A MIFF 2019 reading list

Every year, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) program features some great films inspired by literature. Here are some of our favourite books that will be shown on the big screen this year, and some thrilling readalikes to keep you going.

Check out the full MIFF 2019 program here.


Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth (Available 18 July)

Laura and Tyler are either side of thirty and have been best friends and drinking buddies for the better part of the last decade. But their world is set to change when Laura reveals she is engaged to the man of Tyler’s nightmares. This richly detailed depiction of two women at a crossroads in their lives is beautifully authentic, and a moving and poignant portrayal of friendship confronted by insurmountable change.

The film adaptation, of the same name, has also been penned by Unsworth, and has been directed by Australian filmmaker Sophie Hyde. It stars Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat.

Pre-order the book here
Buy tickets to see the film here


My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg

Candice is hilarious, optimistic, dangerously honest and on the cusp of turning 13. Her family also happens to be in disarray – since the death of Candice’s baby sister, her mum has been depressed; and her dad and his brother are not on speaking terms. Facing the uncertainties of impending adolescence looming on the horizon, Candice sets about trying to ‘fix’ her family and make them happy again.

This heartwarming, hilarious and touching Young Adult novel has been adapted into a film starring newcomer Daisy Axon alongside Miriam Margoyles and Deborah Mailman, and will be screening as part of MIFF’s Family Gala.

Buy the book here
Buy tickets to the film here


Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

Everyone’s favourite 16th-century English playwright put forward another enigmatic, compelling play in Measure for Measure, where a young woman pleading for clemency for her law-breaking brother is offered a bargain: her brother’s life for her virginity.

In director Paul Ireland’s film adaptation of the same name, the story has been delicately and insightfully reimagined. Jaiwara, a young Muslim woman, falls for Claudio, a non-Muslim musician. When Claudio is wrongfully sent to prison, Jaiwara desperately seeks the help of Angelo, a local crime figure. Angelo offers to help – but at what cost?

Buy the original play here
Buy tickets to see the film here


A Season on Earth by Gerald Murnane

Gerald Murnane (who just so happens to be tipped to win this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature) has finally been able to publish his second novel as it was intended to be – bringing together four separate parts which had been split and produced into other works. The result is A Season on Earth, the essential link between two acknowledged masterpieces by Gerald Murnane: the lyrical account of boyhood in his debut novel, Tamarisk Row, and the revolutionary prose of The Plains.

At MIFF this year, Murnane fans will have the opportunity to view Words And Silk: The Imaginary and Real Worlds of Gerald Murnane, filmmaker Philip Tyndall’s inventive hybrid film exploring Murnane’s life and many works.

Buy A Season on Earth here
Buy tickets to see Words and Silk here


Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Petty

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? In Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Petty analyses key economic and social patterns from as many as twenty countries by looking at a unique collection of data dating back in places as far as the eighteenth century. This landmark bestseller has now been adapted into a film of the same title by award-winning filmmaker Justin Pemberton, offering a rousing and informative study of contemporary capitalism.

Buy the book here
Buy tickets to see the film here



Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic by Adam Goodes, Anita Heiss and Michael O'Loughlin

AFL footballer Adam Goodes has long been a famous name of the game – a two-time Brownlow Medal winner for the Sydney Swans, he also holds the record for the most VFL and AFL games played by an Indigenous player. But when he began to publicly call out incidents of racism, he sparked a ferocious national debate. Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic is his story, written for young readers, of growing up with his best friend and fellow AFL legend, Michael O'Loughlin.

At the MIFF 2019 Opening Night Gala, the world premiere of the documentary based on Goodes' story, The Australian Dream, will be held. In this emotional, powerful call to arms (written by Australia Day author Stan Grant), Goodes' story – his pre-draft days, his outstanding AFL career, his work as an Indigenous rights activist – is examined and illustrated by interviews with O'Loughlin, Eddie Maguire, Goodes himself and many more.

Buy the book for young readers here
Buy tickets to The Australian Dream here


Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Jeffrey Alan Love

With a special showing of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok screening as part of MIFF’s Goldblum Marathon (unmissable), what better time to familiarise yourself with the Norse myths that inspired it all? Kevin Crossley-Holland and Jeffrey Alan Love’s Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki is a stunning collection of eerie, unforgettable myths of ancient magic, gods, giants and dwarfs.

Buy the original myths here
Buy tickets to the film here


Grimm Tales: For young and old by Philip Pullman

The Brothers Grimm’s fairytales have more than earned their place in the annals of Western literature fame – but you may not have heard of The Juniper Tree, one of their lesser-known stories, in which an evil stepmother murders her stepson. This year at MIFF, Icelandic director Nietzchka Keene’s 1990 loose retelling, The Juniper Tree, will be shown. It’s an eerie, evocative piece, and stars Björk in her first major film role. Reacquaint yourself with the original Brothers Grimm tales before seeing this film adaptation with Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales: For young and old. It’s winter – no better time to be curling up in front of the fire with some spooky tales of witchcraft, adventure and magic.

Read the original fairytales here
Buy tickets to The Juniper Tree here


Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly by Ai Weiwei

Before you see the renowned artist’s latest documentary at MIFF, be sure to brush up on your Ai Weiwei art knowledge with Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly. It follows a feature in the artist’s exhibition on human rights, Yours Truly, where visitors to the exhibition were invited to write a postcard to prisoners of conscience worldwide.

In The Rest, Weiwei takes a personal approach to the plight of the displaced masses stranded across the continent – recording their pleas for help, hopes for the future, and dismay at the hostility that greets their every move.

Read about Ai Weiwei’s art here
Buy tickets to his latest documentary here


Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

In Girl in a Band Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth and role model for a generation of women, tells her story. It’s a glorious exploration of a phenomenal musician and well worth checking out, whether you’re an aspiring musician yourself, a big fan of Sonic Youth, or indeed just thrilled to learn about women in music. On that note, take a look at No Time for Quiet, the incredible new documentary from Hylton Shaw and Samantha Dinning, which explores GIRLS ROCK!: a network of independent arts and feminist social justice groups running band camps that provide girls, trans and gender non-conforming youths a supportive safe space to grow and express themselves via music.

Read Girl in a Band
Buy tickets to see No Time for Quiet

A Season On Earth

A Season On Earth

Gerald Murnane

$39.99Buy now

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