When we talk about music, film, game, animation or everything related to art and entertainment, Australia seems like a land that is already being forgotten by the world.
The local artists know there are bigger and more attractive market and stage outside of the land of Australasia. We have seen many successful Australian-born actors and actresses in Hollywood like Kate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving, or the popular Chris Hemsworth as Thor in the hit film series Avengers. Or Australian musicians like Keith Urban, Sia Furler, or Lorde strike a pose on American music activities. All these make the existence of MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival) valuable and precious.
A friend of mine went to the MIFF and described how impressive it was to me since I could not make it due to my schedule. She had seen the movie, Shoplifters (Koreeda dir. 2018), the one that won the Award of Golden Palm in Canna and she has been excited to watch for a long time. The theatre of showing the film is classic and magnificent. The film itself is amazing and she was grateful that MIFF has chosen a nice film to screen.
Just like what De Valck (2012, p. 25) said in his article, “A film that is not screened is dead.” Due to the restorations and different situation of different countries and regions, audiences may not always have opportunities of watching movies in the theatre that they are truly interested in. There is an interesting plot that is designed in the film In the Heat of the Sun by the director Jiang Wen (dir. 1994). In 1970s, a bunch of teenagers sneaked into the military great hall, which was not open to the public, and the movie that was screening was stopped by one office since he noticed their joining. The officer’s secretary said seriously: “This is a poisonous movie and you (the teenagers) would make mistakes after watching this.” It was speculated by the audience that the movie that they watched secretly was a banned film named Caligula (Brass dir. 1979). The sources are usually limited due to many factors such as time, place and policy. The selection of films in film festivals should be meticulous and sophisticated. It has the power to show audience that they are interested but relativity have the possibility to watch.
At the same time, MIFF did a great job when my friend expressed how happy she was to finally watch the Shoplifters on screen and I checked the festival calendar page. It included nearly hundreds of films from different countries and times and tried its best to satisfy the audience with different tastes. As a core function of the film festival is programming: programmers select films as they consider worthy of being seen (De Valck, 2012). MIFF makes Australia, this forgotten land, and local audience have a chance to enjoy the brilliant and international film feast.
Koreeda, H (dir.) 2018, Shoplifters, motion picture, Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne.
Brass, T (dir.) 1979, Caligula, Informit, Melbourne.
De Valck, M 2012 ‘Finding Audiences for Films: Festival programming in Historical Perspective’, in J Ruoff (ed.), Coming soon to a festival near you: Programming film festivals, St Andrews, Scotland: St Andrews Film Studies, pp. 25-40.
Jiang, W (dir.) 1994, In the Heat of the Sun, Shantou Ocean Audio Radio Publisher, Shantou, China.