This year, Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) heralds a milestone celebration as it presents its 70th programme overflowing with premieres, international features, and anniversary events.
It’s the first in-cinema Melbourne schedule since 2019, before the pandemic. Melbourne city and surrounds will be consumed with film as 257 feature films, 102 shorts and 12 XR works take over. There are 18 world premieres, 12 international premieres and 177 Australian premieres. A record 61 titles will be arriving from Cannes.
The cinema programme will unfold across familiar metro sites, and MIFF will stretch its footprint across the state as part of its suburban and regional programme. Plus, MIFF Play offers 105 features and shorts to watch from home.
“MIFF in 2022 marks an extraordinary welcome back to Melbourne cinemas and beyond, following two years of COVID-19 disruption – a full scale programme, suburban and regional expansions across nine country Victorian settings, and Australia wide access to an incredible film programme via MIFF Play,” MIFF Artistic Director Al Cossar says.
'Robe Of Gems'
“On top of everything, we turn 70 years young, a milestone to celebrate by charting, across our programme, the special connection MIFF has with Melbourne itself; and a moment to not only mark history, but make it, with the introduction of the extraordinary filmmakers of the Bright Horizons Competition. How special and exciting it will be for all of us to step back into the world of festival movie-going and share the magic of MIFF once more.”
Bright Horizons sees 11 films competing for the $140,000 Best Film Award. Films such as ‘Robe Of Gems’ from Mexican-Bolivian filmmaker Natalia Lopez Gallardo, ‘Aftersun’ starring Paul Mescal from Charlotte Wells, ‘Leonor Will Never Die’ by writer/director Martika Ramirez Escobar, and ‘Playground’, the assured debut from Laura Wandel.
Headlining MIFF are a number of features – and 61 fresh from Cannes.
‘Holy Spider’ from Ali Abbasi follows an intrepid female journalist (Zar Amir-Ebrahimi) who hunts down a serial killer, believed to be undertaking Allah’s work. ‘The Breakfast Club’ meets the outback in ‘Sweet As’, a coming-of-age story with a road-trip-worthy soundtrack, featuring all Indigenous artists.
'Stars At Noon'
Legendary French director Claire Denis returns with a Cannes Grand Prix-winning romance thriller, starring Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn. ‘Stars At Noon’ is a sexually-charged adaptation of the 1986 novel from Denis Johnson. Lea Seydoux stars in Mia Hansen-Love’s ‘One Fine Morning’, a partially autobigraphical work locating great empathy and humanity in the messy spaces of life.
Australian talent abounds once again in 2022. On Closing Night is a documentary portrait of trauma cleaner Sandra Pankhurst in ‘Clean’, and on Opening Night, ‘Of An Age’ from Goran Stolevski. There’s a timely spotlighting of key mental health and social issues in ‘Because We Have Each Other’, ‘Under Cover’ and ‘Volcano Man’, and ‘Seriously Red’ is the narrative feature debut from Gracie Otto, channelling the exuberant camp of P.J. Hogan’s ‘Mental’ and ‘Muriel’s Wedding’.
World cinema makes its mark on MIFF 70. ‘Call Jane’ from Phyllis Nagy stars Elizabeth Banks alongside Sigourney Weaver in a timely story based on the trials and triumphs of the real-world Janes movement, and the activists providing a lifeline to desperate women seeking reproductive autonomy.
Amanda Kramer brings a deliberately theatrical aesthetic to ‘Please Baby Please’, part Brechtian interrogation of identity, part absurdist quasi-musical and an all-camp embrace of melodrama and pseudo-philosophy. Plus, viral video ‘Marcel The Shell With Shoes On’ is now a rockumentary featuring, starring comedian Jenny Slate.
Throughout the rest of MIFF is an abundance of documentary features, music on film, films that aim to celebrate, protect and understand our natural world, films for the lovers of horror, and special programming such as MIFF Signatures, Director In Focus, ‘Sounds Of The Screen’ and more.
This year’s ambassadors for MIFF are Justin Kurzel and Andrew Dominik. They’ll each curate MIFF Ambassador Special Screenings during the festival’s in-cinema season. Tickets are on sale 15 July. Check out the full programme. Melbourne International Film Festival is on from 4-28 August.