Due to the small selection of films in the following sections, we have decided to choose what sessions we would like to see in each of them. With picks from Night Shift, Animation, Jean Epstein: Bonjour Cinema, and Through the Labyrinth: New Latin American Cinema, enjoy this feature preview of the MIFF programme. Stay tuned for more!
God Bless America | dir. Bobcat Goldthwait | USA
Bobcat Goldthwait’s follow-up to World’s Greatest Dad is a hilariously dark satire on Western societies that sees a depressed and ill man go on a mission to rid America of its most repellent citizens. This is for anyone frustrated by contemporary pop culture.
Killer Joe | dir. William Friedkin | USA
A trashy piece of pure exploitation that succeeds by never claiming to be anything else, Matthew McConaughy’s performance is – according to our own Greg Bennett – the main highlight of a film which has many. Utterly depraved and supposedly featuring an “unforgettable climax”, it looks like Friedkin and Letts have created another first-rate genre piece.
Mine Games | dir. Richard Gray | USA
Following his 2010 Australian feature Summer Coda, Richard Gray returns with the thriller Mine Games, an American production following a group of friends who make a disturbing discovery in an abandoned mine. Featuring a strong and vastly underrated cast of actors and a unique style, this is something to get very excited about.
Sightseers | dir. Ben Wheatley | UK
Ben Wheatley’s follow-up to the strongly-received Kill List, the Edgar Wright-produced and Directors’ Fortnight-selected film follows a man taking his nerdish girlfriend on a caravan holiday when events soon conspire against them and shatter their dream holiday. Sightseers is a wild British black comedy and another chance to see Wheatley in the director’s chair.
Aloïs Nebel | dir. Tomáš Lunák | CZE/GER
The Czech entry for Best Foreign Language Feature at this year’s Academy Awards, the animated drama is based on the comic-book trilogy by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír 99. Following a train dispatcher who begins to suffer from hallucinations where he sees trains from the last hundred years pass through the station, the film employs black-and-white rotoscope animation to question memory and dreams while delving into Czech history and central European mentalities. Lunák’s feature film debut is a bold effort that has already played in Venice and Toronto.
The King of Pigs | dir. Yuen Sang-ho | KOR
A stark and brutal piece of Korean animation, focusing on social and class status, Yuen Sang-ho’s debut feature surprised many when it took out three awards at last year’s Busan International Film Festival. Exploring the lingering effects of a destructive childhood in contemporary society, The King of Pigs is an unrelentingly adult tale sure to challenge and astound audiences.
JEAN EPSTEIN: BONJOUR CINEMA
The Faithful Heart + The Sea of Ravens
Epstein’s best-known feature is paired with the 22 minute short documentary filmed on the Breton island of Sein. This is an exceptional pair of efforts to highlight the filmmaker’s employment of rapid-fire editing and superimposition.
Jean Epstein: Young Oceans of Cinema + La Tempestaire
Using archival footage, interviews, photos and articles, Young Oceans of Cinema offers an introduction to Epstein’s work, and the filmmaker’s contribution to cinema. It is also paired with the short film La Tempestaire, which utilises time-lapse photography and slow motion to tell the tale of a fisherman stuck at sea during a storm.
THROUGH THE LABYRINTH: NEW LATIN AMERICAN CINEMA
Miss Bala | dir. Gerardo Naranjo | MEX
A tight, engaging and stylish action-thriller chronicling three days in the life of an aspiring beauty queen looks incredibly exhilarating. Kidnapped by a drug cartel, the protagonist – and the audience – is given insight into the amount of corruption still rife in the country of Mexico. Strong and audacious filmmaking won over audiences in Sydney, and I expect it to do the same in Melbourne.
Neighbouring Sounds | dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho | BRA
Expanding on his short film Eletrodoméstica, Filho has created a self-assured and gripping feature-film debut that portrays life in a middle-class neighbourhood. Examining class, paranoia, fear, and revenge in contemporary Brazil, the film features a strong cast and an incredible employment of urban space and design. With violence and noise at its core, Filho looks to have created a searing reflection on Brazilian culture.
No | dir. Pablo Larraín | CHI
Seamlessly combining archival pieces with newly shot footage on U-matic tape, Larraín’s behind-the-scenes drama won the top prize at this year’s Directors’ Fortnight. Detailing the successful marketing campaign of the “No” vote in Chile’s 1988 referendum on the Pinochet regime, the film also features another strong performance from Gael Garcia Bernal.
Violeta Went to Heaven | dir. Andrés Wood | CHI/ARG/BRA
The winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Violeta Went to Heaven follows the story of Violeta Parra, a beloved singer and visual artist who renewed interest in Chilean folk music. This is a sensitive yet intense biopic worth your time.
Hopefully this list helps decide your picks in the sections. If you have already bought tickets to any films in Night Shift, Animation, Jean Epstein: Bonjour Cinema, or Through the Labyrinth: New Latin American Cinema, we would love to know your choices and your most anticipated in each category!