The movie musical, while intermittently revived in the mainstream affections, has long been associated with the golden age of Hollywood between the 1930s and the 1960s. This season demonstrates that the musical has also flourished away from this perceived American "centre" – while still existing in dialogue with it – throughout the subsequent decades. Queer spectatorship has long been associated with the genre, yet remarkably few musicals are marked by an explicit queerness.
Exploring a still rich and varied corpus, this season opens with two gender-nonconforming rock musicals which feature a divided Berlin and the collisions of Americans and Germans in their narrative engine rooms: John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch and one of its key inspirations, Rosa von Praunheim’s City of Lost Souls. The following week pairs Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s extraordinary Polish mermaid horror musical debut The Lure with a recent Japanese rediscovery, Makoto Tezuka’s unhinged The Legend of the Stardust Brothers, both steeped in 1980s aesthetics and concerning musical acts on the make. The final week of the season highlights how the musical was embraced in the Eastern Bloc at the very height of the Cold War, with critique of Western and communist ideologies embedded into both Ladislav Rychman’s The Hop Pickers, from mid-'60s Czechoslovakia, and Gyula Gazdag’s Hungarian Singing on the Treadmill, appearing ten years later. These films round out a season of musicals every bit as energetic as, but more ideologically complex than, their "La La Land" forebears.
Genre nonconformity and East Side stories: decentring the musical Part 1
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) – Wed 7 Dec, 7pm
City of Lost Souls (1983) – Wed 7 Dec, 8.50pm
The Lure (2015) – Wed 14 Dec, 7pm
The Legend of the Stardust Brothers (1985) – Wed 14 Dec, 8.45pm
The Hop Pickers (1964) – Wed 21 Dec, 7pm
Singing on the Treadmill (1974) – Wed 21 Dec, 8.40pm
Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.
Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven.