With the Melbourne International Film Festival celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, it was a given they had to kick the party into high gear.
Grey Goose vodka have taken over opening night, rolling out the blue carpet. Spirit lovers spilling into Hamer Hall’s orange and gold foyers after the world premier of Melbourne writer/director Cris Jones’ timeline-bending debut feature The Life and Death of Otto Bloom will be treated to their trademark cocktail Le Fizz. Shaken with ice, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lime juice and soda water, it’s sparklingly refreshing.
You’ll also be able to grab a Le Fizz at the Forum Theatre festival hub, which has been granted an upgrade for thirsty and frisky filmgoers. Transformed by boutique bottle shop Blackhearts & Sparrows and re-dubbed The Blackhearts Club, the speakeasy-style piano bar with cabaret tables and live music evokes the risqué glamour of days gone by in the Forum’s gloriously bonkers folly.
The Blackhearts gang have worked with Yarra Valley winemakers Tim Shand from Punt Road Wines as well as James Lance and Brian Conway over at Trapeze Wines to create two new varietals specifically for MIFF, the Caesar’s Garden Pinot Gris and the Eberson’s Shiraz, with their names a nod to the Forum’s kooky architecture and the Victorian visionary responsible for it.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery are handling the beers, with Genovese on caffeine duties and Italian grub gurus DOC on the food, including cinema-ready packed lunches for movie rustlers unafraid of raising the ire of fussy cinephiles.
Here Is The Best Culinary Cinema You Can Feast On At This Year’s MIFF:
Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo
The latest doco to feature effervescent and occasionally feisty chef René Redzepi and the adventures of his world-leading Copenhagen restaurant Noma, following last year’s Noma My Perfect Storm, writer/director Maurice Dekker’s Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo sees the team up sticks and head to the Japanese capital where they take over the basement of the Mandarin Oriental hotel. But will fusing his mind and palette-bending contemporary Scandinavian cuisine with the local fare prove a step too far for the thousands of guests clamouring over tables?
While the Noma flick literally features ants crawling on a live prawn as a one of the pricey dishes on offer, Andreas Johnsen’s doco Bugs, not to be confused with the cutesy Pixar hit A Bug’s Life, creepy crawls a step further. With the world’s population ballooning and food sources becoming scarce due to our ferocious devouring, it’s predicted insects will become major source of protein for the human race into the future. Not uncommon in various communities around the globe, chef Ben Reade and food scientist Josh Evans are tasked by the Noma-connected Nordic Food Lab to seek out new, wriggling delicacies.
If there’s one thing Melbourne folks are mad for, it’s their daily caffeine hit and the fabulously named Rock Baijnauth's doco Barista dives in deep with the madcap creative and endlessly obsessive industry leaders competing at the Boston-held 2013 National Barista Championships. With hipster hair and old timey fashion a-go go, five wannabe winners demonstrate their bean knowhow with the sort of linguistically afire athletics that would make any wine quaffing connoisseur blush.
Speaking of wine, Jerry Rothwell and the herculean-sounding Reuben Atlas’ rollicking good genre-bending doco Sour Grapes attempts to get at the truth of a mammoth GFC-related vintage wine-selling scandal that rocked the establishment to its very cork. Who is Rudy Kurniawan, how did he amass such wealth and why, exactly, are folks willing to pay squillions for the kudos of owning one measly bottle of dusty plonk when you could practically empty Dan Murphy’s for less? The answers are slippery like an Agatha Christie and just as hilariously entertaining.