Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director


USA, 1988 (MIFF 1997, All That Jazz)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Jazz has always needed its dark, Byronic mar­tyrs: first the white cornetist, Bix Beiderbecke, wrapped in the comparative innocence of Jazz Age flappers and bootleg gin; then the black ver­sion, Charlie 'Bird' Parker, with racism, inter-racial marriage, mental breakdowns and drug addiction. This is the darkest of cinema's jazz myths, the tor­tured and misunderstood genius who must destroy himself in order to reinvent music.

Long an ardent jazz fan and pianist, director Clint Eastwood knows a lot more about Parker's story (or stories) as bent American dreams than he can get into a single film, so he and writer Joel Oliansky have crammed the film with pass­ing images, clues, names, and most of all music, to make the film expand to fit the viewer's Bop database.

Eastwood takes the time to build scenes around the rhythm of his actors as well as the music; as Bird (shortened from 'Yardbird'), Forest Whitaker makes the most of his space in a com­plicated performance which is able, against all odds, to retain a strange innocence. Both the film's look (the period of the 1940s and 1950s) and its sound (painstakingly reworked original recordings) create a legendary night world for the birth of modern jazz and its great virtuoso.

See also...


USA, 1983
A slightly off-handed way of reviewing Honky Tonk Man would be to write which is true anyway - that after having been taken for John Wayne, Clint Eastwood can now be taken for John Ford himself. One … More »


USA, 1990
Clint Eastwood's newest film, which he directs, produces, and stars in, is a compelling, unusual movie. It's not an African adventure epic, nor strictly a movie about the film classic, The African Qu… More »

Backyard Movie

USA, 1991
With self-deprecating humour, Bruce Weber relives his youthful cravings, adolescent crush­es and overwhelming desire to look like Clint Eastwood. ... More »


Italy/Spain, 1966
The final instalment of the Eastwood - Man With No Name trilogy takes place against a realistic reconstruction of the American Civil War as the 'Good' (a taciturn Clint Eastwood), the Bad' (reptilian… More »

Viva Leone!

UK, 1989
This BBC tribute to Sergio Leone aired shortly after his death in 1989. Apart from some mouth watering clips from his widescreen epics, it also offers a comprehensive overview of Leone's career. Viva… More »

© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

Site by MeccaMedialight. Powered by Textstem CMS.