The Tasty Bust (2003)

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Released 9-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Animation & Audio
Trailer-Irreversible, Persona, Criminal Lovers, Fallen Angels
Trailer-The Short Films Of Francois Ozon, La Belle Noiseuse
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 52:10 (Case: 57)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Stephen MacLean
Studio
Distributor

Accent Film Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Opaque-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Scott Saunders


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Smoke machine in club
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"It wasn't a strip search: it was a search of clothing . . . nobody was touched."
Detective Sergeant Holding

    Australia had its own Stonewall just over ten years ago when, in August 1994, the Victorian police raided the Melbourne nightclub Tasty searching for drugs. Tasty was well established as a club open to both queer and heterosexual clubbers alike, with the emphasis on fun and individuality: "It didn't matter who you were at Tasty; you could be yourself or you could be any one you wanted to be at Tasty" (Barney Gleeson). Tasty closed down after the police strip-searched 463 clubbers in what amounted to a wholesale violation of human rights. A few of those caught up in the raid decided to fight back and brought a class action suit against the Victorian Police Force on behalf of all those at Tasty. The case was successful in exposing police bias against the queer community (no straight club had ever received the same kind of treatment) and in winning approximately $4 million in damages. Ultimately, despite its traumatic nature, the "Tasty Bust" had the positive effect of galvanizing the queer community and shaking institutionalized homophobia.

    Stephen MacLean brings together the former owners and employees (including the fabulous "door-b****" and "till-b****"), as well as several patrons (and one man's mum) in a ten year reunion documentary, The Tasty Bust (the film is actually titled The Tasty Bust Reunion). Everyone is allowed to reminisce freely (and perform) about the lead-up to and individual experiences of the raid, as well as the positive outcomes that flowed from it. MacLean emphasizes this positive side by maintaining the delicate juxtaposition of the traumatic event itself and the quirky and often humorous way in which the raid is recalled. Rather than wallowing in past wrongs, the film is an optimistic nod to the future and the strength of community bonds.

    I really enjoyed the film and found the participants' humour and general happiness very infectious. The film suffers a little from some corny re-enactments (although I get the feeling that the director may have shot them deliberately heavy-handedly to add to quirkiness of it all) but MacLean has been smart enough to mostly just let everyone talk. Detective Sergeant Holding gets some air time to balance the film (in the quote above he seems to be pointing out the difference between strip and cavity searches), but perhaps not enough for a truly equal expression of both points of view. Such a balanced portrayal, though, was probably never the goal of this film, and nor should it have been (the judge ruled the strip search of 463 patrons "totally unreasonable"). Balanced or otherwise, this a great documentary that manages to deal with a very unfortunate event in Australian history while still managing to have some fun. I don't know if Tasty ever managed to reopen, so this DVD is probably the best way to check it out. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The Tasty Bust is a combination of archive footage and video recordings made under poor lighting conditions. It manages to include all sorts of digital artefacts and compression issues in just about every shot, although I imagine a lot of it was deliberately allowed to occur to create a rough feel for the documentary. This should be kept in mind when reading my comments below.

    The transfer is presented at 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I could not find information on the original aspect ratio, but although it was made for TV, framing suggests that the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 is correct. Sharpness and detail vary from shot to shot. Video footage from the club has next to no detail at all and is full of low level noise and pixelization. Macro-blocking is fairly heavy at 1:27 (and always present after) and there is plenty of video noise to be seen in the title "Tasty Club" at 1:55 (but again, this is just an early example among many). Interview footage, however, is shot on digital video and quite sharp and very clean. Colours rarely seem natural and always have a very "digital" and saturated feel to them.

    Faces tend to suffer posterization during the interview segments (the worst is at 21:40, although no interview is unaffected). I noticed examples of comet trails (10:04) and plenty of aliasing (see 0:31 for example, but again, it keeps coming back). Some overmodulation can be seen in archive footage (43:07) as well as ghosting artefacts (31:00) (that is, doubled faces, and so on). The opening titles suffer from dot crawl. Like I said, all these problems seem deliberate. For this reason I haven't been too harsh in my star rating.

    No subtitles are included and as a single layered disc, there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is very well matched to the film and nicely mixed. The disc includes only one track, English Dolby Digital 2.0, with the surround flag set.

    Dialogue is always clear, although occasionally very slightly out of sync (2:31). There are a few moments of audio hiss, especially during archive footage (Jeff Kennett at 0:49). Original music is provided by Scott Saunders and consists of dance tracks with a very glam, disco feel. Saunders also includes two original songs, No Place for Me and I Went Dancing in My Bra which are great fun. The music suited the film very well.

    Surrounds are used effectively to support the soundtrack, often reproducing echo and other music effects with good separation from the front sound-stage. Crowd noise and chatter also migrate well to the rears. On the whole, surround presence is nicely enveloping, although naturally, the rears fall fairly silent whenever the music pauses. The subwoofer is called on frequently to carry the bass line of Saunders' music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

    The menu is animated, 16x9 enhanced, with an audio loop of I Went Dancing in My Bra. Each sub-menu uses a different audio segment from the song.

Trailers

    Accent releases: Irreversible (16x9 enhanced), Criminal Lovers, The Short Films of Francois Ozon, Persona, Fallen Angels (16x9 enhanced), and La Belle Noiseuse.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can tell, The Tasty Bust has not been released in any other region.

Summary

    The Tasty Bust is an excellent documentary that maintains a great sense of humour while dealing with a very unfortunate event.

    The video transfer (deliberately) manages to produce just about every artefact possible.

    Audio is effective and well mastered, with some great surround performance.

    Extras are limited to Accent trailers

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Atkinson (read my bio)
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S336, using Component output
DisplayLG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V357
SpeakersDB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR

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