MIFF 2023 snapshots: week two of the Melbourne International Film Festival

It's MIFF 2023 at a glance: two-sentence reviews to help you choose what film to see next at the festival.

Once again, the staff at ScreenHub have collected our thoughts on the next lot of films we saw at the fest. Why not use these micro-reviews to help you decide on what to see next? MIFF 2023 runs until 20 August in cinemas and streams via MIFF Play 18–27 August.

Perfect Days (dir. Wim Wenders, Germany/Japan)

‘Never has cleaning a public toilet looked so artful and zen. In German director’s Wim Wenders’ Japanese production Perfect Days, a cleaner by the name of Hirayama tends to his mundane life with the care and concentration of a master craftsman. Witnessing beauty in all things mundane, you will be charmed and uplifted by this slice-of-life story.’ –Silvi Vann-Wall

Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story (dir Paul Goldman, Australia)

‘Zipping through some of the most exciting moments in Australian music history while barely catching its breath, as with such docos, some things aren’t expanded upon as much as you might hope. Awesome gig footage and archival interviews are boosted by animated flourishes from Keke Robertson and Andres Gomez Isaza. You’ll also hear plenty from Gudinski himself, a man never shy of a camera and a promotional opportunity, whether for himself and his companies or the many stars who orbited around him. And if it’s a teeny bit indulgent, he sure earned it.’ –Stephen A. Russell, whose full review of Ego can be found here.

This is Going to be Big

If you need to be convinced about the critical importance of the arts in schools, This is Going to Be Big will more than accomplish the task. This heartwarming documentary follows a handful of neurodivergent students at a Victorian Specialist secondary school as they mount an original school musical based on Australia’s favourite belter, John Farnham. Every minute is pure joy, from the passion of the small but dedicated staff to the triumphs of the students as they achieve their personal goals. –Amy Loughlin

Lost Angel: The Genius of Judee Sill

Judee Sill never doubted her own stardom for a moment. However, the rest of the world failed to keep up. In the 1970s, Judee was amongst her peers – big name folk/pop/rock singers like Graham Nash, David Crosby, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne – and she intimidated many of them with her musical prowess. Excellent songwriters are fairly common, but Judee was one of a handful of naturally gifted writers who can effortlessly music that is deeply complex, while also being beautifully simple. Lost Angel celebrates the light and the shadow of Judee Sills – including her complicated relationship with God, her temper, her fight against addiction which ultimately saw her pass away before she could achieve the fame she felt she was destined for. –Amy Loughlin

MIFF XR (Various works, international)

‘Phase one of the program included eight international works, with storytelling across history, civilisation, fairy tale worlds and dystopian soundscapes…There are times when these virtual reality experiences open up a portal, but the question remains – why VR? It seems to this reviewer that aspects of Limbotopia – cinematic visuals, immersive sound and the quiet narrative – could just as well been communicated in its original form, film. For a story that speaks of isolation, the secluded experience of sitting in a booth, alone, feels at best, unnecessary.’ – Celina Lei, whose full review of MIFF XR can be found here.