This was not my first time participating in a film festival, but was the first time in Australia. I chose two Asian films that have been selected for the competition of this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. They are the Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning” and the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters”. In addition, many other films that have shown at the Cannes Film Festival were also presented at the Melbourne International Film Festival. There are also a number of films that have been shown in many international film festivals but have not yet been released screened here.
The film “Burning” is adapted from the Japanese writer Murakami Haruki’s short story “Barn Burning”, it tells an entangled love story after three young people with different experiences meet. This suspense film full of symbols and metaphors won the highest score in history in Cannes, and was once regarded as the “big hit” for winning the Golden Palm Award. Compared with the repressed tone of “Burning”, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” focus on exposing the social problem. At the same time, it is also a warm family film. The vivid characters are very deeply rooted in the hearts of the viewers, and eventually won the biggest award in Cannes.
I have watched both movies in the comedy theatre, and both of them are full. During the filming process, I also felt the cultural differences. When the Australian audience laughed because of a certain shot or a certain line, I felt that I could not understand.
Turning back to the film festival itself, unlike the well-known Cannes International Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival and other famous Competitive Feature Fim Festivals, the Melbourne International Film Festival is not a competition-oriented film festival, so there is no red carpet or awards ceremony, and the film festival is more focused on the films itself. Founded in 1952, the Melbourne Film Festival is the first film festival in the Southern Hemisphere and is also one of the most watched film festivals. It is held once a year for two weeks. Each year, a number of films from all over the world are screened to celebrate the brilliant achievements of the film, and to praise the filmmakers who have made artistic contributions to various fields in the film industry. During the two-week period, approximately 300 films will be screened, as well as presenting the latest developments in the Australian and international film industry, presenting a wide range of films, including feature films, short films, documentaries, cartoons, experimental films and multimedia films. Although the Melbourne International Film Festival is not based on competitions, there are also short film competitions.
For me, the film festival is a good opportunity to watch unreleased films, especially some independent films. Due to the limitations of the theme or the market, many internationally high-profile movies cannot be released on a global scale, and the film festival has become the best time to watch these films. Similarly, for filmmakers, the festival also provides them with the opportunity to showcase and observe market reactions. Similarly, the Melbourne International Film Festival provides a platform for many documentary and non-commercial films, promoting cultural exchanges.