Entertainment Movies MIFF 2015: the movies you have to see this year

MIFF 2015: the movies you have to see this year

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The Melbourne International Film Festival is almost upon us, with Paul Cox’s compelling Force of Destiny (drawing on his own battles with cancer) kicking things off in the glorious surrounds of Hamer Hall.

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If you’ve left it a bit late to book tickets, panic not. Here’s our guide to the ones to look out for.


The Gift: A late addition on MIFF’s final day, Joel Edgerton’s directorial feature debut is a taut psychological thriller starring Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as a married couple whose lives go awry when an old schoolmate (played by Edgerton) shows up with a dark secret.

City of Gold: With Melbourne priding itself on its fine cuisine, this brilliant doco focusing on LA food critic Jonathan Gold’s tireless search of that sprawling metropolis’ best grub, from taco trucks to fine dining, is not to be missed.

The Lobster: A certified kooky hit hailing from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English-language movie stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Léa Seydoux in a mad dystopia that sees those who are unlucky in love transformed into animals. Literally.


It just so happens that a tonne of the must-sees this year are home-grown. Though MIFF centrepiece Holding the Man, the long-awaited big screen adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s heartbreaking memoir of queer teen romance, sold out super-fast, there are several more not-to-be-missed biggies.

Downriver: This queer-themed, darkly sensuous crime mystery may be the debut feature from Melbourne director Grant Scicluna, but his top-notch shorts have appeared at MIFF multiple times. Having already sold out three screenings, a fourth encore has been added. Get in quick.

Another Country: David Gulpilil is a national living treasure and this doco by Molly Reynolds, with cinematography by long-term Gulpilil collaborator Rolf de Heer, takes a look at the great man and his country. Both screenings are already on stand-by, but check out the gems in the retrospective stream too, including Walkabout, Ten Canoes, The Tracker, The Last Wave and Rabbit Proof Fence.

Pawno: Revolving around a pawnshop in Melbourne’s Footscray, Paul Ireland’s directorial debut, loosely based on Wayne Wang and Paul Auster’s Smoke, is packed full of kooky characters.

The Principal: Alex Dimitriades as a headmaster in a hardscrabble school? By Red Dog director Kriv Stenders? Done. This is a showcase of the first two eps of an upcoming SBS series.


Mistress America: MIFF’s closing night gala stars indie favourite Greta Gerwig, directed by her Frances Ha collaborator Noah Baumbach. Gerwig plays an entrepreneurial spirit – think interior designer cum fitness guru – who begins to fall apart when her younger step-sis-to-be shows up (Lola Kirke). Zany comedy perfect for a final night party.

7 Chinese Brothers: As far as deadbeat losers go, the ever-charming Jason Schwartzman wins our hearts as 30-something drop-kick Larry in Bob Byington’s daft movie with the cutest pug cameo in all of MIFF.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, The Story Of The National Lampoon: This spot-on doco gives an insight into their uproarious humour of the counter-culture mag which went on to spark radio and famous film offshoots, as well as practically donating its staff to the founding of Saturday Night Live.


Love: It may be a squeeze getting in at this stage, with nothing to do but queue outside each late-night screening of enfant terrible auteur Gaspar Noé’s latest, but you won’t forget it in a hurry if you do, thanks to its graphic sex scenes in 3D. You can catch his mindbending Enter The Void in a MIFF psychedelic retrospective too.

Warning: Graphic trailer.

Deathgasm: A Kiwi horror comedy packed full of guts and gore, anyone who loved last year’s What We Do In The Shadows should not miss this directorial debut from former visual effects master Jason Lei Howden, a guest of MIFF.

Warning: Graphic trailer.

Heaven Knows What: Based on the memoirs of homeless woman and heroin addict-turned-movie star Arielle Holmes, the Safdie brothers’ latest makes Requiem For A Dream seem tame. Holmes appears alongside a mostly non-professional cast sourced from New York’s mean streets.

Warning: Graphic trailer.


Turbo Kid: Described as the world’s first BMX post-apocalyptic, coming-of-age splatter actioner (with a dash of romance), we’re sold. Director Ant Timpson will be on hand for a Q&A after the August 6 screening too.

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