MIFF 2021 Wrap Up (a.k.a. What Lockdown?)


And so ends one of the most unusual MIFF experiences so far. Initially planned to be one week of in-cinema screenings and one week online, the ever-changing border restrictions and stay-at-home rules kept me guessing right up until the eleventh hour. Here’s a final wrap up with the details of how, what, when and where and the statistics of the 33 films I watched.

I had booked an Airbnb in Albury, figuring it was safer to stay within my State, and it turned out to be a good call as at the very last minute, the in-cinema screenings were cancelled and online screenings extended over the full two weeks. I missed the first five days due to work but soon settled in to my Albury flat, hooking up a laptop to their big screen TV and logging in to MIFF.

My daily routine was 1) sleep in, 2) make breakfast, 3) clean up whilst reading a book with my ears, 4) go for my daily walk to get a coffee, trying a different place every day, 5) catch up on blog entries, and 6) watch 3-4 films with occasional breaks for food, wine and jigsaws. Lockdown happened four days in and it didn’t change my routine at all. I got all the MIFF social interactions I needed from my MIFF buddies, Kyle and James, and real social interactions from my friend Dan who brought over take-away and home-made yummy things.

I watched 33 feature films in 12 days and:

  • 76% passed the Bechdel Test
  • 49% were directed by women
  • 24% were documentaries
  • 18% were about LGBTQI+ people
  • 15% failed the Bechdel Test
  • 12% were about indigenous people
  • 3.83 was my average score

I watched films from USA (5), Iran (4), Australia and Mexico (3), New Zealand and Japan (2) and one each from Norway, Egypt, Chile, Kosovo, Russia, Brazil, Hungary, Denmark, Germany, France, Palestine, Taiwan, Italy and the UK. The selection this year was smaller (most of the ones scheduled for in-cinema screenings did not make it to the online program) and there seemed particularly to be a scarcity of Indigenous Australian films.

I only bailed on two films – Social Hygiene (2021), a French-Canadian COVID-inspired “witty comedy” where a man shouted in a field and What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (2021), a Georgian fable that my MIFF buddies loved but I couldn’t engage with.

My favourite and only five-star film was Nudo Mixteco and I gave 4.5 stars to nine other films. Here they are in a (very rough) order of preference:

  1. Nudo Mixteco
  2. La Verónica
  3. Ninjababy
  4. Language Lessons
  5. Smooth Talk
  6. Come Back Anytime
  7. Coming Home in the Dark
  8. Captains of Za’atari
  9. Woodlands Dark and Day Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
  10. The Macaluso Sisters

And the best places for coffee in Albury? Here are the places I tried in order of preference:

  1. Mr Benedict
  2. Cafe Musette
  3. The Proprietor
  4. Two Fingers
  5. Miss Amelie
  6. Timber
  7. Brick Lane
  8. Dash Espresso
  9. Zo’i Espresso
  10. Clancy’s Food Store
  11. Green Zebra

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