Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Guide To The Guide to the Melbourne International Film Festival

I've just been glancing through the Melbourne International Film Festival guide, and I'm pretty confused, I can tell you. There's certainly a lot of films listed, and a lot of adjectives to describe those films. One film is 'lovingly photographed', another is 'an urgent wake up call', a third is 'distinctive'. My favourite adjective would have to be that used to describe the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth, where Gore is described as being 'downright on-fire'. All in all, the guide is full of descriptive terms that fail to describe the films at all.

If you're trying to find a specific film, then you're in for trouble. The films are listed in a number of categories, according to the caprices of the festival organisers; if your film falls into more than one category, then you'll probably spend several hours leafing through the guide. Alternatively, you might turn to the Index of Films, beginning on page 30, where you can find the dates and theatres at which the film is being screened. Each film is marked with a specific number, which - presumably - indicates where you can find a description of the film in the rest of the festival guide. Just what aspect of the guide this film-number corresponds to, though, is up to a number of interpretations. I haven't been able to work it out.

If this weren't bad enough, when you turn to the 'How to Use the MIFF Guide' section on page 5, you are confronted with a helpful 3-step guide that leaves you feeling helpless. In other words,

I wish he would explain his explanation ...

as Byron memorably said of Coleridge.
So, essentially, the Melbourne International Film Festival Guide is a dud. It lists several films, but fails to tell us anything about them, and has a bizarre reference system that pretty much guarantees that finding when the films are screening is near impossible. In fact, I think that what we need is


1. Take your Melbourne International Film Festival Guide
2. Burn it.
3. Stay at home and watch DVDs.

It makes so much more sense ...


Don Quixote said...

I end up reading the implausibly glowing descriptions on every film in the guide, crossing out every film that I don't want to see, and then I go over the films which are left and try to fit ten (which I think is the amount that one gets to see upon purchase of a festival pass) into my schedule. It is a frustrating and time-consuming process.

TimT said...

Very few worth seeing, really.

I'd recommend Brothers of the Head and Jesus is Magic: Sarah Silverman, both of which could be fun.

obtuse-a said...

there's nothing festive about hanging around in a queue in the cold unless there's a loaf of rye bread and a bottle of vodka at the front of it.

most of the better films end up on general release anyway

Email: timhtrain - at -

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