Melbourne International Film Festival – Top 10 Picks

The 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival kicks off this week, and I – along with five other bloggers – will be celebrating the fest’s 60th anniversary by attempting to watch 60 films across 17 days. It is madness.

The MIFF Blog-A-Thon is a mighty undertaking, that’s for sure. Still, it’s a heck of a lot easier than being a doctor or teacher or something (thank you, communications degree).

If you’re going to agree to spend at least 120 hours in a cinema, there had better be plenty of films that pique your interest. Thankfully, the MIFF line-up is tantalising enough that I actually had to cull my selections to a shortlist of 60.

Beginning on July 21st and ending August 7th, I will be writing up a daily journal entry right here on the Quickflix Blog in which I summarise my thoughts on the cinematic delights of which I have partaken, and, if my Sydney Film Festival write-ups are any indication, will no doubt veer off into tangents about mortality, God, and the power of human touch (also, animal sex!). Jess Lomas, who is also taking the challenge, will be similarly offering us updates on her films/state of mind.

Below, you’ll find my top 10 picks for the festival. Because I haven’t seen the films yet (obviously), I can’t exactly vouch for their excellence, but they are certainly the 10 flicks I’m most excited to see.

Remember, you’ll be able to follow my exploits here on the Quickflix Blog, as well as on the Quickflix Twitter account, and my own personal Twitter account.

You can also keep up with my fellow crazy blog-a-thoners below:

Luke Buckmaster:
Thomas Caldwell:
Glenn Dunks:
Jess Lomas:
Brad Nguyen:

Onto the list!

10. Take Shelter

Michael Shannon is driven to madness by his predictions of an impending apocalypse. You had me at “Michael Shannon is driven to madness”. When isn’t that guy playing someone driven to madness? Also, when isn’t he excellent? The answer to both of those questions is ‘Never’. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

9. The Turin Horse

Inescapable bleakness. Unbearable extended takes. Horse strangulation. Challenge accepted! (Details, screenings and tickets.)

8. Finisterrae

Every day, I pray for a film that will be able to capture the manic insanity of a fever dream. Finisterrae looks like it might be that film. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

7. Michael

This sounds great. Don’t judge me. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

6. Submarine

Richard Ayoade teams up with Paddy Considine and Sally Hawkins for a coming-of-age tale soundtracked by Alex Turner. That’s a lot of awesome in just one sentence. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

5. Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

As a rule, if a band goes on the record to denounce a documentary about them, it falls instantly into ‘Must Watch’ territory. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

4. Innocent Saturday

The second disaster movie on my list. Set in the hours following the explosion at Chernobyl, Innocent Saturday looks to be one of the most emotionally grueling films of the fest. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

3. Drive

Gorgeous people driving fast cars! What? They can’t all be emotionally grueling.  (Details, screenings and tickets.)

2. Melancholia

Lars von Trier gets all apocalyptic in his latest feature, treating us to a Festen-styled wedding in which the family is disappointed and the bride is filled with malaise, before doing everyone a favour and destroying the world. Oh, Lars. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

1. Page One: Inside The New York Times

I cannot escape the cries of the most dominant of my battling personalities: that of the Ben Bradlee-quoting, Edward R. Murrow-idolising, Season Five of The Wire-loving media ethics geek who desperately wants to see Page One: Inside The New York Times. I look forward to living vicariously through journo David Carr, safe in the comfort of a cinema seat where I live out my far-less strenuous/world-changing existence as an online movie critic. (Details, screenings and tickets.)

Discuss: Which films are you looking forward to catching at MIFF?

7 Responses to “Melbourne International Film Festival – Top 10 Picks”

  1. On top of your selections, I’m especially psyched for 13 ASSASSINS, SUPER, TABLOID, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN and LIFE IN A DAY. Likewise, I’m crushed I won’t be able to make screenings of PROJECT NIM or HOW TO DIE IN OREGON. Finally, I really want to see THE GUARD and SENNA, but I figured I’d skip them because they’re coming out in theatres soon after the festival anyway.

    Looking forward to reading your coverage Simon (and your’s too Jess)!

    • Thanks Tom! I’m looking forward to all of those too, although I’m not going to have time to catch LIFE IN A DAY. TABLOID and HOW TO DIE IN OREGON I caught in Sydney, and can confirm they are excellent.

  2. I was excited for PAGE ONE until i saw the scathing NYTimes review, it’s not a good sign if they can’t stand behind it. Been looking forward to Jeff Nichols’ TAKE SHELTER for months now, Shotgun Stories was one of the best of 2007. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, BULLHEAD, TYRANNOSAUR, FOOTNOTE and THE KID WITH A BIKE look to be truly unique experiences from across the globe, and of course Herzog’s one of a kind documentary CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS. It’s gonna be one a hell of Film Festival!

  3. Khleen Pamela Waugh Reply July 21, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Please put as many as you can on out quickflix list. Thank you. Pam

  4. Hi Simon,
    What about the Australian Films?
    Kostas Metaxas

    • I’m greatly looking forward to Toomelah, X and The Slap (although the latter isn’t technically a movie, but you get the idea).

  5. I’ve been busting to see Radu Muntean’s Tuesday After Christmas ever since it premiered in Cannes last year, and then in every other country except Australia. I loved his previous film, Boogie, which was at MIFF in 2006.

    Meantime, I’m very happy I don’t have to wait anywhere near as long to see Martha Marcy May Marlene. Ditto, A Separation and Beginners.

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