MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2014: FIRST GLANCE
The 63rd Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has revealed an enticing First Glance of the program, some of this year’s key venues and the 2014 festival artwork, a collaboration with leading Melbourne artist, Beci Orpin.
“Melbourne audiences will be able to experience these fantastic films, and more to come, on beautiful big screens with big sound – the way film is best experienced,” says Artistic Director Michelle Carey.
The program includes new films from Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai, American director Richard Linklater and Canadian cinema prodigy Xavier Dolan. The First Glance selection also includes imaginative Shorts along with cinema for the whole family in MIFF’s already announced Next Gen program.
With plenty of favourites from the festival circuit, MIFF will screen: Listen Up Philip, starring Jason Schwartzman as a rising star on the New York literary scene, who also happens to be a spectacular misanthrope; Tom at the Farm, the FIPRESCI (Venice) award-winning thriller from Xavier Dolan, based on Michel Marc Bouchard’s stage play; the winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s ground-breaking new film, which charts the development of a boy between the ages of six and 18, using the same actor in periodic shoots over 12 years; Black Coal, Thin Ice, the new cinematic triumph from Chinese phenomenon Diao Yinan (Night Train, MIFF 2008), winner of Best Film and Best Actor awards at Berlin this year; and Tsai Ming-liang’s Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Stray Dogs, a bittersweet meditation on the people who fall through society’s cracks.
Long-awaited films include Hard to Be a God, inspired by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky’s sci-fi novel of the same name, directed by the late enfant terrible of Russian filmmaking, Alexei German; and from Wong Kar-wai, The Grandmaster, a breathtaking martial arts biopic about Bruce Lee’s teacher, the legendary Ip Man (Tony Leung).
Hollywood talent comes in the form of Nicolas Cage, who stars in Joe, a gritty Southern tale of masculine angst by director David Gordon Green (Prince Avalanche, MIFF 2013); and along with Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard, who star in Kelly Reichardt’s (Wendy and Lucy, MIFF 2008) thrilling Night Moves.
From the UK: the writers of Peep Show and Four Lions (MIFF 2010) and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle collaborate on Babylon, the feature length pilot for Channel 4’s upcoming series about the point where policing meets PR; Belle & Sebastian front-man Stuart Murdoch makes his directorial debut with the bittersweet musical God Help the Girl; and filmmaker Steven Knight directs the solo-protagonist, single-setting, real-time thriller Locke, starring Tom Hardy (Bronson, MIFF 2008).
MIFF will deliver the laughs with: The Skeleton Twins, a darkly funny film about adult siblings, starring Saturday Night Live alumni Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader; the home-grown rom-com The Infinite Man, from MIFF Accelerator alumnus Hugh Sullivan (Family Man, MIFF Shorts 2008) – one of the big hits at this year’s SXSW Film Festival; and R100, from director Hitoshi Matsumoto (Symbol, MIFF 2010; DaiNipponjin, MIFF 2008), about a middle-aged furniture salesman who escapes routine by joining an S&M club. More humour comes in the form of: What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary about vampires, from director Taika Waititi (Boy, MIFF 2010; Eagle vs Shark, MIFF 2006) and Flight of the Conchords mastermind Jemaine Clement; Ira Sachs’ (Keep the Lights On, MIFF 12) Love is Strange, a moving story about the trials faced by a couple after 39 years together, starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina; and We Are The Best!, a delightfully brash adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by the director’s wife, Coco.
Among the music documentaries at MIFF this year are Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets, Florian Habicht’s (Love Story, MIFF 2012) cinematic love letter to Sheffield and its best known 90s band; 20,000 Days on Earth, a biopic about Melbourne’s own post-punk poet Nick Cave, which won this year’s Sundance World Cinema Documentary Editing and Directing award; and Breadcrumb Trail, a portrait of pioneering post-rock band Slint, from veteran music clip director Lance Bangs.
Other fascinating documentaries on pop culture include Advanced Style, the big-screen interpretation of Ari Seth Cohen’s hugely popular street-style blog of the same name, which showcases New York City’s fashionable senior citizens; and Jodorowsky’s Dune, the story of how one of the most ambitious film projects of all time never came to be, from filmmaker Frank Pavich.
The USA comes under the spotlight in Frederick Wiseman’s (Crazy Horse, MIFF 2012) documentary At Berkeley, a comprehensive cinematic portrait of the great malaise eroding America’s college education system; and Oscar and Emmy-nominated director Joe Berlinger (Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, MIFF 2004) returns with his latest documentary, Whitey: United States of America V. James J Bulger, about the trial of the infamous head of Boston’s criminal underworld.
Proving that truth is stranger than fiction, MIFF screens the Best Documentary award-winner from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Point and Shoot, a coming-of-age story about a young man who joined the fight against tyrannical dictator Muammar Gaddafi; and Dinosaur 13, based on the timely tale of science versus politics, Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law and My Life.
MIFF’s Shorts program will feature the most inventive short films from around the globe, while the recently announced Next Gen program offers our next generation of film lovers an introduction into the imaginative, educational and explorative qualities of film.
Venues for 2014 include Forum Theatre; Kino Cinemas, a Palace Cinemas Partner; ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne; and Hoyts Cinemas, Melbourne Central. This year, MIFF will also return to Treasury Cinema (behind the Old Treasury Building on Spring Street), with more CBD venues to be announced soon.
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Melbourne International Film Festival runs 31 July – 17 August 2014.
The full MIFF program will be launched 8 July.
Trailers can be viewed at www.youtube.com/user/MIFF.
The festival program will be online at miff.com.au and in The Age on 11 July.
All single session tickets go on sale to the public 11 July.
e-Mini Passes, Passports and Opening Night tickets are on sale now at miff.com.au