The 66th Melbourne International Film Festival program has been released to a hungry public, bringing with it enough cinematic fodder to fill a program that spans 3 to 20 August 2017. The MIFF theme this year offers a simple challenge to viewers: “Explore new worlds.”
So we’ve put together a list of 11 films that will help you do just that. Why 13? It’s how many flicks a Mini Pass lets you see – 10 sessions with a bonus 3 sessions before 5pm on weekdays. If there are any lingering doubts as to our festival planning prowess, need we remind you we saw 51 films at the Sydney Film Festival this year.
Here’s a list of film we reckon you should take a look at at this year’s MIFF. Of course, we all curate our own version of the Festival, and you are sure to find your own gems along the way.
Be sure to check out our full 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival coverage, including news, reviews, interviews and the chance to swipe through more listicles!
A charming and disarmingly funny film about a person who is obsessed with a TV show made for an audience of one. This film, on the other hand, should appeal to just about everyone. The SNL and Lonely Island crew deliver a story about a fish-out-of-water (or bear-out-of-bunker if you prefer). It’s the kind of film that will leave you with a big sloppy grin on your face, and an overwhelming urge to do something positive. Full Review >>
The Butterfly Tree
One of the Australian films debuting under the MIFF Premiere Fund, the film stars Melissa George, Ewen Leslie, Ed Oxenbould and Sophie Lowe in a visually rich coming-of-age tale of love and loss, tinged with magical realism. It’s also the feature debut director Priscilla Cameron and producer Bridget Callow-Wright.
Call Me By Your Name
Adapted from the novel that “never apricates” by André Aciman, this one achieved cult status before it was even screened at the Sydney Film Festival this year. Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) follows a passionate summer romance, featuring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet.
Hong Sang-soo’s films are made for cinema lovers, and the latest from one of South Korea’s most prolific filmmakers is no exception. Starring The Handmaiden‘s Kim Min-hee as a film sales assistant, it reunites the director with Isabelle Huppert (In Another Country) for a stroll around the town of Cannes, in one of the most appropriate additions for a festival stream.
It’s a Michael Haneke film, so don’t trust the title. Drawing on references to the filmmaker’s career to date, the Austrian director tackles the European refugee crisis in an inimitable fashion. This may not be Haneke’s most shocking, or even his most satirical to date, but it’s still a showcase of a master still working at the top of his game after four decades. Full Review >>
A massive coup for MIFF is the World Premiere of Wolf Creek director Greg McLean’s starring Daniel Radcliffe. The gala opening night kicks off the festival on 3 August. Adapting Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir, JUNGLE is set in the early 1980s. 22-year-old Israeli backpacker Ghinsberg and two friends set off from the Bolivian city of La Paz on what was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. Their dream trip soon turned into a wilderness nightmare from which not all of the men returned.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Film fans will go nuts for Yorgos Lanthimos reteaming with co-writer Efthymis Filippou (The Lobster, Alps) for their latest film that comes straight from Cannes, bringing The Beguiled‘s Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman together in a darkly comic modern rendering of an ancient Greek morality play.
Want to hear an industrial version of The Sound of Music? Ex-Yugoslavian cult band Laibach made headlines when they were chosen to play at North Korean anniversary concert. A terrific and bizarrely optimistic look behind the curtain of North Korea, where even the act of plugging in a microphone is a bureaucratic ordeal.
On Body and Soul
A beautiful and deeply contemplative study on the meaning of connection, and those two things that are up there in the title. Alexandra Borbély’s amazingly restrained performance plays off against the visible anguish of Géza Morcsányi. Such a powerful ending, a a deserved winner of this year’s Sydney Film Festival Official Competition.
A Quiet Dream
There’s echoes of Hong Sang-soo’s distinctive style in here, but this eclectic group of characters hold each other down, and prop each other up. Some may find this meandering, but think of it instead of a beautiful and lyrical slice of a floating life. If three Hong Sang-soo films on the festival line-up aren’t enough, this is definitely one to add to your list.
Festival favourite Naomi Kawase (Still the Water) returns with the film that won the prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes this year. Misako writes voiceovers for vision-impaired film viewers, attempting to conjure the complexity of cinematic images through description alone. Presenting her latest work to a panel, she is confronted by Masaya – a renowned, now partially sighted photographer – who condemns her writing as overly subjective
“If you put something in a museum, does it make it art?” Ruben Östlund’s film is sharp, satirical, and hyper aware of itself. A true gem and worth the accolades, including the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Some may struggle with the back half of the film, where the narrative takes a darker and more somber turn. The ‘ape’ scene is both hilarious and uncomfortable, which is probably the best description of the film in its totality.
We have to have at least one super-weird film on our lists. The IMDB Plot Keywords include Creature, Erotica, Family Relationships, Punched In The Face, and Human Alien Sex. An intense, erotic, unnerving and wholly enveloping study about escaping cycles of violence and abuse glimpsed through the prism of sci-fi/horror. You may never look at tentacles in the same way again.