The 67th Melbourne International Film Festival returns this August giving Melburnians access to films from all over the world, many of which are hard to see anywhere else.
This year the Opening Night Gala at the Regent Theatre will include the Australian premiere of Wildlife, the directorial debut of actor Paul Dano. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal and young Australian actor Ed Oxenbould and has received rave reviews since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film is an adaptation of Richard Ford’s 1990 novel and follows teenager Joe Brinson (Oxenbould) as his parents’ marriage collapses.
Festival highlights include McQueen, a documentary on the life of iconic late fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The designer was known for his renegade and highly theatrical runway shows, which featured exquisite tailoring and references to British history. Also announced is the comedy Pig by Iranian director Mani Haghighi. It follows a blacklisted film director who wonders why he seems to have gone unnoticed by a serial killer targeting other Iranian directors.
Those following the awards circuit should catch Hao Wu’s People’s Republic of Desire, the recent winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Award for documentary. The film examines China’s heavily regulated online world and follows the lives of two live-streaming celebrities as they discover the perils of online fame.
Tigers Are Not Afraid is a story set amidst Mexico’s drug wars about an orphaned girl called Estrella who finds refuge with a gang of orphaned boys. Director Issa López is the first woman to win the Best Horror Director Award at Fantastic Fest.
MIFF will also screen The Insult, which was recently nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. The film follows a tense court case between a Lebanese-Christian homeowner and a Palestinian refugee contractor in modern-day Beirut.
Local selections include the debut of Nash Edgerton’s latest TV series Mr. Inbetween about charismatic hitman Ray Shoesmith. And Melbourne itself stars in Jason Raftopoulos’s West of Sunshine. Actor Damien Hill stars alongside his real-life stepson as a father trying to repay his debt to a violent loan shark in one day.
Fans of historic cinema can see one of Australia’s first feature films, The Cheaters, on the big screen thanks to a restoration for the festival by the National Sound and Film Archive. The silent film by the McDonagh sisters follows the life of criminal mastermind Bill Marsh upon his release from a 20-year prison sentence as he seeks to settle an old score.
Tickets for the MIFF opening night are on sale now. Book here.
MIFF runs from August 2 to 19. The full program is released on July 10, and tickets are available July 13. For more information visit miff.com.au.