Even as the Australian festival that benefits most from its positioning in the year – a few months after Cannes Film Festival – Melbourne International Film Festival has managed a stellar pull for their 2015 edition. Drawing on a mixture of long-awaited Australian premieres as well as much lauded Cannes picks from SFF, MIFF2015 has put together a comprehensive collection of some of this year’s most anticipated films.
Heading the line-up is The Lobster, the long-anticipated English-language debut from Greek New Wave director Yorgos Lanthimos, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or, and took out a Jury Prize on the side. Japan’s Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Takashi Miike, and Naomi Kawase bring a strong showing for the country to MIFF – with Journey to Shore, Yakuza Apocalypse, and An all making a feature. Between the three distinct Japanese directors, an extensive portrayal of the country’s cinematic landscape is available at the festival – from a more sentimental and reflective flick (Journey to Shore), a faster-paced Yakuza film (Yakuza Apocalypse), as well as a story imbued with more traditional elements Japanese culture (An).
Off the back off SFF is a markedly strong selection – with the majority of the Cannes picks at SFF receiving recommended and highly recommended ratings from the site. Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin, and Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights all received the strongest possible rating from 4:3, while Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendour and Hirokazu Koreeda’s Our Little Sister made up some of the strongest showings at Sydney Film Festival. Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope, which originally played at Sundance, is also listed amongst the Cannes features on offer.
Veteran Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke’s Mountains May Depart will be showing at the festival as part of the director’s continued strengthening of the possibilities of what constitutes “Chinese cinema” in the 21st century. On the other hand, the long awaited Love by French shock-surrealistic Gaspar Noé – an erotically-charged feature shot in 3D – looks to offer a fast-paced and heavily sexual work. Michel Franco’s Chronic, which took out best screenplay at the festival, stars Tim Roth as a nurse who specialises in working with terminal illness in the home. Land and Shade, directed by Cesar Augsto Acevado, is a visually engrossing study of the wreckage caused by industry, winning the Camera d’Or at Cannes. Romanian New Wave icon, Corneliu Porumboiu presents The Treasure at this year’s festival, continuing recent strong showings at MIFF 1
Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs looks to trace the lines of trauma created by war, alongside a family’s inability to properly connect. In the Shadow of Women has Philippe Garrel presenting a look at the nature of relationships and their idiosyncrasies, co-written alongside Buñuel collaborator and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. Deniz Gamze Ergüyen’s Mustang is a debut from the Turkish director, offering a rare cinematic insight into the perceptions of female sexuality in the country. Han Jun-Hee’s Chinatown-set Coin Locker Girl has its Australian debut at the festival, after taking the South Korean box office by storm, while Robert Guédiguan’s Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad offers a complex and intimate reflection on the Armenian Genocide.
MIFF has also managed to secure the winner of the Palme d’Or in the short film selection, Waves ’98 as well as the Cinéfondation First Prize winner Share – both of which will screen as part of the short film selection.
It’s a remarkably strong line-up of films and only a small portion of the full announcement for the festival due on 10 July.