Friday, July 8, 2011

The Melbourne International Film Festival: The List

This blogathon is an initiative of MIFF for their 60th anniversary year. I am one of six bloggers given the mission of seeing 60 films in 17 days and writing, reporting, reviewing and wrangling my way through the tiredness and hunger to bring the festival experience to your computer.

And so it begins.

My mission to see 60 films at the 60th annual Melbourne International Film Festival has begun. Well, not exactly. The films themselves don't start until opening night on the 21st of July with The Fairy from directors Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy and conclude on the 7th of August (the big "closing night" film is Winding Refn's Drive, but it screens on the Saturday night so as to allow partying long into the night for those who don't actually have more movies to see the next morning! Here's hoping for a surprise screening of it on Sunday!)

If you're attending the festival then this programmer from @danshep79 is a wonder because it allows you to see who is attending the same session as you. Great for knowing which of those Twitterers and bloggers you've never put a face to before are "in the house". Anyway, let's take a look at what films I will be seeing at this year's fest.

My festival begins not with some big Cannes title or world premiere. No, it begins with Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy from 1982, which is screening as a part of the festival's retrospective program. There was no way I could give up the chance to see my #2 Scorsese film on the big screen. There's something about Sandra Bernhard's performance that was made to be projected on a huge screen, don't you think? Other retro titles I selected in my program are Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, which I've never seen, Giorgio Mangiamele's Clay and Carol Reed's The Third Man. Why not, yeah? The other films I have selected are a mix of features, documentaries and shorts - which is rare given my aversion to them, but the Melbourne Shorts programs of rare short films about Melbourne, including what sounds like a few really fascinating titles like Loop and The American, sounded too good to pass up given my love for this city of mine. I also added a selection of "experimental" shorts because I figure they'll be more interesting than regular shorts. And if they not? Sleepy time.

Unfortunately there were several high profile casualties, as there always are when programming a festival lineup. Another Earth and Elena were two titles I was most disappointed about having to give the flick due to screening at the same time as titles less likely to get a release post-festival. Scheduling conflicts also brought about the end of my seeing Black Venus, 3D French animation Tales of the Night, Face to Face, Exporting Raymond, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, Aussie documentary The Curse of the Gothic Symphony, 280 minute The Mysteries of Lisbon and The Mill and the Cross. Take Shelter, the high profile Cannes title starring Michael Shannon, had to be cut due to its run time cutting into the late night screening of The Innkeepers with director Ti West in the house. Considering West's last film, the chilling The House of the Devil, got the barest of obscure film festival releases long after it premiered in America so I thought that I'd see that one before it gets lost in niche horror distribution hell. I replaced Take Shelter with Kill List, so I don't think I'll be going all depressed at the thought of missing it. La Havre and A Seperation, too, were victims of the dreaded "you'll be getting a release anyway so I'd rather see something else" syndrome.

Meanwhile, there are still two sessions that I am unsure about. I have booked myself in for Errol Morris' Tabloid and the Canadian exploitation homage Hobo with a Shotgun, but I find myself wishing to swap them out for Ruhr and The Turin Horse respectively. We'll see how that goes. As for a film I'd rather die than see? How about that documentary about Elmo. Christ, hasn't that nostalgia hipster fad ended yet? Note: I chose The Turin Horse and Ruhr. Those two are far less likely to receive a release of any kind so, ya know, why not?

**As a tip for future ticket buyers, I would suggest not bothering with Red Dog, Beginners, The Guard, Senna or Jane Eyre due to their release so soon after (or even during) the festival. I'd suggest you not bother with Norwegian Wood because it so insufferably bad. While a lot of the films I will be seeing will get a release some point in the future, I don't see much point in going to see films that are of little interest just because they won't get a cinema release and Martha Marcy May Marlene will, ya know?**

Friday 22, July
13.30 - The King of Comedy (USA, dir. Martin Scorsese)
18.30 - Melbourne on Film Shorts Program 1 (Australia, dir. Various)
21.00 - Melancholia (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany, dir. Lars von Trier)

Saturday 23, July
13.00 - Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Canada/USA/France/Germany/UK, dir. Werner Herzog)
16.00 - Living on Love Alone (France, dir. Isabelle Czajka)
18.30 - Submarine (UK, dir. Richard Ayoade)
21.00 - Kill List (UK, dir. Ben Wheatley)
23.00 - The Innkeepers (USA, dir. Ti West)

Sunday 24, July
18.30 - Martha Marcy May Marlene (USA, dir. Sean Durkin)
21.00 - 13 Assassins (Japan, dir. Takeshi Miike)

Monday 25, July
11.00 - Armadillo (Denmark, dir. Janus Metz)
13.30 - LennoNYC (USA, dir. Michael Epstein)
16.00 - Post Mortem (Chile, dir. Pablo Larraín)
21.00 - Swerve (Australia, dir. Craig Lahiff)

Tuesday 26, July
13.30 - The Piano in a Factory (China, dir. Meng Zhang)
16.00 - Little Rock (USA, dir. Mike Ott)
18.30 - Bobby Fischer Against the World (USA, dir. Liz Garbus)
21.00 - Michael (Austria, dir. Markus Schleinzer)

Wednesday 27, July
12.00 - The Third Man (UK, dir. Carol Reed)
16.00 - I Wish I Knew (China, dir. Zhang ke jia)
18.30 - How to Die in Oregon (USA, dir. Peter D Richardson)
21.00 - Tomboy (France, dir. Céline Sciamma)

Thursday 28, July
11.00 - The Ugly Duckling (Russia, dir. Garri Bardin)
14.30 - Winter's Daughter (Germany/Poland, dir. Johannes Schmid)
18.30 - Tiny Furniture (USA, dir. Lena Dunham)
21.00 - Beauty and the Beast (France, dir. Jean Cocteau)

Friday 29, July
11.00 - On the Sly (Belgium/France, dir. Olivier Ringer)
13.30 - Top Floor Left Wing (France/Luxembourg, dir. Angelo Cianc)
16.00 - Experimental Shorts 1 (USA, Australia, UK)
18.30 - Brother Number One (New Zealand, dir. Annie Goldson)
21.00 - The Black Power Mix Tape 1967 - 1975 (Sweden, dir. Goran Olsson)

Saturday 30, July
11.00 - Ruhr (Germany, dir. James Benning)
13.30 - Pool Party (USA, dir. Beth Aala)
16.00 - Toomelah (Australia, dir. Ivan Sen)
18.30 - The Forgiveness of Blood (USA/Albania/Denmark/Italy, dir. Joshua Marston)
21. 00 - Bullhead (Belgium, dir. Michaël R. Roskam)

Sunday 31, July
18.30 - Detroit Wild City (France, dir. Florent Tillon)
inc. The Future Will Not Be Capitalist (Austria, dir. Sasha Pirker)
21.00 - The Turin Horse (Hungary, dir. Béla Tarr)

Monday 1, August
18.30 - The Future (USA, dir. Miranda July)
21.00 - NEDS (UK, dir. Peter Mullan)

Tuesday 2, August
11.00 - Falling for Sahara (Australia, dir. Khoa Do)
16.00 - Natural Selection (USA, dir. Robbie Pickering)
18.30 - Wasted Youth (Greece, dir. Argyris Papadimitropoulos & Jan Vogel)
21.00 - Tatsumi (Singapore/Indonedia, dir. Eric Khoo)

Wednesday 3, August
11.00 - Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey/Bosnia Herzegovina, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
18.30 - A Useful Life (Uruguay, dir. Federico Veiroj)
inc. The Little Tailor (France, dir. Louis Garrel)
21.00 - Beauty (South Africa/France, dir. Oliver Hermanus)

Thursday 4, August
13.30 - Innocent Saturday (Germany/Russia/Ukraine, dir. Alexander Mindadze)
16.45 - The Triangle Wars (Australia, dir. Rosie Jones)
18.30 - Tyrannosaur (UK, dir. Paddy Considine)
21.00 - X (Australia, dir. Jon Hewitt)

Friday 5, August
13.30 - Bi, Don't Be Afraid (Vietnam/Germany/France, dir. Phan Đăng)
16.00 - Sleeping Sickness (Germany/France/Netherlands, dir. Ulrich Köhler)
18.30 - Melbourne on Film Shorts Program 2 (Australia, dir. Various)
21.00 - Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (USA, dir. Michael Rapaport)

Saturday 6, August
11.00 - Page One: Inside the New York Times (USA, dir. Andrew Rossi)

Sunday 7, August
11.00 - "Surprise Screening 1"
13.30 - Atteberg (Greece, dir. Athina Rachel Tsangari)
16.00 - Clay (Australia, Giorgio Mangiamele)
18.30 - Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Japan, dir. David Melb)

And that's that, folks. I'm sure some of these will change if there are screening troubles or some other life happening that must take precedence. As it stands, however, this is what I plan to spend 17 days of life devoted too. There will (hopefully, but not guaranteed) daily updates and reviews.

By the Numbers:
Number of Films: 58
Number of Days: 17
Number of Documentaries: 15
Number of Shorts: 14
Number of Aussie Films: 8
Number of Classic Films: 4
Number of 5 Film Days: 3
Number of 3D Films: 1
Number of Times I Will Say "JIRO!!!": Infinite


Rebecca said...

'Tabloid' is fantastic, although since it will get a release it would be understandable to skip it.

par3182 said...

see elmo to make an even sixty

Jess said...

I look forward to going crazy with you!

I would say it is only worth seeing Beginners because Mike Mills is a guest of the festival and he is awesome and that is why I am going :) said...

Can't wait to read your musings on this eclectic (and exhausting) viewing list. Hope to have a drink between screenings at some point too. - Rochelle