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Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line


“The power and the passion”



Fresh from its opening night premiere at the 2024 Sydney Film Festival, Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line is a treasure trove of new and archival footage charting the evolution of one of Australia's best loved bands. Seven years in the making, this documentary starts with The Oils' origins (and Peter Garrett with hair) as surfie punks, building a devoted fanbase as much for their uncompromising authenticity as their powerful stage presence, through to their breakout album and international success. Detours into politics, electric gig footage and in-depth interviews all combine to create a portrait that will satisfy both hardcore fans and newcomers.

“A potent reminder that art and politics can and should mix”

The Nightly

“This sense of enduring hope for truth-telling and treaty...it’s what lights up Clarke’s film


Why You Should See This Film

Nearly 50 years of music and cultural history is a lot to squeeze into a film but Clarke manages to cover an extraordinary story without feeling rushed, avoiding Netflix-y talking heads in favour of a more freewheeling group narrative. The beautifully restored footage from moments like their iconic collaboration with the Warumpi Band on the Blackfella Whitefella tour could have been shot yesterday, but this is more than a concert film. The Hardest Line weaves the story of Midnight Oil through the turbulent history of Australia from the mid-70s to today, asking the hard questions about what it means to be uncompromising and the nature of artistic legacy.

Paul Clarke
Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst, Martin Rotsey, Jim Moginie
105 minutes

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