Thursday, August 18, 2016

MIFFing in action

Enjoying a celebratory glass of wine in the ACMI cafe on the day we purchased our MIFF
passes and chose our first films. Photo credit: Shane Jones.

Shane in the ACMI cafe with MIFF Festival Guides and a glass of red.

Lately I've been 'MIFFing in action’* at the Melbourne International Film Festival (*to quote Festival Patron Geoffrey Rush in his written introduction to this year’s festivities).

Every year Shane Jones and I faithfully attend MIFF and eagerly look forward to it. Until now, however, I have limited myself to an eMini Pass, sometimes two. (A mini passholder can select up to 13 films).

This year my wish list was so long (and growing at an alarming rate) that upgrading to MIFF membership and a Festival Passport was the only logical step. I must admit that it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long while. When MIFF comes along, though, I invariably find myself so swamped with work, I feel I can't spare any extra time. This year was no exception, but I was also exhausted and desperately needed some time out. For a film buff, what better way to spend it? The Festival Passport gave me unlimited access to the untold cinematic riches of MIFF 2016. Heaven! My main challenge (and it was a considerable one) was to not to overdo it. I think most festival goers would agree that this and keeping up energy levels are challenges common to us all.

Immediately following my first film, After the Storm, I bumped into veteran Festival Passport holder Des Cowley and excitedly told him of my upgrade. He foretold that I “will never be able to go back” to a mini pass and by the end of my first day, I knew he was right.  

Gracia and Louise, with whom I spent many happy hours in the dark, enjoy restorative coffees at Collins Place prior to
the screening of The Death of Louis XIV, the last of several films we saw together.

Despite continued efforts by us and fellow Passport holders Gracia and Louise to persuade, nay, shame, Shane to joining me in an upgrade, he doggedly stuck to his humble eMini Pass. Shane did, however, purchase single tickets to additional sessions, including Little Men, Kedi and Girlfriends, all of which have made the very long ‘shortlist’ of MIFF favourites that presently follows.

The Forum cinema, where I saw the majority of this year's movies, is unquestionably
my favourite MIFF venue

The Blackhearts Club (former stalls area of the Forum) where Shane and I relaxed in between movies

 Jazz musician Mark Fitzgibbon, was the Blackhearts Club pianist in residence. What a superb musician he is.
Shane and I often called in just to hear him play.

Fine films, friends and music aside (see above photo) for Shane and I the highlight of MIFF 2016 (if not the entire year) was David Stratton in conversation with British director Terence Davies at Victorian College of the Arts on 31 July. His movie Sunset Song was screened at MIFF and put simply, is a masterpiece. The following photograph was snapped from our front row seats. We even got to meet Mr. Davies afterwards. As longtime admirers of the man and his work, it’s a memory we’ll treasure forever.

L-R: Terence Davies and David Stratton

Without further delay, here is my unapologetically long list of personal favourites (28 films shortlisted from the 52 that helped make this my best MIFF ever). To learn more about the films, click on individual titles.

Fri 29 Jul 2016 11:00 AM
D/S Hirokazu Kore-eda P Matsuzaki Kaoru, Yose Akihiko, Taguchi Hijiri Dist Rialto L Japanese w/English subtitles

Fri 29 Jul 2016 6:00 PM
D/S Terence Davies P Roy Boulter, Sol Papadopoulos, Nicolas Steil Dist Madman Entertainment

Sat 30 Jul 2016 4:00 PM
D Amy Berg P Amy Berg, Alex Gibney, Jeff Jampol, Katherine LeBlond Dist Transmission Films

Sun 31 Jul 2016 11:30 AM
D Claude Barras S Céline Sciamma WS Indie Sales L French w/English subtitles

Sun 31 Jul 2016 6:30 PM
D/S Min Bahadur Bham P Catherine Dussart, Anna Katchko, Min Bahadur Bham, Tsering Rhitar Sherpa WS Wide Management L Nepalese w/English subtitles

Tue 2 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Babak Jalali P Marjaneh Moghimi S Babak Jalali, Aida Ahadiany Dist Daricheh Cinema L Farsi, English, Dari, Assyrian w/English subtitles

Tue 2 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Roger Ross Williams P Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman Dist Madman Entertainment

Tue 2 Aug 2016 6:30 PM
D/S Trevor Graham P Lisa Wang, Ned Lander, Trevor Graham, Carl-Ludwig Rettinger L English, French w/English subtitles

Wed 3 Aug 2016 4:15 PM
D Rodrigo Plá P Sandino Saravia Vinay, Rodrigo Plá S Laura Santullo WS Memento Films L Spanish w/English subtitles

Fri 5 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D/S Anna Muyleart P Maria Ionescu, Sara Silveira, Anna Muylaert WS Loco Films L Portuguese w/English subtitles

Fri 5 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D Juho Kuosmanen P Kimi Seppänen S Mikko Myllylahti, Juho Kuosmanen WS Les Fils du Losange L Finnish w/English subtitles

Fri 5 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Laura Israel P Melinda Shopsin, Laura Israel S Melinda Shopsin Dist Madman Entertainment

Sat 6 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Grant Gee P Janine Marmot, Keith Griffiths S Orhan Pamuk WS The Match Factory L English, Turkish w/English subtitles

Sat 6 Aug 2016 6:00 PM
D/S Cristi Puiu P Anca Puiu, Laurence Clerc, Olivier Thery Lapiney WS Elle Driver L Romanian w/English subtitles

Sun 7 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Yasujirô Ozu S Yasujirô Ozu, Kogo Noda WS Shochiku L Japanese w/English subtitles

Sun 7 Aug 2016 6:45 PM
D Ira Sachs P Lucas Joaquin, Christos V Konstantakopoulos, Jim Lande, Ira Sachs, LA Teodosio S Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias Dist Rialto

Mon 8 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D/P/S Mani Haghighi Dist Daricheh Cinema L Persian w/English subtitles

Wed 10 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D Leyla Bouzid P Sandra Da Fonseca, Imed Marzouk S Leyla Bouzid, Marie-Sophie Chambon WS Doc & Film International L Arabic w/English subtitles

Wed 10 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Yasujirô Ozu P Takeshi Yamamoto S Kôgo Noda, Yasujirô Ozu WS Shochiku Co. Ltd L Japanese w/English subtitles

Wed 10 Aug 2016 6:45 PM
D Rebecca Daly P Conor Barry, Macdara Kelleher S Rebecca Daly, Glenn Montgomery

Thu 11 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D/S Denis Côté P Sylvain Corbeil, Nancy Grant WS Films Boutique L French, English, Russian w/English subtitles

Thu 11 Aug 2016 9:00 PM
D/S Matt Ross P Lynette Howell Taylor, Jamie Patricof, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson Dist Entertainment One

Fri 12 Aug 2016 5:00 PM
D/S Ceyda Torun P Ceyda Torun, Charlie Wuppermann WS Termite Films L Turkish w/English subtitles

Fri 12 Aug 2016 6:30 PM
D Claudia Weill P Patricia Churchill, Lilly Kilvert, Claudia Weill S Claudia Weill, Vicki Polon

Sat 13 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Otto Bell P Otto Bell, Sharon Chang, Stacey Reiss Dist Sony Pictures Releasing L Kazakh w/English subtitles

Sat 13 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D/P/S Ros Horin Dist The Good Ship Company

Sun 14 Aug 2016 1:45 PM
D Albert Serra P Thierry Lounas, Joaquim Sapinho, Claire Bonnefoy, Montse Triola S Albert Serra, Thierry Lounas WS Capricci Films L French w/English subtitles

Sun 14 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Michael Dudok de Wit P Toshio Suzuki, Gregoire Sorlat, Vincent Maraval, Pascal Caucheteux S Michael Dudok de Wit, Pascale Ferran Dist Transmission Films L No Dialogue