Melbourne International Film Festival 2013 Reveals Its First Glance

Melbourne International Film Festival has unveiled its First Glance, a snapshot of the documentary, narrative fiction, shorts and the Next-Gen program that will be playing at the 2013 festival.

Of course it's not a full line-up and there are a lot of 'best of' Sydney Film Fest titles (which is exciting as we Melbournians do not miss out), but there is still a hint at the wide spread of American festival titles that Sydney did not pick up, as well as a plethora of Australian titles exclusive to the festival.

Immediately it is clear that these titles are 'earlier' festival picks, and we anticipate a separate announcement of the Cannes acquisitions to come. Unsurprisingly these are great titles that continue to showcase MIFF's ability to create a program that enlightens and reassures patrons that their expectations will be met.

Since 2007, MIFF's Premiere Fund has financially supported the production of dozens of quality, feature-length Australian films, and in 2013 it offers a bumper crop - here are the highlight world premieres from this stream:

In The Turning, Tim Winton turned his peerless eye for the quiet struggles of everyday life upon the seaside town of Angelus, Western Australia. Across three decades and 17 interconnected stories, he weaves a singular portrait of a remarkable community - one defined by small triumphs, fading dreams and the inimitable Australian coast, by turns both beautiful and dangerous. The Turning is produced by Robert Connolly (Balibo) and sees some of Australia's most acclaimed directors, actors, documentarians and screenwriters - featuring contributions from Cate Blanchett, David Wenham, Mia Wasikowska, Justin Kurzel, Tony Ayres and many more.

Aim High in Creation is a revolutionary comedy about the cinematic genius of North Korea's late dear leader, Kim Jong-il, with a groundbreaking experiment at its heart: the making of a film-within-a-film. Fearing that a gas mine is about to built right near her home, Anna Broinowski, in a world first, goes to Pyongyang in North Korea to meet the masters of propaganda film-making  directors, cinematographers, composers and movie stars. Over three weeks they instruct her on how to make a drama in which "heroic workers" overthrow the evil gas miners; she even acts in a North Korean movie, playing an "evil American secretary" in a military thriller being shot on a real, captured US spy ship, the USS Pueblo.
Back in Sydney, Anna's fearless western cast follow North Korean instructions in a bizarre Kim Jong-il boot camp - with socialist ideology training sessions, the repetitive use of song, workshops on how to act with a "love for the common people" and "hatred of the class enemy" - culminating in an uplifting, anti-capitalist plot guaranteed to inspire workers and farmers everywhere to throw off their capitalist shackles and unite!

The revamped Ozploitation re imagining Patrick is about a young coma patient; unable to communicate with anyone, but when a beautiful nurse catches his eye, Patrick's latent psychic powers begin to emerge, and soon threaten the lives of everyone in the hospital. Director Mark Hartley celebrates the 1978 Ozploitation classic he so famously referenced in his 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood with a cast including Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under), Sharni Vinson (You're Next, MIFF 2013) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones).

The exceptional documentary line-up echoes the Sydney Film Festival, both highlighting the best most recent documentaries of a diverse range from war crimes to snowboarding.

In the narrative space is Tornatore's (Malena) new masterpiece starring MIFF patron Geoffrey Rush in his best role in years. I have seen this film and it will be in my top 10 at the end of the year - I implore you to not miss this!

The Best Offer is a mystery drama set in a high-society world of art deals and closed doors. Virgil Oldman (Rush) is an elegantly eccentric art auctioneer who lives alone surrounded by exquisite art. When he receives instructions to help a reclusive young woman (Sylvia Hoeks) sell her family's antiques, his interest is piqued, not just due to the works at stake but because of the woman - who refuses to meet in person and will only communicate through walls and doors. This is just the beginning of the strange circumstances that Virgil finds himself in.
The Best Offer delivers a world of high art, intrigue and unconventional romance, and was a box-office smash upon release in Italy.

With bountiful betrayal and abundant bitchiness, Passion is a classic Brian De Palma psychological thriller - complete with the requisite battling beauties. Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams play against type as corporate-climbing colleagues locked in a professional power struggle that soon takes a turn toward the personal.
Steeped in the filmmaker's own back catalogue, and shaped by his trademark flourishes, the pulpy, neo-noir remaking of Alain Corneau's final film, Love Crime, is as visually arresting as it is emotionally lurid. As obsessions spiral into a seductive symphony, the hallucinations and humiliations are amplified with every dramatic interaction between the fated femme fatales, accompanied by a bawdy sense of humour.

Finally, well at least for this recap, festival darling The Spectacular Now has been confirmed for MIFF, the exciting followup to Ponsoldt's Smashed.

For Sutter, a charming high school senior and budding alcoholic, the now is all that matters. It is where he can live in the moment and be the life of the party. But after a post-breakup bender, he meets shy Aimee and the pair forms an unlikely bond, as Sutter pines for his ex and searches for an estranged father.

With strong performances from the young cast, which won a special jury award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now dodges clichéto deliver an accessible, powerful and honest coming-of-age story.

View the list in its entirety right here.
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  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Director Mark Hartley celebrates the 1978 Ozploitation classic he so famously referenced in his 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood"

    He has a really nice cast, I haven´t seen the original yet.

    Lots of nice films on this list, thanks Mr Bellette.

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