Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MIFF 2012 Schedule

It’s that time of the year again where Melburnians (and fly-ins) take 17 days out of their lives and dedicate them to seeing as many films from as many countries as possible all in the name of MIFF. The Melbourne International Film Festival is a great time of year if you can get around the inevitable festival flu, the ridiculous art films that strive for relevance, and the diet consisting entirely of potato. Last year I saw 60 films as a part of the MIFF 60th anniversary blogathon, but this year that number will be cut significantly. I have 26 films booked so far for the festival proper, plus a couple of screeners, and a bunch of advanced media screenings so all up I’ll be doing pretty good.

Time to have a look at what I’ve got inked in to the planner, shall we?

Carré Blanc
(dir. Jean-Baptiste Léonetti)
Some sort of future love story hybrid that takes inspirationg from Soylent Green and 1984. A part of MIFF's "Night Shift" segment so its genre all the way, which is just what you want at 11.30pm on a Friday night after work, yes?
Fri 3, 11.30pm, GU5

Into the Abyss
(dir. Werner Herzog)
Herzog's death row documentary doesn't have a local distributor so that made it an even bigger must see. It's going to be a tough sit so early on in the day, but at least this film will surely feature less technical snafus than last year's screening of Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Well, here's hoping anyway.
Sat 4, 1.30pm, GU6

The Sessions
(dir. Ben Lewin)
This Sundance winner has gotten big Oscar buzz for its stars John Hawkes (in a role that feels similar to Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot, he'll be up against Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln) and Helen Hunt, who's looking for a critical comeback as a woman who becomes a "sex surrogate".
Sat 4, 6.30pm, Hoyts

(dir. Various)
We've been excited about this film for a while and was definitely hoping it would show up in one of MIFF's late night genre slots. Lo and behold here it is. Fair warning, the MIFF guide lists the film's local distributor as Roadshow Films and given their penchant for treating genre fair with little respect, I'd suggest that MIFF will be the only place to get to see this horror anthology. The late night slot will be a hoot, surely.
Sat 4. 11.30pm, GU5

Dark Horse
(dir. Todd Solondz)
Another high profile film without local distribution, making its must see value go through the roof. If Solondz's name alone wasn't enough, he supposedly gets a killer performance out of Donna Murphy (not that that's hard, but we so rarely get to see them). Screens with a short named Double or Nothing.
Mon 6, 4.00pm, Forum

(dir. Ursula Meier)
A big critical reception at Berlinale put this French/Swiss film high on my radar. I don't actually know much about it at all so it could prove to be a real surprise of the fest.
Mon 6, 6.30pm, GU6

The Sound of My Voice
(dir. Zal Batmanglij)
This debut feature about cults has not gotten the same response as, say, Martha Marcy May Marlene, but the response it has received has me mightily intrigued. The marketing has been curious and Brit Marling is a curious presence on screen.
Mon 6, 9.00pm, GU6

Wuthering Heighs
(dir. Andrea Arnold)
I try not to schedule too many films that have imminent release dates, but I have been anticipating Andrea Arnold's revisionist take on the Bronte novel for far too long to ignore it. Given I've seen Arnold's first two films at MIFF prior I think it's entirely fitting that I see her latest here, too.
Tue 7, 6.30pm, GU3

Mosquita Y Mari
(dir. Aurora Guerrero)
An American queer drama that sounds very promising. I had never heard of it before, but that's what festival's are all about, isn't it? This, Keep the Lights On, and Facing Mirrors are, as far as I can tell, the only fiction films with a predominant queer bent so I'm looking forward to them all. This one also has particular interest in its use of the Californian landscape.
Wed 8, 4.00pm, ACMI

Errors of the Human Body
(dir. Eron Sheean)
A "psycho-scientific thriller" that comes to MIFF as a result of an Australian and German co-production. I had heard concerning things about the other film in this time -slot that I wanted to see - the Korean animated drama, King of Pigs - so went with this little-buzzed title instead.
Wed 8, 9.00, ACMI

Jayne Mansfield's Car
(dir. Billy Bob Thornton)
Word out of Berlin was not favourable, but I'm always willing to give films that look at American identity and, hey, the title is great. An early morning slot seems appropriate if it proves to be a dud.
Thu 9,, The Forum

This Ain't California
(dir. Marten Persiel)
A documentary about the influence of Californian culture on East Germany... basically, this film was made for me to see at MIFF. That it comes just before Something for Nothing will make for a cruisy evening, I say. The idea behind the film reminds me of last year's Pool Party in the way it investigated the influence of such nostalgic American imagery on others. I really enjoyed that one so hopefully I'll like this one, too.
Fri 10, 6.30pm, GU5

Something for Nothing: The Art of Rap
(dir. Ice-T & Andy Baybutt)
One of last year's most invigorating MIFF experiences was seeing the energetic Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest in a packed weekend crowd of head-bopping festival attendees. This year's entry in the annual hip-hop parade is this examination of the rise of rap by one of the genres most prominent figures, Ice-T. 9pm on Friday is gonna leave us all on such a high!
Fri 10, 9.00pm, GU5

100 Bloody Acres
(dir. The Cairnes Bros)
Aussie horror comedy that comes with a swag load of buzz and a late night screening that amps up the atmosphere and the jazz in the air. Basically, humans are used as fertiliser in this movie starring Angus Sampson, Damon Herriman, Oliver Ackland and John Jarratt. I have a feeling this is gonna be fun!
Fri 10, 11.30pm, GU3

Ruby Sparks
(dir. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris)
Little Miss Sunshine is still a perfectly fine movie - albeit one that got a tad too swept up in Oscar-based hyperbole - and I hope the latest from Dayton and Faris is as sparkly. If little else, there's a bit of Annette Bening fun to be had.
Sat 11, 6.30pm, GU6

Sleepless Night
(dir. Frédéric Jardin)
The description of this film got me intrigued - kinda sounds like Gasper Noe's Enter the Void without as much "void", if you catch my drift - and it's the weekend my mate is down from Sydney so we'll be seeing this. I dunno, why not?
Sat 11, 9.00pm, GU5

(dir. Franck Khalfoun)
Given I just watched the 1980 original and thought it to be one of the most terrifying movies I've ever seen, I think it's only fitting that I go see the Elijah Wood-starring remake. I am very intrigued to say the least. Yet again, the late night crowd is sure to be jazzed by this supposedly very violent feature.
Sat 11, 11.30pm, GU3

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present
(dir. Matthew Akers & Jeff Dupre)
I'm not entirely sure why, but I am so very, very excited for this documentary on Marina Abramaovic. I had been hoping it would show up at MIFF since it was likely a direct-to-DVD option in Australia since Abramovic's name doesn't have quite the same cache as it does amongst the New York scene in America. "The Artist is Present" has a great ring to it, too, and I hope it has some really fascinating insights into the artist's process.
Mon 13, 11am, The Forum

(dir. Michael Haneke)
One of the big titles of MIFF is Haneke's Amour, hot on the heels of its Palme d'Or win and not receiving a local release until around February next year to capitalise on its red hot Academy Award prospects. I wish I was seeing the earlier screening on the second day of the fest, but work calls at that time so Monday evening it is.
Mon 13, 6.30pm, GU6

A Letter to Momo
(dir. Hiroyuki Okiura)
Japanese animated drama about a girl who finds an unfinished letter from her deceased father addressed to her. Sounds like it could be potent stuff. A buddy of mine, fellow Melbourne film critic Thomas Caldwell, is the man behind the Next Gen segment (films aimed at, or at least suitable for, younger audiences). Year in, year out, I find Next Gen is ignored by many cinephiles, but I've found some real gems in there over the year.
Tue 14, 1.00pm, ACMI

Facing Mirrors
(dir. Negar Azarbayjani)
Sounds like a fascinating film out of Iran. A conservative and a pre-op transsexual driving through Tehran certainly sounds like fertile ground for an exciting movie of sexual, gender, and religious politics. Here's hoping, anyway...
Tue 14, 4.00pm, ACMI

Neighbouring Sounds
(dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho)
We don't get to see many movies from Brazil around here, and Neighbouring Sounds' heavily buzzed about anti-thriller certainly piqued my interest. At the festival launch last week they played the below trailer and it's a wonderfully put together package. The film looks handsomely made, modern and apparently the sound design is truly special.
Tue 14, 6.30pm, GU5

First Position
(dir. Bess Kargman)
Looks like this ballet documentary could very easily be gunning for Every Little Step's mantle as feel good theatre documentary. Festivals can always use a bit of levity when surrounded by so much hard-edged drama and misery.
Wed 15, 11.00am, ACMI

In the Fog
(dir. Sergei Loznitsa)
I heard great things about this title out of Cannes - alongside Wuthering Heighs, there is certainly some big cinematography going on. Was recently picked up by local distributor Sharmill Films, but it's always good to check these things out because you never know what will happen when they finally get released.
Wed 15, 6.30pm, ACMI

Alois Nebel
(dir. Tomás Lunák)
Some adult, black and white, European animation? Sure! Selected by the Czech Republic as their entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar, I know absolutely nothing about it, but I've heard some people were quite high on it. A bit of animation always goes down well, I reckon.
Thu 16, 1.30pm, ACMI

Keep the Lights On
(dir. Ira Sachs)
An American film with a very Danish bent. A story of closeted gay men living in New York, but starring the likes of Thure Lindhardt (so good in Brotherhood, one of my absolute favourite films from MIFF 2010) and Paprika Steen. We all love Paprika Steen, don't we?
Thu 16, 9.00pm, GU6

The Hunt
(dir. Thomas Vinterberg)
Speaking of Paprika Steen... she's not in The Hunt, but she *was* in Festen, Vinterberg's dogme masterpiece from the '90s that will forever make a new film worth inspecting. Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his role as a man wrongfully accused of abusing children. Sounds like very heady stuff, but Mikkelsen is always worth watching.
Fri 17, 9.00pm, The Forum

Mine Games
(dir. Richard Gray)
Two years ago, Richard Gray's charming Summer Coda was released. Grey is currently in post-production for a film about AFL, but in between those two he went to America to make this thriller. Hoping for a lot of fun!
Fri 17, 11.30pm, GU5

And that's all I have booked so far. Depending on money and availability I would very much like to get to Aleksandr Sokurov's Faust, the Oscar-winning Undefeated, the curious Berberian Sound Studio, Michael Glawogger's confronting Whore's Glory, French class drama Certain People, and - invitation pending (here's hoping!) - PJ Holden's much-awaited reteam with Toni Collette, Mental.

As for other titles? I've already seen Leos Carax's mind-bending paean to lost traditions in Holy Motors, and Luke Walker's Aussie doco Lasseter's Bones. Meanwhile, hoping to catch Beasts of the Southern Wild, Rampart, Flicker, and opening night selection The Sapphires before the festival begins, too. All in all... not to bad, I say. How about you? Anything you're particularly looking forward to? Let us know in the comments...


Amir said...

I've seen two of these last year at TIFF. Wuthering Heights was one of the highlights of the festival (and Robbie Ryan's cinematography is just a marvel) but don't hold your breath for Alois Nebel. I found it to be very specific to its local audience. And the narrative makes no effort to make anything exciting. If it was a live action nobody would care AT ALL about it. The rotoscope is the only thing that gives the film anything interesting, but you can imagine how short that holds up.

Also, out of curiousity, was Holy Motors released in Australia already or was it a special screening you caught?

Glenn Dunks said...

The distributor held a pre-MIFF media screening of Holy Motors. It's out here almost immediately after the festival.