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Highlights at Final Week of Melbourne Int’l Film Fest: “Attenberg,” “Grey Matter,” “Butt Naked”

Highlights at Final Week of Melbourne Int'l Film Fest: "Attenberg," "Grey Matter," "Butt Naked"

The Melbourne International Film Festival’s final week includes many worthy delights, from “Grey Matter,” the first feature length film made in Rwanda by a Rwandan filmmaker (check out iW’s interview with him here) and 1970s Glasgow-set “Neds” (check out the ThePlaylist’s review), to Greece’s sex-drama “Attenberg” (which ThePlaylist called “a strange and unique experience”) and docs “The Redemption of General Butt Naked” and “The Hollywood Complex.”

MIFF runs through August 7.

Check out the synopses for these films and other highlights below, courtesy of MIFF:

INTERNATIONAL PANORAMA

“Grey Matter,” Dir: Kivu Ruhorahoza
“Grey Matter” revolves around Balthazar, a young filmmaker frustrated by his inability to secure finance for his first feature film.

“The Mill and the Cross,” Dir: Lech Majewski
Festival Guest Lech Majewski’s The Mill and the Cross combines stunning digital effects with live actors and horses to venture into the world of the painting itself.

“Neds,” Dir: Peter Mullan
“Neds” is set in the urban wastelands of 1970s Glasgow, where 12-year-old John McGill is an outlier, entering high school and the unwanted adolescence that comes with it.

“Beauty,” Dir: Oliver Hermanus
This is the first Afrikaans-language film to ever be screened at Cannes, telling the story of François, a middle-aged man whose well ordered existence comes unravelled when he has an encounter with Christian, igniting infatuation and lust.

“Grey Matter”

TELESCOPE SPOTLIGHT

“Attenberg,” Dir: Athina Rachel Tsangari
23-year-old Marina is both intrigued and repelled by the idea of physical intimacy, and while helping her philosophical father prepare for his imminent death, she finds herself awkwardly beginning her first sexual relationship.

“Sleeping Sickness,” Dir: Ulrich Köhler
About a German doctor who, smitten by the land and its people, faces the prospect of leaving Cameroon and returning home to a country he hasn’t seen in years.
 
AUSTRALIAN SHOWCASE

“The Hungry Tide,” Dir: Tom Zubrycki
Tom Zubrycki’s The Hungry Tide grapples with the human toll of climate change.

“On Borrowed Time,” Dir: David Bradbury
A tribute to the great director delves into Paul Cox’s outlook on filmmaking and life, particularly in the wake of his remarkable recent brush with cancer; and Jon Hewitt’s World Premiere of X tells the story of high-class call-girl Holly (Viva Bianca) whose night on the job takes a deadly turn.
 
ACCENT ON ASIA

“The Fourth Portrait,” Dir: Chung Mong-Hong
“The Fourth Portrait” tells the story about ten year old Xiang, who is sent to live with his estranged mother, he retreats to portraiture as a way of understanding the life unfurling around him.

“Guilty of Romance,” Dir: Sion Sono
A risque, noir-esque film; a sultry portrait of Vietnamese urban alienation told through the eyes of a confused child.

CRIME SCENE

“A Stoker,” Dir: Alexey Balabanov
“A Stoker” tells the story of a former Soviet war hero, ‘The Major’, who now spends his days quietly in a St. Petersburg boiler room, shovelling coal and working on his novel. But coal isn’t the only thing stoking the flames of his furnace – a local hitman stops by regularly to drop off the grisly by-product of his trade: human bodies. Haunted by a horrific childhood tragedy, Jacky’s previous life is brought back into violent relief when the family becomes embroiled in the growth hormone black market in Belgium film Bullhead.
 
DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT

“The Redemption of General Butt Naked,” Dir: Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion
About Joshua Milton Blahyi, a naked, gun-toting murderer who lead an army that massacred thousands during the Liberian Civil War, (known to his victims as ‘General Butt Naked’) who is reinvented as a firebrand evangelist.

“Being Elmo,” Dir: Constance Marks
An engaging documentary which follows the career of the humble puppeteer who made Elmo the iconic character beloved around the world.

“The Hollywood Complex,” Dir: Dylan Nelson
Follows a handful of child hopefuls as they negotiate sky-high expectation, devastating disappointments and tremendous financial pressure in search of fame and fortune.

More films and details are here.

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