The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has just ended for another year. I saw 15 films throughout the 17 days of film presentations. Some of the highlights were The Spiderwebhouse (2015, dir. Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt), about three children who are alone for a time because their mother went away to recover from a nervous breakdown. Their father did not live with them and had no knowledge of what was happening during the mother's absence. It was a mixture of reality and dreams and the black and white cinema photography was excellent. A documentary on Marlon Brando, called Listen to Me Marlon (2015, die. Stevan Riley), was an insightful look into Brando's relationship with Hollywood, his human rights and environmental campaigns and the family tragedies that occurred later in his life. Another excellent documentary was called Palio (2015, dir. Cosima Spender), about the famous horse race held twice yearly in Sienna, Italy. Amazing footage and eye brow raising corruption. It's the only horse race in the world where a riderless horse is the winner if it passes the finish line in front of everyone else! and the bribery has more influence on the outcome of this strange race than a rider's horsemanship or the speed of his horse.
Perhaps the find of the Festival were the films of Chilean director and screen writer Sebastian Silva. Although he is only 36 years old, he was given a retrospective of 7 of his films. I saw three of them, Nasty Baby (2015), The Maid (2008) and Old Cats (2010). He has an intense interest in the complexity of human relationships and his stories are never black and white. All of his film actors are brilliant and although his characters are often troubled, there is generally a light of hope at the end.
The other films I saw were Mississippi Grind (2015, dir.Ryan Fleck), Cemetery of Splendour (2015, dir.Apichatpong Weerasethakul), Results (2015, dir. Andrew Bujalski), Pasolini (2014, dir. Abel Ferrara), Tehran Taxi (2015, dir. Jafar Panahi), Tales (2014, dir. Rakhshan Banietemad), Body (2015, dir. Malgorzata Szumowska), Fassbinder-To Love Without Demands (2015, dir. Christian Braad Thomsen) and Thoughts That Once We Had (2015, dir. Thom Andersen) and these were also excellent.
During the Festival, the Forum Theatre has it's doors open to the public at certain times where you can get a drink or a snack. But the main attraction is its architecture and the ambience. Below are some pics to show you what I mean. An amazing and original place to visit during the Festival.
Until next year!