Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MIFF Blogathon: End Credits

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.

The 17 days of the Melbourne International Film Festival were a hectic, inspiring, memorable, festive, exciting, taxing and exhausting time. I saw some ungodly number of films - I'm counting that terrible 44-minute Louis Garrel film as a full title and bumping my number to 60 - and averaged 3.5 a day, although some days were 5 films long, others a more manageable at 2 a day.

I was surprised to find that so many of the films I saw were actually quite good. Throughout my 16 daily blogathon entries (mostly all written at Midnight after a long day of filmgoing) the number of films rated C+ or lower was thankfully rather low as law averages would suggest at a third of all titles. While, unfortunately, many of the ones I didn't care for I really didn't care for, there were also a whole lot that I not only loved, but really loved. And I even found plenty to enjoy in the films that didn't quite live up to the praise that had been heaped upon them here and around the world (13 Assassins for instance.)

Let's take a look at all the films I saw (plus a few extras that I saw in preview media screenings before the festival) in order from #1 to #60. Each embedded link leads to what I originally wrote on the film, and bear in mind that my opinions on these films will surely fluctuate over time and, in the case of something like The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, already has. So what I wrote after seeing a film in the midst of a 60-strong onslaught might not necessarily reflect what I would think about a film if seen free of the festival arena.

1. Drive
(dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)
2. The King of Comedy
(dir. Martin Scorsese)
3. The Third Man
(dir. Carol Reed)
4. Tiny Furniture
(dir. Lena Dunham)
5. Martha Marcy May Marlene
(dir. Sean Durkin)
6. How to Die in Oregon
(dir. Peter Richardson)
7. Melancholia
(dir. Lars von Trier)
8. Natural Selection
(dir. Robbie Pickering)
9. Ruhr
(dir. James Benning)
10. Neds
(dir. Peter Mullan)
11. Jane Eyre
(dir. Cary Fukunaga)
12. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
(dir. David Gelb)
13. The Innkeepers
(dir. Ti West)
14. Tyrannosaur
(dir. Paddy Considine)
15. Beauty and the Beast (dir. Jean Cocteau)
16. Pool Party (dir. Beth Aala)
17. LennoNYC (dir. Michael Epstein)
18. Winter's Daughter (dir. Johannes Schmid)
19. Senna (dir. Asif Kapadia)
20. The Piano in a Factory (dir. Zhang Meng)
21. X (dir. Jon Hewitt)
22. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
23. Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (dir. Michael Rapaport)
24. Submarine (dir. Richard Ayoade)
25. Falling for Sahara (dir. Khoa Do)
26. Tomboy (dir. Céline Sciamma)
27. The Turin Horse (dir. Bela Tarr)
28. Bi, Don't Be Afraid (dir. Dang Di Pan)
29. Brother Number One (dir. Annie Goldson)
30. Top Floor Left Wing (dir. Angelo Cianci)
31. Kill List (dir. Ben Wheatley)
32. The Eye of the Storm (dir. Fred Schepisi)
33. Sleeping Sickness (dir. Ulrich Köhler)
34. The Ugly Duckling (dir. (Garri Bardin)
35. 13 Assassins (dir. Takeshi Miike)
36. Living on Love Alone (dir. Isabelle Czajka)
37. Beauty (dir. Oliver Hermanus)
38. The Forgiveness of Blood (dir. Joshua Marston)
39. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (dir. Göran Olsson)
40. Page One: Inside the New York Times (dir. Andrew Rossi)
41. On the Sly (dir. Olivier Ringer)
42. The Future (dir. Miranda July)
43. Tales of the Night (dir. Michel Ocelot)
44. Toomelah (dir. Ivan Sen)
45. Swerve (dir. Craig Lahiff)
46. Littlerock (dir. Mike Ott)
47. Bobby Fischer Against the World (dir. Liz Garbus)
48. Clay (dir. Giorgio Mangiamele)
49. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (dir. Werner Herzog)
50. Attenberg (dir. Athina Rachel Tsangari)
51. Tatsumi (dir. Eric Khoo)
52. The Triangle Wars (dir. Rosie Jones)
53. I Wish I Knew (dir. Zhangke Jia)
54. Familiar Ground (dir. Stéphane Lafleur)
55. A Useful Life (dir. Federico Veiroj)
56. Michael (dir. Markus Schleinzer)
57. The Little Tailor (dir. Louis Garrel)
58. Norwegian Wood (dir. Anh Hung Tran)
59. Wasted Youth (dir. Argyris Papadimitropoulos & Jan Vogel)
60. Innocent Saturday (dir. Aleksandr Mindadze)
- Post Mortem (dir. Pablo Larraín) - walk out

I also saw three short film packages, but they're hard to rate in a list such as this so I left them out. Nevertheless, the "Melbourne Shorts Program 2" was the best, following by "Melbourne Shorts Program 1" and "Experimental Shorts Program 1".

And in the coming weeks we have titles like Beginners, The Woman and many others getting a theatrical release so who knows how many of the 250+ titles that screened I will eventually get to see?!? Tomorrow I'm going to do some fun little awards and citations for best performances and things like that, my own MIFF Oscar's if you will, but to end this entry I'm going to thank all the people I met along the way this year that helped pull me through my flu-riddled MIFF adventure! It was wonderful to meet all of these people, whether I knew them before the festival or if I was only just finally putting a real life face to a Twitter handle or blog name. So many of these people inspired me to keep chugging along and making me want to write better and with more energy and vigour than I probably would have mustered otherwise. You could say they put the "festive" in the Melbourne Interntaional Film Festival!

Thank you to my Beauty and the Beast death march partner Mel Campbell, that mysterious festival lounge lurker Syms Covington, those marvellous Sydneysiders Alice Tynan, Beth Wilson and Simon Anlezark, the team from AtTheCinema.net including Melburnian Julian Buckeridge, Brisbanite Sarah Ward (plus her husband Darren) and New Zealander in the Cosby cap Greg Bennett. Thanks to the esteemed intelligence of Cerise Howard and Richard Watts for walking out of Post Mortem as well, thanks to Tara Judah and Josh Nelson of Plato's Cave for enlivening many a conversation, thanks to Lee Zachariah and Paul Nelson from Hell is For Hyphenates for being fabulous organisers and seat-savers respectively (as well as fantastic conversationalists, obviously) and to the representatives of Sharmill Films, Potential Films and Umbrella Entertainment, Kate McCurdy, Coreen Haddad and JoJo Warrener respectively. And then, of course, there's Myke Bartlett and Rhett Bartlett who share a name and a similar awesomeness.

Thanks to the master of Greater Union cattle-herding Dave Lamb (and his magic hat), that other amazing MIFF volunteer Suze Stein, the two men from Geelong aka Anthony Morris and Guy Davis and to newcomers Tom Clift, Rich Haridy, Ben Buckingham, Kwenton from Twitch, Goran, Paul Ryan, Ian Barr and anybody else who I spoke to, anyone who tapped me on the shoulder and asked "are you Stale Popcorn?" and anyone who commented here on the blog. You made the experience incredible.

However, the biggest thank you of all must go to my fellow blogathon buddies: Luke Buckmaster, Thomas Caldwell, Jess Lomas, Simon Miraudo and Brad Nguyen. Five of us gave each other daily re-assurance that we were not in fact mad, but merely dedicated cinephiles. I never actually got to meet Brad, which was curious since you'd think seeing 60 films would mean crossing paths once or twice? Yesterday, upon waking up from my near 14 hour slumber I actually was hit by a tinge of sadness that I wouldn't be seeing these wonderful people every day. Alas, now as we somehow crawl back to our past lives of work and film screenings for movies like The Green Lantern, I will look back upon the experience fondly, even if certain aspects of it give me a wobbly stomach.

Click on the "more" label below to see some fun post-MIFF awards to wrap this sucker up!

How to Die in Oregon
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Tiny Furniture

James Benning, Ruhr
Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture
Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
Lars von Trier, Melancholia

Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Hamish Linklaker, The Future
Conor McCarron, Neds
Peter Mullan, Tyrannosaur

Olivia Colman, Tyrannosaur
Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture
Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Rachael Harris, Natural Selection
Zoé Héran, Tomboy
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Sara Paxton, The Innkeepers
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia
Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre
Ursula Werner, Winter's Daughter


Albert Brooks, Drive
Jean-Christophe Folly, Sleeping Sickness
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Gorô Inagaki, 13 Assassins
Fırat Tanış, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Judi Dench, Jane Eyre
Malonn Lévana, Tomboy
Sarah Paulson, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Jang Shin-Yeong, The Piano in a Factory
Laurie Simmons, Tiny Furniture

Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Lars von Trier, Melancholia
Robbie Pickering, Natural Selection
Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture
Paddy Considine, Tyrannosaur

Newton Thomas Sigel, Drive
Jody Lee Lipes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Manuel Alberto Claro, Melancholia
Gökhan Tiryaki, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Fred Kelemen, The Turin Horse
Mark Pugh, X

Matthew Newman, Drive
Ed Barteski & Deborah Peretz, LennoNYC
Zachary Stuart-Pontier, Martha Marcy May Marlene
James Benning, Ruhr
Chris King & Gregers Sall, Senna

The Innkeepers
The Turin Horse

How to Die in Oregan
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Pool Party



acassimaty said...

Argh my heart dropped seeing that picture of Cody from How to Die in Oregon again. What a film.

Great wrap. Wish I could have been there.

Alexander said...

Super reviews! I found some films that I want to see.

JoFo said...

So glad you enjoyed How To Die In Oregon and The Turin Horse. Caught both at the Sydney Film Festival, and Oregon broke my life long streak of having never cried in a movie. Oh golly, it broke that streak well and good.