Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2012 Wrap-up

Contributing Writer; Melbourne, Australia (@Kwenton)
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Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2012 Wrap-up
MIFF 2012 ended last night, well technically the night before was closing night but to allow punters their much needed rest, Saturday was the closing night party, but the sessions continued into Sunday. It has been nearly three weeks of extremely diverse films but there is an assured clarity when it comes to sorting through the forty plus films I savored, endured or hated.

Of course as is the nature of all festivals I 'missed out' on some reportedly spectacular features and hope to catch up with them another time. On the other hand though your festival schedule is something that you familiarize yourself with and your wonderful film experiences become a personalized odyssey, particularly if you purchased a passport with access to all sessions, you take on this challenge, warts and all.

After a little soul searching it was not that hard to reflect on the gut-level and peak emotional states felt during particular films, and on this single session experience alone, I present my top five for the Melbourne International Film Festival 2012.

The Intouchables (Nakache, 2011) is an extremely wonderful film. The two leads have the best chemistry that I have seen on-screen in a long time. The story is simple and true and this is a story of friendship, class, depression, confidence and spirit. The film blazes its own trail of truly genuine humor, touching moments and stark truths. Omar Sy is a revelation as the street smart and brazen carer of the complex Philippe (Francois Cluzet). This really is a perfect movie that, and this may sound cheesy, made me warm and fuzzy inside. It was the first film I saw this MIFF and I could not get it out of my head for the rest of the festival.


Now for something that melted my brain in the best way possible. The enigmatic and increasingly disturbing Berberian Sound Studio (Strickland, 2012) ultra-stylishly presents a strange tale that distorts into something else entirely, my review.


Truth, art and dissolving the barriers of life and death itself Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present (Akers, 2012) presents itself as a pretentious niche documentary, but do not think that for a second. This is a film humanity must see, subjecting ourselves to the gaze, a mirror of the soul, and in this stunning documentary we watch this in action as the inexhaustible and punishing genius gives her body away to the deeply entranced crowds at the MOMA.

Michael Glawogger's globalization odyssey ends here in Whores' Glory (2011). This fly on the wall accounts of prostitutes in three parts of the world is mesmerizing and unbelievably stylish, my review.

Ben Wheatley lost me for a while. I did not particularly enjoy Kill List but I loved and still love Down Terrace. His third feature is a sort of an amalgamation of the two, combining black comedy, familial dysfunction and violent murder in one damn entertaining and deeply disturbed package. Sightseers (2012) is a revelation and it is hard to compare its tone, plot or intentions to other films, it is strangely unique and it is probably troubling how much I enjoyed this!


Other incredible films
Wuthering Heights (Arnold, 2011), Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012), For Loves Sake (Miike, 2012), Vulgaria (Ho-Cheung, 2012), Farewell my Queen (Jacquot, 2012), A Simple Life (Hui, 2011), Amour (Haneke, 2012), Miss Bala (Naranjo, 2011), Sound of my Voice (Batmanglij, 2011), Neighboring Sounds (Filho, 2012)

Other good films
Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012), Headshot (Ratanaruang, 2011), Ruby Sparks (Dayton, 2012), Killer Joe (Friedkin 2012), A Letter to Momo (Okiura, 2011)

Not so good
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Zeitlin, 2012), Maniac (Khalfoun, 2012), Chicken With Plums (Satrapi, 2011)

Worst of fest
Crazy Horse (Wiseman, 2011), Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1/2 (Kashyap, 2012), Hara-Kiri Death of a Samurai 3D (Miike, 2011), The Student (Mitre, 2011), Mine Games (Gray, 2012)
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Joe YoungAugust 20, 2012 3:46 PM

"Now for something that melted my brain in the best way possible. The enigmatic and increasingly disturbing Berberian Sound Studio (Strickland, 2012) ultra-stylishly"

I liked the trailer....thanks for the wrap up Mr Bellette.

Tom StoneAugust 20, 2012 6:12 PM

Great round up Kwenton. And love the alignment of those posters.

Really looking forward to The Intouchables based on your effervescent review. I was booked to see Sightseers but after watching Down Terrace and Kill List early in the week I was crushed by the terror of the combined experience. Kill List in particular freaked me the f*ck out - especially as I knew nothing at all going into it.

Also still very interested in seeing Beasts of the Southern Wild, especially after the director said he was heavily influenced by Julius Avery's short film Jerrycan when making the film. 23, 2012 2:11 AM

Laurence Anyways was my best of the fest.

Too long but its forgivable, especially given that the director is 23 years old, but it really is a phenomenally beautiful, tragic and original film. He deserved more than a "gay palm" for it in my view.