Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Melbourne International Film Festival Announces Pre-Lineup

I arrived home yesterday to find the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) had sent me a lovely little booklet in the mail detailing some of the festivities on offer during the fest that runs between July 25 and August 10. I attended the festival last year and saw some great movies (Still Life, Inland Empire, Ils) as well as some bad ones (The Untouchable, The Man from London) and I intend to go again this year.

Some of the titles already on offer sound very promising.

International Panorama
The festival's primary world cinema section is going to include lauded titles like Cargo 200 as well as the latest by directors such as Brian de Palma (Redacted), Eric Rohmer (The Romance of Astrea and Celadon), Peter Greenaway (Nightwatching). Nathaniel from over at the Film Experience was a part of a festival jury, which awarded it's prize to Cargo 200, which definitely piqued my interest.

Romanian Wave
A new sub-section focusing on the rising wave of Romanian cinema after such hits like 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Featured this year will be the award-winning Death of Mr Lazarescu, a film that has taken some three years to finally screen here in Australia. Also showing will be 12:08 East of Bucharest, which sounds very promising, and California Dreamin' (Endless), which won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes last year. Sure to be a very popular program for the fest.

The music sub-section features Lou Reed's Berlin, a live performance of ex-Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed and his classic Berlin album. Another title I'm looking at is Respect Yourself about Stax Records, home to the likes of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Sisters and others.

Always bound to feature something noteworthy is the documentary section. Of particular note to me at least is Useless, a doco by Jia Jhang-Kia, director of last years MIFF hit Still Life.

Altered States
This is the section dedicated to American programming. This year titles such as The Wackness will be screening. I, however, have my eye on White Lies, Black Sheep from writer/director James Spooner, which explores racial identity in the music industry. Another film of note is The Guitar, directed by Amy Redford - daughter of Robert.

Next Generation
Back by popular demand is this program aimed at younger audiences, which was introduced last year as a way of broadening the scope of the festival's audience. The big title on offer is the Oscar-nominated Persepolis, which has still yet to receive a theatrical release in Australia. Another noteworthy title is Son of Rambow, a critically acclaimed flick about a bunch of kids remaking Rambo. Teehee.

MIFF Shorts
Always at the forefront is the shorts program. It features recent Cannes Jury Prize-winner Jerrycan and Oscar-nominated I Met The Walrus. Also featured is a "MIFF Footy Shorts" sub-section, devoted to short films about that lil' game we call Aussie Rules.

Neighbourhood Watch
A section devoted to the works of directors outside Australia's borders, yet still from our little part of the world. 881 from director Royston Tan is a "high camp musical extravaganza", so that could be something to watch out for, as could Flower in the Pocket, an award-winning comedy from Malaysia.

Focus on Ozploitation
With the help of ACMI the festival will be running this program, looking back at one of Australia's most futile production periods, that of the '70s and '80s "ozploitation" flicks. All fast cars, bloody violence and a fair share of social commentary and political incorrectness. Screening will be the enviro-horror of Lost Weekend, the comedy classic Barry McKenzie Holds His Own as well as two Brian Trenchard-Smith flicks Turkey Shoot and Dead End Drive-In, which I just watched last week and it was amazing. I'm definitely going to do an entry very soon about that movie. I very well may have to check it out on the big screen.

MIFF Premiere Fund
This is the first year the MIFF, along with the state Government, have invested in film production like the Sydney and Adelaide Film Festivals have been doing for years. Screening will be the doco Not Quite Hollywood, which inspired the Focus on Ozploitation program, as it follows the trials and tribulations of the much-maligned by uber-successful ozploitation period of Aussie films. Rock n Roll Nerd follows the life of Tim Minchin (right), a musical comedian who's act needs to be seen to be believed and Bastardy is another doco about a gay Aboriginal elder, a side rarely spoken about in regards to indigenous culture.

The MIFF 2008 program will be released in full on July 11, at which time you'll be able to purchase all the necessary tickets (although passports and mini-passes are available now. You know I'll have plenty to say about that, but until then this little sneak peak has already gotten me excited. You, personally, can read the booklet in it's entirety by clicking here. Titles like Not Quite Hollywood, White Lies, Black Sheep, Cargo 200, Useless and Dead End Drive-In proving very tempting early on. Bring on MIFF!


Notluke said...

12:08 is a must-see, a hilarious and truthful comedy. You didn't mention it's a past Cannes winner as well (Caméra d'Or for best debut feature)!

Yaseen Ali said...


That is all.

Glenn said...

Nah, when a movie is still premiering at a festival six months after receiving an Oscar nomination then the distributor doesn't deserve my cash.

Anonymous said...

Hoorah! Turkey Shoot! I'm really jealous of you Melbourne folk.

Seeing this trash masterpiece with an audience (as opposed to home alone at 3am on Foxtel) would be quite the treat.