Melbourne International Film Festival Launches 2012 Program
Get the lowdown here...
The Melbourne International Film Festival has just launched its full program for 2012, including the exciting announcement that P.J. Hogan's just-wrapped comedy/drama, Mental (pictured), will close the festival on August 18.
As previously announced, the festival will kick off with Wayne Blair's feel-good musical drama, The Sapphires, and festival director, Michelle Carey, is thrilled to commence and close the festival with strong Australian fare. "How wonderful that we are able to book-end the 2012 MIFF with what will surely be two of the biggest Australian films of the year," Carey said. "Featuring an incredible ensemble cast, P.J. Hogan's Mental is as outrageously fun as it is smart and moving."
Mental reunites writer/director P.J. Hogan with his original leading lady, Toni Collette, for the first time since the pair's 1994 breakout smash, Muriel's Wedding. The film follows the story of the Moochmore family whose lives are upended when the politician father (Anthony LaPaglia) commits his wife (Rebecca Gibney) to a mental hospital and impulsively picks up a hitchhiker named Shaz (Collette) as the family's nanny.
On the topic of Australian content, the festival has an exciting selection of local films premiering at the festival as part of the MIFF Premiere Fund. One of the highlights is the bromantic comedy, Save Your Legs, which follows a Melbourne cricket team - headed by actor Stephen Curry - as they attempt to fulfil their dream of playing in India.
Also featuring in the Australian showcase is Luke Walker's (Beyond Our Ken) Lasseter's Bones, which follows the folk hero behind the legend of Lasseter's Reef; as well as the world premiere of Jack Irish - Bad Debts, which stars Guy Pearce as the titular former criminal lawyer.
Telescope: Visions From The EU shines a light on celebrated European films, highlights of which include the debut film from Babis Makridis and Dogtooth's screenwriter, Efthimis Filippou, which is a cornerstone of the recent wave of Greek absurdist cinema; the surreal and post-apocalyptic The Legend of Kaspar Hauser starring Vincent Gallo; and the acclaimed Just The Wind from Hungarian director Bence Fliegauf.
Two French auteurs are also given spotlights in the program. Jean Epstein: Bonjour Cinema takes us into the world of one of the most innovative French Impressionist filmmakers; and Leos Carax: The Last Romantic takes a look at the work of the incomparable director who has just delivered another huge talking point with Holy Motors.
The festival also presents a new spotlight on Latin America with Through The Labyrinth: Latin American Cinema. Student politics feature in both Celina Murga's documentary Normal School and in Santiago Mitre's compelling feature The Student, which offers an oblique metaphor for Argentinean - and world - politics; there's the 2011 Camera d'Or winning Las Acacias about a slow-burning road-trip; and this year's winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Violeta Went To Heaven, about the Edith Piaf of Chile.
International Panorama features several titles from Cannes which have already been announced, with many more now revealed, including Oscar-winner James Marsh's (Man on Wire, Project Nim) thriller Shadow Dancer, which stars Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough and Gillian Anderson; Romanian realist Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills, another psychological gut-punch from the helmer behind the Palme d'Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; the Danish drama, The Hunt, which stars Mads Mikkelson as a schoolteacher falsely accused of child sexual abuse; and the inventive romantic fantasy, Ruby Sparks, the long-awaited follow-up from the duo that brought us Little Miss Sunshine.
This year's documentaries program affirms that truth really is stranger, more heartbreaking and just as inspiring as fiction. The impassioned Pink Ribbons, Inc. looks at the corporatisation of the breast cancer industry; Frederick Wiseman's Crazy Horse takes a demure glimpse backstage at the world's most famous nude dance revue; and How to Survive a Plague is the story of the activists who helped turn AIDS from a death sentence to a manageable condition during the eighties.
Melbourne music fans are also in for a treat with the always popular Backbeat program, highlights of which include Paul Kelly: Stories of Me, a candid portrait of one of our most beloved singer-songwriters; and the festival pays tribute to Beastie Boy Adam ‘MCA' Yauch with Gunnin' For That #1 Spot and Beastie Boys in Awesome I Fuckin' Shot That!.
The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from August 2-18 and the full program is now live at the festival website. Tickets for Opening Night are now on sale and tickets for the full program go on sale on Friday 13 July.