Losing time and it’s Radiothon already?

I’m not quite sure how it happened but with the blink of an eye and the clap of a hand that four day gap that is supposed to see me rested and recuperated between the end of MIFF and the start of RRR’s Radiothon evaporated without any chance of recovery. I’m usually so good at this. I block the Monday out, sleep, eat, watch tv then sleep some more but this year I had visitors on the Monday. Ok. It was my folks and my nana. I couldn’t say no to my nana. She’s so cute, and little and frail these days. It was great to see them but boy could I have done with more sleep.

Anyway somehow Monday became Friday and worse still that lurgy I’d fought off right through the film festival made an appearance – for radiothon! Not cool. You thought that was bad. ‘My thing’, ‘the thing’ I do during radiothon is bake lots. Bring on sickness and baking stops. I mean I like to share but I draw the line at sharing germs with two dozen people via a couple of batches of cupcakes a day. As a consequence my only baking this year was for Monday’s Breaking And Entering shift. So sad.

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MIFF catch-up

It was bound to happen that with so much on I wouldn’t get around to writing a word about anything I was seeing. I now understand why taking time off during MIFF felt like such a necessity. I miss that privilege. So here I am, last day of the festival. On my way to the Forum for my final volunteer shift, sleep deprived after 16 days of squeezing more than I should out of myself, burning the candle at three or four ends to accommodate as many films as I could and then to top it off – Closing Night, what fun. It’s been such a wonderful festival, it always is but this time it’s been different. I haven’t simply seen a spectator I’ve got to stick my head behind the curtain and it’s been lots of fun.

But the films. Can I write anything coherent about the films I’ve seen in my current state? I think I’m likely to have to add a further post or two after the festival as a personal reminder of what I’ve seen or particularly enjoyed. I’m still cursing that I can’t find my marked up guide from last year’s festival with my film selections but can recall the films I saw in 2001. What ludicrously!

The tail end of my festival has been exceptional, though I still have two films after my shift today but believe they are relatively safe bets (Another Earth and Le Havre). Friday afternoon I saw a fun Australian feature Swerve. Friends that had already seen it mentioned the story felt familiar which I wouldn’t argue but I enjoyed the ride. I loved Melancholia. I know after the first screening there was lots of chatter from both sides of the Lars von Trier camp shouting adoration, maybe with this I missed the negative comments also floating about. I didn’t notice the 130 minute length, the time flew for me, but others I’ve spoken to this weekend wished for it to hurry up, ‘do’ something, ‘say’ something other than simply look visually stunning. Stunning it did look right throughout. The final shot is awe. For me though the entire film had me gripped. The story first told through Justine’s eyes suffering depression then Claire’s with another ailment I found so honest and true.

But here I am at the steps of the Forum. Shall finish this another time.

MIFF 60, it begins

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Melbourne International Film Festival, it’s my 11th festival (yes I was a bit slow off the mark) and it’s also my first festival in a while where I’ll be juggling work commitments with festival sessions. I’ve been fortunate for the past few years to have an accrual of leave allowing me to take the full festival as paid leave, grab a passport and pretty much settle in and develop a vitamin D deficiency while chalking up as many films as I could handle between countless coffees, drinks and chats with films loving friends.

This year I’ve taken a different approach. I decided to put my hand up to volunteer for the festival. Something I’d wanted to do for a while but it would mean giving up on my 60+ sessions. As it turned out, this is to be the year. I’ll mostly be gracing the corridors of the Forum (my favourite Melbourne venue) with one side trip to IMAX.

Last night saw the donning of one’s finery for the festival’s rather lax interpretation of a ‘black tie’ Opening Night. Seeing as only this week I commented on twitter that ‘we really did wear a lot of black in Melbourne’ I opted for a very bright, very girly, vintage frock from the wardrobe. Pity about the winter chill but bright yellow and red accessories it was to be. It’s always fun to dress up for a night.

I only clicked on Wednesday that this year’s opening night film, The Fairy, is the new film by the creators of Rumba (MIFF 2008) which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was another charming little slapstick comedy from directors Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy, though Rumba’s running time of 77 minutes possibly suits their style of film making a little better than the 93 minutes allocated to the The Fairy.

The Fairy

After the screening we all waltzed our way around the corner from the frocked up GU (it’s amazing what a layer of curtains can achieve) to the more fitting Melbourne Town Hall where most flocked immediately to the bars for liquid refreshment. Not boozing for the evening I was able to wait for the masses to thin out then politely ask for a mineral water. There was plenty of opportunity for film chatter with friends, opinions on the film we’d just seen, what we were most looking forward to seeing, if we’d make it to an 11am screening tomorrow etc. After much harassment and no opportunity for a hasty exit without being spotted, I joined the AFI circle for a ‘quick dance’ before leaving. Once you start of course you don’t stop and before I knew it the house lights were on and it really was time to go. Much fun was had and again what a great start to the festival!

Now wait for it, I woke up and booked a film! I saw the King of Comedy this afternoon which was great. There was a big group of us there which made for even more fun. I’m not sure what was better, seeing it on the big screen or Glenn Dunks cackling two seats over.

In other news, my first volunteer session is on Sunday!

My favourite place (in the city)

Last year I used to visit at least once a week but it’s been far too long now. I’ve become lost in that haze of searching for work to fit within my very specific needs that I haven’t been to my happy place – the NGV!

When I worked off Flinders Lane, right near Degraves St I would visit the NGV Australia, the NGV International or both weekly. I could spend my lunch hour listening to something wonderful on my iPod while admiring the art. I highly recommend this if you work nearby.

To be specific the NGV Australia Level 2 is one of my favourite places in Melbourne’s CBD. It houses the 19th and 20th century Australian art components of the NGV Collection, The Joseph Brown Collection plus the current exhibitions of the Australian fashion & textiles gallery and the Australian photography gallery.

Since I’d last visited the Jreissati Family Gallery (gallery 8 ) has had a complete facelift. I guess it’s part of the new hang of the 20th Century Australian Art Galleries for the NGV 150th birthday celebrations and I adore what’s been done.

Because I love it so much I’m going to walk you through the beautiful new space – the artwork as well as the slight movement of fixtures which help direct you through the gallery. Here we go!

I could easily walk you through the entire space but I’ll behave and only point out a few highlights. On the right hand wall when you walk in there are now seven lovely John Brack pieces. Joy Hester’s (Untitled) (Head of a woman with hat) splits the Bracks from a mass of Sidney Nolan works, the bulk of which are on the back wall in an interesting new display.

A wall of NOLAN

Tucker, Boyd, Percival are all still here with the ceramics case now splitting the space in two. Around the corner there’s a nice placement of Jeffrey Smart’s Kapunda mines (1946) next to three Russell Drysdales.

Continue along and a wall of abstracts follow. My favourite piece in this section is Godfrey Miller’s Still life with musical instruments (1958). This piece appeared in the Heide exhibition ‘Cubism & Australian Art’ but I don’t recall seeing it. Unfortunately my photo doesn’t do it justice but the colour in this work and the light and shade I find much more striking than his two pieces across the corridor in the Joseph Brown Collection (Trees in quarry 1961-1963 & Still life with jug 1949-1954). Visit, then you be the judge.

Godfrey MILLER Still life with musical instruments (c. 1958)

Gallery 7 had also undergone a re-hang but not as heavily as gallery 8. There are some lovely new pieces but the bulk is unchanged. I may write up a new post on these changes soon.

The 19th Century Australian Art collection in galleries 5 and 6 next door was closed, possibly in the middle of a new hang, on the day I went in. – which is in itself exciting.

If you’re available at 12.30PM on Thursday 17th March 2011 I’d recommend attending a Floor Talk: The NGV Collection – 20th century Australian art. It’s a free event occurring in my favourite place. Enjoy it on my behalf, I’ll be at Uni at a film screening…

The hidden garden!

There was a big shout out of SHOOOOSH just now. They’re talking of a walled hidden garden in the Melbourne CBD about to have a public opening. Is this the hidden garden? The one I, and many of you I guess, have walked past countless times wishing for a peak inside.

Is it? Could it be?

I am very excited to report that yes it is. I speak of the private walled garden at The Melbourne Club.
Now, next Sunday when some of you will flock to St.Kilda for the annual festival I shall be heading eagerly into the city to ensure I have prime viewing of this hidden gem. It is part of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme allowing access to ‘…some of Australia’s most inspiring private gardens”.
The important bits.
Sunday 13 February 2011
(No bookings required)
Address: Enter via Ridgeway Place (off Little Collins St), Melbourne
Directions: Melway 1B:U7. NOTE: No photographs permitted
Open: 10am-4.30pm. $6.00, no charge for children under 18
Image and important bits from http://www.opengarden.org.au