Film Stock’s Top 5 MIFF Picks
1. ‘Obvious Child’, Gillian Robespierre, America (http://bit.ly/UKrLgY)
This out of the box rom-com focuses on aspiring comedian Donna Stern (real life comedian Jenny Slate) who, after being dumped and losing her job, has to deal with an unplanned pregnancy and what it really means to live as an independent young person. Having earned the moniker of ‘abortion comedy’ for exploring Donna’s choice to end her pregnancy this is the flip side to films such as ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘Juno’ but still manages to handle a touchy topic with sensitivity and humour. OBVIOUS CHILD will be having it’s Australian premiere at MIFF and with critics calling it “Charming and authentic” (NY Times) and “uproarious!”(Variety) it’s definitely a must see!
2. ‘The Infinite Man’, Hugh Sullivan, Australia (http://bit.ly/WMRyXS)
Bringing together time travel, drama and rom-com ‘The Infinite Man’ centres around Dean (Josh McConville) trying to romance his girlfriend Lana (Hannah Marshall) by using technology to help them relive their best weekend together but ends up with the pair stuck in a continuous loop! Director and writer Hugh Sullivan’s feature is not your typical rom-com which is what makes it “wonderfully inventive” and “delightful” (The Age) according to critics. Be sure to get along to see the ‘Infinite Man’ (just don’t get caught in a continuous time loop ok?).
3. ‘What We Do in the Shadows’, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, New Zealand (http://bit.ly/1i789IG)
Getting a bit sick of supernatural flicks? Well Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi are here to change all that with their mockumentary ‘What We Do in the Shadows’. Vampire flatmates Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are dealing with all the troubles facing creatures of the night living in the 21st century: trying to find a feed, getting invited into nightclubs and sorting out the dishwashing roster all while trying to adjust to their newly minted fellow vampire, hipster 20-something Nick. This new feature from Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Watiti (Boy) is “hilarious” (Vanity Fair) and “Sure to have you laughing until you bleed” (Twitch) so be sure to add it to your list of films to catch at the festival!
4. ‘Phase IV’, Saul Bass, UK/USA (http://bit.ly/1xycVqN)
The man behind the opening titles of ‘Psycho’, ‘North by Northwest’ and ‘Vertigo’ directed this sci-fi feature from 1974 that you’ll find in the ‘Masters and Restorations’ section of this year’s MIFF program. A cult classic, ‘Phase IV’ focuses on scientists teaming up with mathematicians to stop an all out war between the human race and super-intelligent ants. The film features beautiful footage of real life ants from renowned nature cinematographer Ken Middleham and has been described by Badass Digest as a “creepily effective thriller” that is a “heady psychological trip”. Shown on 35mm film MIFF is one of the few chances probably you’ll have to see ‘Phase IV’ so make sure you catch it!
5. ‘Love Marriage in Kabul’, Armin Palangi, Australia (http://bit.ly/1lcxsvI)
Armin Palangi’s documentary centres around orphan Abdul who was saved by Mahboba Rawi who left her life in Sydney behind after the death of her son to set up a foundation for orphans in Afghanistan. All grown up, Abdul has fallen for – and wants to marry – the girl next door Fatemeh but her father disapproves and is looking to find a bigger dowry. Following Mahboba (and journalist Virginia who is accompanying her) as she tries to bring Abdul and Fatemah together Film Ink magazine has said ‘Love Marriage in Kabul’ is a film that “transcends genre” and whilst “empathetic and compassionate is not sentimental”. Winning Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival this is definitely one to mark in your MIFF guide.