Aug 242012


After three films back-to-back I still had the closing night film Mental and the closing night party left attend on Saturday. Sunday I had 2 films planned, while Monday was put aside just for relaxing before heading home. Part 3 of my MIFF/Melbourne diary is after the jump.

After a very quick change into something a little more glam, Andy and I raced back to the glorious GU for the closing night film Mental. I didn’t know much about the film, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Director P.J. Hogan and actor Anthony LaPaglia introduced the film to a very receptive festival audience. Hogan stated that this was “An Australian film made for Australians” and he was very proud to present it as the closing night film.


Mental (P.J. Hogan, 2012)

The mother of a very eccentric and large family of girls requires treatment, and their irresponsible father (Anthony LaPaglia) recruits a random hitch-hiker to be a live-in nanny and take care of the girls. The girls have some issues (some more serious than others), but none of these compare to the issues that their new nanny Shaz (Toni Collette) has. Shaz decides to show the girls that they are completely sane, and it is everyone around them who is in fact mental.

What to say about this film……To be honest, I found it to be painfully unfunny. Sure I laughed a few times, but not enough to make up for the almost 2 hours (and three false endings) of cringe-worthy joke after cringe-worthy joke. I have to give the film some respect for taking their concept of “mental” and completely running with it. There were no lines that this film wasn’t willing to cross. Some people may find this hilarious, but I was just disgusted and a little offended. Rape jokes, racist jokes, gay jokes – they were all here.  The only part of the film which I do admire are the performances – apart from LaPaglia (who phoned in for his awful character’s role) the cast were very solid and really gave it their all. An awful film which I can’t recommend at all. What a shame.




(Ben, Andy & Alex)

After that film it was time to party and have a much-needed drink. We headed off to the closing night party where we drank, danced, and met quite a few fellow film bloggers and tweeters for the first time. It was really great to meet these people and I had an excellent time. We stayed until the DJ packed up his gear, and were forced into the chilly Melbourne night, grabbing an essential 2.30am burger on the way back to the hotel.

The plan for Sunday morning was to see Laurence Anyways, the newest film from French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan; unfortunately getting up for a 10.15am film proved a little too difficult, and we decided to sleep in and do some shopping and exploring instead. We walked all over the inner city, checking out Southbank, the area around Federation Square, and the central Melbourne shopping centre. A highlight was visiting the acmi store, where I purchased a couple of Japanese films. At 3.30pm it was back to GU to meet Cam for our final film of the festival The Hunt.

the hunt

The Hunt (Thomas Vinterberg, 2012)

A kindergarten teacher (Mads Mikkelsen) is falsely accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a child, when a child’s lie gets twisted and snowballs out of control. The town turns against the teacher, despite the child trying to tell the adults that she made the story up and never meant for this to happen. The adults are blinded with range and embark on a campaign to “bring justice” and potentially ruin this innocent man’s life.

This film is very upsetting and I found myself cursing in frustration at the action of the school and townsfolk. The abuse of children is the most horrible of crimes, and therefore it’s natural that the school and parents would want to protect their children and get justice. However they grabbed on the accusation like vultures swooping in on an animal carcass, and just wouldn’t let it go, no matter what evidence was presented. I can imagine this sort of situation happens all too often these days, and perhaps that is why this film hit me so hard. Mads Mikkelsen was fantastic, and delivered another powerful performance – he surely is one of the best actors working at the moment. Hopefully I’ll have time to write more about this film, because there is a lot to say. A must-see.



The Hunt was an emotionally exhausting film, and after it some comfort food and beer was required and duly consumed. Then it was off to the festival lounge at The Forum where we met up with fellow film bloggers/critics and did what is natural – we drank and we talked film. It was a great few hours and I was really pleased to get the chance to meet even more people who I knew online but hadn’t met in person yet. I was a little over-tired though, so was quite happy to leave and get back to the hotel and crash.

On Monday we awoke to sunshine! I was starting to think that the sun wouldn’t make an appearance during my Melbourne trip. After checking out of the hotel, Andy and I got a tram to Brunswick street where we consumed some excellent coffee and checked out the various funky stores. We then headed back to the city where we again had a meal in Degraves street, before taking the bus out to Melbourne airport and flying back to Sydney.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. I wish I could have come earlier and seen more films, but I’m pretty happy with what I managed to do in a short time. Thanks to all you lovely Melbourne people for being so welcoming and friendly.

Next festival trip – Brisbane Film Festival in November. See some of you there!