Cinema has always been one of the best ways to experience and learn about cultures and meet people we would never have a chance to meet in our everyday lives. This year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) theme is ‘Explore New Worlds’ and will take place from August 3 and end on August 20.
This year’s lineup features a mammoth line-up of more than 350 films representing 68 countries, including 251 features, 88 shorts, 17 Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, 12 MIFF Talks events, 31 world premieres and 135 Australian premieres. It will all happen over 18 days, spanning 13 venues across the Melbourne CBD, so get your coats out and brave the Melbourne winter to partake in this yearly tradition curled up in the warmth of a darkened cinema.
This year’s program includes the returning Headliners and International program, and will also add on a sci-fi marathon, a Sally Potter retrospective and a spotlight on Australian female filmmakers.
With so many different sections, it can seem overwhelming to decide what to see at MIFF. So we’ve narrowed down the various strands of the full MIFF program and highlighted key films from each strand to make the decisions easier for all you cinemagoers out there.
Explore New Worlds… with the HEADLINERS
MIFF has always been great with bringing in the very best films from the most prestigious film festivals like the Berlinale and Cannes. This year is no exception.
Sundance and Berlinale favorite Call Me By Your Name is a bittersweet coming of age story of first love between two young men set against the backdrop of the picturesque of the Italian countryside. Director Luca Guadagnino will be a guest of the festival.
There’s Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winning The Square, a satirical, darkly funny look at the 21st century European bourgeoisie, and Terrence Malick’s musical drama Song to Song that boasts a starry cast including Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman.
Explore New Worlds with… INTERNATIONAL CINEMA
Over on MIFF’s International strand, MIFF has a formidable selection, including a fine crop of Asian films.
Japanese Girls Never Die is director Daigo Matsui’s pop art take on critiquing misogyny and patriarchal culture in modern day Japan.
There’s Pop Aye, Singaporean born director Kirsten Tan’s debut feature set in Thailand about an architect struggling with a mid-life crisis that embarks on a weird and wonderful road trip with an elephant.
And for fans of Korean cinema, there’s A Quiet Dream, a story about a group of misfit friends and their everyday struggles in the less glitzy end of Seoul. The film features cameos from popular K-Drama actors, so fans of K-Drama should keep an eye out for it!
Explore New Worlds with… AUSTRALIAN CINEMA
As usual, MIFF takes great care with spotlighting local talent and social issues with their selection of Australian cinema.
Australia Day features a diverse ensemble and is set all within 12 hours on a sweltering Australia Day in Brisbane. The film tackles racism, violence, immigration and all the troubling issues that plague Australian society that we try to ignore but desperately need to confront.
On the other side of the spectrum, Ali’s Wedding is a sweet and charming romantic comedy that stole the hearts of Sydney audiences over at the Sydney Film Festival in June. Set in Melbourne, it is based on the experiences of lead actor Osamah Sami’s unconventional road to love and marriage as he tries to avoid disappointing his religious Muslim father.
Jungle, which has been selected as MIFF’s Opening Gala film, is Wolf Creek director Greg McLean’s take on the real-life survival story of adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg. It stars Daniel Radcliffe as Yossi Ghinsberg, and fans who grew up with Radcliffe will want to see him as they have never before.
Explore New Worlds with… PIONEERING WOMEN
This year also introduces an amazing new program, the Pioneering Women strand that spotlights female Australian directors including Gillian Armstrong.
After the success of last year’s Gaining Ground program, which spotlighted female directors in the ’70s who worked in New York, MIFF has shifted its focus to local talent. Films in the program include a restored version of Celia, Ann Turner’s coming of age film about a nine year old girl who sees storybook monsters, Little Women director Gillian Armstrong’s early Australian films Starstruck and High Tide and Clara Law’s Floating Life about a Hong Kong family’s move to Australia.
There’s also a fantastic sci-fi marathon for all the science fiction fans out there that include some truly rare, little-seen sci-fi films from places like Poland, France and Japan. The Virtual Reality (VR) program also returns following a successful introduction last year with audiences able to experience a truly unique experience through these short VR film experiences.
Don’t miss your once a year opportunity to catch some of the year’s best films from countries all over the world and ‘explore new worlds’ this winter with MIFF 2017.
Tickets for MIFF 2017 are on sale now. For more information, visit the Melbourne International Film Festival’s website.