The best films to watch at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in 2022

Young couple at the cinema

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted August 02, 2022

From the latest releases to the weird and wonderful and everything in between, we round up the best films to watch at MIFF this year.

The Melbourne International Film Festival, affectionately referred to as MIFF, is back for its 70th year.

After two years of streaming, MIFF70 will once again host screenings at cinemas around Melbourne and regional Victoria, while selected titles will also be available to stream via MIFF Play. 

For those new to the MIFF scene, the not-for-profit is the biggest film festival in Australia, and counts itself alongside Cannes as one of the oldest film festivals in the world.

Presenting what MIFF refers to as an ‘expansive program of acclaimed international and Australian cinema,’ the festival aims to bring global stories to Australian audiences around Victoria and at home, while supporting the arts in the cultural capital of Australia. Use arevo to plan your journey to one of the cinema locations around town. 

With 257 features and 102 shorts from around the world ready for audiences to enjoy right here in Victoria, let’s look at some of the highlights of the festival. 

Couple dressed up for the cinema

The Opening Gala is the Melbourne cinema scene's night of nights. Image: Getty. 


Watch the best of these MIFF films if…

You love a red carpet

If you’re in it for the premieres, then head to Hamer Hall for the Opening Night Gala. This year, the feature is the Australian original Of an Age, a captivating queer coming-of-age story of lust, dance, suburbia, immigrant families and teenage dreams.

For the Closing Night Gala, head into town for Clean, another Aussie-made production about real-life trauma cleaner Sandra Pankhurst, and the compassion, kindness, and humanity she retains throughout her career.  

You love horror

There’s no shortage of jump-out-of-your seat horrors and scares at this year’s MIFF, with big names like Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen starring in Crimes of the Future, where humans are evolving in grotesque and unexpected ways. There’s also The Humans with Amy Schumer and Beanie Feldstein, about a family lunch in an eerie apartment - that may or may not be alive.

For one a bit more offbeat, try the SXSW-winning Something in the Garden about horrors in the backyard, a Spanish short from Marcos Sánchez.

You love your indie films

While a lot of MIFF could be considered ‘offbeat’ or ‘indie,’ some highlights include Aftersun, an English coming-of-age drama featuring Normal People’s Paul Mescal as a young father on holiday with his 11-year-old daughter, Sophie. Looking back on the summer as an adult, she begins to realise the man she thought she knew is someone completely different.

There’s also Funny Pages, about a comic book nerd who befriends an older former comic book colourist, or Brian and Charles, exploring robots, growing up… and cabbage.

You love sport on screen

After the success of sport-based films like Academy-Award nominated King Richard, sports fans can buy a ticket to Citizen Ashe, a doco about Arthur Ashe - the first ever Black athlete to win a Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon; or Australia’s own satirical comedy drama about the life of VFL, in the screening of 1980’s The Club.


The AstorTheatre

Melbourne's prestigous Astor Theatre is hosting more than 20 MIFF screenings this year. Image: Getty. 


You love everything animation

Animation isn’t just for children. At MIFF, there’s a range in the genre, such as comedian Jenny Slate’s Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, a stop-motion mockumentary about a talking shell on a road to discovery, featuring the voice of Isabella Rossellini.

There’s also Battlecry, about an alternate 1980s Tokyo battleground – made entirely on director Yanakaya’s home computer, or perhaps one of the more absurdist titles for this year’s festival, about a man working a dead-end job who finds out a new revelation in An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It.

You love a doco

Documentaries have heated up in recent years, from scandals to swindlers and everything in between. If you love a good Imposter-style scenario, watch My Old School with Alan Cumming, or if you like your docos dripping with heist and corporate espionage, find out about the underground world of Pez dispensers in The Pez Outlaw.

On another scale, Endangered focuses on Indigenous bachelors and the First Nations dating scene, while I Didn’t See You There is a Sundance Festival winner. Shot by Reid Davenport, it showcases how he sees the world all from the seat of his wheelchair.

You love to laugh

Like your nights out to be light? Head to a comedy! There’s no doubt that South Korean cinema is on the rise, this time in comedy-drama Broker, the Cannes favourite about a dysfunctional family on the run with an abandoned baby.

Quirky French film Incredible but True shows what happens when comedy meets time travel, when a middle-aged couple realise their new home has a portal into other timelines.

You love something weird and whimsical

If you’re into the kind of thing you can only see at MIFF, Czech New Wave cinema reappears with a screening of 1963’s The Cassandra Cat, about a feline friend with magical sunglasses that reveal peoples’ true colours.

There’s also Horse Brothers, a comedy-horror featuring a talking horse, or The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future, the Spanish-language surrealist tale of environmental devastation.


Hoyts Melbourne Central

Hoyts Melbourne Central will be home to a wide variety of films from MIFF this year. Image: What's On Melbourne. 


You love drama

In Emily the Criminal, Aubrey Plaza stars as a woman desperate to make ends meet – so desperate it heads her down an underground path of high highs - but potentially dangerous lows.

If you prefer your dramas truly epic, The Cloud Messenger from India’s Rahat Mahajan follows star-crossed lovers who find themselves cursed and reincarnated, based on the ancient Sanskrit poem, Meghdoot.

You love to keep it short

Shorts are a staple feature of the MIFF program, giving new and upcoming artists a chance to spotlight on topics from social justice to romance, comedy, fantasy and more.  

MIFF supports Australian and New Zealand emerging film makers in the Accelerator Shorts screenings, where the Best MIFF Shorts features a range of films selected by the MIFF Shorts Awards Jury and the MIFF Shorts Programmer.

You love music on film

Enjoying the experience of your favourite artists in movie form is like being able to enjoy the popcorn and the choc top too. For David Bowie fans, Moonage Daydream is a phantasmagorial trip into his life, performances, and behind-the-scenes footage, while Age of Rage – The Australian Punk Revolution follows the mohawks and music of the 70s and 80s Aussie punk scene.

You love love

There’s no shortage of love lighting up the screen at MIFF70. In Fire of Love, two scientists find they love volcanoes almost as much as each other, while The Lonely Spirits Variety Hour features a man running a late-night radio show from his parent’s garage - with the hope of wooing his secret crush. 


Village Rivoli

The classic Village Rivoli Cinema in the eastside suburb of Camberwell is a partner of the Festival. Image: Alamy. 


You love a sing

The star here is the all-Aussie spectacular Seriously Red, about a downtrodden woman who quits her 9-5 to go on the road as a Dolly Parton impersonator. Featuring big names like Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale and a directorial debut from Aussie showbiz royalty Gracie Otto, it’s sure to provide plenty of showbiz, sequins and singalongs.

You love your couch

Enjoy slothing on the couch and keeping warm at home? That’s okay, let MIFF come to you with a range of films available via MIFF Play! In doco Under Cover, Margot Robbie narrates the homelessness problem facing women over 55 in Australia.

For a lighter touch, in a film that will have you equal parts laughing and feeling second-hand anxiety and embarrassment, Millie Lies Low is a New Zealand comedy-drama about a woman who misses her flight to her prestigious New York internship – so just pretends she’s there, with increasingly absurd results.

You love Melbourne

The city of Melbourne is a character in its own right this year, as the state capital takes centre stage in a range of works like The Lost City of Melbourne, about the rise of some of the city’s best cinemas; The Melbourne Wedding Belle, showcasing Melbourne landmarks on the way to a wedding in 1953; and Showing Melbourne to Maningrida, a tour of Melbourne from Yolngu actor David Gulpilil filmed in 1973.

You love hit movies at your local

If you prefer your films of the blockbuster and discounted variety, you can also check out the best and biggest movies showing in regular cinemas now and coming soon near you. 


This is just a selection. MIFF runs from 4 - 21 August in cinemas, and 11 – 28 August online via MIFF Play. Dates and program delivery subject to change, please check the website for the most up-to-date information.