Written by Chris Swan
July 12, 2023
Our Picks for the 2023 Melbourne International Film Festival
The Melbourne International Film Festival returns for 2023 with today’s announcement of the full program for the festivals 71st edition.
Featuring an incredible array of films from over the world, including highlights from Cannes, Berlin and Sundance, this year’s festival promises a veritable feast for film buffs.
Here are some of our top picks from this year’s program.
Tickets are on sale to the public Fridays!
The Melbourne International Film Festival runs in cinemas from August 3 – 20 and online from August 18 – 27.
Check out the full program HERE
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Christian Petzold’s (Barbara, Phoenix) latest film follows two friends who arrive at a small holiday house on the Baltic coast, hoping the trip will inspire their respective creative pursuits. Petzold’s scorching story captures the complexity of human interactions with clean-minded sobriety.Book tickets
ANATOMY OF A FALL
WINNER of the 2023 Palme d’Or. In this enthralling Hitchcockian thriller, Justine Triet (Sibyl, In Bed with Victoria) creates a complex and fascinating heroin, questioning common beliefs, relationships and truth. Starring the brilliant Sandra Huller (Toni Erdmann) as an author accused of murdering her husband.Book tickets
From Oscar nominated director Wim Wenders (Pina, Paris, Texas) comes an engaging portrait of Anselm Kiefer, one of the most innovative and important painters and sculptors of our time. Shot in 3D and 6K resolution, the film presents an incredible cinematic experience of the artist’s work.Book tickets
MIFF PREMIERE FUND
Relive the most thrilling moments of Australia’s beloved tennis tournament in this warts-and-all chronicle of its ascent to top-seed status on the global stage that illuminates how entwined the stories of the tournament and the nation truly are.
Winner of the Audience Awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (US Documentary) and Sydney Film Festival, BEYOND UTOPIA is a suspenseful look at the lengths people will go to gain freedom, embedding the viewer with individuals as they attempt to flee North Korea.Book tickets
Anchored by stunning performances from Rosy McEwen and Kerri Hayes, this penetrating debut from writer-director Georgia Oakley measures the bitter impact of Margaret Thatcher’s anti-gay Section 28 ruling, exploring with intense sensitivity a period of British history the effects of which still resonate in countless lives today.Book tickets
In Bright Horizons Competition, and winner of a Silver Bear at Berlin this year, Italian director Giacomo Abbruzzese makes a stylish feature debut with DISCO BOY, a daring film featuring a magnetic performance by Franz Rogowski (Undine, Great Freedom).Book tickets
HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE
The stakes are high but the cost of sitting idle is higher for a group of environmental activists who band together to disrupt the oil industry in this incendiary thriller that journeys into the fiery heart of the climate-justice movement.Book tickets
IT LIVES INSIDE
From the producers of Get Out, IT LIVES INSIDE combines the immigrant experience and a good old fashioned creature feature to create a unique spin on the horror genre that is both entertaining and terrifying. WINNER of the Audience Award – Midnighters at SXSW.Book tickets
LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING
The opening night film at this year’s Sundance film festival, Lisa Cortes’ entrancing documentary tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock n’ roll, exploding the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator – the originator – Richard Penniman aka. Little Richard.Book tickets
The new film from Palme d’Or winner Kore-eda Hirokazu (Broker, Shoplifters) that won Best Screenplay at Cannes this year.
When her young son Minato starts to behave strangely, his mother feels that there is something wrong. Discovering that a teacher is responsible, she storms into the school demanding to know what’s going on. But as the story unfolds through the eyes of mother, teacher and child, the truth gradually emerges in this delicate and powerful story of duty, social conflict and secrets.
ON THE ADAMANT
Winner of the Golden Bear, the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, ON THE ADAMANT is a compassionate and intimate documentary that follows patients and caregivers at a psychiatric centre with a unique floating structure in the middle of the Seine River in central Paris. From legendary French documentarian, Nicolas Philibert (To Be and To Have).Book tickets
Winner of the Best Actor prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders’ Japan-set film is a charming and deeply moving poetic reflection on the beauty that can be found in everyday life.Book tickets
Starring Eugenio Derbez (CODA), this 2023 Sundance Audience Award winner is based on the true events of an inspirational teacher who takes a radical approach when he arrives at a poor performing school in Mexico.Book tickets
Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Sara Varon and in Official Selection at Cannes this year, ROBOT DREAMS is an enchanting animated film for all ages about an unlikely friendship. Dog lives in Manhattan and he’s tired of being alone. One day he decides to build himself a robot, a companion. Their friendship blossoms, until they become inseparable, all set to the rhythm of ‘80s New York City. One summer night, Dog is forced to abandon Robot at the beach. Will they ever meet again?Book tickets
in 1982, filmmaker Wim Wenders asked 16 of his fellow directors to speak on the future of cinema, resulting in the film Room 666. Now, 40 years later, in Cannes, director Lubna Playoust asks a new generation of filmmakers the same question: is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?Book tickets
ROSE GOLD tells a story about the elusive nature of victory, following the Boomer’s path to their first bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics; their first ever international medal. Tracking a pivotal moment in Australian basketball history, the film looks at how a small group of men draw on their personal and collective heritage to change sporting culture and cement the sport as a modern Australian game.Book tickets
This homegrown animation feature tells the story of a young girl, Arkie, who must leave the safety of her home to travel to a mysterious city of light to save her father from a powerful scientist, and prevent the destruction of her planet. Featuring an exceptional voice cast of local stars including Jillian Nguyen, Sam Neill, Tim Minchin and Deborah Mailman.Book tickets
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, this debut feature from Charlotte Regan follows 12-year-old Georgie who attempts to reconnect with her father (Harris Dickinson, Triangle of Sadness). SCRAPPER offers a unique and inventive take on British working-class cinema.Book tickets
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Cannes Best Actress winner Zar Amir-Ebrahimi (Holy Spider) stars in this Sundance Audience Award winning portrait of a mother seeking a new life for herself and her daughter, a moving story of resilience, the desire for independence, and the sacrifices and strength of a mother’s love.
SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD
The first documentary by an Estonian director to complete, and win, at the Sundance Film Festival. In the darkness of a smoke sauna, women share their innermost secrets and intimate experiences, washing off the shame trapped in their bodies and regaining their strength through a sense of communion. SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD is a deeply moving, intimate and breathtaking approach to issues of trauma, healing, and community.Book tickets
SQUARING THE CIRCLE (THE STORY OF HIPGNOSIS)
Featuring legendary musicians Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, and many more, the first documentary from award-winning director Anton Corbijn (Control, A Most Wanted Man) tells the story of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell, the creative geniuses behind some of the most iconic album covers of all time.Book tickets
THE ETERNAL MEMORY
Oscar nominee Maite Alberdi (The Mole Agent) tells an uplifting yet heartbreaking love story that balances vibrant individual and collective remembrance with the longevity of an unbreakable human bond. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema – Documentary) at the Sundance Film Festival, THE ETERNAL MEMORY chronicles the lives of Augusto and Paulina, a prominent Chilean couple who navigate the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.Book tickets
THE MUNEKATA SISTERS
Direct from the Cannes Film Festival, this brand-new restoration of this Yasujiro Ozu’s classic weaves all the hallmarks of the master filmmakers work in a beautifully rendered meditation on family, life and love.Book tickets