Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Recommendations for MIFF

When trying to decide what to see at MIFF, I put together a short list of films to see, highlights if you like (currently numbering 48). My criteria varied, such as directors whose work I admire and recommendations from people whose opinions I value. I am also interested to see the Kore-eda and Imamura retrospectives, and as most of those films are on around the middle of the day, I should be able to catch most of them. I’m avoiding films that I know will have a theatrical release, but will be catching some of them, such as Inland Empire and Fay Grim.

In the list below (listed alphabetically), in bold are the films I've given the highest priority and will definitely see as I've booked tickets. The others are titles I’m hoping to see, depending on when they screen but I won’t be able to see them all. I will see other films not on this list if they are at a convenient time and look interesting. I’ve listed the film’s title, director, primary country of origin and the reason it’s on the list.

To see the complete list of films screening at MIFF (and those marked with an asterisk have a distribution), use the link at the top of the sidebar from any page of Melbourne Film Blog.

If there’s anything you’d recommend to others and it’s not on the list below, feel free to post it in the comments, and a brief reason why. Hopefully this will be of value to those who come here looking for ideas on what to see at MIFF (the sheer number of films can be pretty intimidating).

[Update: titles in red have been viewed and confirmed as well-worth seeing]

See also MIFF 2007 reviews

1. After Life (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan) - Kore-eda retro
2. Alexandra (Alexander Sokourov, Russia/…) - Recommendation
3. Ballad of Narayama, the (Shohei Imamura, Japan) - Imamura retro
4. Beauty in Trouble (Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic) - Director
5. Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/…) - Looks interesting
6. Black Rain (Shohei Imamura, Japan) - Imamura retro
7. Brand Upon the Brain! (Guy Maddin, USA/…) - Recommendation
8. Breath (Kim Ki-duk, South Korea) - Director

9. Bubble, The (Eytan Fox, Israel) - Recommendation
10. Bunny Chow (John Barker, South Africa) - Recommendation
11. Distance (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan) - Kore-eda retro
12. Dry Season (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, France/…) - Recommendation
13. Eijanaika (Shohei Imamura, Japan) - Imamura retro
14. Fay Grim (Hal Hartley, USA) - Director
15. Half Moon (Bahman Ghobadi, Iran/…) - Recommendation, I like Iranian cinema
16. Hana (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan) - Kore-eda retro
17. Holy Mountain, The (Alexandro Jodorwsky, Mexico) - Recommendation
18. Hottest State, The (Ethan Hawke, USA) - Recommendation
19. I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan/…) - Recommendation
20. Inland Empire (David Lynch, USA) - Director
21. Intentions of Murder (aka Unholy Desire) (Shohei Imamura, Japan) - Imamura retro
22. Interview (Steve Buscemi, USA) - Looks interesting
23. Kalaupapa Heaven (Paul Cox, Australia) - Curious
24. Lights in the Dusk (Aki Kaurismaki, Finland/…) - Director
25. Maborosi (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan) - Kore-eda retro
26. Man From London, The (Bela Tarr, France/…) - Director
27. Man Vanishes, A (Shohei Imamura, Japan) - Imamura retro
28. Mister Lonely (Harmony Korine, UK/…) - Director
29. Monastery, The (Pernille Rose Grønkjaer, Denmark) - Recommendation
30. Mourning Forest (Naomi Kawase, Japan) - Recommendation

31. Opera Jawa (Garin Nugroho, Indonesia) - Recommendation
32. Out of the Blue (Robert Sarkies, NZ) - Recommendation
33. Pornographers, The (Shohei Imamura, Japan) - Imamura retro
34. Savage Grace (Tom Kalin, Spain/…) - Recommendation
35. Scott Walker – 30th Century Man (Stephen Kijak, UK/…) - Recommendation
36. Shotgun Stories (Jeff Nichols, USA) - Recommendation
37. Sister's Love, A (Ivan Sen, Australia) - Director

38. Snow Angels (David Gordon Green, Canada) - Recommendation
39. Still Life (Jia Zhang-Ke, Hong Kong/…) - Recommendation
40. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/…) - Director
41. Time (Kim Ki-duk, South Korea) - Director
42. Times and Winds (Reha Erdem, Turkey) - Recommendation, I like Turkish cinema

43. Tuya's Marriage (Wang Quan'an, China) - Recommendation
44. Vengeance is Mine (Shohei Imamura, Japan) - Imamura retro
45. Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea) - Recommendation
46. Yamamura Shorts (Koji Yamamura, Japan) - Curious
47. Yo (Rafa Cortes, Spain) - Recommendation
48. You, the Living (Roy Andersson, Sweden/…) - Recommendation


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I recommend Red Road - it's a very good film, and part of a potentially even more interesting triology. I saw it at the Adelaide Film Festival this year. Red Road is the first film in the Advance Party trilogy. This is a set of rules which dictate how the films will be written and directed. They will all be filmed and set in Scotland, using the same characters and cast. Each film will be by a different first-time director. Details here: http://www.vervepics.com/docs/rrnotes.pdf

Also, After The Wedding was very good (also seen at Adelaide). Directed by Susanne Bier who made Open Hearts, and Brothers - this isn't as good as those two necessarily - but definitely worth seeing.



trent said...

Watch both of Alejandro Jodorowsky's films--El Topo and The Holy Mountain--simply because they are worth watching once. Remember, El Topo is a fucked up spaghetti western and The Holy Mountain is just fucked up, both full of mystical elements and symbolism.

Paul Martin said...

Ian, thanks for the tip. I'll have a look at the info about them and consider.

Trent, I considered El Topo based on your earlier recommendation, but it's got only one screening at 11.15pm, and I just can't go to a film that late. And The Holy Mountain is on at 11pm. Bastards! They both sound like they're worth seeing, if you're a night owl.

It's only this year that I've started going to 9pm sessions at Melbourne Cinémathèque, and my preferred times are 5pm or earlier. But I'll see films that start as late as 9pm at MIFF for sure.

trent said...

That's a bummer man. I wonder how many acid heads will show up, it's the perfect time to begin a trip. Jodorowsky has said that the best drug is lack of sleep. Korine has mentioned it before too, he likes the delirium that sets in. I think it's true, strange things start to happen when you don't sleep for days. I think it can be a very creative time.

Paul Martin said...

Hmmm, not for me. I need my sleep.

Marina said...

I saw Maddin's newest trip "Brand Upon the Brain!" a few weeks back (review *still* in the works) and wow, was it something. It was my first introduction to Maddin and it was quite the bender. Loved it so much I've since taken a look at "Tales from Gimli Hospital" and from that first film, it's clear to see how he's evolved. Can't wait to see more of his work.

I hope you enjoy it. Though I'm sure the live performances for sound, voiceover etc. would have been much more dramatic, the recording is top notch.

Paul Martin said...

Marina, I have my ticket for that, so that's locked in.

I've checked up on Ian's recommendation for Red Road and it also looks worth checking out. It won the Jury Prize at Cannes 2006.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of new Turkish cinema, I can recommend the other Bilge Ceylan films, as well as those made by his close friend Zeki Demirkubuz, such as Kader which cover similar emotional terrain. Semi Kaplanoglu's Angel's Fall also looks great.

The US release date for the Inland Empire DVD is Aug 4, afaik. Well done Dendy. Also well done for ignoring my complaint email.


Marty said...

Gheist, I agree. Dendy have done such a disservice to David Lynch and his films that I wwould be aghast if Lynch ever gives Dendy another of his films again. To postpone the release of Inland Empire until the end of the year when the DVD goes on sale on Amazon on August 4 is pathetic and why local distributors are doing so poorly. They have very little regard for their audience. I, for one, will have the DVD in early August and will no doubt see the film at least 20 times before Dendy releases it in cinemas here.

Paul Martin said...

Gheist, Ceylan's Distant was on SBS a while ago. I taped it, but I'm not big on video/DVD, so it's been sitting there unwatched. I'm hoping to catch more of his stuff on the big screen sometime. Maybe Melbourne Cinematheque could do a season of his work. I'll watch for the other films you mentioned (thanks for the tip). Times and Winds is the only Turkish film at MIFF this year.

I've pre-ordered my copy of Inland Empire from Amazon for US$19. From experience, when you pre-order, they send it earlier than the official release date (which is actually August 14), so you get it not long after. It screens at MIFF on Aug 7 & 9, so I'll be able to see it on the big screen and then re-watch it on DVD maybe a week or so later (just after MIFF finishes). Woo hoo!

I recommend checking out Amazon, as there's an 11 minute clip of David Lynch talking about the film.

Marty, we've covered this ground before, and I agree that Dendy have treated their potential audiences quite poorly with the release of this film. They've really underestimated the demand, at a time when they've released virtually nothing of interest to me since maybe The Lives of Others. Melbourne Film Blog seems to have a bit more visibility now and has eclipsed Inland Empire, which is now the no.2 search query that brings people to this blog from Google.

Paul Martin said...

Gheist, as an addendum, I also wrote to Dendy. Not so much a complaint, but offering feedback at the number of hits I was getting from people looking for the release date. At the time it was the no.1 Google search query to Melbourne Film Blog, with 3 times the hits of the no.2 query (which was Paris je t'aime).

I wasn't completely ignored, but received a reply saying they will inform me when a release date has been set. I get their monthly updates, and I'm still waiting. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Some screens of Angel's Fall are here.


Paul Martin said...

Thanks, Gheist. And I've posted some Inland Empire trailers.

Marty said...

I would also recommend to check out the US indie horror film, TEETH. I heard it's very good so I am sure going to see it.

Paul Martin said...

Marty, check out Michael Smith's decent length interview with festival director Richard Moore on Indie Film Nation, where he discusses this film and many others. This film sounds really funny. Good biting comedies are hard to come by, pun not intended. ;)

I'm booking a ticket for it on Fri 27th at the Regent.