Quality cinema is transporting. Sometimes we meet new people, other times we become new people. We can go back and forth in time and move across the globe in a swift jump cut. We can go to places and periods of time otherwise impossible.
So when a film festival comes to life, it’s our time to—as the Chair of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Claire Dobbin put it on Tuesday night—“explore new worlds.” Tomorrow, tickets for the 2017 festival will go on sale, and from 3—20 August, without moving from their cinema seat somewhere in the city, thousands of people will be somewhere else.
With this, Lindsay gives you twelve transporting films from this year’s MIFF program and the places they’ll take you:
It will take you: back in time to the roaring streets of the American civil rights movement with political activist and queer icon James Baldwin.
Documentary | Dir. Raoul Peck | France, USA (2016)
It will take you: within Lisbon’s dimly-lit streets and cafe booths, where a tender romance is captured in 35mm.
Drama | Dir. Gabe Klinger | France, USA, Poland, Portugal (2016)
It will take you: to Arnhem Land, passing down Songlines with warrior, Elder and master Yidaki (didgeridoo) player Djalu Gurruwiwi.
Documentary | Dir. Ben Strunin | Australia (2017)
It will take you: the mid-point of romance, infidelity and jealousy amongst Parisian apartments, cafes and streets, rendered in black-and-white.
Drama, comedy | Dir. Philippe Garrel | France (2017)
It will take you: to a 60s New York jazz club where the soulful sounds of John Coltrane echo through the room.
Documentary | Dir. John Scheinfeld | USA (2016)
It will take you: inside the studio, backstage and on international runways with the iconic and wonderfully radical Dries Van Noten.
Documentary | Dir. Reiner Holzemer | Belgium, Germany (2016)
It will take you: to the 80s, amidst a heady summer romance playing out in an old villa in northern Italy.
Drama | Dir. Luca Guadagnino | France, Italy (2017)
It will take you: on a colourful and spiritual pilgrimage to India’s holy city, Varanassi, with a seventy-seven-year-old Dayanand Kumar and his one last dying wish.
Drama, Comedy | Dir. Shubhashish Bhutiani | India (2017)
It will take you: to Toyko’s minimalist high-rise offices, brightly-lit streets and dated karaoke bars.
Drama, Comedy | Dir. Atsuko Hirayanagi | Japan, USA (2017)
It will take you: on your first exploration of life and love in the Big Apple through the lens of an Argentine theatre director.
Drama, Comedy | USA, Argentina (2016)
It will take you: to the dusty roads, outdoor cinemas and makeshift movie studio of a father-son duo in China.
Drama, Comedy | Dir. Sam Voutas | USA, Australia, China (2017)
It will take you: to contemporary Thailand with lingering memories of the country’s past in an experimental intersection of culture and politics.
Drama | Dir. Anocha Suwichakornpong | France, Thailand, Netherlands, Qatar (2016)
In Issue No. 1 we meet Australian fashion icon Jenny Kee, translator from Italian Ann Goldstein and French-Cuban music duo Ibeyi. We learn about Ramadan, the Aboriginal ball game Marngrook, the Kiribati dance, the art of pickling, and the importance of home. And we see what it’s like to dress up in Myanmar, live in Cuernavaca, make ceramics from different soil, and walk the streets of Florence.
In Issue No. 2 we meet Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson, and Croatian painter Stipe Nobilo. We discover how the French protect their language, why nostalgia blurs our memory, and the way women around the world have used textiles as their political voice. We learn the steps to prepare a boisterous Korean barbecue, dress up for Feria de Jerez and eat our way around Hong Kong.
In Issue No. 3 we meet Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki, Berlin-based musician Nils Frahm, and Moroccan-British artist Hassan Hajjaj. We descend to the ocean’s floor with Japan’s Ama divers, muse over the Bengali renaissance and applaud the detailing of India’s uniforms. And we try our hand at some treasured Italian recipes, visit one of Hong Kong’s homes up high, master the etiquette of the Japanese onsen and learn about the architecture of Iraq’s mudhifs.
In Issue No. 4 we meet Nigerian-born artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, Indigenous Australian Elders Uncle Bob Smith and Aunty Caroline Bradshaw, and Palestinian-American chef and artist Amanny Ahmad. We peer inside the Parisian ateliers Lesage and Lemarié, muse over the iconic lines of European chair design and celebrate the colourful woodblock prints of Japanese artist Awazu Kiyoshi. And we venture along Morocco’s Honey Highway, get lost in the markets of Oaxaca and discover the favours of Ghana.