Have you booked your tickets to Melbourne International Film Festival yet? Taking place across August 4 - 21 in cinemas across the city, it's a communal space to catch the most anticipated releases of the year and celebrate all our homegrown talent too. So if you're heading to the festival or need a little push to attend, we're bringing you our top picks to catch at the 2022 festivities, below.
Shantae Barnes-Cowan and Carlos Sanson Jr. shine in this road movie about 15-year-old Murra on the brink of self-destruction due to a tumultuous home life. Her uncle steps in, offering her a lifeline in the form of a “photo-safari for at-risk kids”, where she's joined by a handful of other teens – Kyle, Sean, Elvis and camp counsellors, Fernando and Michelle – on a bus trip to the Pilbara.
We Were Once Kids
You know the film. We all know the film. It stays with you like the filmy grime of the city it was filmed in, under our fingernails, under our skin. The Kids, however is described to stay with us in another way. Based on the aftermath of the original film, Kids, that offered an unflinching look into the lives of New York City youth, The Kids was created as a response over 25 years later. A darker, lesser-known underbelly developed as a result of the fallout of Kids, one that Eddie Martin is exposing.
The Safdie brothers are back with this dark coming-of-age comedy shot on Super 16mm. It follows 17-year-old Robert who dreams of drawing and writing comic books, but while he has the technical ability, his cotton-wool life in suburban-no-where means he lacks life experience. After a traumatic event, Robert announces to his parents that he's dropping out of school and goes to live in a dingy basement apartment, where he meets Wallace an ex-colourist and quite possibly the missing piece to his dreams.
The film opens with 13-year-old Léo and his best friend Rémi. It's summer on Léo's family flower farm, offering up a picturesque backdrop for the extent of their friendship to take shape. Just like the farmer's working schedule, the narrative follows the seasons over one year. When the two enter their first day of high school, their closeness is greeted with critical eyes – the cruelty of children – and it takes one homophobic slur for Léo to begin quietly separating himself from Rémi, an action that yields tragic consequences.
Of An Age
To ring in the 70th Melbourne International Film Festival, organisers are playing Goran Stolevski's Of An Age. Set in the summer of 1999, it follows two teenagers fresh outta high school who are partners in a dance competition. On the big day, Nikola – reserved and born in Serbia – gets a distressed call from Ebony, played by Hattie Hook, asking to be picked up from the other side of town. Nikola rings in Ebony's brother Adam and other car trip an unmistakable spark stirs between the two. The bad news is that Adam is leaving the country in 24 hours. It's been pegged as a quintessentially Melbourne tale of queer love.
Stars At Noons
Set in Nicaragua in 1984, The Stars at Noon by Denis Johnson details the relationship between an American woman and an Englishman; where neither party are exactly who they seem. Arguably the best part of this upcoming film adaptation is that Margaret Qualley will be starring alongside Joe Alwyn. Not only this, but A24 is set to distribute it while French director Claire Denis is steering the ship.
Paul Mescal is a young father in this film focused on newcomer Francesca Corio. It opens with eleven-year-old Sophie who is holidaying in Turkey with her father. The trip is fun and carefree and although Sophie can feel her father's mood shift, she is enjoying herself too much to give it any thought. It's only when, as an adult, Sophie begins to piece together those days with her own memories and MiniDV footage, that the person she thought to be her father is a man she never knew.
Since David Bowie's passing, Iman has made it clear that there would be no Bowie biopic like Bohemian Rhapsody or I Wanna Dance With Somebody, saying that her husband would have never wanted it. But when the supermodel authorised a film-documentary hybrid helmed by Brett Morgen, we knew we were in for a treat.
Age of Rage: The Australian Punk Revolution
From Perth to Rockhampton to Sydney and Melbourne, filmmaker Jenny Ross makes her feature debut with this project on the polarising Australian punk scene of the 70s and 80s. Radio wouldn't play it, but just as punk was met with fiere loathing, it was equally taken up with love by people already on the margins who had something to say and now had a vehicle to do so.
Made with a cast of almost entirely disable creatives, Back to Back’s celebrated artistic director Bruce Gladwin brings us Shadow a film that asks whether an AI-driven future would further disenfranchise disabled peoples.
Bodies Bodies Bodies
A24 are whisking us away into the lives of a group of morally depraved, rich twenty-somethings who decide to throw a hurricane party as the storm approaches. Naturally, the choice of location is at one of the friends remote (and probably haunted) mansion. As the night rolls on the group think to play a party game of murder-in-the-dark, but when a real murder is revealed everything turns to trash, real quick. It stars Rachel Sennott, Amandla Stenberg and Pete Davidson.
Book ticket to Melbourne International Film Festival 2022 at the MIFF website now, with festival passes and off-peak pricing available.