From Fred Negro to The Australian Punk Revolution: MIFF’s 2022 Music on Film program is one of its best

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From Fred Negro to The Australian Punk Revolution: MIFF’s 2022 Music on Film program is one of its best

MIFF 2022
Scanned by Oscans Imaging in July 2021 on authority of Michele Bennett

It may be turning 70 but Melbourne International Film Festival is proving it can still get down with the best of us in 2022, showing a Music on Film program that's both tantalising nostalgic and highly relevant.

MIFF’s annual music strand returns once more with an excess of musical documentaries, features and shorts to satisfy cinephiles and music fans far and wide.

This year we’re treated to an utterly tantalising mixture of groundbreaking foreign docos featuring some masterful directors, and a throwback series focusing on pivotal figures within the golden age of Aussie punk.

What you need to know

  • The 2022 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) runs from 4-28 August
  • This is the 70th MIFF event, the grand festival’s platinum anniversary
  • Visit to explore the full program

Keep up with the latest Melbourne film and television news here.

Moonage Daydream

From Cannes comes a thrillingly immersive, kaleidoscopic trip through the art and music of iconic shapeshifter David Bowie, featuring stunningly restored and never-before-seen footage. The first documentary to be made in full cooperation with David Bowie’s estate and touted as this year’s biggest music film release, Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream unfurls as both a linear journey and a free-associative mind-trip through a singular career via the kind of avant-garde collage that the star would have loved.

Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind

Ethan Coen’s solo directing debut is a canny, enjoyable doc about rock ’n’ roll’s Killer wild-man that will appeal to longtime fans of Jerry Lee Lewis’s music and those new to his outrageous story. Built entirely out of archival footage – comprising vintage interviews with Lewis, plus those glorious, exhilarating performances – Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind both speaks for, and damns the man known as Killer.

Nothing Compares

Exploding into global superstardom and imploding back into near-obscurity within just a few years, Ireland’s most controversial pop icon, Sinéad O’Connor, should have been the voice of her generation. Via intimate and incendiary archival footage, Nothing Compares paints a generous portrait of the artist as a young woman and provocative pop martyr, with director Kathryn Ferguson offering a compelling case for O’Connor as a guiding light for the current generation.

Age of Rage – The Australian Punk Revolution

Age of Rage – The Australian Punk Revolution presents a raucous tour of the wild and revolutionary Aussie punk assault of the 1970s and 80s. Through music, photos, archival footage and testimonials, award-winning shorts filmmaker Jenny Ross rediscovers how the radical musicians and activists of this period found transgressive alternatives to the status quo, and in turn became a force to be reckoned with.

Jane By Charlotte

Then there are the already announced music highlights like Jane By Charlotte which sees Charlotte Gainsbourg make her directorial debut is a quietly revelatory portrait of her mother Jane Birkin; and Meet Me in the Bathroom the euphoric ode to New York’s aughts rock renaissance, starring indie darlings The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol and LCD Soundsystem.

Who Killed The KLF?

Marvellously lively and fittingly unauthorised, Who Killed The KLF? shines a spotlight on these music pioneers who have changed the world – and who have now deleted their entire catalogue from it. Music producer Paul Oakenfold and DJ Carl Cox are on hand to give audiences added insight into what it was like to be under the spell of these electronic pioneers, while previously unheard commentary from The KLF’s famously private band members take us deeper behind the scenes.

Rewind & Play

On 15 December 1969, at the tail end of his European tour, legendary pianist Thelonious Monk spent two-and-a-half hours sweating on a Parisian studio stage under intense lights, filming a 30-minute episode of the French TV series Jazz Portrait. Miraculously, all the footage has survived – and now, French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis has intelligently assembled it into an uneasy, impressionistic collage that hums with postcolonial subtext: Rewind & Play.

Pub: The Movie

For his new film, director Andrew Leavold works off a wealth of archival material – photos, recordings, live performances – to explore the life and times of “the unofficial mayor of St Kilda”, Fred Negro who for decades chronicled the Melbourne rock scene in his weekly Pub comic strip. Featuring a line-up of local music legends including Tim Rogers (You Am I), Greg Macainsh (Skyhooks), Paulie Stewart (Painters and Dockers), Pub: The Movie is a film as loud and delightfully irreverent as its subject.


Ennio is a celebratory, star-studded portrait of the late Ennio Morricone, maestro composer for such names as Sergio Leone, Terrence Malick, Brian De Palma and – the film’s own director – Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso). Skillful and intimate, Ennio takes us from the prolific composer’s earliest works in television commercials, pop song arrangements and avant-garde improvisations, through to his defining scores for Leone’s spaghetti westerns and onward to Hollywood – a career spanning six decades. Features interviews with filmmaker partners like Quentin Tarantino, Bernardo Bertolucci, Clint Eastwood and Dario Argento, as well as enthusiastic interviews with musician admirers like Hans Zimmer, Quincy Jones and Bruce Springsteen.

Hear My Eyes

And of course Hear My Eyes  returns to MIFF this year at Melbourne’s iconic Astor Theatre will feature a re-scoring of Andrew Dominik’s true-crime classic, Chopper, by Bad Seed member and multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey (who composed the film’s original AFI-nominated score) and supergroup Springtime (Gareth Liddiard, Jim White and Chris Abrahams).

This is part of the festival’s new ambassador series which this year will see esteemed directors and MIFF ambassadors Justin Kurzel (Nitram, MIFF Premiere Fund, 2021) and Andrew Dominik (Chopper) each curate and host MIFF Ambassador Special Screenings during the festival’s in-cinema season. Along with the live-scoring of Chopper for Hear My Eyes, Dominik will screen his two documentary works, One More Time With Feeling and This Much I Know to Be True, exploring the life and creative work of Nick Cave.

Visit to explore the full program