It may be winter down under, but the Melbourne International Film Festival is gearing up for its 60th edition with Cannes Directors Fortnight opener “The Fairy” by Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy slated to launch the event July 21st. The film pays homage to Chaplin, Keaton and Jacques Tati, to which the filmmakers add a few contemporary socio-political twists. Overall, 300-plus films are on tap for this year’s festival, running July 21 – August 7.
The festival’s largest program, International Panorama, will spotlight almost 60 films including MIFF guest Mike Mills’ “Beginners,” a heartfelt film inspired by Mills’ own father’s decision to come out before his death; Festival guest Pia Marais’ “At Ellen’s Age,” a frank, “insightful portrait of a life that might, quite pleasantly, be heading toward nowhere”; and Mike Cahill’s “Another Earth,” a tale of love and redemption set against the philosophical quandary of a world that appears to be an exact mirror of our own.
Other highlights include a program of 12 films dubbed “Festival Scope,” featuring “acclaimed new filmmaking out of the European Union.” Among the films screening are “Finnesterrae,” in which Spanish filmmaker and artist Sergio Caballero “blends high art and low comedy in a quirky modern-day”; and “The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name, a magical film that traces two decades in the lives of emotionally-scarred best friends Mattia and Alice.
Melbourne’s doc highlights include a healthy dose of American fare, such as Morgan Spurlock’s “POM Wonderful: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,”about and made by product placement; Festival guest Alex Gibney’s “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer”; “Exporting Raymond,” an attempt to export the hit US TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond to Russia,” making for a front row seat to a comedic culture-clash; and “Page One: A Year in the Life of the New York Times,” directed by Andrew Rossi.
“’The Fairy’ is that rare case of a festival-friendly film that is honorably humanist and inventive yet unapologetically accessible and comical,” commented MIFF Artistic Director Michelle Carey in a statement. “That it is also whimsical and a little nostalgic makes it the perfect opening for the 60th MIFF.”
[For more information and a full lineup, visit the festival’s website.]