MIFF 2017: Melbourne International Film Festival announces sci-fi retrospective

Ikarie XB-1

Sci-fi has finally been recognised in the last few decades as a cinematic genre with its roots in the very history of the medium. MIFF has announced the first titles from its Sci-Fi Retrospective, including a special presentation of the classic FANTASTIC PLANET and a all-night marathon to celebrate the very weirdest pieces they could find.

FANTASTIC PLANET is playing as part of the “Hear My Eyes” program, audio-visual events that push the conventions of film and sound beyond their familiar forms. For René Laloux’s 1973 tale, that means hiring prog-rock/jazz fusion act Krakatau to reimagine the soundscape. It’s not as though the allegorical animated tale wasn’t strange enough already,  so this is an exciting way to revisit the film or encounter it for the first time.

A Czech take on Jules Verne’s Facing the Flag is the subject of 1958’s INVENTION OF DESTRUCTION,  which is known for its unique visual style in which director Karel Zeman  faithfully recreates Victorian line engravings from the original editions of Verne’s work. Also from Czechoslovakia is IKARIE XB-1, a film that draws from FANTASTIC PLANET but in turn has influenced Gene Roddenberry and Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

The 10th Victim starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress

For a slice of kitsch, the best slice there is, then look no further than Elio Petri’s THE 10TH VICTIM, a piece of future sci-fi that stars starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress. Rounding out the selection is the essential inclusion of a Hammer film, this time the 1963 British film THESE ARE THE DAMNED, starring Macdonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field and Oliver Reed. Fun fact: it’s from director Joseph Losey, who moved to Britain after being blacklisted by Hollywood. It’s got a massive reputation for greatness, and this is a rare opportunity to see it on the big screen.

MIFF runs from 6-20 August 2017 in cinemas across Melbourne, including the marathon at The Astor. The complete MIFF program is announced on 11 July 2017 at miff.com.au.