What We’re Watching at MIFF

Here at Readings, we’re very excited about the Melbourne International Film Festival. Last week our film expert Fiona Hardy rounded up her top picks of the festival. Now we’re sharing some of the films our staff are going to see.

Nina’s MIFF List

I bought a ten session eMini pass and my list of MIFF movies includes:

Fruitvale Station

Inspired by the true story of a police shooting in 2009, this film won the Grand Jury prize and Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival. It also stars Michael B Jordan, who I personally love from his work on Friday Night Lights and Parenthood.

Drinking Buddies

A smart, funny, indie film about relationships that avoids the “syrupy, focus-group tested packages that permeate the rom-com genre” and stars Anna Kendrick and Nick from New Girl? I’m in.

The Spectacular Now

A breakout hit at the Sundance film festival, this coming-of-age teen romance is based off a YA book and written by 500 Days of Summer’s Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Starring Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley and Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler), it looks exactly like the kind of film I will fall in love with.

Stories We Tell

Sarah Polley’s documentary on the secrets and lies at the heart of her family. I’ve heard rave reviews, and Sarah Polley has a history of directing smart, interesting films such as Away From Her and Take This Waltz.

The Summit

I could have watched any and all of the documentaries in MIFF’s This Sporting Life category – they all look fantastic but this one in particular grabbed me. It pieces together the story behind the deaths of 11 climbers as they descended from K2 in 2008.


A documentary on the whale that killed its trainer at Seaworld in 2010, it has been described as a “mesmerizing psychological thriller with a bruised and battered killer whale at its center”. That line alone sells it to me.

I Used to Be Darker

The story of two musicians getting a divorce and their niece observing the situation as an outsider. A naturalist script, improvised scenes and live music played throughout. The trailer drew me in.

2 Autumns, 3 Winters

A French film about three thirty-something friends who have to deal with a catastrophe when one them has a stroke. Filled with pop-cultural references, it sounds like it will be funny, sad and heartwarming.

What Maisie Knew

Based off the 1897 novel, it tells the story of a young girl caught in the middle of her parent’s divorce. The cast looks fabulous, including Julianne Moore (one of my all-time favourites) and Alexander Skarsgard.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Despite my slight dislike of Casey Affleck as an actor, this film looks fascinating and I’ve heard good things about it. Rooney Mara looks terrific and the plot – lovers reuniting when one escapes from jail – promises an interesting drama.

Bronte’s MIFF List

This year I’ve booked to see a stack of documentaries including Blackfish (see the trailer here). It’s the kind of story that I feel is important to see even though I’m sure it will make for difficult viewing.

For something a bit lighter, I’m seeing the Venus and Serena (see the trailer here). I’m just a little bit fascinated by athletes as the idea of devoting your life to an activity limited by your body, something that is inevitably going to fail you in the long-term, seems incredible to me. I also have a particular obsession for films about adolescence and will be indulging this with Teenage, an unconventional look back at the creation of a new demographic group which includes archive footage, diaries etc.

Stepping away from documentaries, I’ve also planned to see the darkly-charming Vic+Flo Saw a Bear (see the trailer here), a French-Canadian film described as a blend between Wes Anderson, Tarantino and Bruno Dumont, and The Weight of Elephants (see the trailer here), a New Zealand film inspired by Sonya Hartnett’s Of A Boy.

Speaking of literary-inspired films my enormous wishlist includes Foxfire (see the trailer here), a new adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel which I’m very excited to read - and The Turning (see the trailer here). Tim Winton’s collection was one that I read and re-read through high school and I’d be interested to see how ‘Long, Clear View’ translates to the screen as that was possibly my favourite story.

Two other top picks from my wishlist are Capturing Dad, a Japanese film about two young sisters who discover their estranged father is dying and are sent by their still-bitter mother to be by his side, and Bastards, a French film about a wealthy patriarch Jacques commits suicide in suspicious circumstances forcing his family to come together - and to apportion blame. Both appeal to another fascination of mine - learning about the politics of family, especially in relation to cultures outside my own experience - and sound terrific even though I can’t find trailers with English subtitles…

I also really love to see films described as ‘hallucinatory cinematic experiences’ at cinemas and this year my top picks are Upstream Colour (see the trailer here) from Shane Carruth of Primer fame, and Mood Indigo (see the trailer here) from Michel Gondry.

And my final pick is the very fun-looking and delightful-sounding Frances Ha, a new film from Noah Baumbach about a young dancer which has been described as an “exhilarating black-and-white New York seriocomedy”.

Browse the full MIFF program here.