My experience of the MIFF 2018

This year`s Melbourne International Film Festival is my first time to participate in a film festival. As an ordinary audience, its a pleasure and a joy to​ have the opportunities to watch movies from all over the world with the MIFF. Thanks must go to people who work for the MIFF, especially more than 400 volunteers whose public spirit is admirable and essential to the MIFF.

I have watched 12 movies with different genres from all over the world during the MIFF. If I can, I want more. MIFF is indeed international and cosmopolitan. By movies, it provides a window for audiences to glimpse people, scenes and societies of different countries. I saw a romance in Poland in the Cold War; I saw the difficulty of the poor`s life in Japan in the Shoplifters; I saw the tense conflict between different races in Lebanon in The Insult. Film festivals like MIFF are truly the bridges to bring narratives and realities of foreign countries to the local audience.

The Chinese documentary People`s Republic of Desire is a good example. As a Chinese, I should say, although I know live streaming is very popular in China, I didn`t know it is such a big deal of money and participants. Millions of U.S. dollars are involved, and that`s only for one host in the annual ceremony. If I couldn`t imagine, neither could the non-Chinese audiences. After the screening, I heard a few people talked about the relationship between Internet life and the real life, but much more people were discussing: why Chinese people are so crazy about live streaming? To be honest, I don`t know neither. I believed some Australian people were thinking about how to find their own opportunities in the Chinese live streaming market, or how to use the Chinese experience for reference to help the Australian live streaming market. Among all the 12 MIFF movies I have seen, the People`s Republic of Desire evoked the most discussion. Here the foreign documentary brings a different reality to the local audience, help them to build a quick but superficial impression of the foreign society.

If MIFF is a bridge, some movies are the deluxe coaches, some are the normal bus, some are just pedicabs — different movies attract different amoung of audiences. The awarded movies, especially those won awards or reputations in Cannes or Berlin, always had the longest queue. That`s what happened at the Cold War(Best Director movie of Cannes), the Shoplifters(the Palme d`Or movie) and other famous movies. They were sold out very early, screened at the big theatre without any spare seat. They are the “deluxe coaches”. Everyone wants to see how good they are. When the Bulgarian movie Ága was about to screen, about one-third seats in the cinema are unoccupied. And when the Iranian movie Ava was wrongly screened instead of Ága due to the staff`s mistake — because the two names are too similar! For real — the audiences protested, and when the error cannot be corrected, the audiences left, without any interest of the Ava, which is also a MIFF movie. I guess Ága and Ava are the pedicabs, some people are interested in, but not many people, not much interest. There are surely more than one reasons to decide how popular a movie is.

You should really see how many people laughed when they were watching Nicolas Cage`s new movie Mandy. As a horror film, it seemed that Australian audiences had found many punchlines in it. Or maybe it is because people expressed their deep love for Cage by the laugh. A superstar like Cage, or a famous director like Jia Zhangke is definitely an important reason for people to gather at the cinema.

Here is my watching list of MIFF 2018:

My MIFF watching list

By Jiaheng Zhang 28260252

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