What's On

MIFF Returns With A Bumper Program In Cinemas And Online

By Amanda Gunn

If films are your schtick–you’ll be pleased to know that Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) will be back in theatres and online this August. Perfect for a winter night out, MIFF is packed with everything from engrossing documentaries and insightful speakers to anticipated blockbusters and plenty more. 

So, here's everything you need to know for MIFF 2023: 

The event will kick off on August 3 debuting a range of international flicks in cinemas across Melbourne (and regional Vic) until August 20. The celebration of over 70 years of film, filmmakers and cinema will then continue online from August 18 to 27 for those who didn’t get a chance to experience MIFF in person or are wanting to continue deep diving into international treats.  

The 71st event will focus on ‘Stories that need telling,’ highlighting a mix of beloved Aussie actors, and first-time directors and engaging topics like neurodiversity, memory, and identity.

The festival will kick off with its annual Gala screening of MIFF Funded, ‘Shayda’ from Australian-Iranian writer and director Noora Niasari. Filmed and set in Melbourne, the feature follows an Iranian mother, played by Cannes Best Actress winner Zar Amir-Ebrahimi (Holy Spider, MIFF 2022), seeking a new life for herself and her daughter.

For their Centrepiece Gala, MIFF is bringing the life of rock and roll legend Michael Gudinski to the screen with Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story. While the closing night Gala sees the Australian premiere of Theatre Camp, a quick-witted crowd-pleaser that sold out sessions at both Sundance and SXSW.

As for International pictures, Melbourne will be the epicentre of global cinema this August with many titles to look forward to.

Daniel Goldhaber’s ‘How to Blow Up a Pipeline,’ covers eight young climate-activist Americans who plan to detonate explosives in the Texan desert to destroy an oil pipeline. Hoping to send shockwaves through the fossil-fuel industry, it’s a thrilling heist-centric movie with themes of global warming at its core.  

Jennifer Connelly and Ben Whishaw both star in ‘Bad Behaviour,’ a black comedy about a former child star who attends a spiritual retreat in search of enlightenment and filial reconciliation. Actor-turned-director Alice Englert simultaneously directs the screenplay and appears as Connelly’s on-screen daughter in the movie – tempering moments of absurd satire with sincerity about the entertainment industry.

Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) is also returning with his latest directorial masterpiece, Master Gardener. Starring Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver, it's Schrader's latest tale exploring male guilt and troubled masculinity, and it's set to be some of the trio's finest work respectively.

Pedro Pascal is also returning to the screen for MIFF 2023 as part of the shorts program, starring alongside Ethan Hawke in what can be considered a Brokeback Mountain alternative from director Pedro Almodóvar, who was offered the project initially but turned down in the early 00's.

Michael Cera (Cryptozoo, MIFF 2021; Barbie) features director Dustin Guy Defa’s ‘The Adults’–a heartwarming tale about an awkward thirtysomething who returns home after a long absence. It’s a nostalgic tale that delves into relationships like squabbles with his two sisters and reuniting with his old poker group.

Off-kilter comedy Biosphere, directed by Mel Eslyn, is also in attendance, alongside Mark Duplass—starring in the film and joining Melbourne on the red carpet for opening week. 

Featuring Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Noel Gallagher as talking heads–‘ Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis)’ is a film directed by Anton Corbijn that goes behind the music to uncover what makes an album cover iconic.

Music lovers will also want to mark their calendars for the world premiere of ‘Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story’ which will lead MIFF’s ‘Music on Film’ line-up, delving into the stories of behind-the-scenes musical history, classic album covers and legendary musicians.

If you’re after a real-world story, try ‘Shere Hite,’ a doco narrated by Dakota Johnson (who also serves as executive producer) about the disappearance of Shere Hite–a pioneering sexologist from the 1970s. This flick, directed by Academy Award-nominated documentarian Nicole Newnham, tells the charismatic and trailblazing story of a woman ahead of her time. 

In  ‘A Storm Foretold,’ Guldbrandsen unravels the captivating story of Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s cunning advisor. From his shady dealings with the notorious Proud Boys to the explosive fallout of the secretive manoeuvres that allegedly contributed to the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021–this film dives deep into the dizzying world of political machinations, making a gripping cinematic experience.

The full program is live now, with tickets officially going on sale to the general public on 14 July to general public. MIFF members receive early access here.

For more of what's happening in and around Melbourne, head this way.

Image credit: Supplied by MIFF

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