Find out what flicks you can’t miss at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2019
Having first launched in 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is Australia's most famous cinematic extravaganza and one of the oldest running film festivals in the world. Featuring fascinating documentaries, blockbuster screenings, discussions and incredible cinema from every corner of the globe, MIFF is one of the greatest highlights on Melbourne's wintertime cultural calendar and something that every visitor should experience at least once.
Running from August 1-18, movie-lovers are in for a treat this year as you get an early glimpse of some of the films that are bound to make waves throughout 2019 and beyond. This year's festival is once again held at various major locations around the city, including ACMI Cinemas, Hoyts Melbourne Central and Kino Cinemas. Also screening films at the 2019 festival will be the newly refurbished Capitol Theatre, Carlton's Cinema Nova and Melbourne's iconic Astor Theatre, among many others.
Your Fraser Place Melbourne luxury accommodation is perfectly positioned for many of this year's festival venues, so stock up on popcorn and pick a screening that you just have to see. To help you decide, we've picked out a selection of films that are certain to get a standing ovation at the upcoming Melbourne International Film Festival.
Keira Knightley stars in this smart political thriller about the true story of Katharine Gun, a British secret service whistleblower who leaked information to the media in an effort to stop the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Directed by Oscar-winning Gavin Hood (Eye in the Sky, Tsotsi), Official Secrets is a must-see for lovers of suspense as the tension builds and builds until reaching an epic conclusion.
Featuring real news footage from the lead up to the Iraq War interspersed with dramatic scenes, the story of intelligence translator Gun is gripping from start to finish as you discover how she uncovered emails outlining a plan to blackmail voters from the UN Security Council into approving the war. After leaking the information to the media, Gun soon confessed leading to her arrest for breaking the Official Secrets Act. Meanwhile, the information puts some of her colleagues at risk, plus her Kurdish refugee husband is threatened with deportation.
Knightley has been widely praised for her passionate performance, while the supporting cast of celebrated British stage and screen actors, including Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode and Rhys Ifans, has also been credited with Official Secrets' stellar early reviews.
Considering one of the greatest political scandals of our time, Academy Award-winning director Charles Ferguson returns with his latest documentary that retells the events of Watergate and the effects that it continues to have today. Drawing parallels between today's political climate and the era of Richard Nixon, this is one film screening that audiences better get comfortable for as it spans across four hours of in-depth investigation. From landmark reporting to new interviews with contemporary figures and re-enactments, if you're a lover of politics, history and media, Watergate is a film that you simply can't miss.
Diving into the events of the attempted burglary at the Watergate hotel, the media attention and the backstabbing of political opponents and supporters, the presidency of Richard Nixon is one of the most astounding political stories to have taken place in the last 50 years. Ferguson is renowned for his exhaustive research and ability to gain great access to otherwise reclusive people, and Watergate put these skills on full display throughout the movie's extensive run-time.
Another documentary that is bound to hit hard is the latest work by acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei. Best known for his massive installations, photography and legions of fans around the world, in recent years, Weiwei has taken to filmmaking with his 2017 documentary, Human Flow, seeing him gain even more plaudits for his unflinching look at the refugee crisis and its personal human impact.
The Rest builds upon his work in his previous film, taking an even more personal approach as he follows the displaced populations around the European continent and records their grief, pleas for help and optimism for the future. Having recorded over 900 hours of footage, The Rest has been expertly shaped into a sharp duration of 79-minute, which remains deeply emotionally impacting throughout.
Highlighting various individual refugees along his journey, The Rest focuses on the specific stories that take place in the tents and shelters, behind barbed wire fences and those that are stuck in an endless loop of bureaucracy. While not the most joyful film to see at MIFF 2019, it showcases the power of cinema and its ability to offer audiences an unmatched look into the lives of others.
Come to Daddy
For people who like their films weird and wonderful, Come to Daddy will certainly hit just about every necessary beat. Starring Elijah Wood of Lord of the Rings fame as the character Norval, this oddball DJ and recovering alcoholic sets out to find his estranged father.
Marking the directorial debut of Ant Thompson, the highly regarded producer of misfit horror films such as Field Guide to Evil, Turbo Kid and Deathgasm, his first effort behind the camera is undoubtedly just as bizarre. Described as the 'blackest of black comedies', Come to Daddy is inspired by 1970s exploitation films as it picks apart the father-son relationship across this deeply strange movie that ranges from incredible gory to elegantly profound as it explores masculinity and grief. Audiences are undoubtedly going to find this one of the weirdest films of 2019, but also one that they won't likely forget anytime soon.
Thurston Moore In Conversation
Films are highly collaborative productions and MIFF is turning to legendary electric guitarist Thurston Moore to offer a vastly different perspective during this year's film festival. As the frontman of celebrated experimental underground rock band Sonic Youth, at this year's festival, Moore will perform four newly produced scores to short films by influential Ukrainian-American filmmaker Maya Deren.
Moore has been entrenched in New York's experimental art and music scene for decades, having worked alongside the likes of Yoko Ono, Beck, Gus Vant Sant, Bernie Sanders and a host of other significant cultural figures. He has also published a variety of music and literary magazines and is currently a member of faculty at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.
For MIFF 2019, Thurston will head to Melbourne's Wheeler Centre for a discussion on his life's musical journey, while also discussing his other passion for writing and, more recently, cinema.