May 23rd, 2017

MIFF round-up: highlights and lowlights

Well, that’s all folks. The Melbourne International Film Festival is done for another year, and we can all crawl back into our burrows, load up on echinacea and try to recover just in time for the next film festival.I attended 30 sessions, slightly less than I had hoped for before the festival, but due to […]

MIFF day sixteen: My Wedding and Other Secrets, Bobby Fischer Against the World, Melancholia

My Wedding and Other Secrets (Roseanne Liang, New Zealand) In 2005 Roseanne Liang released a documentary called Banana in a Nutshell, chronicling her upbringing as an ethnically Chinese girl born in New Zealand and her relationship with her boyfriend, Stephen, a white New Zealander. Liang’s parents disapproved of non-Chinese boyfriends, so their relationship blossomed in […]

MIFF day fifteen: Innocent Saturday, The Triangle Wars, Client 9, Viva Riva!

I woke up on this Thursday morning barely wanting to drag myself out of bed, but one of the things I love most about attending MIFF is the sheer variety in films that you can see. My plan for Thursday included a Russian drama, two political documentaries (one local, one foreign) and a crime thriller […]

MIFF day thirteen: The Unjust

The Unjust (Bu-dang-geo-rae, Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea) The first few minutes of The Unjust give off a huge Mission Impossible vibe; the combination of sweeping camera movements, rhythmic electronic music and a chase involving two cops and a crook all feel distinctly Hollywood in a way that you don’t normally see in a feature from […]

MIFF day ten: Win Win, Senna, Bullhead, Guilty of Romance

Win Win (Tom McCarthy, USA) Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is the Dennis Denuto of his small New Jersey town. With business in a down-turn and unable to afford an I.T. guy, Flaherty is forced to fix his malfunctioning computer back-up system himself, between unblocking the toilet and attempting to find the source of a mysterious […]

MIFF day twelve: Michael

Michael (Markus Schleinzer, Austria) A chillingly non-judgemental profile of an Austrian pedophile and the 10-year-old boy locked in his basement, Michael is one of the most unique horror films in recent memory. And a horror film it surely is, depicting the domestic normality of Michael (Michael Fuith) and the captive Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger) as if […]

MIFF day nine: Top Floor Left Wing, Route Irish, Outrage

Top Floor Left Wing (Dernier étage gauche gauche, Angelo Cianci, France/Luxembourg) The debutante French director Angelo Cianci set himself quite a task in his first feature film. He attempts to combine a tense hostage drama situation with broad, silly humour, and inject an undercurrent of biting sociopolitical satire and cross-cultural commentary as well. It’s not […]

MIFF day eight: The Big Sleep, Oki’s Movie, Cold Fish

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, United States) One of the many events happening at the fringes of MIFF this year is a series of “illustrated film talks” by noted British academic Adrian Wootton, canvassing subjects such as Frank Sinatra, Graham Greene, and Elvis Presley, among others. After the film talk “Howard Hawks: An Introduction” guests […]

MIFF day three: Magic Trip, The Guard, Submarine, The Yellow Sea

My second day at the Melbourne International Film Festival saw me ramp up my daily film quota from two to four, and it would have been five if I had woken up early enough to catch Jean Cocteau’s 1946 Beauty and the Beast. As it happens I’m glad I slept in because by the end […]

MIFF day two: Three, The King of Comedy

Melbourne pulled out some unseasonably pleasant weather for the second day of the Melbourne International Film Festival. It must have known the interstaters were watching. Don’t be fooled.I started my own personal MIFF journey slowly, with a mere two films: Three, Tom Twyker’s first non-Hollywood film since 2000’s The Princess and the Warrior; and Martin […]