What to see at Melbourne International Film Festival 2019

It’s that time of the year again when cinema lovers of Melbourne brave the arctic weather for a nice big glass of red wine and some truly excellent cinema. Running continuously since 1952, MIFF is the leading film festival in Australia and one of the world’s oldest film festivals, alongside Cannes and Berlin. Whatever your tastes, there will be a film for you, but if you have left it to the last moment to get tickets, never fear as there are some excellent encore screenings of the most popular films. Not sure what to watch? Here’s The Plus One’s Guide to MIFF 2019.

Brittany Runs a Marathon
An audience award-winner at Sundance, and a great choice for date night, Brittany Runs a Marathon is a warm, funny and relatable comedy about body positivity, self-love and acceptance.

Chronic underachiever Brittany Forgler is a bit of a hot mess: 27 years old, drinking every night and barely scraping by on a minimum wage in Manhattan. Looking to score an Adderall prescription out of a doctor she found online, Brittany is instead faced with some hard truths about her lifestyle. Determined to change her ways but too broke to join a gym, she starts running – one city block at a time, and soon she sets her sights on the New York Marathon. Brittany’s journey throughout the film is delightful, confronting and entirely relatable.

We Are Little Zombies
Reality ain’t worth crying about for four teens numbed by tragedy who decide to form a technicolour pop-electronica band in this riotous yet emotionally trenchant feature debut from Makoto Nagahisa.

After becoming the first Japanese director to win the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for his short film, Nagahisa has poured his lurid, ultra-paced and video-game-inspired aesthetic into a wild ride of loss that questions how people are expected to experience life-changing emotion.   Four Japanese children meet at a crematorium. All four of them have recently lost their parents, yet are united in their inability to grieve. Crafting costumes from garbage, they create a band that catapults them to instant fame. Employing creative camerawork and many a zany cinematic trick (don’t get fooled by any of the fake-out endings), We Are Little Zombies is an energetic sensory overload and will leave you talking about it with whoever will listen for at least a few weeks after seeing it.

The Dead Don’t Die
Jim Jarmusch reunites with Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and an all-star cast for his Cannes-opening, deadpan take on the zombie comedy. This is one of Jarmusch’s most accessible film and perfect for bringing your weird parents or best friends to see.

The planet’s out of whack, people are getting restless, and in a sleepy country town in the USA, the dead are about to rise from their graves to feast on the flesh of the living.  Jim Jarmusch’s new horror-comedy assembles a dream team of Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chlöe Sevigny as droll local cops, Tom Waits as a prophetic hobo and Tilda Swinton as a samurai-sword wielding Scottish mortician. The supporting cast will keep you wondering who will be eaten next with pop superstar Selena Gomez, punk icon Iggy Pop, as well as Steve Buscemi, RZA and Danny Glover. Alternately offbeat and unusually tense, The Dead Don’t Die pays homage to the classic zombie canon while taking a swing at the dead-eyed consumerism of the present.

Little Monsters
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o shines bright as a ukulele-playing, zombie-slaying kindergarten teacher in the sweetly hilarious zom-com Little Monsters.

On a day trip to Pleasant Valley Farm with her class of overly excitable five-year-olds, things take a turn for the worst when the US military base next door accidentally unleashes a horde of the undead. Little Monsters is a funny, gory, crowd-pleasing love letter to all the kindy teachers who help children (and manchildren) bloom while protecting them from being eaten by zombies.

– Tomas
Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him @TomasZagoda.

The Melbourne International Film Festival has screenings 1 – 18 August 2019. Book tickets on their website.

Disclaimer: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Common State PR.