Director Kriv Stenders
Starring Robert Forster, Lindy Morrison, Paul Kelly
The Go-Betweens: Right Here provides a deep dive into the career and personal relations of these Australian indie rock darlings. From their foundation in 1977 by Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, through various line up changes, hook-ups, break-ups, squabbles, solo projects, and reformations, it’s all right here.
Director Kriv Stenders, takes a back seat, producing a competent documentary with a few cinematic flashes, but nothing that wows in it’s own right. Rather he allows the dynamics of the band to speak for itself, and due to the rich characters, articulate spokespeople and conflicting personalities – it’s exactly the right choice.
Founder Robert Forster is the loudest of these voices. Thoughtful, analytical, and intelligent, with more than a little rock and roll pretense, Forster is enthralling to view, albeit more than a little overly considered in the legend he is spinning. Things get more interesting when Lindy Morrison enters the scene. Not only is there the sexual tension altering the dynamic of the tight knit group, but Morrison herself provides a more earnest account of events, and that more intimate insight gives the film a personal interest. Finally it is writer Clinton Walker whose interviews cut right through the bullshit, giving us a miraculously funny “warts and all account” from an insider’s perspective. As a long time friend, Walker doesn’t mince words, and is certainly gleeful about it, although very good natured.
These are really the themes of Right Here that have the most universal appeal. Not only do you get the story of a great Australian band, at an influential time for Australian music, but you also get that insight to all the issues that often plague bands. In this case, that close dynamic is tested by a couple of relationships between the rotating roster, and the pressure of being a functioning band without breaking into the Top 40 charts.
The interviews, and archival footage, from ABC’s Countdown, and it’s more serious stable mate Rock Arena give a clear timeline for the rise and fall of the band’s journey. It’s a temporal slice of Aussie rock and roll during a couple of formative decades for the industry, giving us a clear image of the band at the time, while the narrative and interviews give a more detailed account. This is obviously an exhaustive work of love from Stenders, and he produces a solid return. When you can get Paul Kelly admitting that he was brought to tears the first time he heard Cattle and Cane, then you know you have something special.
A beautiful account of a band that despite their lack of a hit, provided parts of the soundtrack to so many Australian lives.
The Go-Betweens: Right Here is screening for one week only at the Luna Leederville from Thursday, September 28.