Bede’s 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival Preview

miff2014

Man, I can’t believe it has been a year already. Yes, that’s right folks. It’s that time of year once again when my adoptive home town of Melbourne celebrates one of the most prestigious film festivals in Australia: the Melbourne International Film Festival (or MIFF for short). Over the course of 18 days MIFF will be showcasing over 340 films from many countries all over world. This will be my 3rd year covering the festival and I honestly can’t wait. My previous two years attending MIFF have been really good to me and I saw a lot of films at the festival that would go on to be my favourite films of their respective years. As a matter of fact my number 1 films of 2012 (THE HUNT) and 2013 (TIM WINTON’S THE TURNING), were both films that I saw for the first time at MIFF (will that trend continue this year? We’ll have to wait and see).

There are a lot of great films playing at the festival this year, some of which are highly anticipated by myself and many other Aussie film buffs (PREDESTINATION, FELONY, LOCKE, THE SKELETON TWINS, THE IMMIGRANT, JODOROWSKY’S DUNE, LIFE ITSELF, JOE, WISH I WAS HERE, HAPPY CHRISTMAS, TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT etc.) However I’ve decided that I won’t be seeing any of these films. The reason being, just like I said in previous years, is that I want to focus on films that’ll either: 1. don’t have a release date yet and 2. they won’t be released until later this year or sometime next year (although I will admit that I did make the exception with one film in particular, mainly cause I didn’t want to wait another month to see it). So which films will I be checking out instead? Out of all the other films that will be playing at MIFF this year, I’ve picked 30 films (which is bigger step up from the 23 that I saw from last year’s festival, even more so than the 17 I saw in 2012 ). These are ones that I’m also really excited about and I can’t wait to see them at the festival. What I like my picks is that they cover all different genres of film. There’s a bit of everything: drama, horror, comedy, thriller, animated, action, foreign and documentary (some of which are making their World Premieres here at MIFF). Plus I even included one classic film from the 70’s that I surprisingly still haven’t seen yet. So which 30 films are they? Well, here’s my complete rundown of what I’ll be seeing at MIFF 2014…

AMONG THE LIVING

among the living

DIRECTOR: Alexandre Bustillio & Julien Maury

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmr5mQyvm7E

PLOT: After skipping school to go exploring, three boys stumble across an abandoned movie set where they discover a man dragging a bloodied woman in chains out of a car. Unable to convince anyone of what they’ve seen, the friends return to their homes only to discover that whoever it was has definitely seen them. Horror auteurs Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside, MIFF 2008) return to their bloodiest and thought-provoking best as adolescent curiosity unleashes a nightmare of violence and retribution. Channelling ‘80s teen movie nostalgia and then wringing it through the lens of hardline horror, this is a film of vast thrills and unsettling consequences, where the terror we know may be preferable to that we don’t.

ANINA

anina

DIRECTOR: Alfredo Soderguit

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTZpl9ofC1Q

PLOT: Anina Yasay Salas has a big problem: her name. It reads the same forwards and backwards, and the other kids at school tease her for having a palindrome for a name. When Anina gets into a fight with fellow outsider Yisel, both girls are given an envelope containing their punishment, which they aren’t allowed to open for seven days. Unable to look at her own, Anina decides to steal Yisel’s – although she might not like what she discovers. Beautifully animated and filled to the brim with humour and empathy, Anina is the debut feature from animator Alfredo Soderguit. Uruguay’s submission for the 2014 Foreign Language Film Oscar, Anina is a warm, whip-smart film that speaks to both children and adults.

BOYHOOD

boyhood

DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0oX0xiwOv8

PLOT: Richard Linklater has built a reputation on his often unorthodox approach to filmmaking and with Boyhood he takes that approach to new heights, charting the development of a boy, Mason, between the ages of six and 18, and filmed over 12 years as the actor, Ellar Coltrane, himself grew up. It’s an unprecedented undertaking, begun in 2002 and returned to periodically over the years. Actors Ethan Hawke (Predestination, MIFF 2014) and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents, and Linklater’s daughter Lorelei as Mason’s sister, also grow older naturally, in sync with their characters, creating both a unique coming-of-age tale and a revealing, deeply moving study of ageing. Shooting on 35mm, Linklater has produced a funny, nostalgic, bracingly honest work, for which he was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival.

CREEP

creep

DIRECTOR: Patrick Brice

TRAILER: N/A

PLOT: Debut director Patrick Brice steps in front of the camera alongside Mark Duplass (co-producing with Insidious, Sinister and Paranormal Activity‘s Jason Blum) for this intense and chilling interplay between two protagonists that comes full of twisty turns. Spoilers could easily blunt this film’s edge so all audiences need to know is that a videographer desperate for work responds to a cryptic ad – ‘$1000 for the day. Filming service. Discretion is appreciated’ – placed by an equally cryptic man who wants to record his dying days for an unborn child. The whole thing plays out in the found-footage horror aesthetic as seen through the videographer’s lens.

CUT SNAKE

cut snake

DIRECTOR: Tony Ayres

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcnRVCYZgd8

PLOT: Tony Ayres (Tim Winton’s The Turning, MIFF 2013; The Slap, MIFF 2011) directs his first feature film since The Home Song Stories (MIFF 2007): a psychologically powered crime thriller set in mid-70s suburban Australia. It’s 1974, and in an attempt to put his old, troubled life behind him Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell, Carrie, Chronicle) has moved to a new city with his fiancée, Paula (Jessica De Gouw, These Final Hours, MIFF 2013). But when the brutal Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton, 300: Rise of an Empire) tracks him down, Sparra realises he’ll have to fight to keep the past from ruining his future. Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, Cut Snake shows how one man’s biggest enemy in moving forward can be himself.

DINOSAUR 13

dinosaur 13

DIRECTOR: Todd Miller

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZywsT8Sy-c

PLOT: Based on the book Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law and My Life, Todd Miller’s Dinosaur 13 recounts author Peter Larson’s involvement in the one of greatest palaeontology discoveries in history, and the subsequent legal battle between the fossil hunters, the FBI and the freeholders. It was a David-versus-Goliath-style fight that began when Larson’s team of volunteers uncovered the world’s most complete T-Rex skeleton, dubbed Sue (after the woman who made the initial discovery). But the scientists’ elation was short-lived: the FBI and National Guard crashed their party with claims Sue had been stolen from federal property; with a Native American group and the landholder also claiming ownership, the palaeontologists’ plan to boost the local community with a natural history museum was under threat. Miller charts the resulting, unprecedented, custody case with an emotionally engaging eye, producing a dramatic, timely tale of science versus politics that is as relevant today as ever.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HER

the disappearnace of eleanor rigby - her

DIRECTOR: Ned Benson

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dtk9yJDckw

PLOT: Conor and Eleanor have always been one of those seemingly perfect couples, until their marriage begins to fail when they lose their infant child. In this half of their story, we follow a depressed Eleanor after a failed suicide attempt, as she retreats to her parents’ home in Connecticut in an effort to heal. First-time writer/director Ned Benson wrote the role of Eleanor specifically for Jessica Chastain after the two met at the Toronto International Film Festival, and she puts in the performance of her career. Years in the making, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was originally screened at TIFF in the same two parts – Her and Him – that MIFF also screens. Co-starring James McAvoy in equally career-best form, as well as William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert, this is a remarkable cinematic achievement.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HIM

the disappearnace of eleanor rigby - him

 DIRECTOR: Ned Benson

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dtk9yJDckw

PLOT: Telling the story of the marriage breakdown in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her from the other side, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him follows James McAvoy’s Conor as he tries first to find, and then to reconnect with, his wife Eleanor after the death of their baby. McAvoy is at the top of his game in this film, and his co-stars Bill Hader (also seen in The Skeleton Twins in this year’s festival) and Ciaran Hinds are equally impressive. Director Ned Benson brings new insight and nuance to the character of Eleanor by presenting the events from Conor’s point of view, as well as bringing Conor’s own story into deeper focus. Together, both films present an intimate, beautifully realised picture of the complexity of love and relationships.

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS

electric boogaloo

DIRECTOR: Mark Hartley

TRAILER: N/A

PLOT: When film-obsessed cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus came to America, their dream was to create a production house that would rival the big Hollywood studios. The result was Cannon Films, an outfit that did everything: action, horror, musicals, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers and even arthouse dramas. Bold, brash, and with a slate of films unlike any other, Cannon soon became the stuff of legend, both on- and off-screen. Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, Electric Boogaloo rounds off director Mark Hartley’s trilogy of exploitation cinema documentaries that began with Not Quite Hollywood (MIFF 2008) and continued with Machete Maidens Unleashed! (MIFF 2010). Featuring an astounding line-up of interviewees – including Richard Chamberlain, Dolph Lundgren, Tobe Hooper and many more – this is one of the year’s essential titles.

GOD HELP THE GIRL

god help the girl

DIRECTOR: Stuart Murdoch

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jc2gHpNbyc

PLOT: Belle & Sebastian’s frontman Stuart Murdoch makes his directorial debut with this bittersweet musical. After escaping from a hospital where she’s being treated for depression, Eve (Emily Browning) is lured by the bright lights of the city and the promise of pop music as redemption. Following her as she recruits neurotic, downtrodden guitarist James (Olly Alexander) and scatterbrained Cassie (Hannah Murray) to form a band, God Help the Girl is a lush and alluring romp through a dreamy Glaswegian summer full of songs, longing and laughter. Playing out like a Belle & Sebastian song come to life on the big screen, Murdoch’s debut film is a delicately refreshing musical brimming over with melancholy whimsy and charm.

HARD TO BE A GOD

hard to be a god

DIRECTOR: Aleksei German

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHXTr0s-yOo

PLOT: A legendary and frequently overlooked enfant terrible of Russian filmmaking, Aleksei German spent nearly half his life on this incomparable film: inspired by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky’s 1964 sci-fi novel of the same name, he wrote the screenplay in 1968, shot between 2000 and 2006, and died before post-production was finalised in 2013 by his wife, Svetlana Karmalita, and son Aleksei German Jr (whose Paper Soldier screened at MIFF in 2009). A notorious perfectionist, German’s uncompromising attention to detail lent the film a semi-mythological status for years. It is finally here and does not disappoint. Thirty scientists are sent from Earth to a present-day planet stuck in a perpetual medieval existence, to bring it through renaissance. German’s camera fixates on one burly inhabitant (or is he?), treated by the locals as a kind of god. Like him, we observe this world, in as close to documentary vérité of the Middle Ages as we’re ever likely to get: it’s a narratively anarchic cinematic immersion in a violent, grotesque world so palpable you can almost feel it. At 170 minutes of richly detailed black-and-white historical mimesis, Hard to be a God is a living diorama not for the weak stomached; but for cinephiles seeking a big-screen spectacle of unparalleled visual and aural grandeur, there’s nothing that comes close.

HOUSEBOUND

housebound

DIRECTOR: Gerard Johnstone

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji8Tsuj3u0c

PLOT: With his debut feature, Gerard Johnstone mixes a strong plot with genuine frights and a high gag rate to create a freaky concoction bound to please genre fans. In a magnetic, star-making performance, Morgana O’Reilly plays Kylie, a petty thief who returns to her childhood home when the court places her under house arrest. Her mother (Rima Te Wiata) insists the house is haunted, but Kylie won’t have a bar of it until strange whispers and bumps in the night have her convinced she’s inherited her mother’s over-active imagination. With an ankle monitor to keep her in one spot, Kylie ain’t gonna escape this paranormal activity.

I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY

i am big bird

DIRECTOR: Chad Walker & David LaMattina

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFTCUF853H0

PLOT: One of the most recognisable and beloved children’s television characters in history, Big Bird has been entertaining and educating children around the world for over 40 years. But few fans know about the man who brings Big Bird (and Oscar the Grouch) to life: Caroll Spinney. In the tradition of Being Elmo (MIFF 2011), I am Big Bird is a whimsical, sometimes melancholy but always fascinating journey into the life and epic loves of a man who has brought joy to millions. Despite an abusive childhood, a failed first marriage and severe doubts about his place in the Henson universe, Spinney never lost his childlike sense of wonder; even at age 79, he is Big Bird. Using a wealth of previously unseen archival and home-video footage, much of it shot by Spinney’s loving wife Debra, this is a delightfully sweet examination of the power of following your dreams.

IT FOLLOWS

it follows

DIRECTOR: David Robert Mitchell

TRAILER: N/A

PLOT: When her boyfriend Hugh is murdered immediately after they have sex for the first time, 19-year-old Jay realises that whatever killed him is now after her. Able to assume the appearance of Jay’s family and friends, It will stop at nothing to exterminate those it targets. The only escape: to pass the curse forward by sleeping with someone new. Legitimately unnerving, relentlessly paced and filled with knowing winks to its schlock horror forebears as well as ‘80s teen films, It Follows is the nail-biting new film from David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover, MIFF 2010). A slyly subversive genre riff packed with heart-pounding thrills, It Follows takes the ridiculous and makes it terrifying. But be warned. It could come for you next.

JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE

jimi - all is on my side

DIRECTOR: John Ridley

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmI5QRatUL4

PLOT: In 1966, James Marshall Hendrix was a struggling young guitarist backing musicians in New York clubs. But a whirlwind year in swinging London set him on the path to become a legend. Director John Ridley (the Academy Award-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave) imaginatively paints Jimi’s transformation, from uniting with The Experience and performing before the Beatles and Stones, to changing Eric Clapton’s life. This is a portrait of Jimi, with André Benjamin of Outkast a revelation as the as-yet-unknown guitar hero. His unpredictable relationships and his unprecedented talent culminated in his historic appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. This is the journey there.

KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER

kumiko, the treasure hunter

DIRECTOR: David Zellner

TRAILER: N/A

PLOT: A beaten-up VHS copy of the Coen brothers’ 1996 film Fargo provides the catalyst for offbeat adventure in this sweetly endearing character study from another brotherly team, David and Nathan Zellner. Kumiko (Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi) leads a lonely existence in her cramped Tokyo apartment, beleaguered by an overbearing mother and a dead-end job. Convinced that the suitcase of money buried in Fargo actually exists, Kumiko steals a credit card and escapes to the wintry landscape of Minnesota in search of the the lost cash. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is an eccentric, witty and tender meditation on fact, fantasy and the enchanting power of cinema.

LIFE AFTER BETH

life after beth

DIRECTOR: Jeff Baena

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SGPSDbC7QI

PLOT: Beth is about to break up with Zach when she accidentally dies. So he is understandably thrilled when she inexplicably returns from the dead, with amnesia her only apparent symptom; it’s the second chance he’s been hoping for. But as further post-life complications occur, it soon becomes clear that Beth is not alone. With a suitably ominous score by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the directorial debut from I Heart Huckabees co-writer Jeff Baena is a charismatic, smart and hilarious mix of the zombie, comedy and romance genres that playfully upends the conventions associated with each. Aubrey Plaza is fabulous, cast against type as Beth, while Dane DeHaan, John C Reilly, Paul Reiser, Anna Kendrick and Molly Shannon are equally terrific in support, making Life After Beth a deliciously vibrant find.

LOVE IS STRANGE

love is strange

DIRECTOR: Ira Sachs

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdfA5Ff5e78

PLOT: After nearly four decades, New York couple Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are finally able to marry. But when news of their nuptials reaches the Catholic school where George works, he is immediately fired. Faced with eviction, the two must move out of their apartment into separate dwellings, an arrangement that will test the strength of their relationship. Director Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On, MIFF 2012) tells a moving, funny story about the perils faced by a couple after 39 years together. Lithgow and Molina are extraordinary as the bickering, loving pair, with the supporting cast equally superb.

MOMMY

mommy

DIRECTOR: Xavier Dolan

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9LVLCYvqSI

PLOT: The joint Jury Prize winner at Cannes (alongside Goodbye to Language, also screening at MIFF 2014), Mommy is the latest extraordinary work from prolific wunderkind Xavier Dolan. In a near-future Quebecois suburb, Diane (Dolan regular Anne Dorval) is a trash-talking 50-something widow in stripper heels and sprayed-on jeans. Steve is her troubled teenage son, expelled from a care facility and into her custody over his violent, ADHD-fuelled outbursts. While mother and son attempt to negotiate their volatile but deeply heartfelt relationship, they attract the attention of Kyla, a stammering, introverted neighbour who inserts herself into the household and provides much-needed support. The latest film from 25-year-old Dolan (Tom at the Farm, MIFF 2014; Laurence Anyways, MIFF 2012), Mommy is shot in a selfie-like 1:1 aspect ratio that draws viewers right to the centre of the threesome’s intimate and explosive dynamic.

NIGHT MOVES

night moves

DIRECTOR: Kelly Reichardt

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7-VqKLYZks

PLOT: When admirable aims lead to disastrous deeds, does the intention or the aftermath win out? Writer/director Kelly Reichardt (River of Grass, MIFF 1993; Wendy and Lucy, MIFF 2008) probes this quandary in Night Moves, an eco-activist parable brimming with the simmering tension of ‘70s psychological dramas, including the Arthur Penn neo-noir that inspired its title. Fringe-dwelling farmhand Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), his high school dropout girlfriend Dena (Dakota Fanning) and their ex-marine mentor Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) plan an attack on a hydroelectric dam in Portland to protest the environmental devastation in their midst, but they are sidelined by the unforeseen consequences of their actions. Aided by exceptional performances, Reichardt carefully charts the before and after in intensive detail, crafting a restrained, seductive picture of moral and ethical murkiness.

OBVIOUS CHILD

obvious child

DIRECTOR: Gillian Rodespierre

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2GN3wdfqbA

PLOT: When her boyfriend breaks up with her, stand-up comedian Donna throws herself into a one-night stand with the handsome but square Max. The fling results in a pregnancy, and Donna decides she is in no position to be a mother: she’s going to have an abortion. It’s a decision she refuses to budge on, even as the oblivious Max comes courting. Obvious Child was a huge hit at the Sundance Film Festival, with Saturday Night Live‘s Jenny Slate earning rave reviews for her performance as the scatological Donna, alongside a cast that includes David Cross, Richard King, Gaby Hoffman and Jake Lacy.

THE ONE I LOVE

a4dfc7c5e1cfd2a756a4b30434f8f116

DIRECTOR: Charlie McDowell

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCOvhojlZzQ

PLOT: Saving a marriage the surreal way. “That was a little bit of a weird fight last night,” Ethan (Mark Duplass, also appearing in Creep, screening at this year’s festival) tells Sophie (Elisabeth Moss, who you can see in Listen Up Philip, at this year’s festival) on the first morning of their weekend getaway. His words ring true, with the last-ditch attempt to reclaim their lost spark plagued by strange occurrences. Every glimpse of happiness comes with its own misunderstandings, and every argument elicits unusual reactions. The couple search for marital bliss, but are they really seeking their idealised versions of each other? In his debut feature, author Charlie McDowell gives an imaginative, genre-bending twist to the usual relationship comedies. Taking inspiration from Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze’s collaborations, The One I Love offers a largely improvised exploration of the realities of marriage that’s anything but conventional.

PAPER PLANES

paper planes

DIRECTOR: Robert Connolly

TRAILER: N/A

PLOT: Twelve-year-old Dylan lives with his father in the West Australian outback. One day at school Dylan discovers he is extremely good at making and flying paper planes. While attempting to refine and develop his newly realised ability, Dylan finds himself caught up in the world of competitive paper-plane making, leading to new friendships, new rivalries and new revelations about his own family. Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, Paper Planes is a magical new World Premiere from writer/director Robert Connolly (Tim Winton’s The Turning, MIFF 2013). Featuring a cast of Australia’s finest, including Sam Worthington, Deborah Mailman and David Wenham, and introducing Ed Oxenbould, this is a modern tale of friendship and family and the joy of learning to spread one’s wings.

QUEEN & COUNTRY

queen & country

DIRECTOR: John Boorman

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5oVLWqRSUU

PLOT: In 1952 London, 18-year-old Billy decides to join the army, right on the cusp of the Korean War. The shy teen falls under the spell of hellraising womaniser Percy, and the two mischievously keep themselves entertained as the returning threat of combat looms over them. Working with a cast that includes Richard E Grant, David Thewlis and Sinéad Cusack, legendary director John Boorman (Deliverance) returns to his autobiographical roots, revisiting the family from his renowned 1987 film Hope and Glory.

THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG

the search for weng weng

DIRECTOR: Andrew Leavold

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEYnui9r_tA

PLOT: The 1982 Manila International Film Festival was supposed to shine a spotlight on highbrow Filipino cinema, but it was For Y’ur Height Only – a schlocky James Bond rip-off with a pint-sized protagonist – that gained all the attention, catapulting its star Weng Weng to international fame. Determined to understand why Weng Weng struck such a chord, cinephile Andrew Leavold sets out to discover the mystery at the heart of the action star’s story and, if he can, to find Weng Weng himself. Filmed over seven years and taking in everything from Golden Age Filipino filmmaking and culture to a rare encounter with Imelda Marcos, The Search for Weng Weng is unexpected, funny and full of heart.

SORCERER

sorcerer

DIRECTOR: William Friedkin

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BDbIzovuos

PLOT: By 1977, William Friedkin (Killer Joe, MIFF 2012) had won an Oscar for his film French Connection and rocked audiences with The Exorcist. That year he released Sorcerer, a nail-biting reinterpretation of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. Things didn’t go to plan. It was initially panned as an expensive flop and buried when it premiered in the shadow of Star Wars. Newly restored (under Friedkin’s supervision) with a 4K film resolution scan off the original 35mm negative, it is enjoying a fan and critic-led revival, with contemporary consensus acknowledging it as the work of a master at the top of his game. As per its source, the story involves four men with dark pasts who agree to transport volatile dynamite across hostile Central American terrain for a big payday. Starring Roy Scheider, and with a synth score by Tangerine Dream, the film’s iconic sequence – an explosives-laden truck crossing a rickety rope bridge – has became cinematic legend for its real-life risk and, like the film itself, remains as jaw-dropping today as when it was filmed.

SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON

supermensch

DIRECTOR: Mike Myers

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd0VOkPOrV0

PLOT: Shep Gordon was a casual drug dealer whose job caused him to collide with the music world in strange ways: he became the legendary manager of Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd and Blondie, and masterminded some of the music world’s most notorious stage antics. He lived the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll life to the extreme (while also being a close friend of the Dalai Lama and inventing the ‘celebrity chef’ concept!), earning a reputation as a hedonist who could be sweet and generous beyond compare. Featuring contributions from Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Willie Nelson and more, this is the directorial debut of comedian Mike Myers, who spent 20 years trying to get Gordon’s blessing to make a documentary about him.

TURKEY SHOOT

turkey shoot

DIRECTOR: Jon Hewitt

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd0VOkPOrV0

PLOT: Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill or be killed. Turkey Shoot was one of the most infamously violent, gloriously schlocky films in Ozploitation history. Now Tony Ginnane, the producer of the 1982 cult classic, has joined forces with Australia’s modern grindhouse master Jon Hewitt (X, MIFF 11) to bring this tale of carnage and wanton destruction roaring into the 21st century. Prepare yourself for the 21st-century iteration of Turkey Shoot. In a brutal dystopian future, convicted criminals are given the chance to win whatever their heart desires by becoming a contestant in the world’s most popular TV show: Turkey Shoot. All disgraced ex-Navy SEAL Rich Tyler (Dominic Purcell, Prison Break) – contestant #117 – wants is to clear his name and claim his freedom. But Turkey Shoot isn’t interested in finding winners. It just wants to hunt Tyler like an animal and make him squeal before he dies.

WEB JUNKIE

web junkie

DIRECTOR: Shosh Shlam & Hilla Medalia

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOfgGfGaTwE

PLOT: An engrossing look inside one of China’s prison-like rehabilitation camps for internet-addicted teens. Daxing Boot Camp is one of 400 or so military-style web-addiction treatment centres established in China since it became the first country to label the issue a clinical disorder. Its patients are primarily male, all are adolescent; most don’t know how they ended up in the camp, having been tricked or even drugged by their parents. None agree they have a problem. With extraordinary access and candidness, Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia’s Web Junkie takes us inside Daxing, an incongruous cross between a military barracks and a mental hospital, to meet three ‘inmates’ during their months-long deprogramming stays. Their stories reflect a wider social phenomenon: a generational canyon between communist-era parents and authorities and their net-savvy, consumerist children, the lonely products of the one-child policy. Both a spellbinding look at how technology is altering our lives and an emotional examination of a society going through a new cultural revolution, Web Junkie is as entertaining as it is bizarre.

WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?

why don't you play in hell

DIRECTOR: Sion Sono

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-ZtW5fWRjI

PLOT: Described by its unfailingly unpredictable director, MIFF regular Sion Sono (Himizu, MIFF 2012; Guilty of Romance, MIFF 2011), as “an action film about the love of 35mm”, Why Don’t You Play in Hell? sees the cult auteur at his most fun-lovingly bloodthirsty. Things spin out of control when an aspiring film troupe known as The F**k Bombers collide with a yakuza boss who wants to make a movie with his daughter. Within this, the yakuza genre gets mashed with martial arts, gore, slapstick and whatever else you care to nominate in a wonderful mess that boils down to one thing … Huge fun.

Well, there you have it. These are the 30 films I’ll be seeing at MIFF 2014. Although I may add another film to the list depending on which unannounced films have been chosen for this year’s secret screenings (I really hope that either Jim Mickle’s COLD IN JULY or Adam Wingard’s THE GUEST are one of them). Keep a look for my video reviews for all these films over the course festival and also follow me at  www.twitter.com/BedeJermyn for my daily random thoughts and first reactions to them as well.

– Bede Jermyn

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