The full program for the 2018 Melbourne international Film Festival has dropped, comprising 254 feature films, 120 shorts and 19 virtual reality experiences, including 27 world premieres and 168 Australian premieres over 18 action-packed days of cinema from August 2 – 19.
Artistic Director Michelle Carey, who is stepping down after this year said, “I feel so honoured to go out with a bang on such an incredibly strong program. MIFF 2018 promises thrills, laughs and surprises, across galas, features, retrospectives, documentaries, shorts, live performances and VR. We have assembled the festival’s largest program yet and I can’t wait to unleash it onto Melbourne’s cine-savvy audiences.”
This year’s opening night film is Paul Dano’s Wildlife, starring Australian actor Ed Oxenbould, Carey Mulligan, and Jake Gyllenhaal, while Sue Thomson’s LGBTQI+ documentary The Coming Back Out Ball Movie will bring the festival to a close.
This year’s Centrepiece Gala film will be the Australian comedy The Merger, making its world premiere. Based on comedian Damian Callinan’s acclaimed stage show, The Merger tells the story 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.
Other highlights this year include:
Nadine Labaki’s Capharnaüm, winner of this year’s Jury Prize at Cannes. Centered on a 12-year-old child attempting to divorce himself from his parents, Labaki’s neorealist fable is notable for the astonishing performances she draws out from her cast of non-professional actors.
Burning, South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong adaptation of author Haruki Murakami’s short story of romantic longing. Wildly praised at Cannes, Burning set a new record for the highest-ever score in Screen International’s poll of critics at Cannes.
Birds of Passage by Colombian-born filmmakers Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego bring a distinct perspective to the time-honoured rags-to-riches drug saga, combining eye-popping traditional costumes and culture, an immersive atmosphere of surreal imagery and glorious widescreen cinematography.
Gaspar Noé’s Climax is an ecstatic and nightmarish orgy of sex, drugs and 90s club music from legendary provocateur, winning the Art Cinema Award at Cannes and reaffirming Noé as modern cinema’s most incisive and inventive observer of humanity’s animal darkness.
Oscar nominated Debra Granik’s return to feature filmmaking, Leave No Trace, is a humane depiction of the bond between father and daughter and the universal desire to live by your own rules.
Inspired by director Pawel Pawlikowski’s own parents’ story, Cold War is a love story that wends its way through a partitioned Europe, offering audiences a lyrical and emotional work replete with virtuosic black-and-white visuals and a keen sense of music.
Decades in the making, director Terry Gilliam’s near-mythical riff on Cervantes’ fantastic tale, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, finally makes its way to Melbourne. Starring Adam Driver alongside Gilliam stalwart Jonathan Pryce, it’s the story of a cynical ad man trapped in the delusions of an old shoemaker who believes himself to be Don Quixote.
Guests of the festival this year include star of Blaze, Alia Shawkat; Oscar nominated director, Debra Granik; French husband and wife filmmakers, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani; director of Holiday, Isabella Eklöf; and Australian actor Daniel Henshaw, with more to be announced.
A strong contingent of Australian films are present in this year’s program, including Alena Lodkina’s visually stunning feature debut Strange Colours; Ted Wilson’s feel-good film of family and cricket, Under the Cover of Cloud; Thomas M. Wright’s biographical sketch of artist Adam Cullen, Acute Misfortune; Miranda Nation’s psychological thriller, Undertow; Heath Davis’ Book Week, and Nicholas Wrathall’s documentary, Undermined: Tales From the Kimberley.
A particular coup this year is the world premiere of Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy, Mark Joffe’s captivating and compassionate portrait of one of Australia’s most well-known musical figures.
Documentaries on offer this year include The Eulogy, inspired by former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s searing eulogy for pianist Geoffrey Tozer; McQueen, director Ian Bonhôte’s ode to one of fashion’s most storied designers; Wayne, actor-turned-director director Jeremy Sims’ portrait of Australia’s greatest ever professional motorcyclist – Wayne “The Wollongong Whiz” Gardner; winner of the Special Jury Award (World Cinema Documentary) at Sundance, MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A.; and many more.
All tickets for MIFF 2018 go on sale from Friday, July 13. The 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival runs 2-19 August. For more info, head to the official site.