Everything you need to know about MIFF 2017
by Eddie Cleaver
The 66th Melbourne International Film Festival gets underway on 3rd August with its Opening Night Gala at The Regent Theatre, a Blue Carpet affair and the World Premiere of “Jungle”, an Australian production directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) and starring Daniel Radcliffe (still struggling not to mention the Harry Potter series).
I haven’t made it to the previous 65 but have been an avid attendee for the last few years and it's fast become my favourite in the myriad of Melbourne Festivals. During the midst of a cold and wet Melbourne winter, the vast array of films, workshops, and special events offer a timely diversion.
The sheer scope of offerings can be somewhat bewildering and often intimidating but jump straight in and absorb what is a perfect offset to the often stale and repetitive blockbusters dominating your cinema screens for the rest of the year. A chance to see films which will challenge your preconceptions, provoke your senses and provide an insight into a wider, often bat-shit crazy world. The often uncompromising and, sometimes provocative material, offers a real opportunity to take yourself well outside of your normal comfort zone.
This years’ festival has 356 films in 68 different languages, across multiple formats and styles. Numerous World Premiere’s and Previous Award Winners vie for space with Classics and Low Budget offerings. The program includes a vast range of homegrown talents, a strong presence from this year’s showing at Cannes and a Sci-fi retrospective covering some of this much-loved, and often-maligned, genre.
Highlights for me could be (director of “The Return” and “Leviathan”) Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless”, or the highly acclaimed performance of Tilda Swinton in Sally Potter’s “Orlando” (both are most definitely on my list) but it’s more often the unexpected that takes a firm hold in your memory. Previous gems that come to mind are:
“Go Get Some Rosemary (aka Daddy Longlegs)” a timely introduction to the New York centric works of the Safdie brothers,
“Life, Animated” an inspirational insight into the world of a young man living with autism, and;
“The Lure” a crazy Polish 80’s style horror/romance/musical.
As I write this so many more come to mind, far too many to list from Animation to Zombie.
A MIFF membership ($99 per year) allows you to jump the queues, get early bird access to the program and discounted tickets, food and drinks. There are other benefits throughout the year but not standing for 30 minutes in often freezing conditions, straight to the front of the bar queue, and the pick of the seats, makes it worthwhile alone.
A Mini Pass is a great way to see a broad range of films for a discounted price, $160 / $135 (members) gets you access to up to 13 sessions (single session prices are $19.50 full price). A must-do if you really want to savour the sheer breadth on offer.
MIFF Shorts are a great way of experiencing a group of short films (often 10-15 mins) in one sitting. Collated into genres these include, amongst others, “Animation Shorts”, “Indonesian Shorts” and the intriguingly titled “WTF Shorts”. I’d have a least one of these on my Mini Pass every time.
So, grab a copy of the Festival program, a highlighter pen (maybe two), a glass of wine (probably a few) and get your personal watch list together. Share with your friends and enter into the almost impossible task of syncing your schedules. Download the MIFF2017 app to make your personal program easier to manage and ticketless.
Enjoy the festival and enjoy further your pre-and post-film anticipation, deconstruction, analysis and bewilderment, best carried out in the Festival Lounge downstairs at The Forum.
The Melbourne International Film Festival gets underway on August 3 - 20. To purchase tickets visit MIFF.
To see the full listing of films showing visit FULL PROGRAM.