Three Hams in a Can
2009 | 79 mins | website
Synopsis: Summer 2008. Three Australian experimental musicians (Chris Cobilis, Predrag Delibasich, Stina Thomas) travel to Tokyo for a tour. There they perform their music and do what all tourists do: eat, drink, go sightseeing, take photos, befriend strangers and battle the gruesome humidity. The camera quietly observes these goings-on, occasionally straying off path to witness the tiny and magical moments of everyday Tokyo. Told in a series of fragments and full of heart and humour, Three Hams in a Can adopts a minimalist approach to documenting the tour and the strange, yet familiar world the musicians enter. It is part music documentary, part home movie and part meditation on friendship, loneliness and the strangeness of life.
Festivals: Biennale of Sydney, Bradford International Film Festival, Revelation International Film Festival, RTR Music Documentary Film Festival
Three Hams in a Can is my first completed feature, and it already has a lot of sentimental value to me. It was a curious experience, making a film in my home country for the first time, trying to enjoy a 'working' holiday with friends through the scope of a lens, and being an unofficial translator. A strange mix of work and leisure in which my role was always ambiguous. I asked myself a lot of questions while filming. Do I listen to my instincts, put the camera down and get pissed and eat and sing karaoke with them? Or do I do just that, but with the camera rolling? Should I translate this conversation for them, or pretend I'm not there and continue to let them misunderstand each other? Am I still a native in Japan, or have I become a foreign tourist? I like to think the film achieves some sort of balance between these small struggles. I've found that those who have seen the film either love it or despise it, and I assume that most would have a similar response to Chris, Pex and Stina's music, so I feel I'm in good company. A lot of people couldn't fathom why a music/tour documentary was made about musicians who barely anybody knows. Everett True, who I met on a panel for music documentaries at the Revelation International Film Festival, hated the film and said something along the lines of, "Why on earth would I want to watch these people, doing boring things?" (We had a good discussion about the film and got along really well; I even bought him a parting gift.) Curiously, several people have confused Chris, Pex and Stina as belonging to a band or some 'noise rock trio'. One reviewer in the UK thought that all of the performance footage from the film was of them soundchecking! Oh well, one can do one's best and nothing more.