MIFF Play 2023: what to stream before the festival ends

MIFF 2023 isn't over quite yet – you can still watch a number of films from the comfort of your couch with MIFF Play.

The in-person festival may be over, but MIFF’s online streaming service, MIFF Play, is on until 27 August – and with it comes a curated selection of films from Cannes, Berlinale and SXSW, plus some local features and restorations of classics.

This is officially your final chance to catch some of the most talked-about titles in world cinema before MIFF ends for another year. But you’ll have to be quick: each film has a ‘pre-set capacity’, which means only a certain number of streams are available, and once that number is reached you won’t be able to view the title (for more information about MIFF Play – including how to book, viewing conditions and troubleshooting – you can read the MIFF Play FAQs)

Check out some highlights from the MIFF Play program below:

Best MIFF shorts

To kick things off, treat yourself to a selection of the best short films from the festival, as chosen by the MIFF Shorts Awards jury and the MIFF Shorts programmers. This includes Aussie short Katele (Mudskipper), along with Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black), F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now, 27, Hafekasi, and I Promise You Paradise.

Read: MIFF Shorts Awards winners announced

The Coolbaroo Club

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This powerhouse documentary, gloriously restored by the National Film and Sound Archive, chronicles how a haven of Indigenous dance and activism arose from segregated postwar Perth.

Nat ‘King’ Cole, the Harlem Globetrotters and Harold Blair all walked through the venue’s doors, so why don’t we know the name ‘The Coolbaroo Club’? Running from 1946 to 1960, this Perth establishment was the brainchild of returned Indigenous WWII soldiers who, facing segregation and violence, turned an unassuming community hall into the only Aboriginal-run club in the entire city.

While it was a site for socialising and partying without the threat of harassment or discrimination, it also became a cradle for political activity: it was there that the newspaper The Westralian Aborigine was born, and it was also the meeting point for many local activists organising for Indigenous rights.

Stone Turtle

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The supernatural encroaches on a woman’s simple existence in this FIPRESCI Prize–winning tale of folklore, deception and retribution.

Zahara is a refugee who now calls an isolated Malaysian island home. She makes a living selling turtle eggs and looks after her 10-year-old niece, whose mother was slain as part of an honour-killing ceremony. When their unexceptional life is interrupted by a mysterious stranger who claims he’s doing research on the area’s ecosystem, a mystical loop of violence and deceit ensues.

Millennium Mambo

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A 4K restoration of Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien’s sensual 2001 tale of an adrift bar hostess at the turn of the millennium.

Vicky (Shu Qi, The Assassin, MIFF 2015) lives a nocturnal existence filled with melancholy and restlessness. She works long and hedonistic hours at a Taipei nightclub, while her bratty boyfriend, the wannabe DJ Hao-Hao, terrorises her – they are constantly brawling and bickering in their tiny apartment. Then she meets the much older but kind and affectionate gangster Jack, who might hold the key to Vicky escaping her repetitious and seemingly aimless life.

Little Richard: I Am Everything 

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A rollicking deep dive into the life of one of rock ’n’ roll’s most exhilarating personalities, whose queerness was hidden in plain sight.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman, Little Richard was an iconic musician with a complicated legacy. A Black man from the US’s Deep South, he was deeply religious but not heterosexual – at different points announcing and decrying his orientation.

With his penchant for theatrics, he was also a pioneering performer who anticipated the wilder creative liberties of today. Yet his signature style, which coupled big hair and lavish costumes with feverish musicality and a belting voice, tore through the racial divide of American music like few others had done before.

The Tuba Thieves

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Described by its maker as a ‘meditation on access and loss’, this trailblazing film reframes cinema from a d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing perspective.

The true crime mystery worthy of Hercule Poirot or Jessica Fletcher: who was stealing tubas across Californian high schools from 2011 to 2013? The answer is not to be found in The Tuba Thieves, which is interested less in delinquents with a hankering for bass brass than in the absence of sound left by these thefts. From this jumping-off point, director Alison O’Daniel creates a film about a type of listening that is untethered from the ear: the stories of Deaf woman Nyke Price and drummer Geovanny Marroquin, the ambient noises of Los Angeles, John Cage’s 1952 composition 4′33″, a 1979 punk show at San Francisco’s famed Deaf Club.

Keeping Hope

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Mark Coles Smith (Sweet As, MIFF Premiere Fund 2022; Mystery Road: Origin) faces down a traumatic event from his past in the hope of helping young First Nations men in the Kimberley.

Read: Mark Coles Smith: ‘I came away from Mystery Road a reassembled person’

Coles Smith, an actor and Nyikina man, grew up surrounded by the astounding beauty of the Kimberley. But there is deep heartache ingrained below the surface of this postcard-perfect landscape: the rate of suicide among the region’s young First Nations men is alarmingly high. For Coles Smith, these terrible statistics – some of the most troubling in the world – are more than just numbers; his best friend tragically took his own life when they were in their 20s. 

Keeping Hope follows his intensely personal search for answers and, hopefully, solutions.

MIFF Play is available until 27 August.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports