A four film day and a mixed bag. I really liked The Maid (Chilean drama from 2009) and also enjoyed Graceful Girls (Australian callisthenics documentary) and the Documentary Shorts. I hated Tales of the Grim Sleeper (sloppy US documentary about a serial killer), awarding it half a star.
Each cinema at MIFF is different and it helps to know the best places to sit and where the toilets are. My every-venue rules are:
- Be a MIFF member so you can breeze on in before everyone else (if you get there on time) and so can take your pick of seats.
- Arrive at least 15-20 minutes early to avoid the general public arrival, especially if it’s a small cinema or a sold out show.
- Sit near the aisle so you can make a quick exit if it’s a crap film or you need the toilet.
- Bag your seat and then go to the toilet.
- Don’t forget to chat to your neighbours.
Venues in order of preference:
Kino 1 and 2
Good points: Really comfy seats and a steep tier so the view is good. Toilets are right near the Kino 2 entrance. You can take in drinks in glass and if you buy a bag of chips, they give you a bowl to put them in so you don’t crinkle. Short rows so you don’t have to climb over too many people to leave, also it means that an aisle seat still has a good view.
Bad points: Front row is a bit too close. Back row in the centre section has slightly less elevation so you’ll be dodging heads to read subtitles.
ACMI 1 and 2
Good points: Central location with lots of food and drink options nearby. Comfy seats. If you have to sit near the front, choose row three as the seats recline slightly.
Bad points: Really long rows so don’t sit in the centre if there’s any chance you want to leave. They won’t let you take hot food in or drinks during the day. When you exit, they make you go back down the long way. Toilets are on the level below and are often crowded on weekends.
Good points: Very steep tier so the view is good from just about anywhere. Toilets are just near the members entrance and are groovy art deco. Festival Lounge downstairs is a good place to spend time between films.
Bad points: Old-fashioned theatre seats so they can be a bit uncomfortable.
Hoyts 10 and 11
Good points: Big cinema with generous seats and a steep tier. Head toward the back for the best view. Toilets are close to the entrance to Hoyts 11. Lots of food places near by.
Bad points: Comfy seats but the headrest means you hunch slightly, especially annoying if you are near the front as you will also be looking up slightly. Takes forever to get in to the venue, up multiple escalators and weaving between shoppers and dawdlers in Melbourne Central.
Good points: Nice little venue with comfortable seats. Toilets are on the other side of the bar.
Bad points: Very shallow tier so you’ll be dodging heads if there are subtitles. Quite out of the way and a bit hard to find so leave yourself time.
Good points: Not many. Sit in the balcony if you can but MIFF keep closing it off to anyone but premium members. They’ll let you take drinks in in plastic. Toilets are near the entrance.
Bad points: Uncomfortable old-fashioned seats with no leg room. Sit on the aisle but expect to have everyone else in the row climbing over you at some point. Don’t sit near the front as you will be craning your head up and wishing you could recline. You can’t take hot food in.