The Melbourne International Film Festival has revealed its program and there are some great choices among the 259 feature films.
But because you don’t have time to see hundreds of movies, here’s our selection of the must-sees at the festival, now in its 68th year.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Quentin Tarantino’s highly anticipated ode to a certain time in Hollywood will have its Melbourne premiere at MIFF, almost two weeks before its wide release.
Starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie as the doomed Sharon Tate, it’s a vivid portrait of Golden Age Hollywood, a nostalgic tribute to a different era on the cusp of momentous social change.
Once Upon on Time in Hollywood will be screened in 35mm.
Margot Robbie will play Sharon Tate in Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
PAIN AND GLORY
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar returns behind the camera with this personal movie inspired by his own complex experiences with his art form.
Starring Antonio Banderas as essentially Almodovar’s on-screen stand-in, an acclaimed director beset by numerous health issues and flirting with a drug addiction, Pain and Glory is an exploration of ageing, regret, sexuality and family.
SEQUIN IN A BLUE ROOM
Samuel Van Grinsven’s* debut feature won the Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival after a rapturous reception at the premiere.
Provocative and challenging, Sequin in a Blue Room is the story of 16-year-old Sequin, a high school student exploring his sexuality through an anonymous hook-up app.
Both a queer coming-of-age story and a thriller, the film delves into the behind-the-curtains world of Sequin’s search for a mysterious stranger.
A stunning character-driven French film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is an 18th romance between a female painter and her subject, a young woman who refuses to sit for her portrait.
The performances from Noemie Merland and Adele Haenel as Marianne and Heloise are charged and twisty — their chemistry is almost overwhelming, a perfect balance to the film’s restrained instincts.
Filmmaker Lulu Wang’s semi-memoirs stormed Sundance earlier this year and has been announced as the Closing Night film.
The Farewell is the warm and funny story of an Asian-American woman named Billi (Awkwafina) who returns to China when she and the family learn her grandmother is dying. However, her grandmother doesn’t know her time is almost up, with everyone deciding it would be kinder to keep it secret from her.
The Farewell is a tale of family and heritage, of belonging and unbreakable bonds. The trailer alone will make you cry.
So controversial it caused audiences to walk out, Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook is as confronting as her horror movie debut, but in a vastly different though still brutal way.
Set in 19th century Tasmania, convict Clare sets out for revenge against the British officer who murdered her husband and child.
The Grand Jury Prize Winner at SXSW, Josephine Mackerra’s empowering movie sets out to destigmatise sex workers, centred on the story of Alice, a woman with a seemingly perfect life.
When her husband walks out, Alice has to turn to escorting to play the bills. What she didn’t expect was to find the hush-hush job giving her purpose and verve.
Flipping the Punch and Judy story on its head, Australian filmmaker Mirrah Foulkes’ offbeat Judy and Punch is a contemporary reimagining of a classic tale, and stars Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman.
Judy and Punch are travelling puppeteers who go home to their hometown where the locals love a little witch-hunting. If Judy is to survive this grim place and her grog-loving husband, she will have to rely on herself.
Set in the days before World War I, a young, orphaned woman returns to Budapest hoping to become a milliner, like her dead parents. In the excitement over a visit from the Hapsburg royals, Irisz will discover her family’s secrets in a strange quest involving suspicious fires and a German count.
Melbourne International Film Festival runs from August 1 until August 19