An erotic firefighting dance spectacle, a mind-blowing Bowie biopic, 'Chopper' rescored live ... here are our suggestions of films to see at MIFF this year.
Moonage Daydream dir. Brett Morgen
From the visionary director of Cobain: Montage of Heck comes the first film ever sanctioned by the Bowie estate: a maximalist, avant-guard collage presented on the IMAX screen. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage carefully stitched together with narration from the late, great David Bowie himself, this kaleidoscopic documentary is an electrifying portrait of the ever-changing artist’s career.
Head to IMAX to see Moonage Daydream (Germany/USA, 2022) from August 12 – 19. Rated 15+
Will-o’-the-Wisp dir. João Pedro Rodrigues
A sexy, queer, sci-fi musical extravaganza – Will-o’-the-Wisp is an erotic firefighting and dance spectacle. On his deathbed, The King of Portugal recalls his past of firefighting in this audacious, funny and unpredictable film. With themes of climate change, pandemics, the sanitisation of sexual expression and colonialism, its screened alongside the LGBTQIA+ experimental short Polycephaly in D.
Will-o’-the-Wisp (Portugal, 2022) screens on August 6 and 15. Rated 18+
Hear My Eyes: Chopper x Springtime & Mick Harvey dir. Andrew Dominik
With the Victoria Police urging a public boycott of the original screening back in 2000, Chopper has since cemented itself within the Australian public consciousness – just as provocative and gritty as it was when it was released. This year, it’s reimagined with an all-new score, performed live by Chopper composer Mick Harvey (of The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds) and the supergroup Springtime at The Astor.
It all goes down on August 17 and 18 at The Astor Theatre. Rated 18+
Anak dir. Caleb Ribates
Following a Filipino-Australian father and his six-year-old son as they navigate a divorce, Anak is an intimate portrait of a family made on a micro budget that is characterised by its naturalistic dialogue. A piece of slow cinema that tenderly explores masculinity, race and boyhood, Anak is the debut of 21 year old rising filmmaker Caleb Ribates.
Anak (Australia/Philippines, 2021) will be screened on August 7 and August 14 at ACMI. Rated 15+
On the Count of Three dir. Jerrod Carmichael
A pitch-black tragicomedy about two best friends who decide that today will be the last day of their lives – and they’re going to go out with a bang. A bold, bleak feature debut from an exciting new voice in filmmaking; this ultra-nihilistic buddy comedy is a carefully crafted film that tackles mental health, gun control and race with chaotic truthfulness.
On the Count of Three (Canada, 2021) is showing across three sessions from August 6 – 20 (rated 18+)
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Shadow dir. Bruce Gladwin
A darkly humorous experimental drama about an AI-led near-future society, Shadow is bought to life by a cast and crew made almost entirely of creatives with disability. An exciting example of community-led storytelling, Shadow is is the groundbreaking cinematic debut of world-renowned theatre company Back to Back, that’s based on their award-winning play The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes.
Shadow (Australia, 2021) is presented across four screenings from August 6 until 21 (rated 15+)
Palm Trees and Power Lines dir. Jamie Back
A powerfully unnerving examination of predation and consent, Palm Trees and Power Lines follows a teenage girl who falls for a man twice her age. Back’s debut feature is meticulously bought to life by an all-female creative team, who navigate a fraught topic with shocking frankness and sensitivity.
Palm Trees and Power Lines (USA, 2022) will be screened on August 5 and 13. Rated 18+
Pure Shit dir. Bert Deling
Four strung-out drug users set out across the urban wasteland of Melbourne to find their next fix in this unapologetically raw, low budget film. Spanning a wired and frenzied 24 hours across a gritty Carlton lost to time, it sparked controversy on its initial release, with the vice squad raiding the first ever screening of the film.
Catch Pure Shit (Australia, 1975) at ACMI on August 10. Rated 18+
Vortex dir. Gaspar Noé
Following a couple at the end of their lives, Vortex is a split-screen examination of dementia from visionary filmmaker Gaspar Noé. A departure from the bombastic, psychedelic style of filmmaking that he’s known for, Vortex is a sober and troubling experimental film about the disorientation of being lost in late-stage dementia.
Vortex (Belgium/France, 2021) will be playing on August 12 and 14 at The Capitol. Rated 18+
From ‘We Never Asked For This’ (2021) dir. Ella Lawry
A series of bold new works, the Accelerator Program is screening the shorts of up and coming Australian filmmakers. Across all genres and styles, don’t miss this showcase of the next generation of homegrown directors.
The Accelerator Shorts are presented on various dates from August 10 – 19 at ACMI
For more program information, head to the Melbourne International Film Festival’s website.