A new documentary that captures the stories behind The Go-Betweens, one of Australia’s most creative and important rock bands, was released in cinemas on Tuesday 26 September, having made its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in June. Directed by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog), the film, titled , features fresh interviews, as well as archival photographs, video footage and music recordings.
The film spans the band’s entire career, from 1975, when singer-songwriter Robert Forster met Grant McLennan, soon to become Forster’s songwriting partner, in an English class at Queensland University, to 2006, when McLennan died of a heart attack at the age of 48. In 1989, the group disbanded for an 11-year hiatus.
Rather than taking a traditional, narrative approach, Stenders allows the participants to speak for themselves. Their subject material includes not only their music, but also their personal relationships, which were often intense and stormy. The viewer hears from a cast of other musicians, journalists, writers, family members and friends in addition to the band members, including singer-songwriters Paul Kelly, Steve Kilbey and Lloyd Cole.
Rather than focusing solely on the Forster-McLennan partnership, the documentary explores the contributions of all band members to The Go-Betweens’ sound, including Linda Morrison’s inventive drumming and Amanda Brown’s distinctive violin solos.
“I wanted the band rehearsing every day,” says drummer Lindy Morrison. “That’s what I wanted. I was in the pocket with them because we spent so many hours, just playing, over and over and over.”
An enormous Queenslander, on a farm near Beaudesert, acts as a framing device. Intimate interviews with band members on verandahs and in darkened rooms interweave with stunning wide shots of surrounding landscapes.
“We gathered on my sister’s farm in this old rambling Queensland mansion, so it was kind of like ground zero, like Last Year in Marienbad. They all confessed their stories, so it’s kind of an oral history. The house is very evocative, a really beautiful place and it sort of evokes Grant McLennan who died as he grew up on a Queensland cattle station,” Stenders .
The Go-Betweens: Right Here is showing at cinemas around Australia.