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Yipee, MIFF is back! The one month of the year we get to be turtleneck wearing film aficionados, throwing around (slightly pretentious) cinema jargon like ‘soliloquy’ and ‘mis-en-scéne’ and inhaling popcorn like its oxygen. One of the world’s oldest film festivals alongside Cannes and Berlin, the festival is an iconic part of Melbourne culture as well as the global cinema-scape. This year, the line-up is truly something else, featuring everything from a Jeff Goldlbum marathon (coined ‘Goldblum-a-Thon’) to comedy-horror hybrid.
Here are four of our top picks.
Funny: The Beach Bum
If you experienced the absurdity of Spring Breakers a few years back, you’ll know what your in for with The Beach Bum, another aesthetically-pleasing yet highly subversive beachside comedy by director Harmony Karine. Described by Rolling Stone as ‘vulgar-chic’, the film tells the tail of stoner poet Moondog (played by a long-haired, frequently unrobed Matthew McConaughey) and his unspeakably debauched way of life. Featuring a surprisingly all-star cast for an indie film – McConaughey, Isla Fisher, Snoop Dogg, Zac Efron and Jonah Hill – it’s one of those ones you just have to go and see. Don’t over think it.
Thought-provoking: The Nightingale
Set in 1825 Tasmania (then Van Diemen’s Land), this homegrown drama is about an Irish convict, Clare, who exacts revenge on an abusive and hateful lieutenant with the help of a local Indigenous tracker. Powerful, unsettling and at times immensely challenging, the film presents a vital glimpse into the consequences of violence and the systems that perpetrate it. You’ll know director Jennifer Kent from the Badabook, the game changing Australian horror movie that achieved widespread critical acclaim.
Real life: Mr Jimmy
Akio Sakurai is much more than a Jimmy Page impersonator. Enamoured by Led Zeppelin from a young age, he has spent the last 35 years of his life replicating and recreating the legendary guitarist in every way – not just musically (although he has every last guitar solo down to a fine art), but his look, his sound, his stage presence, everything. Directed by Peter Michael Down, this fascinating documentary examines the crazy talented Sakurai’s pursuit of perfection. It is a must see.
Jeff Goldblum, Cindy Lauper, insane 80s outfits and kooky psychic powers – this pretty much sums up Vibes, a ‘so bad its good’ romantic comedy about two psychics who travel to Ecuador to search for an ancient alien pyramid that holds the world’s inter dimensional power. Cindy Lauper is hilarious in her debut to film and Jeff Goldblum is well…Jeff Goldblum – wacky yet charming. Both ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining, Vibes epitomises the campness the 80s is so famous for. Ignore the poor Rotten Tomatoes rating and go have a ball.