It’s that time of year again when hardened cinephiles, curious ingénues and all-round culture vultures brace the winter cold for the feast of cinematic delights that is the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).
If there’s a single aspect about MIFF that one can recommend, it’s that it provides a ton of opportunities to experience out-of-the-box cinema that you wouldn’t expect on an average trip to the movies. And the more bizarre the film is, the better – it’ll give you a ready-made anecdote at parties or an example to casually slip into conversation when attempting to showcase your screen culture knowledge.
In this respect, perhaps the screening of Jacques Rivette’s Out 1: Noli Me Tangere is one to catch. Part of a wider retrospective focusing on the work of French New Wave actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, the complete version of Out 1… has only been screened in its full 12-hour glory sporadically over the past four decades. The formidable length of the film has no doubt contributed to this, as well as the fact that intact prints of this relic of La Nouvelle Vague have been difficult to come by. According to the BFI, Out 1… is one of the world’s truly great cinematic epics. Which only makes the fact that MIFF will be screening Out 1… in its entirety all the more special.
In the film, we see two experimental theatre groups rehearsing and improvising avant-garde productions of ancient Greek dramas. As the hours pass, a more sinister conspiracy emerges that plays out in Paris studios, cafes and streets in the aftermath of the May 1968 riots. For lovers of bohemian romance and iconic imagery, and believers in art as a revolutionary force, this is an orgy of visual and conceptual excess that will fuel the spirit.
Don’t panic if the idea of 12 hours trapped in a cinema seems an insurmountable challenge; Out 1… will screen in a more digestible format at ACMI consisting of four sessions across two days.
Failure to attend may result in a lifetime of regret given the rarity of full Out 1: Noli Me Tangere screenings. And don’t forget you stand to gain a badge of honour to wear proudly in any future film-related discussions.
The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from July 31 to August 17 across Melbourne.