Last month we got a sneak peek at 22 films appearing at the 71st edition of Melbourne International Film Festival. Now comes the full program, numbering 267 films in total.
The enormous selection includes cinema in all its forms, from features and documentaries to shorts, restorations and extended reality (XR) experiences. This year moviegoers will enjoy screenings from August 3 to 20 in cinemas across Melbourne, followed by regional screenings from August 11 to 13 and 18 to 20. And if you can’t make it to your film of choice, there’ll be online screenings from August 18 to 27 via Covid initiative MIFF Play.
The festival’s Opening Night Gala will feature the international debut of the Premiere Fund-supported Shayda. Written and directed by Tehran-born Australian filmmaker Noora Niasari, the film follows an Iranian mother and her young daughter as they seek refuge at a women’s shelter during the Iranian New Year. The film, which won the Audience Award at Sundance this year, will also screen as part of the Bright Horizons competition, which will champion 11 films from first- or second-time filmmakers.
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Other festival highlights include Oscar-nominated auteur Todd Haynes’s melodrama May December, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, which premiered this year at Cannes. Another Cannes favourite is Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda’s Monster, a gripping story told from three differing perspectives, which won both the festival’s Best Screenplay and Queer Palm awards. And of course, there’s the festival’s Palme d’Or-winning courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall, from French filmmaker Justine Triet.
Australian filmmaking will be spotlighted with You’ll Never Find Me, an impressive micro-budget thriller directed by Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell, which was the only Australian film screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Other fresh Australian talent includes writer-director Gabriel Carrubba, with his feature film debut Sunflower, a delicate queer coming-of-age story set in Melbourne. And Greek-Australian filmmaker Jason Raftopoulos will be premiering his second feature Voices in Deep, a gritty drama that follows two orphaned refugees and an Australian aid worker whose lives become interwoven after a tragedy at sea. The festival also sees the world premiere of Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story, a definitive documentary on the life of the former Mushroom Records boss featuring appearances from Kylie Minogue, Dave Grohl, Sting, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Jimmy Barnes.
Beyond the film screenings, there’ll be the 2023 MIFF Talks Program, including an hour-long conversation with Celine Song, whose debut feature Past Lives was a favourite at Sundance and is already garnering Oscar buzz.
For those wanting a night of both food and film, this year’s program also includes specially paired screenings and restaurant reservations. Options include tickets to The Rooster and dinner at Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters, as well as a screening of The Shadowless Tower and a seating at Aru and a viewing of Anatomy of a Fall and dining at Collins Street’s La Madonna.
For pre- and post-screening drinks, the Campari Cinema Lounge will be running at ACMI, pouring cocktails, Wynns wines, Mountain Goat beers and, of course, Campari. There’ll also be DJs from radio station Skylab Radio and a menu curated by Hero’s Karen Martini. The lounge will be open every night of the festival from 5pm to late.