A Subjective Guide To MIFF 2013

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The Melbourne International Film Festival is just around the corner, and I’ve got twelve films lined up. However, none of them are Australian, largely because I don’t care for the Australian films selected this year. This puts me in a delicate position when it comes to recommending stuff to you: I have my tastes, you have yours, and you probably want to see some Australian stuff. Or not. I don’t know you.

Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll go through the Australian offerings and point out stuff with catchy titles, interesting casts or a plot that even my cynical ass is intrigued by. I’ll also give you a smattering of the international selection that I’ll be attending. If we’re lucky, then something I picked will line up with something you would see, and we’ll both be better people for it.


In Bob We Trust
A documentary about the venerated Father Bob, centred on his struggle of balancing his personal beliefs with Catholic doctrine. Compiled from three years of footage, this is sure to appeal to fans of the controversial priest.

Mystery Road
Remote towns! Murder! A “wry, comic undertow” according to the blurb! I actually like the look of this one. It’s a mystery in the outback, it’s got Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten, and director Ivan Sen also acts as screenwriter, editor and cinematographer, a respectable feat. If you’re not a fan of Australian film but still want to do your part at MIFF, Mystery Road seems like a safe bet.

Tim Winton’s The Turning
People like Tim Winton, right?


Comrade Kim goes flying
The story of a hard-working factory employee running off to join the circus, set in the DPRK. It’s described as North Korean screwball romcom which is an irresistible summary if I’ve ever heard one. There are other films from the DPRK featured at MIFF, but this is the most accessible.

The Congress
Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir) directs a film that is part live-action, part animation, and all insane. Robin Wright, playing a struggling actress named Robin Wright, sells her entire identity to stay afloat in showbiz. She also apparently has something called a “personal animator”, played by Jon Hamm? I don’t know what that means, but I’m on board. Looks gorgeous, too.

Grigris is a pauper-turned-criminal by day and the most electrifying dancer in Chad by night. An African crime drama with dance sequences? Come on. Yes. Give it to me.

Other stuff
There is a ton of interesting things happening under the Talking Pictures section of the program: of particular note is a live talk with Giuseppe Tornatore, director of Cinema Paradiso and the upcoming The Best Offer (screening at MIFF but sold out). For those more interested in the craft, check out 37º South, complete with four all-day sessions on screenwriting.

There is a lot more out there that I don’t have the room for, but there’s six films up there. I bet we can agree that at least one of them looks worthwhile.

MIFF is running from July 25 to August 11. To find out more visit miff.com.au.

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