After an unforgettable Melbourne movie experience? From the Melbourne International Film Festival to celebrations of indie, anime, queer and documentary films, there's a festival for every type of movie buff. Check out the festivals coming soon to Melbourne below. While you're at it, check out Melbourne's best film events and screenings and our latest film reviews.
Upcoming Melbourne film festivals
Palace Cinemas once again present the Spanish Film Festival, which returns in April. Big stars such as Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Maribel Verdú and Paco León feature in multiple films, and screenings include retrospectives, exciting new auteur efforts, crazy comedies, and all the passion, sentiment, dark Catholic guilt and political unrest that we’ve come to know and love about the cinema of this vibrant and in some ways divided nation. Opening night comedy The Tribe is about a cleaning woman who loves street dancing (Carmen Machi) and the son she gave up for adoption (Paco León), reuniting on the dance floor. The Open Door stars Machi as an ageing prostitute living with her senile mother who takes in a seven-year-old orphan girl, who transforms their lives. Fans of Netflix show Narcos will recognise the story being told in Loving Pablo, which details the downfall of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (Javier Bardem) from the point of view of his TV journalist mistress Virginia Vallejo (Penélope Cruz). Several outrageous comedies are screening. Maribel Verdù stars in Abracadabra, as the wife of a sexist soccer fan (Antonio de la Torre) who is possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. Operation Goldenshell has a con artist hiring a lookalike to pose as a movie star to swindle an investor. It’s for Your Own Good involves three fathers conspiring to scare off their daughters’ deadbeat boyfriends, while Lord Give Me Patience is about a widower (Jordi Sánchez) who has to
Australia’s only film festival dedicated to film lovers aged 60 and up, Young at Heart, is returning in April. The festival program includes acclaimed features, special guests, Q&As and cinema classics brought back to their rightful home on the big screen. The festival opens with The Bookshop, starrring Emily Mortimer as a woman who opens a bookshop in a conservative small town in England in 1959, causing all kinds of ructions. On Chesil Beach is an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel about a young UK couple on their honeymoon in 1962 struggling to achieve physical intimacy. Saoirse Ronan stars. The Last Flag Flying is a comedy-drama directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood) starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne as three Vietnam War veterans who reunite after one of their sons is killed in the Iraq War. Australian filmmaker John Curran directs Chappaquiddick, about the scandal that envoloped Senator Ted Kennedy (Oz actor Jason Clarke) in 1969 when a passenger in the car he was driving was killed. US politics in the 1960s are also the subject of LBJ, which sees Woody Harrelson take on the role of 36th President Lyndon B Johnson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as his wife Claudia. Swedish great Stellan Skarsgård stars in Return to Montauk, about an ageing writer who reconnects with his former lover (Nina Hoss) in New York City. French mega-hit Two Is a Family stars Omar Sy (Les Intouchables) as a ladies' man who is suddenly saddled with the
Once a month Australian films play the lead role at Eaglehawk’s Star Cinema. In 2018 the cinema is hosting a year-long festival called Australia on Screen to celebrate the nation’s creative film industry. On the fourth Tuesday of every month the cinema is screening an Australian film, and tickets are just $11. These aren’t your major blockbusters: the Australia on Screen event puts the spotlight on some of Australia’s lesser-known films, highlighting those with a strong connection to regionality and place. From February 27 to November 27 catch films like Love Serenade, Monkey Grip, Walkabout and Celia. For the true Aussie film fans Star Cinema is also hosting a three-day film forum from June 1 to June 3. To buy tickets to the monthly screenings or film forum call 03 5446 2025.
The 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 will be marked during the 4th Irish Film Festival in Australia with three films that explore the legacy of the Troubles. The prolific and incisive American documentarian Alex Gibney (We Steal Secrets, Going Clear, Taxi to the Dark Side) has made No Stone Unturned, which investigates the murder of six Catholics in a pub in County Down in 1994 (the Loughinisland massacre), and points to British government collusion. Maze dramatises the 1983 Maze prison breakout – Maze was the prison in Northern Island that housed paramilitary prisoners. And In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America looks at civil rights campaigner John Hume’s work to bring the US into the peace process to get Britain to come to the bargaining table. The festival is also screening The Flag, a farce about an Irish labourer who plots to steal an Irish flag from an officer’s mess in a British army barracks in London. And Song of Granite is a black-and-white biopic on the life of Irish traditional singer Joe Heaney. Screenings will be at the Kino. Tickets are on sale now; to book and see what's screening when, click on the Dates and Times tab above.
Powerful human stories are promised at the 11th Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. There will be 15 days of screenings and events in venues across Melbourne: ACMI, No Vacancy, Footscray Community Arts Centre, the Immigration Museum, Fitzroy Library, Newport Substation, and Koorie Heritage Trust. The 2018 festival aims to create awareness on pressing human rights issues across five major themes: conflict and global people movement, gender equality, Indigenous rights, rehabilitation and retribution, and the environment. Opening night in Melbourne is headlined by Australian film After the Apology, directed by Larissa Behrendt. Behrendt is an Indigenous (Eualeyai/Gammilaroi) filmmaker, novelist, lawyer and academic. Her landmark documentary explores the practice of Aboriginal child removal, which is happening at almost double the rate of the time of Rudd’s Apology speech. HRAFF will also screen the documentary Border Politics, directed by Judy Rymer. The feature-length documentary follows human rights barrister, Julian Burnside, as he travels the globe examining the increasing compromises to human rights in Western democracies occurring via the exploitation of fears around border protection. Her Sound, Her Story, directed by Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, examines sexism within the Australian music industry. Jackson offers an insight into reproductive rights in America; Jaha’s Promise is about the practice genital mutilation. A Better Man is an intimate look at violence
Back for a third hurrah is the American Essentials Film Festival – 22 new movies and five cast-iron classics back on the big screen, celebrating American life in all its permutations. With film and TV production surging in the US, the festival provides a big-screen outing for films that might otherwise not score a commercial release, despite having a name cast. A special event during the festival will be a gala screening of Gotti, a brand new biopic of Mafia boss John Gotti starring John Travolta. No reviews have filtered through yet, although rumour has it the movie marks a career comeback for Travolta, who stars alongside real-life wife Kelly Preston. Otherwise, we’ve canvassed the reviews from the top US publications and come up with a foolproof list of 13 movies worth your time and money... The Boy Downstairs Zosia Mamet – Shoshanna in Girls – stars in a likeable romcom about an aspiring writer who discovers she has moved into an apartment upstairs from her ex-boyfriend. Awkward. Outside In Released from prison after 20 years, Chris (Jay Duplass) struggles to get by and falls for his former high school teacher (Edie Falco), who has remained his pen pal. Lynne Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister) directs. Kodachrome Funnyman Jason Sudeikis is getting raves for his dramatic work in this road movie as an A&R executive who reunites with his estranged photographer father (Ed Harris), who has cancer. The Ballad of Lefty Brown A revenge western with a lot of affection for
The MIFF vision is nothing less than to "build an enlightened, engaged society through film". Under director Michelle Carey, this aim is carried out through a program of hundreds of fascinating films from around the world. The festival has been kicking around since 1952: it's not only one of the oldest film festivals in Australia, it's also one of the most popular. The festival shows off international features, arthouse films, documentaries and shorts. Kids aren't forgotten about either with the festival regularly including family friendly films from across the world. If you're just wanting to go watch that one special film then you can, but movie buffs are better off buying buying a festival pass to be granted entry to all showings.