Midnight Oil | Credit: Philip Brown/Getty Images

Midnight Oil Documentary ‘The Hardest Line’ To Premiere At Sydney Film Festival 2024

The Sydney Film Festival has announced its opening-night film for the 2024 iteration of the festival: A new documentary entitled Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line. The documentary was directed by Paul Clarke, who has previously worked on documentaries concerning the late Gough Whitlam (titled, fittingly, The Power and the Passion) and the history of Australian surfing (Bombora).

Nashen Moodley, the director of Sydney Film Festival, said that she was “thrilled to present” the documentary’s world premiere as part of the festival. “This documentary not only chronicles the formidable journey of one of Australia’s most influential bands, but also captures the spirit of an era that reshaped our cultural and political landscapes,” she said. “It’s a fitting tribute to their legacy and a profound reflection on their impact that continues to inspire audiences around the world.”

Clarke, for his part, explained that he chose to make a documentary about Midnight Oil on account of how he believes that there is “no other rock band in the world” like them. “For half a century they were fearless, contrary and totally original,” he said. “When Australia was creaking under the weight of its own myths, they told us the truth. Their songs pinpoint the fault-lines in our culture, they rage against the strange and dangerous times we’ve lived through, and they offer hope.”

Midnight Oil – ‘Blue Sky Mine’

Rob Hirst, Midnight Oil’s drummer and a founding member, said that The Hardest Line was as revealing to watch for he and his bandmates as he hopes it will be for viewers. “Bands can often dwell in a kind of mobile Faraday cage – the lightning striking all around, while the musicians remain high and dry in a studio, on a stage or wedged inside a Tarago,” he said.

“Thus it was for Midnight Oil: rarely were we able to focus on the horizon and see the big picture, if there was such a thing. So, a film such as The Hardest Line is as much a revelation as a chronicle. Perhaps, at last, we can frame the last 50 years, make some collective sense of it, wrap it in a box marked ‘the luckiest band ever’.”

Midnight Oil embarked on their final world tour in 2022, wrapping with a three-and-a-half hour show at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney that October. Since their retirement, lead vocalist Peter Garrett has released a new solo album entitled The True North. Guitarist and keyboardist Jim Moginie, meanwhile, has released a solo album entitled Murmurations and his own memoir, The Silver River.

The world premiere of Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line will take place at the State Theatre in Sydney on Wednesday, June 5th. Tickets can be purchased from the Sydney Film Festival website.

Further Reading

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