Movie Lovers, Rejoice: The Full 250-Plus-Title 2024 Melbourne International Film Festival Program Is Here

Whether you're keen to see Cannes and Sundance favourites, the latest from body-horror master David Cronenberg or an overnight 'Godzilla' marathon, MIFF has you covered.
Sarah Ward
Published on July 11, 2024

It's easy to peruse the lengthy list of movies that'll be screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2024 and find parallels with the cinema celebration itself. Just like the claymation that brings Academy Award-winning animator Adam Elliot's work to life — including short Harvie Krumpet, 2009 feature Mary and Max and now MIFF's opening-night pick Memoir of a Snail — the fest expertly moulds its chosen materials into a reflection of the world around us. On par with every feature from David Cronenberg, it isn't afraid to push boundaries. As Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke ponders, it's deeply aware of both the past and the future. And exactly as all things Godzilla has, it's been a mainstay of the film world for seven decades.

Running across Thursday, August 8–Sunday, August 25, Melbourne's annual celebration of moving pictures does indeed boast all of the above on its just-announced full program for this year. The Shrouds from Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future) sees the iconic body-horror filmmaker respond to the death of his wife IRL through the tale of a tech entrepreneur played by Vincent Cassel (Damaged) doing the same. The narrative of Caught by the Tides by Zhang-ke's (Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue) spans over 20 years, using footage from across just as long. And the ultimate kaiju is getting a one-night, seven-movie 70th-anniversary marathon, starting with franchise's iconic OG Japanese flick and making its way through to Shin Godzilla.

"This year's MIFF program features over 250 films, with more than 400 sessions across 18 days, bringing together incredible Australian filmmaking, world cinema, drama, comedy, horror, animation, bold experimentation — things you've been waiting months to see, and others you never thought you'd get a chance to," explains the festival's Artistic Director Al Cossar about the complete lineup.

"The MIFF program this year, like every year, is a multi-faceted festival of cinematic excess, designed to delight and sure to bring out the best in your imaginations. We're thrilled to welcome audiences back — come along and settle in for all too many movies at Melbourne's favourite binge this winter."

Some of the fest's new highlights fill its Bright Horizons strand, aka its competition — including Flow, an animation about animals on a boat; Janet Planet, the debut movie from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker; Inside, a prison drama with Guy Pearce (The Clearing), Cosmo Jarvis (Shōgun) and Toby Wallace (The Bikeriders) that's directed by Charles Williams, who won the 2018 short film Palme d'Or for All These Creatures; and The Village Next to Paradise, which is the first-ever Somali film play Cannes.

Other standout additions to the program elsewhere span flicks that've had the international film festival circuit talking in 2024 — and Australia's by first showing in Sydney. The Substance is also the long-awaited second effort from writer/director Coralie Fargeat, who made a spectacular debut with 2017's Revenge and picked up the Best Screenplay award at Cannes for this Demi Moore (Feud)-starring body-horror effort. Megalopolis features Adam Driver (Ferrari), with The Godfather and Apocalypse Now filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola first conceiving of the picture back in 1977.

Rumours gives the fest a dose of Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson behind the lens (reteaming after Accidence, The Rabbit Hunters and Stump the Guesser), plus Cate Blanchett (The New Boy) on-screen. The Seed of the Sacred Fig is the latest film from Mohammad Rasoulf (There Is No Evil), with the movie's place on this year's Cannes lineup seeing him forced to flee Iran after being sentenced to flogging and imprisonment. And All We Imagine as Light was the first Indian film to play in Cannes' competition in three decades.

MIFF's winter stretch in Melbourne cinemas — plus sessions from Friday, August 9–Sunday, August 25 online; and across both Friday, August 16–Sunday, August 18 and Friday, August 23–Sunday, August 25 in regional Victoria — will also feature Berlinale Golden Bear-winner Dahomey, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt from poet and photographer Raven Jackson, the maximum-security prison-set Sing Sing with Colman Domingo (Drive-Away Dolls), and Hong Sang-soo and Isabelle Huppert reuniting on A Traveler's Needs after Another Country and Claire's Camera.

Amid its usual celebration of variety, Timestalker from Prevenge director and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace star Alice Lowe sits beside coming-of-age tale Bookworm's reteaming Elijah Wood with director Ant Timpson after Come to Daddy — this time playing a dad — and the Ilana Glazer (The Afterparty)-led Babes helmed by Pamela Adlon from Better Things. Or, there's the cinephile-catnip Martin Scorsese-presented doco Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger, Craig Silvey's Runt reaching the screen with a heap of local faces (Kaleidoscope's Jai Courtney, Colin From Accounts' Celeste Barber, High Ground's Jack Thompson and Total Control's Deborah Mailman), Indigenous Aussie horror via The Moogai, and The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre music documentary follow-up Dig! XX.

If that — plus Wake in Fright getting the Hear My Eyes treatment — isn't enoughm In Vitro is an Ashley Zukerman (Succession)-led Australian sci-fi thriller about a couple doing biotech experiments, the also-homegrown boxing drama Kid Snow features Phoebe Tonkin (Boy Swallows Universe), Ghost Cat Anzu brings a touch of Japanese animation, and the Kate Winslet (The Regime)- and Alexander Skarsgård (Mr & Mrs Smith)-led Lee is about WWII reporter Lee Miller. Three IRL Belfast rappers star as themselves alongside Michael Fassbender (Next Goal Wins) in comedy KneecapProblemista is directed by and stars Los Espookys and Fantasmas' Julio Torres opposite Tilda Swinton (The Killer); and Sasquatch Sunset, directed by the Zellner brothers (Damsel), gets Riley Keough (Daisy Jones & the Six) and Jesse Eisenberg (Fleishman Is in Trouble) playing a sasquatch family.

Plus, Australia's own Romulus, My Father and Lake Mungo have scored restorations, the fest is spending an evening at Peninsula Hot Springs, an Iranian New Wave retrospective sees MIFF team up with New York's Museum of Modern Art, there's a whole strand dedicated to non-fiction films about the natural world, and Devo and The Black Keys also pop up in the Music on Film section. Not having anything to watch clearly isn't a problem at this fest. Whittling down your must-watch list? Now that's a different — and delightful — issue.

Barry Schultz,

The 2024 Melbourne International Film Festival runs from Thursday, August 8–Sunday, August 25 at a variety of venues around Melbourne; from Friday, August 16–Sunday, August 18 and Friday, August 23–Sunday, August 25 in regional Victoria; and online nationwide from Friday, August 9–Sunday, August 25. For further details, including member tickets from 8pm on Thursday, July 11 and general tickets from 9am on Tuesday, July 16, visit the MIFF website.

Published on July 11, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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