The Melbourne International Film Festival now takes on the opportunity to delight Australian audiences desperate for arthouse content. Once again, it bids for a certain kind of grandeur. Even the online launch moved an impeccably dressed Al Cossar around iconic parts of the Forum Theatre as he romped through the program in a teleprompted cascade of adjectives. He is very good at it.
The festival has been cut back hugely from nearly 400 films to around 60 features and 44 shorts, but still runs for 17 days. It keeps the opening night, mid-festival gala and closing night appointment viewing, while everything else is streamed. Programs like the shorts are free though most are ticketed.