Melbourne International Film Festival Has Just Unveiled Its Full 2019 Program

With 375 films, shorts at the Planetarium and an all-night Jeff Goldblum movie marathon, it's going to be a big two weeks.
Sarah Ward
Published on July 09, 2019

Each year, come August, there's one thing that Melburnians can't complain about. Say all you like about the frosty weather, the inevitable rain and the feeling that winter will never end, but don't even pretend that there's nothing to watch. The eighth month on the calendar and the Melbourne International Film Festival have long gone hand-in-hand, delivering a feast of flicks to entice you into warm, darkened rooms. In fact, this year's MIFF boasts a huge 375 titles on its jam-packed lineup.

The just-announced full program spans many a highlight, including one of the year's most anticipated movies: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. If you fancy seeing Quentin Tarantino's latest before it reaches regular cinemas — and Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie on 35mm film, too — then MIFF has you covered. If you're eager to view much, much more between Thursday, August 1 and Sunday, August 18, the debut bill from first-year Artistic Director Al Cossar won't let you down there either.

While opening night documentary The Australian Dream, centrepiece gala pick Little Monsters and family gala selection H Is For Happiness have all already been announced, MIFF will fill out its last high-profile slot with closing night's The Farewell — a hit at this year's Sundance, it stars Crazy Rich Asians' Awkwafina as a Chinese American woman visiting her family to say goodbye to her dying grandmother.

Other standouts throughout the fest include a slew of movies from top directors arriving straight from Cannes, such as Xavier Dolan's Matthias & Maxime, Ken Loach's Sorry We Missed You, Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne's Young Ahmed, and Diao Yi'nan's The Wild Goose Lake, with the latter marking the newest release from the acclaimed Black Coal, Thin Ice filmmaker.

Also worth keeping an eye out for (and then roving your eyes over) are Harmony Korine's The Beach Bum, which sees the Spring Breakers auteur keep the party going with Matthew McConaughey; Chris Morris' The Day Shall Come, his long-awaited next political satire after Four Lions; much-talked-about Chinese epic Long Days Journey Into Night, complete with its 55-minute single take in 3D; and Hong Sang-soo's regular MIFF appearance, thanks to Hotel by the River.

Elsewhere, Isabelle Huppert plays a famous actress in Frankie, Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots get caught in a labyrinth in sci-fi thriller Vivarium, Son of Saul's László Nemes unravels an allegorical European mystery in Sunset, Goodnight Mommy's Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala get dark and twisted again with The Lodge, and Japanese eye-opener Violence Voyager combines children's book-style paper puppetry with an over-the-top, midnight movie onslaught.

On the documentary front, Wu Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men reunites all nine living members of the band to talk about their ups and downs, Memory: The Origins of Alien ponders the basis of one of the best science-fiction films of all time, and Seahorse explores a trans man's complicated pregnancy. And from the local selection, Ryan Corr and Anthony LaPaglia team up for black comedy Below, Hugo Weaving goes Shakespearean in Measure for Measure, and No Time for Quiet heads to a Melbourne band camp for girls with Courtney Barnett and Cable Ties.

Acclaimed Aussie flicks The Nightingale, Hearts and Bones, Animals, Dark Place, Emu Runner, Judy & Punch and In My Blood It Runs, which all premiered elsewhere, will also finally make their way to Melbourne. Indeed, if you felt more than a little envy when Sydney Film Festival rolled around back in June, you'll be able to see many of that fest's top picks — including must-sees like Les Miserables, In Fabric, Scheme Birds and Happy New Year, Colin Burstead, as well as favourites such as Pain and Glory, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Ray & Liz, Bacurau, Come to Daddy, Dirty God and The Dead Don't Die.

Need more? How about an all-night Jeff Goldblum movie marathon, complete with The Fly, Independence Day, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Thor: Ragnarok. Retrospective strands focusing on filmmakers Penelope Spheeris, Agnieszka Holland and Peter Strickland help round out the lineup, as does the usual selection of fulldome shorts at the Melbourne Planetarium.

Because MIFF has been dropping parts of its 2019 selection for the past few months, all of the above titles join the fest's initial batch of flicks — plus its live movie-and-music performance by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and a screening of fantastic French drama Girlhood with an all-new live score.

The 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival runs from Thursday, August 1 to Sunday, August 18 at a variety of venues around Melbourne. For further details, visit the MIFF website.

Published on July 09, 2019 by Sarah Ward
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