2005 Melbourne International Film Festival - Dirt: A Season Inside the Devil's Bowl (2005)
6th August 2005
Director: Jeff Bowden
Tagline: Jesus may have built my car, but Satan is the one who drives it
In this documentary we follow the lives of a participants in the Saturday night racing at the Devil’s Bowl for the Stock Car class over the course of one season. At the start of the year you don’t know them much so you laugh at them somewhat, but by the end of the film you learn how much of themselves they put into the sport and the camaraderie and enjoyment they get out of it, so it is hard not to feel for them.
This is the best documentary I have seen at this year’s festival as the combination of the racing action, the lives of the main participants and the excellent soundtrack all come together very well and make the whole thing work.
The documentary is shot in the usual ‘fly on the wall’ style for the trackside drama, mixed with one on one interviews, behind the wheel footage and highlights of that week’s races over the season. The quality is very good considering the conditions the track footage was shot under (the camera kept getting covered with mud).
I believe that the screening at the festival wasthe first it has screened outside North America, with a private screening being held for the participants in the movie a couple of weeks ago as the director pointed out.
In the Q&A after the session the director said that Melbourne reminded him a lot of Texas and answered the following questions from the audience.
Was there any trouble with the participants?
How was this subject chosen?
Did your vision for the movie match the outcome?
The movie was based on another documentary "Hands on a hard body" about a competition to win a car in Texas. You are meant laugh at people at the start, but not at the end. The people in the movie loved the way they were shown on screen and laughed along with it.
What inspired the choice of soundtrack?
Was it hard to stay objective?
Did he get to race?
Where there many injuries during the filming?