You know, like, how are we going to how are we going to manage the future where there’s no jobs for people or, you know, there’s none of these sort of low level manual labour jobs? How are we going to care for each other? And then I think that was really the thrust of what I found. Sarah’s arguments so interesting because it seemed like she was really rallying against labels. None of the labels fit or she found the labels to be offensive. But without these labels, there is little infrastructure to access. There is little care to access. There is it’s a it’s like a weird conundrum where you can’t be a person by not being a person. I’m not explaining that well, but I found that I hadn’t really thought of that before. And I and her rage was so beautifully rendered in this dichotomy. You know, paradox.

Phil: Doesn’t the shame sit with society? Says Sarah, at one point, referencing that classic idea about the social model of disability. And yet you’re right that she’s left both of us thinking about some detail within that. I mean, she was offended by the subtitling, for example. Yes, that was obviously about access, but also had a labelling effect on the type of show that this was. And whenever I say something by Back to Back, I really see it as part of a larger overall project. To me, all of their performances connect in an amazing way to some central thesis that is so complex about what it means to use speech and gesture and theatrical environments to convey messages and stories told by people with intellectual disabilities. I just think that is the show in and of itself. And obviously they’ve had this global impact. They’re doing work which is confronting and compelling that comes at first from that fundamental decision to simply perform, to not opt out, you know, to be…

Carla: Absolutely.

Phil: And speaking and engaging and laughing and just asking the audience to be uncomfortable if that’s what it takes and to sit with and listen to like that journalist and like me with my notebook. Exactly the kinds of stories that these people want to tell. So everything else is a bonus. I mean, the fact that I’ve got this insight about what I might do to all of us and how our species as a category could quite easily be marginalized by the things that we originate as a kind of sci-fi near-future idea that’s really compelling. But as I say, the key thing for me is just learning to listen and being in the company of these types of people is itself such an amazing gift.

Carla: Absolutely. I find I find their work so confronting on so many levels in the way that I’m I’m not socialized around intellectually disabled people. I don’t know anybody with these disabilities. I don’t see them in television. I don’t see them in work. And so when I see this whole company staffed, it, it just blows my mind. And then that becomes a thing that I’m like ashamed of and deconstructed by. And then I think, like the paternalistic narratives that I that come up in my mind, you know, like, I would never have thought that non-verbal autistic people could be performers. Why? That’s a shameful thing to think. Why do I think things like this? And that’s so much a part of the gift of what Back to Back gives us. And, you know, I keep going back to Sarah, but I’m just so aligned with her rage and it’s so universal in so many different ways in that she’s like, We’re here. I don’t need to be subtitled because I communicate adequately.

Phil: Yeah.

Carla: You know, but then there’s the other side of things of like, well, what about people who have access issues? It’s just, it’s so complex and so beautifully rendered. And this the way that this was shot was actually really beautiful as well. So crisp and clean and I think really act like actor centred rather than story centred.

Phil: I loved the behind the scenes quality as well. When the camera people would be part of what was laughed about and people got stuck outside and couldn’t get back into the building. And I don’t know, just reframing the voices of these people as not only perfectly capable of telling a story, but potentially quite avant-garde.

Carla: Yes

Phil: Or distinct as theatrical voices for moments when there was a close up on one of their faces and they were articulating so crisply, but with a kind of deliberateness, these fantastic lines that they had created. To me, it was in the style of a kind of ancient method of theatrical storytelling. You know, it had a tragic complexity because of the slowness and the simplicity of the script and the mode of performance. So in terms of what I will be thinking about more on the theatrical side, it’s like what’s been missing for all of this time from the theatre, because we have been trained distressingly to not listen or to look away from exactly the kinds of people who might actually be some of the most fundamentally insightful storytellers there are in a society. Right. So how exciting that they’re in Geelong for you. I mean you get to be a groupie and a super fan.

Carla: I know I had like these little moments when they were like filming on the balcony and I could see my office building in the background. So I had these like little squeals, which was so nice as well. And we’re happy to say that we’re going to have more Geelong content in our future, which we’ll talk about maybe in coming soon. But thanks for coming along to this film. It was it was such a dense, mind altering work for me. Oh, and speaking of mind altering, I will do that after intermission. On that note, we’re going to drink.

Phil: Yes. Let’s have a cinematic intermission.

Carla: Although that what you don’t do, though, is I mean, you don’t do choc tops, do you, darling?

Phil: I do. I do have a liquid beverage.

Carla: Oh.

Phil: That’s not a tautology. My favourite thing at Keno in the Palace Cinemas is that if you get a glass of wine, they, you know, upsell you to a longer pour. But these amazing horizontal.

Carla: Lines, I love these mummy pours. I call them mummy pours. Oh give me the give me the mummy wine please.

Phil: Even more accessible to dickheads like me by calling them things like double feature or epic. So you actually feel like you’re more validated and worthy for wanting more chardonnay?

Carla: Of course. Sure. Yes.

Phil: So let’s get one of those and a, you know, a choc top if we eat it in time because look, I wanted to just talk about cinema going because it was so exciting to be back in queues at MIFF and around people who love cinema and noticing that it’s still whatever people say or don’t say something that is going to survive and be an important cultural practice for a lot of people. But how do you do it? Carla I don’t think we’ve been to many movies together.

Carla: What do you mean? How do I do it? What is that?

Phil: Are you front row?

Carla: Oh, okay.

Phil: Are you are a muncher on popcorn?

Carla: Okay, so here’s my deal. So I’m immunocompromised, so. And I don’t work on Fridays, so I go to like the 11:00 Friday session where there’s like ten people, so we can all spread out. I can not be worried about getting COVID. And then I try to sit middle of the middle, usually 11:00 I’m not having a choc top because it’s a bit early, or if I go to the 3:00, I’ll have a choc top. I don’t like popcorn at the movies because it’s too salty. That’s about it, really. Sometimes I’ll take a little cheeky popcorn with me. You know that packet popcorn? That’s really it.

Phil: It’s such a paradox for me. Like, I pretend to like crowded art shows and I’m thrilled that MIFF is back on and we’re all queuing and filing in together.

Carla: Oh, it’s thrilling.

Phil: It is. But then I hate other people being in the room.

Carla: Oh yeah, it’s awful.

Phil: Once it starts.

Carla: Yeah.

Phil: Wouldn’t have it any other way, but.

Carla: Yeah. What do you do?

Phil: Well, the idea that eating and viewing a work of art would happen at the same time just disgusts me to my core. It’s just so obnoxious and I’m always surprised by it. I become a full on grumpy boomer if somebody cracks a packet.

Carla: No.

Phil: You know, it’s the…

Carla: The 11:00 on a Friday. It’s all boomers, though, with their rustling, with their packets.

Phil: Okay. Well, at least that’s in the morning. And there’s, you know, almost like a self-selecting activity going on. They’re like, we’re going to be the daggy relaxed.

Carla: Like mums and bubs. But for old people,

Phil: I mean I’m sure I’m, having just spoken about this amazingly accessible and inclusive set of work by people with disabilities. I’m sure that I am being wrongheaded and this will not age well.

Carla: No, you’re just very fussy around food. You have like a really big hang up with food and.

Phil: It’s specific. Yes.

Carla: Yeah.

Phil: It’s about the it’s the same thing about not wanting oranges to exist, essentially.

Carla: Oh, my God, this is deep. I love this because they’re so messy and sticky and…

Phil: They’re in other people’s mouths. And you can hear them.

Carla: Oh right. Yeah.

Phil: From 500 metres away.

Carla: It is totally odd. Like, it’s decontextualized. It’s like you don’t. Why are you eating?

Phil: Sure.

Carla: At this place, eat in a restaurant, eat at home.

Phil: Will you come back to big crowded cinemas in the near future?

Carla: Probably not. It depends on what happens with COVID. I might.

Phil: Do you miss them?

Carla: I do, not really. Actually, I don’t like Cinemagoers generally.

Phil: Yeah.

Carla: Eating McDonalds, you know, talking their phones, looking, scrolling, fucking Grindr or whatever. You know, like.

Phil: The phones are, the phones are not away.

Carla: I can’t handle it. So when I go to Readings at Warn Ponds Mall on a Friday at 11, it’s like a fucking 600 seat cinema and there’s 12 of us and that is. And that is like.

Phil: Readings, not the bookstore.

Carla: No, no, it’s a cinema. It’s chain. Yeah.

Phil: Okay.

Carla: It’s like a 600 person cinema with like 12 of us in it. Perfect, and its heaven.

Phil: Perfect.

Carla: It’s absolute heaven. So that’s kind of like my niche that I’ve come into. But what is your favourite cinema in Melbourne? Oh, you can only pick one.

Phil: Okay, well, maybe it’s just because I’m thinking about that double feature pour, but I love Kino on Collins Street.

Carla: Oh, it’s. It’s very bougie.

Phil: Bougie. It shouldn’t be there. They make the environmentally disastrous decision to hate that whole environment with its vast open. It’s associated with the Sofitel. There’s a lot that’s really.

Carla: Weird.

Phil: And dumb about it, but it is literally my local. So I like the sort of downtown, you know, shifting from work city to Entertainment City, vibe of the thing. I’m a member of the Palace Movie Club.

Carla: Hmm.

Phil: Yeah. I’ve had some really good memories going right back to my high school when I snuck into an R-rated film there with my mate.

Carla: Which one was it?

Phil: If only was it Kiss or Kill. But would that be R-rated?

Carla: Maybe it might have been.

Phil: Yeah. So Kiss or Kill.

Carla: Okay.

Phil: And then we had Macca’s to follow.

Carla: Of course. Yeah.

Phil: What’s your favourite? Melbourne or Geelong Cinema.

Carla: Okay. So I’ll be able to pick two now. So the Sun is my favourite cinema.

Phil: Great choice.

Carla: I think maybe even my favourite cinema ever. I used to. I grew up around the corner from the Hayden Orpheum in Sydney and that’s like on the same spectrum as the Sun, so the Sun, but then Geelong and this is the whole reason why we were like when we were looking to move regional, we were like, okay, Geelong is it because Geelong has a fantastic little art house cinema called the Pivotonian.

Phil: Miff was playing some of their stuff there.

Carla: Yeah, yeah. And it’s a single cinema, it’s one screen, it’s like 40 seats.

Phil: In the Astor Theatre sort of era, like old school like that.

Carla: No, it’s quite new and really esoteric stuff. So think about the really high end esoteric stuff that Nova plays three movies a day. That’s it? Yeah, it’s. It’s immaculate. You can get a toastie delivered to you. Just order a toastie and they’ll just bring it in, you know?

Phil: Fun facts.

Carla: Sorry, Phil. Sorry. You don’t need to know that. But that’s.

Phil: That’s so, like, I’ve never heard of a toastie at a cinema.

Carla: I know, isn’t it? Oh, you can order a coffee. They’ll bring you in a little cappuccino if you want. That’s like Gold class every day.

Carla: I know.

Phil: Okay, so on the V line, we go.

Carla: Yeah, Pivotonian. Oh!

Phil: But first… *theatre call bells alarm*

Phil: Okay. That is enough. We need to rush in to see yet another MIFF screening. And next stop is Give Me Pity! From their blurb “A song and dance star is ready for her big TV break, but there’s a demonic presence waiting in the wings”.

Carla: All right. I’m just going to laugh this whole time.

Phil: Of course. “Singer, dancer and all round diva Sissy St. Claire is hosting her very own TV variety special, filmed in front of a live studio audience. But as she huffs and belts her way around a deliriously spangled set, pausing only for awkward skits and lavishly corny monologue to camera, a menacing, masked figure is watching her. Is it a demon? A stalker? Is sissy self-sabotaging or is she losing her mind? As she begins to panic, the show starts to turn on her”. So let’s just get out of our system. The fact that this is Bette Midler’s daughter.

Carla: Is her clone.

Phil: Her total look alike, dance alike, bat one’s eyes alike. And there’s a fabulously spooky embrace of that persona in this show, which, as the blurb outlines, is about performing to camera as a star darling. And one of the refrains, or maybe the refrain of the movie is making it. It’s all about sort of being successful through sheer determination. And the conceit, I guess, of how the show is performed is that all of that is text. So what might ordinarily be on the fringes of the script is actually being confessed to camera.

Phil: By the performer. So rather than simply showing, she tells in a reversal of the right creative writing course dictum, and she goes through full on baby voice into over the top psychic voice. She has a whole sequence where she reads letters from her fans that are clearly plants because they’re all insanely decorated. And the reason I can sort of march through these items is because they are items in this variety show style. And in fact, intertitles appear to tell you it’s time for, quote, the America number.

Carla: Yeah.

Phil: Or an impression, etc… So it starts out all very camp, glittery, blindingly lit, delirious from the top in a way that sort of upbeat and entertaining. And it never becomes gothic or anything, but it just sort of wheels away into evermore surreal territory as the exhaustion of the performer starts to be part of that textural stuff that I spoke about before, and dresses get ripped and make up starts melting. The set decoration becomes a kind of meta commentary on the show itself, and so any attempt to make it or perform the self completely dissolves. Although one of the quotes from late in the film is to your own self, be true by that stage an extremely ironic utterance. So, Carla, Give Me Pity! How did you find it?

Carla: Well, ladies and gentlemen, first I want to acknowledge that this is the most overtly homosexual thing Phil has ever done. So bravo to you. I feel like you’re reaching a new era. A new era of homosexuality. It’s lovely. I’ve been waiting. Waiting. Wow. So this. This, this, like. Oh, where do I even start? I was extremely stoned when I watched this the first time, so I had an out-of-body experience watching it. And so then I needed to watch it again because I was like, surely that can’t have happened to me. So I watched it again with my partner. Then he turned around to me. He was like, that was really good, but that was really scary. And I didn’t like it.

Phil: Oh scary.

Carla: And I was like, Yeah, it was, wasn’t it? There’s so much to talk about this. It’s sort of definitely something beyond postmodernism. It’s not film, it’s not projection. We’re not meant to project this was actually a hostage situation or it was a shared trauma that we both experienced or collectively experienced. It was very that’s where it moves from film to art for me. Like it wasn’t a movie and it wasn’t an art performance art per say, but it was what art film I think is probably particularly the specifically the category.

Phil: Yeah.

Carla: There was just so much in this like talk about dense like these two films. But you know, we’ve neglected to mention that it was set in the style of like a late seventies, early eighties, Saturday night variety show. Did you ever watch these when you were kids?

Phil: I ask you that because I didn’t. And I only inherit a sense of them from all of these sort of postmodern adaptations or throwbacks or canned laughter as a thing. But I never had the original experience before it was ironized. Did you?

Carla: Yeah, well, I don’t think we really had ones like these, but we had the much shitter version, you know, like Hey, Hey, it’s Saturday kind of things.

Phil: Okay, well, I did see a bit of that Red Faces.

Carla: Yeah, I’m not talking specifically about Hey Hey it’s Saturday, but I’m talking about, you know, we would have it’d be a single performer’s time, you know, like they it’s sort of almost vaudevillian and they would have all these really terrible, cheesy, corny skits in between.

Phil: Was it a special?

Carla: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And so this was filmed in video or transferred to video. It was garishly lit. It almost burned my retinas.

Phil: I was seeing it on the big screen. It was so stupid. And I was sitting up close as well.

Carla: Oh, my God. All I… laughed and then I went silent and then I just sat there. There’s so many moments of insanity, but really, like what it telegraphed or teleported me into was where I feel like it’s where we’ve come with social the social media world. Like we’re all trying to make it. We’re all on a trajectory to make it. And we have these archetypal hoops that we have to or levels that we have to game in order to get there. Like Sissy St Claire, we’re now so deep into the machine that we can’t see our way out.

Phil: That’s a helpful read for me. It makes sense of one of the numbers, which was called Beauty Ritual, in which the putting on of makeup and the taking off of the face and the distortion of the face is the story as social media increasingly is becoming as well. I feel that we’ve sort of moved through the perfectionism into the behind the scenes, which is itself presented in a perfectionistic way, but is about the process and the choices that we make regarding our own appearance and our own, quote unquote, beauty. Yes. So while the style of the film was very retro, the idea that it was about the here and now really helps me think more about it. One of my favourite little segments was called The Avant Garde-ist and her date, which is a clue as well that this idea of the film as art film make some sense of it. Like by halfway through the film, they’re not even trying to align the laugh track with a joke. You know, everything dissolves and the sound and the vision starts to disconnect in a way that’s quite disorienting even when you’re not on drugs.

Carla: Yeah. And, you know, like she has that sort of monologue at the beginning where, you know, she’s aligning herself to Jesus, that she’s a big fan of Jesus “And Jesus and I are both big entertainers. We have our iconic look, our enduring presence, everything that makes us memorable”. And, you know, Kim K is really all I’m thinking about when I’m thinking about this ghoulish, vapid, you know, mirrored character. And you know, you’ve got this demonic presence on the edges, but then the reveal at the end is at the end of the special, the demonic presence is on the stage with the dog just waving to everybody. So it was a part of everything as well, you know.

Phil: Like can you feel that the only person who’s been pranked is the performer?

Carla: The thing that makes this so, I think didactic is, you know, it’s got all the canned laughter of a of a real film special, but it’s just filmed on a soundstage in front of a green screen. And she’s doing this deranged performance for what? Four people, you know? And so it’s not she’s not even getting that feedback from an actual real audience. It’s all without a set. It’s all it’s just her in her costume in front of a green screen. And that was the thing that I was like, This is where we are. This is where we live.

Phil: No one’s watching.

Carla: No.

Phil: Yes. As a sidebar, that is actually significant myth for at least the last couple of years has been so deliberate about programming women directors and stuff like this directed by Amanda Kramer is part of why I just want that. I mean, we need it for political reasons, for reasons of equality, but I also just want it because I love these kinds of works that only women can make.

Carla: Of course. Yeah, but what a read this is as well from Sophie. You know, it’s like her mother is actually absolutely beyond famous diva and she is actually a child, you know, like a talented child of that. You know, like there’s so many incredibly complex sarcastic layers to this. And that’s where it becomes post irony to me, whatever, whatever realm we are moving into, which is.

Phil: It’s sort of both nepotistic and against nepotism at the same time.

Carla: And also like this is what real talent looks like, honey. Like, you can’t buy it. You can’t, you know, what is it? Sculpt it. Ice sculpt it.

Phil: Yes.

Carla: Cryo sculpt it.

Phil: So many surreal memories coming back to me.

Carla: I loved this. I just love who you’re becoming more than anything.

Phil: Flourishing with P-H. Fabulous. Well, thank you, MIFF. And see you next year for 71.

Carla: Whoo!

Phil: It’s now time for coming soon. What is in your diary? Carla Donnelly, can you take us up to regional Victoria? Is that what you call yourselves up there?

Carla: The regions. The regions. Darling, what is next month? What are we? September.

Phil: Well, do you know what I just booked tickets to? For hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars? The London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle. Oh, they’re coming next May, but is probably going to book out in the next little while. So I was pleased to play along with that little.

Carla: What’s exciting about that for you?

Phil: The thing about orchestras is that when you see the really good ones, I speak from one experience of the New York Philharmonic. When you see the orchestras that are world class, they are 40 times better than the rest.

Carla: It’s like the skill of every single chair is incredible.

Phil: Energy, the soloist, potential of every single player and the reverence for the maestro also has this mythical sort of quality to it. And from the first note, often, or like the first loud note, you know that you’re actually inside.

Carla: You’re in good hands.

Phil: Yeah, yeah. You can you can relax, but you’re not going to be napping halfway through the second movement.

Carla: Yeah.

Phil: Okay. Yep. Looking forward to that. Anything else? Oh, Esther Perel, our fellow podcast star.

Carla: Oh.

Phil: Who does that amazing podcast where we get to listen in on couple’s therapy? Esther Perel.

Carla: Where Should We Begin?

Phil: Where Should We Begin? Yeah, she’s going to come to Melbourne and just talk about sex. Oh, at the Exhibition Centre. So my friends and I are going along to that.

Carla: Oh really.

Phil: Late November jump in.

Carla: I’m not really into her sexual politics.

Phil: It’s also weird to see podcasters live, but I couldn’t resist.

Carla: I don’t really remember what I’ve got on the cards for September.

Phil: Well, maybe the last thing I’ll just say is that Fringe is going to be on.

Carla: And Fringe is coming to Geelong. They announced that today. It’s usually does do a bit of a travelling show but it’s going to be in Geelong proper I think this time around. So that’s exciting. Oh well then Fringe, you know, this fringe parade.

Phil: The parade is being brought back and I think to Lygon St.

Carla: Yes.

Phil: Thrilling! Yeah that’s going to be a day.

Carla: So I’ve got that in my calendar to go to the Fringe Parade. Hopefully it means that we’re going to start bringing back things like Brunswick Street Parade for those who remember that,

Phil: I love all the street parades, I love Victoria Street. I still remember with fondness from my childhood, the Lygon Street. How exciting. Well, we will see what all of those things and give us your recommendations via Twitter.

Carla: Yes, we would love to hear what you’re seeing, what you’re watching, what you’re excited about. Give us some ideas. Oh, what you’re making. Yes, exactly.

Phil: Thank you, everyone. That is that for our MIFF centric August episode. Thank you so much for listening. If you’ve made it this far, do get in touch even for no reason via email at or on Twitter @acrossaisle. This is also where on Twitter you can keep up to date on our evolving plans and recommendations and circulate your own retrospective MIFF lists. Thank you, Ron Killeen from Shack West for producing us and to the public libraries of Melbourne for hosting us. Across the Aisles recorded in Naarm on the stolen lands of the Bunurong and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin nation. Sovereignty has never been ceded. We pay our respect to their elders and express gratitude for their custodianship of the land we live on. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. And thank you so much. Carla.

Carla: Thank you, Phil. It was lovely.

Phil: See you next time.