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Wrap-Up: Melbourne International Film Festival

Monday 19 August 2013

Wrap-Up: Melbourne International Film Festival

The Melbourne International Film Festival has wrapped up for another year, leaving the city spinning in the wake of incredible cinema. Introducing new films from all corners of the world, audiences were captivated, shocked, seduced and touched through feature, documentary and short films.

As the dust settles the votes are tallied and The Rocket won the People’s Choice Award for Best Feature, adding another prize to the growing list of its accreditations. The Crash Reel scooped up the People’s Choice Award for Documentary and the Best European Feature was awarded to Northwest.

For those that like their stats, the Melbourne International Film Festival brought audiences a total of 320 films over the 17 days of the festival. This included films from 63 countries and in 45 different languages, staging 23 world premieres and 52 Australian premieres. The top ten features (aside from winner The Rocket) include The Past, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Wadjda, Approved for Adoption, The Patience Stone, Blancanieves, A Hijacking, Touch of The Light and Omar. And for documentaries, the runner up list includes Valentine Road, Gore Vidal, In Bob We Trust, Cosmic Psychos, Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano, The Punk Singer, The Sunnyboy, Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer and Village at the End of the World.

The enormous range and huge number of sold out sessions made it difficult for audiences to see a handful of films at the festival, let alone all! Thankfully, a variety of films from MIFF 2013 are appearing in local cinemas over the next few months. Below is a brief guide of films from the festival showing in Melbourne. Don’t miss out on the cinematic highlights of the year!

What Maisie Knew
This film is the depiction of an unpleasant divorce seen from the perspective of a young child, and her ability to love despite constantly dealing with shifts and changes in parenting. Humourous and tinged with emotion, this is a genuine representation of love and what makes up a modern family.

In Cinemas: 22nd of August at Hoyts, Nova Palace and Event Cinemas

After the death of her father, India (Mia Wasikowska) must comes to terms with her long-lost uncle Charlie appearing back in her life. He moves in with India and her unstable mother (Nicole Kidman), instantly causing controversy. Despite warnings of danger from an aunt (Jacki Weaver), this film unavoidably reaches an intense, suspenseful and thrilling climax as India’s suspicion and intrigue of Charlie grows. Great performances by Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Jacki Weaver.

In Cinemas: 29th of August at Hoyts, Village, Palace, Nova and Event Cinemas

Frances Ha
Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a dancer without direction, almost thirty and with a life that is going nowhere. Homeless, with no one to love, and a friendship in conflict, Frances continues on blissfully inviting adventure, love, happiness and light into her life.

Now showing at Event, Nova and Palace Cinemas


Snow White like you’ve never seen it. Set in the 1920’s amidst the world of bullfighting and shot in black and white, this version by director Berger is a tribute to European silent films. Including dwarves and an evil stepmother, this film is a beautifully shot revival of a classic fairytale.

In Cinemas: 12th September at Event and Nova Cinemas

I’m So Excited
As a flight bound for Mexico experiences technical failures, the cabin crew put into action an unusual coping strategy. Drugging economy into sleep, they take to the business class passenger with alcohol and mescaline, which brings out the playful, crazy and sexual. With cameos from Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, this is eccentric comedy opened the festival this year with a bang!

In Cinemas 19th September at Village, Nova and Palace Cinemas

All Is Lost
Sailing alone in the Indian Ocean, a sailor (Robert Redford) wakes to find his yacht damaged and taking on water after a collision with a shipping container. His radio navigation equipment broken, he sails into a ferocious storm and clings to survival whilst battling the elements. As he relies on currents and the chance of a passing ship, the prospect of death draws ever closer.

In Cinemas: 14th November at Village Cinemas 

Red Obsession
With narrator Russell Crowe, Red Obsession gives a captivating insight to the prestigious world of Bordeaux wine. Reflecting changes in the global economy, this documentary follows the fall of markets in the UK and USA whilst the taste for fine wine surges in China with the upper class and wealthy. The demand however, greatly outstrips the exclusive supply. In a world filled with China’s ferocious appetite for elite wine, soaring prices, counterfeit practices and China’s own competing vineyards, the future of Bordeaux looks uncertain.

Now screening at Palace and Nova Cinemas

Upstream Colour
After Kris is drugged and her possessions stolen she finds herself drawn to Jeff, who has suffered the same fate. They become entangled in an organism that blurs each of their identities and together they attempt to identify and reassemble who they are to find security and safety. This film is the latest by Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Shane Carruth and is a visually rich experience.

In Cinemas: 22nd August at Palace and Nova Cinemas

The Rocket
Ahlo is one of two twins and is therefore deemed cursed. He is held responsible for every unfortunate event his family encounters, from the development of a new dam that destroys their village in Laos to the perils faced when relocating the family. An outcast of his community and distrusted by his family, Ahlo must prove to everyone and himself that he is not cursed. With the help of James Brown impersonating Uncle Purple and friend Kia, he sets his sights on winning the annual rocket festival to prove everyone wrong.


In Cinemas: 29th August at Palace Cinemas and Nova Cinemas

Stories We Tell
After an Academy Award-nomination, director Sarah Polley takes the microscope (and lens) and turns it on herself and family. As secrets, lies and fond memories are brought to the surface, the film explores the content of truth in memory.

In Cinemas: 26th September at Palace and Nova Cinemas

The Turning
The intriguing aspect of this film is the number of directors that took a part to each create a slice of these intertwining insights. Each director brings to life a short story from Tim Winton’s book The Turning, set in a small coastal town in Western Australia to create a portrayal of the whole community. Unique, electrifying cinema; not to be missed.

In Cinemas: 26th September at Palace and Nova Cinemas

A Hijacking
In a world where diplomats shout ‘we will not bow to terrorists’, this film explores the ramifications of what that phrase means to the victims. When Somali pirates take a ship the CEO of the company concerned ignores the experienced negotiator and takes matters into his own hands, which escalates and intensifies the hostage situation. Highlighting the stark contrast between the terror of hostage situations, the grief of family and the tight-fisted stance of a company, this film has a lasting impact.


In Cinemas: 19th September at Nova

The Act of Killing
There are screeds of documentaries made on massacre and genocide, but none like this. Oppenheimer’s film within a film documentary about the 1965-66 Sumatran massacres shows the surreal and unsettling side of the perpetrators, and their belief that they have done nothing wrong. These gangsters, wanting to be movie stars, willingly take over the project, bragging of their horrific actions whilst Oppenheimer gives them free rein and sits back to capture it all. In a retelling of the massacre they play themselves, write the script and even play the victims. A bizarre but enthralling documentary. 


In Cinemas 3rd October at Nova Cinemas

Mystery Road
When detective Jay returns from the city to his remote community he is not met with a warm reception. As he settles back into his life the police force, the people and his daughter alienate him. The discovery of a murdered teenage girl is Jay’s first case, and as he dives deeper to uncover the murderer he comes up against uncooperative locals and indifference from fellow cops. Determined, Jay is alone as he begins to uncover an intricate crime case in the stunning expanse of the outback.


In cinemas 17 October

Other MIFF favourites appearing in Cinemas soon:

The Best Offer - 29th August at Hoyts, Village, Palace, Nova and Event Cinemas. READ REVIEW

Mood Indigo - 12th September at Hoyts, Nova and Palace Cinemas


- Chelsea Denny