Melbourne fest takes a page from Cannes

'Inglourious Basterds,' 'Antichrist' will see Oz debuts at event

Lars von Trier speared over 'Antichrist'

SYDNEY -- Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" and Lars von Trier's controversial Festival de Cannes entry "Antichrist" will have their Australian premieres at this year's Melbourne International Film Festival, festival executive director Richard Moore revealed Monday.

The titles are among nearly 20 features that have been secured by MIFF programmers following their debuts at Cannes in May.

While films screened at Australian festivals are legally exempt from censorship and classification, Moore said he expects "Antichrist" to test how far that exemption will apply.

Censors have already started asking for prints, he said.

"Love it or hate it, 'Antichrist' was one of the talking points of this year's Cannes. We know our catchphrase, 'Everyone's a Critic,' will be teased and tested this year," Moore said. "I think audiences should go and see it and make up their own minds."

"Basterds" and "Antichrist" will be joined in the 17-day program by two Korean films -- the vampire thriller "Thirst" and Bong Joon-Ho's revenge drama "Mother" -- Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank" and Un Certain Regard winner Yorgos Lanthimos' "Dogtooth."

Traditional sidebars including a focus on the Balkans and a retrospective of French actress-writer-director Anna Karina will also be part of the festival's program.

The full program and details of international guests will be announced July 6.

This year's festival will run two days shorter than recent editions. The MIFF board had considered shortening the festival given the current financial conditions, as its Sydney counterpart did this month, but decided against it, Moore said.

"People want to be entertained, and you just have to look at the increase in boxoffice figures for the year to date to see that cinema is still a good option," Moore said.

The opening- and closing-night films on July 24 and Aug. 9, respectively, are the world premieres of Australian movies "Balibo" and "Bran Nue Dae," both part funded by the festival's Premiere Film Fund.