Confidence in anything during a pandemic is no mean feat. After setting the benchmark in 2020 with the online-only MIFF 68 1/2, MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival), our beloved MIFF is back streaming into homes across the country. The only uncertainty is which films to watch and when! Here are some of the films that team TPO recommend watching from the safety and comfort of your home this lockdown.
With the announcement of a lockdown extension, my Plus One and I opted for something ‘light’ – or so we thought. Spellbound was my introduction to how successful this documentary style can be. Set! continues with an astounding insight into competitive table setting – or ‘tablescaping’. Through fantastic characters, we are drawn into a world where table decorations decisions impact the competitors finances, marital relations, mental health and even threaten to disrupt their own established conventions! With some fantastic editing and cinematography, this is a fabulous foray behind the lines of American County fairs.
Riders of Justice
It’s no secret that we have a crush on Mads Mikkelsen who shines in this ingenious, pitch-black Scandi revenge comedy Riders of Justice. When we say black comedy we really mean it. Career soldier Markus cuts short his deployment to care for his teenage daughter, Mathilde, after his wife is killed in a train crash. But then he has visitors: a fretful statistician and his hacker friends, who believe the crash was no accident – according to their calculations, it was masterminded by the outlaw bikie gang Riders of Justice to silence a witness who was about to testify against them. The PTSD-afflicted Markus needs no further excuse to unleash his very particular set of skills. If you enjoyed The Coen’s Burn After Reading you will love this – though beware that the opening 30 minutes are VERY GRIM but if you can ride through this there are some laugh out loud moments in this wild ride.
Sun Children stood out for us as an interesting premise and a glimpse into a world that we’re fortunate enough in Australia to not experience firsthand. A gang of streets kids is hired to pull off a dangerous heist in this coming-of-age drama from Iranian director Majid Majidi. On the rough-and-tumble streets of Tehran, 12-year-old Ali and his crew of adolescent street urchins are recruited by a crime boss to steal some treasure buried beneath a local school. The catch: the kids will have to enrol in the school to gain access to the tunnels underneath. With the plan set in motion, these juvenile miscreants are soon exposed to a different kind of education. Sun Children is a heartfelt and heart-rending appeal for the welfare of millions of kids exploited for child labour worldwide. While we would never spoil the ending for you, it was refreshing to have this film not follow the tropes that would be expected from a Western perspective.
– Duncan, Tomas, Daniela and The Plus Ones Team
The Melbourne International Film Festival will be back in 2020 with another huge lineup of quality cinema from around the world. Sign up on their website to keep up to date on events they hold throughout the year and to see what films you might want to watch.
Many of the films are accessible with open captions, no dialogue or 100% subtitled.
Please stay safe, get tested and vaccinated if you are eligible. We’ll see you on the other side of lockdown with more great events.