The countdown to MIFF has begun


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Those who know me will know that I spend two weeks each year at the Melbourne International Film Festival watching and reviewing three or four films a day. It starts in five weeks and in only eleven days the program will be released. Yesterday I got a sneak preview of 33 films from Cannes that will be on the program and I am so excited!

There will be new films from directors Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), Abbas Kiarostami (A Taste of Cherry), Claire Denis (Beau Travail), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon) and Fatih Akin (Edge of Heaven). And then there’s Jane Campion, Barbet Schroeder, Todd Haynes and Agnès Varda collaborating with JR – mind blown.

Here’s a sample of what’s in store (all images and text from the MIFF website):


The Killing of a Sacred Deer – Yorgos Lanthimos

International purveyor of the bizarre Yorgos Lanthimos brings Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman together in this darkly comic modern rendering of an ancient Greek morality play. MIFF favourite Yorgos Lanthimos and regular co-writer Efthymis Filippou (The Lobster, MIFF 2015; Alps, MIFF 2012) return to the festival with a film that draws its inspiration from Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis, while intensifying the director’s idiosyncratic taste for deadpan humour and unsettling provocation.


Faces Places – Agnès Varda and JR

Agnès Varda, the grande dame of the French New Wave, revives the spirit of The Gleaners and I (MIFF 2001) with this picaresque romp through rural France, and is joined in her travels by the artist JR. Taking photos of the people they meet, in all their humility and grandeur, and plastering the huge black-and-white print-outs in prominent local spots, the duo trace out an expansive sketch of the nation as a whole, in a documentary that teems with warmth, compassion and humanity.


Let the Sunshine In – Claire Denis

Juliette Binoche shines in this Cannes Directors’ Fortnight award-winning romantic comedy from iconic French director Claire Denis. Living alone in Paris, Isabelle (Binoche, at her most soulful and seductive) is looking for a connection – she thinks. Her passion burns brightly, but as she finds comfort in the arms of an array of men, she ponders just what she’s seeking, and whether sex and companionship are the keys to fulfilment.


Happy End – Michael Haneke

In the new film from heavyweight auteur Michael Haneke (Amour, MIFF 2012; The White Ribbon, MIFF 2009), a teenage girl (Fantine Harduin) armed with a smartphone is sent to stay at the Calais mansion of her upper-middle-class relatives – presided over by the ailing, 84-year-old patriarch (Jean Louis Trintignant) and his two children, played by Isabelle Huppert and Mathieu Kassovitz. Updating the themes of technology and surveillance from his own Benny’s Video (MIFF 1992) and Hidden (MIFF 2005) to the era of ever-present social media, Haneke has crafted a jigsaw-like portrait of entitlement and malaise, forbidden pleasures and suicidal tendencies that’s as austerely crafted and unforgiving as any of his career.

To see more, go to the MIFF website. I’ll keep you all updated when the program comes out.

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