MIFF 2013: Films of interest

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) kicks off on the 25th July 2013 (only four days away at the time of wriing) and as I do every year I choose a handful of films that I believe may be of interest to movie going architects and designers. This year there is a severe lack of films directly relating to either architecture and the urban fabric so after trawling through the MIFF programme I have made a small selection that will appeal to the design community.

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Whilst strictly having no connection to architecture or design, Michel Gondry’s latest effort Mood Indigo should appeal to any kind of designer. The name comes from a jazz composition and song with music by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard and lyrics by Irving Mills so in that way appeals to my recently formed appreciation of jazz. His previous film Science of Sleep is one of my favourite films because of its visual appeal and quirkiness but it also may be to do with the fact that it has Charlotte Gainsbourg and Gael Garcia Bernal in the starring roles.

This time around he has Audrey Tatou and Romain Duris, who is probably best known for his lead role in Heartbreaker, as the leads. Mood Indigo is an adaptation of Boris Vian’s cult novel Froth on the Daydream and is set in Paris and is basically a love story but with a bit of a twist. I’m pretty much sold on the image above alone.

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This is another movie that doesn’t have a strictly architectural or design theme but definitely does have a very architectural setting in the form of Vienna’s grand Kunsthistoriches Art Museum. Museum Hours is director Jem Cohen’s first “fiction” film after previously giving us experimental documentaries like “CHAIN” and “Instrument”. Its inclusion in my selection of films to watch at this year’s festival is justified by Eric Kohn, who describes the movie as: “On the one hand a sad, poignant character study, “Museum Hours” is also a treatise on art history and a love letter to architectural wonder.” The museum, which contains a great collection of Brueghels, Rembrandts and Rubens is the setting for a movie that sees two people begin an unlikely friendship whilst doubling as a portrait of Vienna, an observation on art and the act of viewing, and the interplay between art history and personal experience.

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Since his appearance at the 2009 RAIA National Architectural Conference Slavoj Žižek has been somewhat of a darling of the local architectural scene so many will be glad they can get their Žižek fix in the form of The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, a follow up to the 2006’s “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema”. This film once again sees Žižek team up with director Sophie Fiennes as they apply a psychoanalytic lens to the interpretation of movies. Using clips from classic films both famous and obscure, they present a compelling cinematic journey into the heart of ideology. One for the architectural philosophers and thinkers.

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In year’s past at the festival there have been a number of documentaries focusing on urban issues but this year there only appears to be one in the form of Village at the End of The World, a documentary which follows a year in the life of Niaqornat, a remote village in north-western Greenland; it’s an Inuit fishing community of around 60 people who are desperately worried by the imminent closure of the local fish-processing factory, and wondering if they can stage a buy-out to run it as a co-operative. The story is told through the eyes of four inhabitants – teenage Lars, elderly Annie, mayor and bear-hunter Karl, and sewage collector Ilanngauq who offer a personal picture of life in an extreme environment and the wit and determination necessary to survive it.

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We here at idontwearblack are suckers for stop motion films and that’s why we reckon Irish Folk Furniture is well worth a look. A nine minute short film tells the story of the culture and social history of discarded Irish farmhouse furniture restoration as sixteen pieces of traditional folk furniture are repaired and returned home.

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Without any films on offer about architects it doesn’t hurt to make do with a film by a former architecture student, who is the daughter of two famous architects. That’s what you get with Nina which is directed by Elisa Fuksas, a former architecture student who turned her hand to filmmaking, and who is the daughter of well known Italian architects, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas.

Nina, charts the oddball escapades of a young woman in Rome during one hot summer. The contemporary architecture of Rome is at the heart of this film so should appeal to many architects out there and according to critic, Mark Adams, “. . . Fuksas shoots with a real eye for structure and shape, making this Roman holiday interlude an enjoyable and often heart-warming tale” whilst other critics note that Fuksas architecturally training is clearly evident in her work.

Images taken from miff.com.au

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