The best of the Melbourne International Film Festival

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

The best of the Melbourne International Film Festival

As the last month of winter rolls around Melbourne becomes the centre of the cinematic universe (in a manner of speaking) with the 67th annual Melbourne International Film Festival – or as it’s better known, MIFF. Featuring 254 feature films, 120 shorts and 19 virtual reality experiences, screening over eighteen days and nights, this year’s festival promises to provide audiences with a wide-ranging and robust snapshot of world cinema today.
This year MIFF kicks off August 2nd with the opening night screening of Paul Dano’s highly anticipated Opening Night Gala film Wildlife at the Regent Theatre. For the first time MIFF will be taking over the Regent for the entire opening weekend, with a series of headline film screenings and live soundtrack event Hear My Eyes based on Nicholas Winding Refen’s Drive.
Marking the midpoint of the Festival with a Centrepiece Gala screening is the world premiere of Australian comedy The Merger. Based on comedian Damian Callinan’s acclaimed stage show of the same name, it’s the tale of a struggling small town footy team that recruits refugees to survive, and stars John Howard, Josh McConville, Fayzaal Bazzi, Kate Mulvany and Callinan himself.
the merger
MIFF wraps up on August 20th, but the Closing Night Gala on Saturday August 18thn is built around a screening of the highly anticipated The Coming Back Out Ball Movie. Directed by Sue Thomson and supported through the MIFF Premiere Fund, The Coming Back Out Ball Movie is a triumphant and life-affirming love letter to Australia’s original fighters for queer equality.
Stand out films of the festival include: Mandy, touted as Nicolas Cage’s most Nicolas Cage performance ever (screening both separately and as part of the Cage-a-Thon retrospective marathon at the Astor cinema); Climax, an ecstatic and nightmarish orgy of sex, drugs and 90s club music from legendary provocateur Gaspar Noé; Leave No Trace, the latest feature from Oscar nominated Debra Granik (a guest of this year’s festival), described as a humane depiction of the bond between father and daughter and the universal desire to live by your own rules; and director Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited and near-mythical riff on Cervantes’ fantastic tale, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, starring Adam Driver alongside Gilliam stalwart Jonathan Pryce in the story of a cynical ad man trapped in the delusions of an old shoemaker who believes himself to be Don Quixote.
The festival will also present the world premiere of Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy – Mark Joffe’s in-depth portrait of one of Australia’s most well-known musical figures. Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name, the film follows Barnes as he retraces his early life through the hard streets of Glasgow and revisits childhood ghosts in South Australia
There’s also a wide range of individual programs within the festival itself, gathering films on various topics into theme – including Fashion x Cinema, focusing on design; Night Shift, MIFF’s traditional look at the latest and greatest in cult film; African Film Rediscovered; an Italio-Crime retrospective; and the always attention-grabbing line ups of MIFF short films, animation, and Music on Film.
The full MIFF program is online at and tickets are on sale now.
Written by Anthony Morris