June 27th, 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 work, exhaustion and other commitments most of my five-film days turned into four-film days, and I even ended up missing a couple of days altogether. I have to say, I really do not envy the official Blogathoners who viewed twice as many films as me – especially Glenn Dunks, who had to power through an average of four films every day for three weeks while suffering with the flu, and Luke Buckmaster, who got food poisoning one day and hallucinated on another. And after all that, they get shifted into the naughty corner on closing night.

Not great form on MIFF’s behalf, but then again there were dozens of others who wrote, blogged or tweeted about MIFF and weren’t given any exposure, or free passports to the festival and tickets to its opening/closing nights. Or the chance to meet David Stratton and ask him about Lars von Trier, just for laughs.

The best part of the festival for me (other than watching some fantastic films, of course) was checking the #miff11 hashtag on Twitter after each screening and seeing regular cinema-goers discussing what they’d just seen. The wide variety of opinions on display and the back-and-forth discussion between strangers is why I love social media, and why it’s a perfect fit for a communal event such as a film festival. I hope MIFF do more to embrace that culture next year.

Hopefully, the 60th anniversary year of MIFF is remembered for all the right reasons, but projection issues and the laughably uncomfortable seats at Greater Union are always going to be front of mind when I look back. My very first session was beset by technical snafus, which wasn’t a great omen for the rest of the festival, but I seemed to be one of the lucky ones who only experienced minor glitches thereafter. And at the end of the day, even with the minor technical issues I have had an absolute blast over the past three weeks and have definitely caught the film festival bug.

As for the best and worst of the fest, my number one film turned out to be one I didn’t think I would enjoy, and there were really only three films that I could say I hated. Overall the quality was quite good, occasionally excellent, and very rarely poor. For there to be two five-star films at one festival is something I didn’t expect.

Top five films:

  1. Melancholia
  2. Senna
  3. The Yellow Sea
  4. The Guard
  5. Cold Fish

Bottom five films:

  1. Innocent Saturday
  2. Route Irish
  3. The Triangle Wars
  4. My Wedding and Other Secrets
  5. Oki’s Movie

So, what’s next for Cinema Quest? Well, I’m going to continue to write about new releases, the occasional forgotten classic and any other filmy topics that cross my mind, so please keep checking back or follow me on Twitter.

About Bradley J. Dixon

Bradley J. Dixon is a freelance writer and blogger from Melbourne.


  1. Lucinda says:

    One thing MIFF organisers should do next year is be more clear about (or give more thought to) the Twitter hashtag they promote. As I’m sure you know, many people were just using #miff, when the ‘official’ hashtag that MIFF was promoting was #miff11.

    They probably should have just gone with #miff, which is what people intuitively use anyway. As it was, punters were tweeting using one or the other (and sometimes both), and so most people had to follow both feeds to get a complete picture of what people were saying on Twitter.

    • Oh, man. That is so true. I double-tagged all my early tweets before saying “fuck it!” and just going with #miff11 even though it wastes two characters.

      Whoever was in charge of MIFF’s onliney bits could have done a much better job.

      • Lucinda says:

        Yeah agreed. They also had their FB page set up so that no-one could write on the wall, AND they weren’t replying to tweets directed at @MIFFofficial.

        Being open & responsive to customer feedback on social media is so important these days and it isn’t difficult to get right. I’m sure they could have got some aspiring young film person to do it for free too!

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