Fresh from stacking its 2018 lineup with 43 titles straight from Cannes, this year's Melbourne International Film Festival has unveiled its entire program — that is, the full range of 393 films you'll be trying to feast your eyes on between August 2 and 19.
Artistic director Michelle Carey final fest — with long-term programmer Al Cossar stepping into the top spot for next year — 2018's MIFF selection includes 254 feature films, 120 shorts and 19 virtual reality experiences. Numbers-wise, it also features 27 world premieres and a hefty 168flicks making their Australian debut.
As always, MIFF's program offers a smorgasbord of cinematic delights that span high-profile must-sees, under-sung gems, and weird and wonderful surprises. After kicking off with the previously announced Wildlife, starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, cinephiles can catch computer-screen thriller Profile, Laura Dern-led childhood trauma drama The Tale, Nick Hornby rom-com adaptation Juliet, Naked, and inventive movie mashup The Green Fog. There's also Robert Pattinson trying to woo Mia Wasikowska in the comedic western Damsel, Yayoi Kusama documentary Kusama: Infinity, Ellen Page living in a post-zombie world in The Cured and the stunning doco Three Identical Strangers. In addition, Winter's Bone filmmaker Debra Granik is coming to town with her excellent new drama Leave No Trace.
Of course, it wouldn't be a MIFF without South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo's next soju-soaked piece of sweetness, this time called Grass. Or, without this year's Palme d'Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda and his Cannes hit Shoplifters — his previous murder mystery The Third Murder is also on the bill. Other standouts include music docos about Elvis and contemporary America, boy bands and Melbourne's independent scene; five sessions of full-dome flicks at the Melbourne Planetarium; retrospectives on African cinema, fashion and film, French directing duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, and 60s and 70s Italian crime flicks.Plus, if you're after something more than just the usual movie screening, sessions of noodle western Tampopo and Prince concert film Sign O' The Times will take place at the Astor. Yes, the former includes a bowl of ramen.
On the local front, MIFF will play host to more than 20 new Aussie features — including world premieres in its centrepiece and closing night slot. Aussie rules comedy The Merger, which is based on the stage show of the same name, will take the middle spot, while Melbourne-made documentary The Coming Back Out Ball, charting the real-life event that took place in October 2017, will finish out the fest. Other Aussie efforts range from Acute Misfortune, starring Snowtown's Daniel Henshall as Archibald Prize-winning artist Adam Cullen; to psychological drama Celeste, featuring Radha Mitchell; to Geelong-shot thriller Undertow. From the doco slate, Island of the Hungry Ghosts delves into both migrating crabs and political detainees, Undermined: Tales from The Kimberley explores the threats currently facing the titular region, and Happy Sad Man tackles men living with mental illness.