With summer and its string of music festivals gradually receding, with the coming of winter arrives the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2013 and among the two week-long program lies two particular highlights for music fans to seize upon.

Two music documentaries featured in the 2013 program are certainly ones to watch out for, and have been recently profiled via MIFF’s First Glance Page. A new feature-length rockumentary called The Stone Roses: Made of Stone and an intimate look at the frontman of vintage Aussie rockers, The Sunnyboys. 

Following the unforeseeable reunion of ‘Madchester’ rockers, The Stone Roses, last year, the eagerly-anticipated documentary of their world tour has made its way onto the MIFF circuit.

Directed by Shane Meadows, who spawned the successful dramas Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) and This is England (2006) – which harrowingly explored British skinhead culture in the early 80s – The Stone Roses: Made of Stone focuses on the lead-up to the band’s two massive headline shows at Heaton Park in 2012, and described by GQ as “a film made from a fan’s point-of-view.”

Having reunited in late 2011 on a controversial note, with bassist Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield vehemently denying rumours of a reunion following tabloid speculation that John Squire’s presence at Mani’s mother funeral confirmed as much, the dramas continued for the larger than-life four piece on their world tour. A stop-off tour in Amsterdam mid-last year, saw drummer Reni walk out mid-gig– Ian Brown concurring with the disappointment eminating from the crowd, “what can I say? The drummer’s a cunt.”

But it seemed an isolated incident, the band soldiering on with their world dates, including touring Australia earlier this year to unanimous buzz by Tone Deaf reviewers, The Stone Roses: Made of Stone will hopefully not disappoint later this year. However, it is not just the big Brits stealing the limelight at MIFF this year.

Having first found fame in the early 80s, The Sunnyboys, who were the first Sydney band to sign with Mushroom Records, disintegrated upon hitting their stride due to internal band conflict and frontman James Oxley’s battle with mental illness.

Possessing a musical legacy which has seen their self-titled debut album be listed in the industry voted The 100 Best Australian Albums and playing a comeback slot at Meredith Music Festival last year, director Kaye Harrison has timely documented the day-to-day trials faced by Oxley, who suffers from schizophrenia in her feature, in The Sunnyboy.

With an underlying message for increased awareness of mental illness, the documentary, expresses Harrison, goes beyond such themes through the embodiment of Oxley. The director stating: “He really opens up the whole subject matter of mental illness; not because he thinks he’s an advocate for mental illness, he’s just being himself.”

The two music docos look set to join the ranks of feature length band profiles and rockumentaries (think Dave Grohl’s Sound City, Metallica’s Some Kind Of Monster, and Under African Skies – profiling the making-of and legacy of Paul Simon’s Graceland). With The Sunnyboy in particular looking to join the quality club of recent locally focussed music docos, including Shihad: Beautiful Machine and Autoluminescent: Rowland S Howard.

Although music-lovers will be rugged-up for the winter season, a night in at the cinema doesn’t seem too bad at all.

Melbourne International Film Festival 2013

25th July – 11th August, 2013
Program at http://miff.com.au/

The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone
UK, 97 min, Dir. Shane Meadows

The Sunnyboy
Australia, 90 min Dir. Kaye Harrison

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