5 FASHION FILMS TO SEE AT MIFF
The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) officially announced its 2017 program, spread over 18 days and featuring 357 films. From the program, we've curated the five most fashionable films you must see this season.
Director Reiner Holzemer | Belgium Germany (2016)
An up-close-and-personal portrait of trailblazing fashion icon Dries Van Noten, one of the world's last truly independent fashion designers.
In a fashion landscape marked by consolidation and imitation, Dries van Noten has always stood apart. A designer who works to his own brief and follows his own passions, van Noten has spent 25 years one-upping the fashion establishment, turning out season after season of designs marked by their warmth, vibrant contrasts and indisputable elegance.
For one year – and four collections – the filmmaker Reiner Holzemer was granted intimate access to van Noten at both home and work. The result is Dries, a proudly personal survey of one man's artistry and the quiet dedication and craft that underpins it. From the glimmerings of a sketchbook to a final spectacular runway at the Palais Garnier in Paris, Dries is like the man himself: stylish, colourful and full of surprises.
"The word fashion I don't like. Fashion means something OK, something that's over after six months. I want to try to find a word which is more timeless." – Dries van Noten
2. THE HOUSE OF Z
Director Sandy Chronopoulos | USA (2017)
Step inside the world of fashion’s former enfant terrible Zac Posen, from the clothes to the celebrities and the controversies to the comeback.
He started an atelier in his parent’s house, came to fame at the age of 20 after making a gown for Naomi Campbell, and became haute couture’s hot new sensation; however, the global financial crisis – and his over-the-top attitude – saw his career plummet as quickly as it soared. Of course, there’s more to Zac Posen’s story. Rising, falling and then rising again, the internationally acclaimed designer’s tale could fill the gossip pages usually populated by the stars he dresses, and has.
Peering behind the headlines, first-time documentarian Sandy Chronopoulos chronicles Posen’s rollercoaster ride as the fashion wunderkind who just can’t stop turning heads – with assistance and input from Campbell, Sean Combs, Claire Danes, Posen’s family members and the designer himself.
"An engaging vehicle for a look at art-world pitfalls ... captures the way in which direct hands-on engagement is vital to an artist's continued relevance, and vitality." – Variety
Director Sally Potter | UK (2009)
A murder investigation during a New York fashion show causes a host of fashionable characters – Jude Law and Dame Judi Dench heading an outstanding cast – to spill their darkest secrets in Sally Potter’s satirical mystery.
When an accident on the catwalk is deemed a murder, a teenager called Michelangelo takes it upon himself to go backstage and capture the reactions, opinions and confessions of the key players on video. As the models, designers, fashion critics, seamstresses and even a paparazzo come in front of the stark lens of Michelangelo, the world of artifice begins to fall away in the face of truth.
Starring Lily Cole, David Oyelowo, Dame Judi Dench, Riz Ahmed, Eddie Izzard, Dianne Wiest, Steve Buscemi and an extremely fabulous Jude Law, Rage is a new category of film altogether. Prizing the relationship between an actor and the audience – each player only appears on screen alone – it is a naked experience all the more unnerving in our current age of confessional oversharing.
"An intriguing release for a director who has never taken the conventional route … [and] an unusually sensuous essay in cinema povera, Rage is oddly compelling, a genuine one-off." – Jonathan Romney, The Independent.
4. THE BUTTERFLY TREE
Director Priscilla Cameron | Australia (2017)
Melissa George returns to Australia to star alongside Ewen Leslie and Ed Oxenbould in a visually sumptuous coming-of-age tale of love and loss tinged with magical realism.
When 13-year-old Fin meets Evelyn, a florist with a penchant for 1940s fashion and a radiant appetite for life, he is drawn into her spellbinding world of plants and insects: it seems the perfect place to escape his ongoing grief over the death of his mother. But as Fin’s feelings for Evelyn bloom into a confusing mix of teenage desire and misplaced maternal love, it sets the stage for a showdown with his equally struggling father, Al – especially when it become clear that Al is also falling for Evelyn.
Working from her Australian Writers’ Guild award-winning script and with the support of the MIFF Premiere Fund, first-time filmmaker Priscilla Cameron crafts an intimate, occasionally hyper-real story about the sometimes rocky path it takes to learn the true meaning of love, and its intricate connections with loss. Oxenbould shatters any lingering memories of the boy he was in 2014’s MIFF Premiere Fund-supported Paper Planes as he embraces a role of complex emotional flux, subtly underscored by Jason Hargreaves’ resplendently lush cinematography – The Butterfly Tree is a treat on the big screen.
"I just fell in love with [this] love story between a young boy trying to find himself and his father losing himself and both of them attracted to the same woman." – Melissa George
Director Gillian Armstrong | Australia (1982)
Two teenagers in Sydney try to break into the music biz and save the family pub in this iconic and colourful musical comedy directed by Gillian Armstrong.
Following her first feature, the period classic My Brilliant Career, then up-and-coming director Gillian Armstrong was keen to try something different. Starstruck is the delightful result.
Jackie (a radiant Jo Kennedy) works as a barmaid in her Mum’s pub and dreams of becoming a pop star. Her younger cousin, Angus (Ross O’Donovan), is an aspiring songwriter and band manager. Together they set out to win a talent contest and save the Harbour View Hotel from repossession.
The cheerful optimism of the storyline is supported by a production that resembles a 1980s glam-rock music video, and features numerous wonderful cameos (including a very early appearance by MIFF Patron Geoffrey Rush). Choreography by David Atkins and set design by Brian Thomsen, both fresh from the set of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with outlandish costume design by Luciana Arrighi and Terry Ryan and songs by Phil Judd and Tim Finn of Split Enz are all brought to vibrant life by the recent digital restoration by the National Film and Sound Archives.
"Starstruck is silly through and through, but it's also full of happy, musical surprises." – New York Times
Presented by the National Film and Sound Archive's digital restoration program: NFSA Restores – reviving our cinema icons.
MIFF runs August 3 - 20, 2017 and tickets are now on sale.