Adelaide Film Festival

Bad Boy Bubby

World-first Bad Boy Bubby screening in binaural sound.

Rolf de Heer’s controversial masterpiece is finally coming home to Port Adelaide. As an international cult classic, Bad Boy Bubby is also local folklore, still thriving in aural history. As director Rolf de Heer says, “sixty percent of the film experience is sound.” Bad Boy Bubby will be presented for the first time in binaural sound with the audience wearing audio headsets, literally plugged into actor Nick Hope’s experience.

As maverick sound recordist James Currie says, “Sound isn’t just heard through your ears but through your entire body.” The experimental production utilised the actor’s body as a resonant for sound by building two discrete microphones and transmitters into his wig. Thus a turning of the head in a crowd exactly mimics the position of the ears in relation to voices and ambience. A truck rumbling down a highway is a stereo vibration absorbed across the bitumen, up Hope’s body to his skull and ears.

The film also holds a record for having 31 separate cinematographers to give every scene a distinctly different look. Originally part of a low-budget methodology, this became an integral concept. The protagonist is let out of confinement for the first time and we see every new experience in a radically different visual style. It’s a way of looking at the world that makes the everyday both fascinating and hyper real.

Presented with binaural soundtrack, cinephiles should see this special event as akin to watching 2001: A Space Odyssey in Cinerama.

This is an ADL Film Fest Emerging Curator event, curated by Mike Retter. This session features an introduction by Christian Jeune and a Q&A following the screening with director Rolf de Heer.