Festival Director Richard Moore and his team have emerged from months in darkened cinemas around the globe to announce a select number of films for the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival.
“This is only a tiny taste of a deep and varied line-up from a reinvigorated programming team,” said Moore.
New showcases on offer this year include:
Focus on Ozploitation – With lashings of gratuitous sex, violence and fuel-injected muscle car mayhem, we’re exposing the 70s and 80s Aussie exploitation films that broke all the taboos. Inspired by the long awaited documentary Not Quite Hollywood, co-presented with ACMI and co-curated by Not Quite Hollywood director, Mark Hartley, these legendary works smash their way onto the big screen after prowling the filmic wilderness for decades.
Romanian Wave – Following the end of the Ceausescus’ brutal regime Romanian cinema has emerged to make a mark on international cinema, culminating with 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days snaring the Palme D’or last year. Intensely political, often absurd, like the final film by Christian Numescu California Dreamin’ (Endless), the titles in this section present a vivid picture of a turbulent nation. Other titles include The Death of Mr Lazarescu and 12:08 East of Bucharest.
Altered States – Distinguished by their content, style and the fact that the director’s original creative vision is maintained in the final film, American Indie Cinema has been reinvigorated in the last decade and now makes up 15% of theatrical releases in the US. MIFF will screen a selection of the strongest titles from the contemporary American indie circuit – including The Guitar (starring Saffron Burrows), The Wackness (starring Ben Kingsley) and In Search of a Midnight Kiss.
Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Tribute – To celebrate the 40th edition of the Directors’ Fortnight, MIFF selects films from the past forty years that have either never been screened on the big screen here or have not screened for a long time. The titles mirror the thematic trajectory of the Fortnight itself: from its militant beginnings, to its advocating of challenging, politically engaged and eclectic cinema from around the world.
Late Night Cult – extremities of style, form and substance are the order of the night in this section that sold out last year. Highlights include Jack Knautz’s Jack Brooks Monster Slayer and Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django, featuring a cameo from Quentin Tarantino.
MIFF Premiere Film Fund – Launched in July 2007, MIFF’s own film fund will feature world premieres of new Victorian feature documentaries including Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood; Rhian Skirving’s Rock & Roll Nerd about Melbourne’s own Tim Minchin; Tim Jolley and Kirsty De Garis’ Celebrity – Tales Of Dominic Dunne; Accelerator alumni Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Bastardy about local indigenous personality, Jack Charles; and Scott Millwood’s investigative documentary Whatever Happened To Brenda Hean?
Festival favourites return to MIFF, including:
International Panorama – Director Peter Greenaway returns to form with an exploration of lust, politics and art in Nightwatching; Brian De Palma’s controversial Redacted; and veteran French New Wave filmmaker Eric Rohmer‘s ‘last film’ The Romance of Astrea and Celadon.
Docos – Gay Muslim filmmaker Parvez Sharma explores lesbian and gay Muslims in his film A Jihad for Love; Werner Herzog’s wry humour and eye for the eccentric bring a fresh perspective to Antarctica’s much-photographed alien vastness in Encounters at the End of the World; and Barbet Schroeder’s fascinating portrait of notorious French defense lawyer, Jacques Verges, Terror’s Advocate.
Neighbourhood Watch – Set within the Singaporean song culture of getai, 881 is the latest offering from Royston Tan; Kenneth Bi’s The Drummer is an original melding of spiritualism and action starring Jaycee Chan, son of martial-arts legend Jackie Chan; and Triangle which combines the might of Hong Kong’s most celebrated filmmakers – Johnnie To, Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam.
Next Gen – A box-office smash in the UK, Son of Rambow is the follow up to director Garth Jennings’s 2005 debut, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; and Hana Makhmalbaf’s Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, winner of the Crystal Bear for Best Feature Film and the Peace Film Award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival.
Full details of the program will be released on Tuesday June 17th.