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  1. A still from Sweet As the movie: a young girl walks through the bush, a camera in hand, she is looking off to the side
    Photograph: Nic Duncan
  2. Eric Bana, as Chopper Reid, holds up photographs from a box in a prison yard
    Photograph: Michele Bennett
  3. A woman sits at a dinner table in a jacket lined with fur. She bites her lip, and leans towards the table
    Photograph: MIFF

Ten awesome Aussie films to see at MIFF this year

From vintage classics to new features, here's how to support the Aussie contingent at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2022

Written by Bianca O'Neill
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The Melbourne International Film Festival is back in 2022, with a bursting schedule of over 250 films on offer for budding cinephiles. In fact, there's so much on offer, it's hard to whittle it down to a manageable hitlist of must-see movies. So, where to start?

More than ever, our local film industry is making waves overseas with a fresh batch of fascinating films hitting the festival this year – including a bunch of world and Australian premieres. In 2022, MIFF is jam-packed with plenty of awesome Aussie options – and here are our top ten.

Ten of the best Aussie films to see at MIFF 2022

The MIFF Gala Opening Night will kick off the festival with the world premiere of Of An Agefrom rising Australian filmmaker and MIFF Accelerator Lab alumnus, Goran Stolevski. It's a tender coming-of-age tale about queer love, the strains of immigrant families, and the promise of the future.

Aussie powerhouses Shantae Barnes-Cowan (Total ControlFirebite) and Tasma Walton (Mystery Road, Cleverman) star in this classic teen road trip film, billed as The Breakfast Club meets the outback. Nyul Nyul / Yawuru director Jub Clerc delivers a story of growth and self-discovery, soundtracked by Indigenous artists, and set against the backdrop of remote Western Australia.

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It's an Aussie classic, and one that propelled Eric Bana to international fame: his turn as a notorious criminal in the gritty and humorous Chopper. For this year's MIFF program, their popular 'Hear My Eyes' sessions will revisit the film with a reimagined score by Melbourne supergroup Springtime and Chopper composer Mick Harvey.

  • Film

There is an extraordinary moment of catharsis at the heart of Archibald Prize-winning artist Del Kathryn Barton’s emotionally confronting but ultimately mesmeric debut feature Blaze.

Filmed in her hometown of Sydney, it stars an incredible Julia Savage as the eponymous twelve-year-old protagonist. Her visually arresting interior life – lushly recreating Barton’s fantastical artwork via a combination of stop-animation and puppetry inserted into the live-action – is torn apart after she witnesses a brutal attack.

Read our review.

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  • Film
  • Horror

A vitamin drink delivered free to residents of idyllic housing development, Pebbles Court, provokes a series of ghastly body mutations. Two investigating cops trace the trouble to the futuristic 'health farm' of Dr Carrera (Smith) where guests are being used for crazed experiments.

Despite Body Melt's emetic preoccupations – exploding stomachs, elongating tongues, etc – this mordant 1993 feature is in fact less a splatterfest than a consumerist satire. It's overlaid with black humour, and takes swipes at health fads, body building, soap operas and the false utopia of suburban living.

The Closing Night Gala will feature the Australian premiere of Clean – an inspirational story of how ‘trauma cleaner' Sandra Pankhurst turned a history of abuse, neglect, and abandonment into survival. The documentary premiered at SXSW to critical acclaim, and is based on the award-winning 2017 biography, The Trauma Cleaner.

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  • Film

A squat in Melbourne, 1978: discernible among the roaches, mouldering cans of beans, Eno albums and the odd sheep, are the truly terrible punk band Dogs in Space – a gaggle of hippies, students, nurses, and sundry visitors, including a chainsaw fanatic and two strangely amiable cops.

Into this seething heap drifts the Girl, a taciturn waif whose perceptions of the house's giggling, garrulous grotesques form the narrative springboard for Lowenstein's admirably adventurous film. No mere rock movie, this 1986 cult classic is a remarkably rich portrait both of a much-maligned subculture and of the end of an era. 

Alena Lodkina’s follow-up to the much-acclaimed Strange Colours is Petrol, set in a supernatural-tinged Melbourne, which follows the murky relationship between an idealistic film student and a performance artist. Billed as the lovechild of Round the Twist and David Lynch, it explores 20-something youth against the backdrop of ghosts, fate, and the occult.

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  • Film
  • Comedy

Made on a shoestring budget by a bunch of film school graduates back in 1996 (director and co-writer Croghan was 23 at the time), this sweet, brisk campus comedy has a refreshingly current feel. For once, you actually believe the actors are the age they're playing.

The romantic musical chairs are routine, but Croghan has a light touch, and a shrewd eye for the rules of attraction. It's too unassuming to be brattily obnoxious. Film buffs will doubtless enjoy the frequent in-jokes (and come out numbering their three favourite films, and why).

This Australian–Slovenian co-production follows the story of Moja, her well-meaning Slovenian father Miloš and her volatile older sister Vesna, as they navigate the grief of death. Shining a spotlight on the immigrant experience, spanning two cultures in the wake of loss, Moja Vesna is a poignant look at the space in between before everything turns out ok in the end.

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