What does an unemployed film student staring down the barrel of their last ever semester, with a short film to get off the ground in less than a month do when faced with the prospect of spending money they don’t have to watch at least a film a day for about two weeks?
I can’t speak for the countless other unemployed students in Melbourne, but I do know this: as I stood in line at the Melbourne International Film Festival box office, I felt an overwhelming excitement and anticipation for the two weeks that are laying ahead of me, like a row of Christmas presents each to be unwrapped, a day at a time.
To be honest, despite the ever-growing pile of pre-production work that is accumulating on my desk and on my laptop, this year’s MIFF certainly comes at an ideal time. There’s something about pondering what might lie in store for a cinephile like myself that makes a cinephile like myself forget about said university woes and instead remember why it is I love film in the first place. It may be a slightly romanticised notion of film that I may be putting to you, but I don’t think that as many people would flock to the various venues around Melbourne if there were not some truth to it. That is, that film as an art form (if I am to be so bold) has the power to transport the viewer to new and wonderous or gruesome places, places only imaginable in our worst nightmares, craziest dreams…or providing insights to those universal of human desires and experiences. Or, to just show us a good time. Whatever works.
At any rate, I’ve bought myself a mini-pass (plus a few extra tickets). That’s around $150 of money I plan on spending to its fullest potential, and expect a play-by-play commentary on the comings and goings of the festival. Or rather, the parts of it I see and hear and explore in between tearing myself back to Real Life.
I’ll be revelling in the Anna Karina retrospective, taking in Alphaville (1965), Une Femme Est Une Femme (1961) and Pierrot Le Fou (1965). How can one turn down that much Godard? I think there’s a lot to be said for the skill/genius/pretensious-factor of a filmmaker whose work I will still sprint to watch even after writing a 2500 word esssay on him mere weeks ago. That being said, I won’t lie… if there were ever a woman I would turn for, it would be a 1960s Anna Karina. My oh my, is she something.
Then, I’ll be hitting up the apparently Dr Strangelove-meets-The-Office-esque In the Loop, the Cannes Jury Prize winning Fish Tank and an intriguing Chilean film called The Maid. I’ll be embarking on an epic Steven Soderbergh journey, with The Girlfriend Experience, and his two part biopic of Che Guevara. I’ll be watching a Malaysian satirical musical, a collection of short films (call it inspiration for my semester ahead), a Russian film about cosmonauts that will apparently make me think of Tarkovsky (this I’m looking forward to) and I’ll be watching an American buddy film about porn.
What else? At least nine more films…you’ll just have to wait and see what lies in store!
MIFF is being held around Melbourne, Victoria from July 24 – August 9, 2009.