So the Melbourne International Film Festival is almost halfway over for the year, which usually means you’ve already missed out one at least some of the must-see films of the festival (if you didn’t check them out already). But this year they’ve done a better than usual job of spreading out the screenings of the good stuff – or at least, my idea of what constitutes the “good stuff” – so there’s still a chance to catch out on the films you’d kick yourself if you missed.
For one thing, you’ve still got time – if you’ve picked up this issue of Forte on the day of release, which I’m sure you do every week – to check out the Cage-a-Thon at the Astor (Friday August 10th, 9.30pm start). They’re showing seven of Cage’s best films (that’d be, in order, Mandy – that’s direct from Cannes and while I haven’t seen it advance word is that it’s crazy – Raising Arizona, Red Rock West, Vampire’s Kiss, The Wicker Man, Drive Angry and Con Air). Cage has done so much great work they could easily have shoved another dozen films in there, but that’s a pretty decent selection that mixes things up, while the films themselves get less essential as they go (definitely don’t leave before Vampire’s Kiss though) so maybe take a nap during Drive Angry so you can give Con Air the attention it deserves.
If you’d rather watch your movies one at a time, there’s still plenty of decent single film sessions available. Take, for example, American Animals, a film that blurs the line between re-enactment and flat-out fiction as it re-tells the tale of a group of half-bright kids who in 2004 decided their path to riches lay in stealing a couple of ultra-rare books from their university library (Friday 10th, 6.30pm, Wednesday 15th, 9.15pm). Friday the 10th is also your last chance to see the final in Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage series, Outrage Coda; if you haven’t yet jumped on board his vengeance train, it’s leaving the station.
Wrath of Silence (Sunday 12th, 6.30pm and Friday 17th, 9.15pm) is a thrilling genre tale of a Chinese drifter who returns to a corrupt mining town in search of his son; 1% (Monday 13th, 6.30pm, Tuesday 14th 4pm, Wednesday 15th 9.15pm) is an all-Aussie tale of bikie warfare with a Macbeth style twist as a gang leader gets out of prison and turns on the man he left in charge; and Arctic (Tuesday 14thn, 9pm) sees Mads Mikkelsen wandering the frozen wastelands as a pilot struggling to survive after a plane crash in a white-knuckle (literally) survival thriller.
That’s barely scratching the surface of what’s still available to check out at this year’s MIFF (I didn’t even mention Paul Schrader’s much-praised First Reformed), but here’s a final tip: make sure to keep an eye on the final Sunday night screenings, as often there’ll be a bunch of last-minute additions that are well worth a look.
Written by Anthony Morris