MIFF program to launch July 6

28 May, 2010 by IF

Press release from Limelight PR

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) enters its 59th year in 2010 with a more resilient website and a welcome back to Chinese films including their biggest box office hit of 2009 City of Life and Death directed by Chuan Lu and Petition, one of the films that was withdrawn from last year’s program.


The full program will be launched on 6 July, but highlights announced today include a tribute to one of USA’s most subversive and political filmmakers Joe Dante. Known chiefly for the cult classic Gremlins (1984) this selection of eight films has been gathered together from Dante’s private collection including Dante’s first film, the six hour extravaganza The Movie Orgy (1968) – its first outing in Australia.

International Panorama draw cards include; Harmony Korine’s (Mister Lonely MIFF 2007) Trash Humpers – a film bound to polarize audiences as much as his previous films; while Roman Polanski remains under house arrest, his new film The Ghost Writer will screen at MIFF – a masterpiece of atmosphere and suspense. In it, Ewan McGregor plays a ghost writer hired to write a former British Prime Minister’s (played by Pierce Brosnan) biography; and Around a Small Mountain is the latest from the French New Wave master Jacques Rivette, which teams a desolate Jane Birkin with a mysterious Sergio Castellito.

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel will no doubt draw interest to the Documentary spotlight, Academy Award-winner Brigitte Berman's expansive production offers new insights into Hefner's work and personal life; Videocracy is Erik Gandini’s exposé of the sleazy Italian TV industry which is controlled by media mogul and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi; Panorama Audience Award and Amnesty International Film Prize winner at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, Waste Land is the uplifting documentary set around top-selling contemporary artist Vik Muniz ‘s work in Rio de Janeiro – an emotional and aspirational journey that has reduced audiences to tears.

Neighbourhood Watch will screen Hong Kong auteur Pang Ho-cheung’s satirical rom-com, Love in a Puff, looking at the lives and loves of two inveterate smokers, set amongst the city’s high rises and bars; and festival favorite Hirokazu Koreeda’s Air Doll tells the story of a life size blow up doll who suddenly develops a soul and falls in love with a video store clerk.

The MIFF Backbeat spotlight is set to be the strongest year of music docos yet, with titles including Lemmy crushing all myths, rumours and speculation of hard-core rocker Lemmy, frontman of Motörhead; Villalobos, an ear-thumping portrait of German-Chilean DJ Ricardo Villalobos; and When You’re Strange, a look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, narrated by Johnny Depp.

MIFF’s Animation spotlight will screen Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, based on an unproduced script of much-loved French director Jacques Tati. Waking Sleeping Beauty shows the true story of how Disney regained its magic after falling on hard times during the mid-1980s with a staggering output of hits including Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and many more; and First Squad: The Moment of Truth, a Japanese/Russian co-production set on the eastern front of World War Two 2 about a group of Soviet teenagers with extraordinary abilities who have been drafted to form a special unit to fight the invading German army.

Last year’s inaugural States of Dissent spotlight made such an impact on the festival with the notorious 10 Conditions of Love that MIFF has decided to repeat this programming stream. Who will MIFF upset this year? The Russians perhaps with Olga Konskaya and Andrei Nekrasov’s Russian Lessons, a documentary that shows the different sides of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia? Maybe the North Koreans will be angered by The Red Chapel – Danish journalist Mads Brügger’s doco about taking a comedy group to North Korea under the guise of a cultural exchange in order to gain access into the heart of the country and expose aspects of the dictatorship never seen before.

All that plus more will screen at the 2010 Melbourne International Film Festival from Thursday 22 July – Sunday 8 August.

The full program and Festival guests will be announced on Tuesday 6 July. Tickets for opening and closing night films and Festival passes are on sale now. For more information, visit www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au