MIFF (Melbourne Int Film Festival) 2011 Sneak Peek - An Analysis

Contributing Writer; Melbourne, Australia (@Kwenton)
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MIFF (Melbourne Int Film Festival) 2011 Sneak Peek - An Analysis

So the 60th anniversary of this much loved festival is this year, and the First Glance categories and brief listings of just some of the hundreds of films was just announced on their website, just a few hours ago.

This is an exciting and slightly bewildering list, I felt compelled to cover some of these films in their respective categories and my thoughts on them.


International Panorama

The Kid with a Bike (Belgium)

The Cannes kids, the Dardenne brothers tale of youthful innocence betrayed.

MIFF has the advantage over SFF (Sydney Film Festival) in that it actually goes to Cannes to select the festival darlings and un certain regarde, so this choice is no surprise.


Submarine (UK)

Richard Ayoade (star of The IT Crowd) directs a Rushmore influenced love story.

Richard is a comic talent, I hope he can bring his unique brand of humor to the directing chair, although from what I have seen on ScreenAnarchy, I am really looking forward to this.



Cave of Forgotten Dreams (USA)

Cinematic legend Werner Herzog presents an astonishing glimpse of our prehistoric forebears.

Whether this will be in 3D (as intended) remains to be seen.


El Bulli - Cooking in Progress (Germany)

Covers the meticulous preparation that goes into one of the most imaginative menus in the world.

MIFF has a food fetish, there were at least 4 doco's last year that covered the topic of food and cooking, and this year will probably be no different, I expect the inclusion of SFF's Jiro Dreams Of Sushi too; good news for the restaurants surrounding the venues!


Project Nim (UK)

A chimp is taught sign language and raised in a human family in an attempt to bridge the gap between human and animal.

Anything by James Marsh (Man on wire) is sure to be a winner.

Next Gen (cinema for the young at heart)

Falling for Sahara (Australia)

Three young African refugees in Melbourne's inner-west find that love is never simple - especially when they all have eyes for the same girl. 

A love square set in the 'burbs of Melbourne as part of a refugee trilogy; uniquely Australian.


Tales of the Night (France)

Master of animation Michel Ocelot presents an entrancing series of six fairy tales, in silhouetted 3D.

This just sounds amazing.

Under the Hawthorn Tree (China/Hong Kong)

Zhang Yimou (Hero) adapts a story about youthful passion amid the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution of 1970's China.

An awful adaptation of a classic novel; middle class, badly casted and directed without passion Zhang Yimou continues to meander.


Accent on Asia (finally it has been retitled from the woeful Neighbourhood Watch; regardless of the name it has a significantly better lineup of Asian cinema than the SFF)

Norwegian Wood (Japan)

I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me.

It is not uncommon to see films I dislike, or even hate, but Norwegian Wood surpasses even those negative feelings to enter a league of its own; it is a crime to the original and beloved masterpiece by Haruki Murakami. It misses all of the vital elements of the book, ignoring the protagonists other lover almost completely. Sure it has beautiful scenery but it is irrelevant to the explanation of the INTERNAL struggles each character faces, and the music by Johnny Underwood belongs in There Will Be Blood, not counter-revolutionary Japan. Absolutely awful film; please avoid this like the plague. I am considering petitioning outside the cinema doors for this one.

13 Assassins (Japan/UK)

"[Director] Takashi Miike is in top, slashtastic form." - Variety

The house of blue leaves showdown (Kill Bill Volume 1) stood as my all time favourite fighting sequence in a movie; 13 assassins has now taken that place.


The Piano in a Factory (China)

An unemployed steel worker who is deeply passionate about music, does whatever it takes to keep his estranged family together

MIFF is not MIFF without a Chinese humanist drama.

The Unjust (South Korea)

Police corruption is rife in this one, as they find a fall guy to take the blame for a spate of serial killings, but then regret the unforeseen consequences.

Police corruption, South Korea, action, thriller; these are the ingredients for a good night out.


This Sporting Life (a new category, but basically documentaries that focus on sports)

Bobby Fischer Against the World (USA)

"Chess and me - it's hard to take them apart." - Bobby Fischer.

This could almost fall under MIFF's other new category from last year, Flawed Geniuses, this should be very intriguing, to get into the head of such a man.


Networked (a new category, but basically documentaries and a few films that focus on the interwebs)

Life in a Day (USA)

A historic cinematic experiment shot by thousands of people in 192 countries, Life in a Day is the true story of a single day on Earth.

It would be tough to capture life in a day but it is seemingly done so here, thanks to YouTube.

So that's it for now, as always the actual program guide comes out next next month, so Australians, can chew on these sneak peeks, biding their time until the program blows away any of the offerings above with an awesome and varied selection of diverse, popular and hard to get films.

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