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The Guide: Reel It In

Hitchcock Bonanza Australia’s first Hitchcock Film Festival kicked off in late July and runs through to 10 August in Sydney’s Art Deco jewel, the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace. A season of 16 Alfred Hitchcock classics including the original master of suspense’s rarely seen masterworks such as The Wrong Man, Lifeboat and I Confess will presented in pristine digital format together with the Australian premiere of at the of the brilliant new documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut.

In 1962 Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut locked themselves away in Hollywood for a week to tap into the secrets behind the mise-en-scène in cinema. Based on the original recordings of this meeting – used to produce the mythical book Hitchcock/Truffaut – this film illustrates the greatest cinema lesson of all time and plummets us into the world of the creator of Psycho, The Birds, and Vertigo. Hitchcock’s incredibly modern art (which was ironically never awarded an Oscar in the Best Director category) is explored by today’s leading filmmakers: Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Arnaud Desplechin, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Wes Anderson, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader who discuss how Francois Truffaut’s 1966 book Cinema According to Hitchcock influenced their work.

Where: Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, 380 Military Rd, Cremorne
When: Hitchcock Festival ends 10 August – see here for program details

Head South for the Melbourne International Film Festival Film buffs, you now have the perfect excuse to flit down to Melbourne over the first two weekends in August. The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) kicked off in late July and runs until 14 August. In addition to presenting the hits from recent overseas festivals, MIFF 2016 navigates new technologies in cinema and celebrates long-unscreened older films that subvert expectations of length and format.

Headliners is a new speed read category that culls the selection processes for busy minds otherwise overwhelmed by the program’s 244 features, 91 shorts, nine virtual reality experiences, 24 world premieres and 157 Australian premieres. Comprising international festival hits, MIFF’s artistic director Michelle Carey recommends Nicolas Winding Refn’s sinister The Neon Demon and Park Chan-Wook’s erotic thriller The Handmaiden.

Another program category is Gaining Ground – don’t miss this rare chance for big screen encounters with trailblazing female directors working in New York in the 70s and 80s, whose films were to influence independent cinema forever. The latter half of the festival has a big focus on virtual reality, including many Australian premiere films in the format, as well as a symposium exploring how virtual reality and filmmaking are intersecting, and where this will head in the future.

Jessica Brillhart, principal filmmaker for virtual reality at Google, will be a guest of the festival. What to do before or after a movie? Channel the golden age of Hollywood at the the festival’s pop-up bar, The Blackhearts Club, which is modelled after a 1930s speakeasy inside the Forum Theatre.

When: from 28 July – 14 August
For program details, visit the MIFF website

Ticking Mind Bombs This month, organise your tickets to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas which explodes in Sydney on 3-4 September. Now in its eighth year, the program features a political, playful and provocative line-up of speakers over a heated weekend. Presented by Sydney Opera House in association with The Ethics Centre, it ups the ante with an exploration of issues covering generational inequality to politics with over 50 leading thinkers and culture creators discussing and debating the important issues of our time. They’ll be covering Australian and American politics, freedom and innovation, border protection, racial violence, sports, drugs and legalising drugs in sport, plus more.

This year’s line-up of radical speakers includes Guardian journalist David Marr on the asylum seeker crisis; journalist Annabel Crabb on “The government we deserve:” Henry Rollins on the blood sport of US politics, and Germaine Greer on the idea of mercy in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

When: the festival runs from 3-4 September
Price: tickets from $27 Program details here

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