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Melbourne International Film Festival Has Unveiled Its Month-Long In-Cinema and Online 2022 Program

A massive 371 features, shorts and extended-reality titles are on this year's MIFF lineup, which marks the event's first in-person fest since 2019.
By Sarah Ward
July 12, 2022
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By Sarah Ward
July 12, 2022
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Back in 2019, the thought of spending August in Melbourne doing anything other than sitting in a darkened room watching movie after movie would've sounded like flat-out cinephile blasphemy. Thankfully, after two pandemic-affected years that put Melbourne International Film Festival's in-person plans on hold not once but twice, that idea won't be a reality in 2022. Yes, the city's major cinema celebration is back in its best guise this year — and it'll have you making grooves in your favourite ACMI, The Capitol, Forum, Hoyts Melbourne Central, IMAX, Kino Cinema and Cinema Nova seats for most of the month.

You'd better stock up on healthy mid-film snacks now, given you'll soon have a massive 371 features, shorts and extended-reality titles to watch. You'd best start training for all that time spent sitting down, too. Hitting cinemas for the first time in three years after pivoting online in 2020 and 2021 out of lockdown-fuelled necessity, MIFF is returning to Melbourne's picture palaces with a bang between Thursday, August 4–Sunday, August 21.

That's already been obvious since back in June, when the fest unveiled its first 33 flicks for this year, its 70th event — and now that the full 2022 lineup has dropped, it keeps proving accurate. Among the just-announced new highlights, MIFF will boast the Australian premiere of The Stranger, a true-crime thriller starring Joel Edgerton (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Sean Harris (Spencer), as directed by Acute Misfortune's Thomas M Wright; the local debut of Aftersun, another straight-from-Cannes pick led by Normal People's Paul Mescal; a big session of Three Thousand Years of Longing, the Tilda Swinton (Memoria)- and Idris Elba (The Harder They Fall)-starring latest from Mad Max: Fury Road's George Miller; and also David Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future, the iconic filmmaker's first feature since 2014's Maps to the Stars.

Also massive: the Aussie premiere of documentary Moonage Daydream. As the title instantly makes plain to fans of David Bowie, it's all about the music icon, with Cobain: Montage of Heck and Jane filmmaker Brett Morgen creating a collage that steps through the singer's life using restored and never-before-seen footage. Or, there's also Decision to Leave, a noir romance that saw Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Stoker, Oldboy) win Cannes' Best Director gong — and documentaries by Ethan Coen (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), making his solo directing debut by surveying Jerry Lee Lewis; and Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name), about shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo.

In 2022, MIFF is debuting a new competition, too, which'll boast a $140,000 Best Film Award. Called Bright Horizons, it'll feature 11 movies vying for the prize — including the aforementioned The Stranger and Aftersun, Mexican drug trade drama Robe of Gems, cyber-musical Neptune Frost, Sundance Special Jury Award-winner Leonor Will Never Die, and Aussie filmmaker Alena Lodkina's (Strange Colours) second feature Petrol.

The list of MIFF highlights also covers Palme d'Or winner Triangle of Sadness, which satirises the mega rich, is directed by Force Majeure's Ruben Östlund, and marks his second Palme win after The Square; and Broker, the latest from acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, who won the Palme d'Or back in 2018 with the sublime Shoplifters. This time, the latter has made a movie in Korea — his first Korean-language film, in fact, starring Parasite's Song Kang-ho, who won Cannes' Best Actor Award — with Broker again exploring the ties that bind and the connections of family.

Other Cannes award-recipients in MIFF's program include joint Cannes Grand Prix-winner Stars at Noon, which sees Claire Denis (High Life) direct Margaret Qualley (Maid) and Joe Alwyn (Conversations with Friends) in an erotic espionage tale; Tori and Lokita, which nabbed the Cannes 75th Anniversary Prize for Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Two Days, One Night); Holy Spider, an Iran-set true-crime serial killer thriller by Ali Abbasi (Border), and the recipient of Cannes' Best Actress Award for star Zar Amir Ebrahimi (Tehran Taboo).

And, the lineup of must-sees also spans Blaze, a mix of live-action, puppetry and animation directed by acclaimed Aussie artist Del Kathryn Barton; Mass, which follows the aftermath of a school shooting; Australia's own Seriously Red, a SXSW hit about a Dolly Parton impersonator; and One Fine Morning, from acclaimed French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve (Bergman Island). Or, there's Shadow by theatre company Back to Back; War Pony, which scored Zola actor-turned-filmmaker Riley Keough and co-director Gina Gammell Cannes' Camera d'Or; and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, the stop-motion comedy based on the shorts and books of the same name, which screens just before Jenny Slate hits town for Melbourne Writers Festival.

MIFF's genre selection is always a treat, and 2022 is no different. That's where you'll find standouts such as Bodies Bodies Bodies, the A24 horror-comedy starring Rachel Sennott, Amandla Stenberg and Pete Davidson; Canberra-shot social media-skewering delight Sissy; and Something in the Dirt, the latest mind-bender directed by and starring Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (The Endless).

The fest is also dedicating its filmmaker retrospectives to Hungarian auteur Márta Mészáros and French-Bosnian writer/director Lucile Hadžihalilović — and, obviously, all of the above and more joins the heap of already-announced flicks, such as opening night's coming-of-age feature Of an Age, a Hear My Eyes session of Chopper, the Aubrey Plaza (Best Sellers)-starring thriller Emily the Criminal, and horror-comedy Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night's Ana Lily Amirpour.

Also, in fabulous news both for Melburnians and for movie buffs interstate, MIFF will still keep its online program in 2022 — an unsurprising move given that in 2020, when it first made the leap to streaming the fest in a big way, it enjoyed its biggest audience ever. This year, MIFF Play will be available from Thursday, August 11–Sunday, August 28, making the festival run for almost a month in-person and digitally, and will show 105 features and shorts.

And, during its in-cinema stint, MIFF is going suburban, too, with sessions at Melbourne cinemas The Astor, Lido, Pentridge and Sun Theatre from Friday, August 12–Sunday, August 21 as well. It'll also hit up regional Victorian venues in Bairnsdale, Bendigo, Bright, Castlemaine, Echuca, Geelong, Mildura,Sorrento and Warrnambool during the same dates.

The 2022 Melbourne International Film Festival runs from Thursday, August 4–Sunday, August 28 at a variety of venues around Melbourne and Victoria, and online. For further details, including tickets from Friday, July 15 — and MIFF member pre-sales on Wednesday, July 13–Thursday, July 14 — visit the MIFF website.

Published on July 12, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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