The 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival is already slated to start with a Jungle trek, take audiences on a retro sci-fi trip and showcase a hefty dose of Cannes titles. But that's just the first act — there's way (way) more where that came from. Tonight unveiling this year's full lineup, MIFF has announced it will screen 358 films in total, representing 68 countries, and including 251 features, 88 shorts, 17 virtual reality experiences and 12 talks. Phew.
Taking over 13 venues across Melbourne from August 3 to 20, the 2017 festival — the event's 66th — also boasts 31 world premieres and 135 Australian premieres. That's quite the batch of numbers, but cinephiles only need remember one more: how many films you can cram in over the fest's 18-day run.
Leading the charge among the complete program is closing night's Gurrumul Elcho Dreaming, which will enjoy its world premiere at MIFF. The documentary explores of the life and music of Aussie artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, formerly of Yothu Yindi, and ensures that this year's festival is bookended with local flicks. Elsewhere, fellow Australian picks span street art documentary Have You Seen the Listers?, Melissa George and Ewen Leslie in The Butterfly Tree, and a virtual reality peek into asylum seeker life in VR short Inside Manus.
Other new titles include the Jon Hamm and Geena Davis-starring Marjorie Prime, about holographic recreations of deceased loves ones; Beatriz at Dinner, featuring Salma Hayek, Chloe Sevigny and John Lithgow; Lucky, which sees Twin Peaks' Harry Dean Stanton and David Lynch appear together on screen; and Beach Rats, this year's Sundance US Dramatic comp director winner. An IMAX screening of Terrence Malick's 40-years-in-the-making documentary Voyage of Time, the David Wenham-directed walk-and-talk effort Ellipsis, and Swedish indigenous drama Sami Blood are also on the bill, alongside a triple dose of Hong Sang-soo thanks to Yourself and Yours, Claire's Camera and On the Beach at Night Alone, as well as the world premiere of Ben Elton's newbie Three Summers.
Of course, MIFF isn't just about screening films — it's also about showcasing the talented folks behind them. One of the best movies of the year so far, the Armie Hammer-starring romance Call Me By Your Name, comes to MIFF with Italian director Luca Guadagnino in attendance, while iconic Aussie filmmaker Jane Campion will introduce a screening of her new TV mini-series Top of the Lake: China Girl.
Plus, diving deeper into its themed strands, this year's festival will also feature a program of '80s and early '90s Australian films directed by women, a tribute to The Party filmmaker Sally Potter's cinematic output to date and a selection of animal docos (expect chicken, rats, dolphins and more). Getting into genre territory, MIFF's usual Night Shift lineup jumps from real-life serial killer thrills with My Friend Dahmer to Takashi Miike's Blade of the Immortal to the US-made, Colombia-set The Belko Experiment from Jungle filmmaker Greg McLean, with plenty of others in between.
All of the above joins a sizeable selection of already-revealed, excitement-worthy flicks, including The Killing of a Sacred Deer from TheLobster director Yorgos Lanthimos, '90s-set AIDS activism drama BPM, Palme d'Or winner The Square, Robert Pattinson crime flick Good Time, Michael Haneke's Happy End and the Andy Samberg-producedBrigsby Bear. Plus, more RPatz in The Lost City of Z, Aussie actress Emily Browning playing a Melburnian in New York opposite Jason Schwartzman and the Beastie Boys' Adam Horovitz in Golden Exits, swoon-inducing queer romance God's Own Country, transgender drama A Fantastic Woman, New Zealand horror amusement park-based Spookers, and Aussie efforts Ali's Wedding, Australia Day and That's Not Me are also on the stacked bill.
The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from August 3 to 20, with tickets on sale from 11am on July 14. For more information, visit the MIFF website.