Year:  2019

Director:  Samantha Dinning, Hylton Shaw

Rated:  PG

Release:  July 9-19

Running time: 84 minutes

Worth: $18.50
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Phoebe, Lucy, Dakota, Mika, Zeiro, Courtney Barnett

...deliriously affecting...

“Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words,” Rolling Stones immortal Keith Richards once said. “It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” It’s certainly in the bones of the young women who often happily but more frequently awkwardly populate the deliriously affecting documentary No Time For Quiet. Like a perfectly written rock song, this incredible debut effort from Australian directors Samantha Dinning and Hylton Shaw evokes a cavalcade of emotions during its brief running time, stoking up feelings of joy, pain, sadness, community, isolation and redemption, all of which ride and flow on a continuing swing of grace notes. The story of a diverse group of young people who at least temporarily find their place in the world through the gift of music, No Time For Quiet is a joyfully bittersweet experience, of both the entertainment and learning variety.

Unspooling in the effortlessly too-cool-for-school environs of Melbourne, the film wades in amongst the forty girls and non-binary youth aged from eleven to seventeen who took part in Australia’s inaugural Girls Rock! Camp. Established in Portland, Oregon – and now happening all around the world – these camps provide the opportunity for attendees to learn how to play instruments, form bands, write songs, and eventually perform, all with the aim of empowering young girls and inspiring self-esteem, friendship, support, creativity and a deeper love of music. It’s a great initiative, and when one of the girls in the film responds with “The Runaways” when asked which band in history she would most like to have been a part of, you know that No Time For Quiet is going to be a winner.

Courtney Barnett

With great skill and economy, Samantha Dinning and Hylton Shaw hone in on a diverse group of girls, all of whom have highly varied experiences at the camp: the instantly loveable Phoebe has a history of serious mental health issues; Lucy is socially awkward but keenly intelligent and obviously gifted; talented singer Dakota prefers to live life online; spunky drummer Mika is a ray of sunshine; and punk rapper Zeiro is navigating the world of gender fluidity. Though in different ways, they all blossom while at the camp, and the film operates almost like a classic coming of age tale. There is, however, pain too: when eventually outside of the nurturing, kindness-first world of the camp, life again gets tougher for some of the girls, and heartbreaking for the viewer.

While all of the raw material is there for something special (there’s also a very welcome appearance from the brilliant Courtney Barnett, who drops a tune and offers up a little mentorship for the kids), Samantha Dinning and Hylton Shaw make it even more charming and illuminating by skillfully utilising animation to overlay the participants’ own explanations of the fears and anxieties that make their young lives so difficult. If you’ve never experienced things like anxiety, gender fluidity, sexism, extreme self-doubt or crippling grief, this film lays it all out with sensitivity, honesty and from-the-frontlines reportage. A beautifully constructed mix of joy and sadness, No Time For Quiet is a gorgeous testament to both the power of music and the mix of fragility and strength that bubbles away in all young people.

Click here for info on how to watch No Time For Quiet.


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