Running up Russell Street to get to a film at Greater Union, after just coming out of one in the warmth and beauty of the upstairs cinema at the Forum or ACMI. Calling a packet of MnMs hastily grabbed at the concessions “dinner” because you have back to back sessions straight after work. Enjoying the decadence of seeing a movie or two in the middle of a work day. Being engrossed in stories and languages from all over the world, from heartbreak to laughing out loud moments. The buzz of striking up conversations with fellow MIFFers waiting for a film to start, or standing in line for the next session, swapping recommendations seen so far. Melbourne culture with an edge! All part of the MIFF experience!
The range of films the Festival brings to Melbourne is also very exciting. This year’s Accent On Asia and also on New Arabic Cinema, in addition to Activism on Film, have been gems for my MIFF this year. The threads of Backbeat (music stories and rock-umentaries), New Gen (young film-makers) and the Shorts are always a treasure trove. Finding Hollywood stars like Benico Del Toro and Casey Affleck buried within the program is also pretty cool. This is actually the first year I have not seen an Aussie film as part of the Australian Showcase, which usually brings a host of dark and promising Australian stories and filmmakers to a wider audience – they just didn’t fit into my 13 this year!
The other treat about MIFF is that often the film makers are present for the screenings, to premier their work. An introduction by them, or a Q&A after the movie is pretty amazing. This is the occasion that I will join in the applause at the end of the film, MIFF being the first time I had experienced such spontaneous thanks from a crowd in a cinema!
During the first year of doing this, I sat behind and overheard two older ladies who were talking about how they had taken annual leave for the week, and were seeing every movie possible, within the Full Festival Pass. Since then, I have always dreamed of doing that! Imagine! Although that said, this year is the first where I have managed to see all 13 of my ticketed films (without work, or life getting in the way), and having crammed many of them into one week, I am not sure I have the stamina for such hardcore MIFFing!
I have also had a chuckle at the people doing the Full experience, and their tweets about the prolonged lack of proper meals, any guilt for skipping a session or walking out of a movie, and the of the MIFF flu, which seems to hit them all during the second week after they have all spent too much time in dark movie theatres with low sleep.
This year, with my 13 complete already, I recommend music fans see Good Vibrations, and also rated The Past and Wadjda very, very highly.