Melbourne International Film Festival – The Best of the Fest

Melbourne International Film Festival – The Best of the Fest. By Simon Miraudo.

Having finally awoken from a 36-hour slumber following the end of the 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival (where I caught 60 films in 17 days), I am delighted to bring you a report on the best (and worst) films that played the fest.

I was rather surprised at how many of those 60 films I actually enjoyed. Not that I expected the films at MIFF to be bad, but I figured – law of averages and everything – that a good portion of them would be disappointing. But no! Only a handful underwhelmed, and a number of the pictures are serious contenders for my end-of-year Best of 2011 list.

Note that the following revival features and TV shows were ineligible for the below lists: Beauty and the Beast, Fruits of Paradise, An Autumn Afternoon, The King of Comedy and The Slap. Also excluded were features that played at MIFF, but I had previously caught at the Sydney Film Festival and Revelation Perth International Film Festival: Exporting Raymond, How to Die in Oregon, Khodorkovsky, Tabloid, Attenberg, Cedar Rapids, End of Animal, The Forgiveness of Blood, The Future, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Tyrannosaur.

So, without much further ado…

The 20 Best Features of MIFF

1. Melancholia
2. A Separation
3. Submarine
4. Drive
5. Beginners
6. Kill List
7. Win Win
8. The Guard
9. The Kid With A Bike
10. Tiny Furniture
11. The Innkeepers
12. Cold Fish
13. Jane Eyre
14. Natural Selection
15. Finisterrae
16. 13 Assassins
17. Take Shelter
18. Our Idiot Brother
19. Another Earth
20. Outside Satan

The 10 Best Documentaries of MIFF

1. Senna
2. The Hollywood Complex
3. Bobby Fischer Against The World
4. Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
5. Project Nim
6. Page One: Inside The New York Times
7. Give Up Tomorrow
8. Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
9. Being Elmo
10. Buck

The 10 Worst Films of MIFF

1. Norwegian Wood
2. The Silence of Joan
3. Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City
4. Post Mortem
5. The Unjust 
6. El Bulli: Cooking in Progress
7. Innocent Saturday
8. The Turin Horse
9. Guilty of Romance
10. Super

Daily Reports:

Five of the six 60 Film MIFF Blog-A-Thoners at the Closing Night festivities. (L-R) Simon Miraudo, Luke Buckmaster, Glenn Dunks, Thomas Caldwell and Jess Lomas. Not pictured: Brad Nguyen.

Opening Night
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen

Until MIFF 2012…

Discuss: Let’s hear it! What did you think were the best and worst films of MIFF 2011?

7 Responses to “Melbourne International Film Festival – The Best of the Fest”

  1. Nice job Simon! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your updates throughout the festival.

    Besides those you’ve already mentioned, other notables I’d throw in the mix were:

    Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
    Take Shelter
    Troll Hunter

    Bring on MIFF 2012!!!

  2. Great work Simon. I was a little disappointed by Melancholia (especially the second half) but A Separation and Senna (which you ranked very high) are the two best films I have seen this year. Of my very brief MIFF experience, my top films were Martha Marcy May Marlene (which I watched again having seen it at SFF) and Drive, which had my heart pounding more than anything I have seen in a long time. Congrats on conquering the 60 Film Challenge!

  3. Oh, and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t stand Norwegian Wood!

    • Haha, glad we’re in agreement Andy. I also adored MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, and had I seen it in Melbourne, it would have definitely cracked that Top 5.

  4. Best: Take Shelter, The Guard, Tyrannosaur, Buck, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Another Earth, both Accelerator sessions – they’ve become my favourite short sessions of the festival.

    Worst: Post Mortem, Curling, Experimental Shorts, Intimate Grammar, I Wish I Knew, The Future, Sleeping Sickness, X, animation shorts.

    Worst Projection Moments: Forum projectionist talking on the phone throughout the ENTIRE film – didn’t help that it was Curling which was bad enough. Very first session which was Three where it had watermarks, don’t copy warnings, and skipped forwards a couple times – and worse – BACKWARDS at least 3 times so you had to re-watch several minutes at a time!

    I actually found most audiences to be quite well behaved this year, much moreso than last year anyway.

  5. In 17 days I saw 55 films. I saw another 3 in the 4 days beforehand – two previews (Beginners and Tabloid) plus the opening night film.

    My favorites – for various reasons and not necessarily in order – were Le Havre, The Apple, Goodbye, Into Eternity, A Separation, The Guard, Troubadour, Tears of Gaza, Page One: The New York Times, Exporting Raymond, On the Sly, most of the International Shorts program and the short “Leonid’s Story” from the documentary shorts program. My least favourite were Principles of Life, Drive, The Fourth Portrait. It was all great fun…..

    Off to Jane Eyre tonight at the Nova …

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