Documentaries

Truth is definitely stranger than fiction with the Documentaries strand, which presents – and probes – the many facets of real life. From famous and not-so-famous faces to spectacular and far-flung places, these films are inspiring, blood-boiling, entertaining, educational, emotional and true.

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Age of Rage - The Australian Punk Revolution

Age of Rage - The Australian Punk Revolution

The mainstream hated them, but those behind the Aussie punk assault of the 1970s and 80s wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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All That Breathes

All That Breathes

Director Shaunak Sen

This Sundance winner follows two brothers whose commitment to rescuing birds highlights the need for humans to care for nature – and one another.

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Audrey Napanangka

Audrey Napanangka

Producer Penelope McDonald returns to the director’s chair with this 10-years-in-the-making tribute to an artist, actor and proud Warlpiri woman.

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The Balcony Movie

The Balcony Movie

Acclaimed Polish documentarian Paweł Łoziński finds wonder and wisdom in the everyday from two floors up.

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Because We Have Each Other

Because We Have Each Other

Sari Braithwaite’s delightfully intimate new feature invites us to share the mundane and the magnificent with a neurodivergent, working-class family.

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Blue Island

Blue Island

Hong Kong has long been an epicentre of activism. This film uses the prism of generational change to shed light on its ongoing fight for its future.

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Children of the Mist

Children of the Mist

A delicately handled documentary portrait of a sparky teen girl torn between her community’s traditions and an independent future.

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Citizen Ashe

Citizen Ashe

A powerful documentary about the life and cultural impact of tennis icon Arthur Ashe, the first Black athlete to win a Grand Slam singles title.

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Clean

Clean

The genuinely inspirational story of how ‘trauma cleaner’ Sandra Pankhurst responded to an unseen world with radical kindness.

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Closing Night Gala - Clean

Closing Night Gala - Clean

The genuinely inspirational story of how ‘trauma cleaner’ Sandra Pankhurst responded to an unseen world with radical kindness.

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Delikado

Delikado

From the frontlines, this thriller-esque documentary cuts like a chainsaw at the heart of the Philippines’ fight for its environmental life.

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Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets

Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets

The improbable tale of the irreverent subredditors who took on Wall Street at the height of the pandemic – and caused a financial sensation.

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Dreaming Walls

Dreaming Walls

Step inside New York’s iconic Chelsea Hotel as a decade-long refurbishment nears completion, and meet its colourful residents and illustrious ghosts.

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Embrace Kids

Embrace Kids

Filled with fun and joy, this vital documentary shows kids how to move, nourish, respect and embrace their bodies.

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The Endangered Generation?

The Endangered Generation?

Combining modern science with ancient First Nations knowledge, this documentary seeks new ways of thinking about the many crises facing our planet.

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Ennio

Ennio

A star-studded portrait of Ennio Morricone, maestro composer for Sergio Leone, Terrence Malick and – this film’s own director – Giuseppe Tornatore.

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Everybody's Oma

Everybody's Oma

An ageing matriarch living with dementia becomes a viral sensation after her son sets out to preserve her precious final moments on film.

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Fashion Reimagined

Fashion Reimagined

No designer has ever tested the ethics of their practice by visiting all their suppliers around the world … until Mother of Pearl’s Amy Powney.

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Fire Front

Fire Front

Eddie Martin puts viewers on the frontlines of the 2019–2020 bushfires, capturing the catastrophe with a perspective and scale never before seen.

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Fire of Love

Fire of Love

Director Sara Dosa

In this love story written in lava, two intrepid scientists who adore volcanoes as much as each other gift the world with something extraordinary.

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Framing Agnes

Framing Agnes

Director Chase Joynt

She gamed a transphobic medical system – and now this hybrid documentary about trans identity gets playful in telling her community’s stories.

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Franklin

Franklin

A young Tasmanian activist follows in the literal footsteps of his late father, who in the 80s fought to save the pristine Franklin River wilderness.

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Futura

Futura

Three of Italy’s finest filmmakers take to the road to craft a humanistic portrait of the country today, as seen through the eyes of its youth.

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General Hercules

General Hercules

It’s David vs. Goliath in the Aussie outback in this profoundly topical documentary of an independent upstart battling the political establishment.

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Geographies of Solitude

Geographies of Solitude

A portrait of one woman’s quest to preserve a unique landscape in the face of ecological devastation and the limits of her solitary existence.

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Greenhouse by Joost

Greenhouse by Joost

Joost Bakker investigates what it would be like to grow all the food you ever needed, leaving no waste as you do so, right at your doorstep.

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Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek

A vivid and empathetic inside look at one of Naples’ toughest neighbourhoods, where one boy finds his dreams threatened by a dark legacy.

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Homosexuality: A Film for Discussion

Homosexuality: A Film for Discussion

A pioneering work of LGBTQIA+ representation that deftly punctures social myths around homosexuality in 1970s Melbourne.

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A House Made of Splinters

A House Made of Splinters

This Sundance winner offers a timely, immersive glimpse at the lives of Ukrainian children near the frontlines of the pre-invasion war with Russia.

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I Didn't See You There

I Didn't See You There

Winner of Sundance’s US Documentary Directing Award, this formidable, deeply personal piece of filmmaking inhabits the perspective of disability.

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I'm So Sorry

I'm So Sorry

Director Zhao Liang

Zhao Liang presents a majestic visual elegy to remind us of nuclear power’s catastrophic potential, even as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

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In This Life's Body

In This Life's Body

A titan of Australian experimental cinema journeys deep within her own past.

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Jane by Charlotte

Jane by Charlotte

Charlotte Gainsbourg makes her directorial debut with this tender, quietly revelatory portrait of her mother, Jane Birkin.

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Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind

Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind

Director Ethan Coen

Ethan Coen’s solo debut is a canny doc about rock ’n’ roll’s wild-man that will entice both fans of Jerry Lee Lewis and those new to his story.

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The Lost City of Melbourne

The Lost City of Melbourne

Director Gus Berger

The ‘modernisation’ of Melbourne in the 50s razed much of the city, including its elegant cinemas. Now, a Melbourne-made doc brings them back to life.

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Lynch/Oz

Lynch/Oz

David Lynch is revered as a master of the dark and avant-garde; why is he obsessed with The Wizard of Oz? John Waters, Karyn Kusama and more explain.

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Man on Earth

Man on Earth

Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Ruin, Bastardy) returns to MIFF with this unfaltering, compassionate exploration of voluntary assisted dying.

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A Marble Travelogue

A Marble Travelogue

Director Sean Wang

Follow the world’s favourite stone as it embarks on a cross-cultural odyssey – from quarry to gift shop – in this colossal tale of commodification.

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Meet Me in the Bathroom

Meet Me in the Bathroom

Don your skinny jeans and vintage tees for this ode to New York’s aughts rock renaissance, featuring The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and LCD Soundsystem.

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Moonage Daydream

Moonage Daydream

An immersive, kaleidoscopic trip through the art and music of iconic shapeshifter David Bowie, with stunningly restored and never-before-seen footage.

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Mr Landsbergis

Mr Landsbergis

Ukraine’s greatest living filmmaker returns with another epic hunt through the Soviet archives: a lauded deconstruction of the ‘Singing Revolution’.

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My Imaginary Country

My Imaginary Country

Direct from Cannes comes Chilean master Patricio Guzmán’s latest razor-sharp reflection on his homeland: a chronicle of the Santiago uprising of 2019.

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My Old School

My Old School

Director Jono McLeod

Animation, Alan Cumming and an academic hoax come together in this stranger-than-fiction documentary about an infamous Scottish scandal.

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Nature

Nature

The first film in 30 years from legendary Armenian auteur Artavazd Pelechian, Nature is a black-and-white, found-footage montage of pure awe and power.

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Navalny

Navalny

This award-winning, jaw-dropping documentary follows Vladimir Putin’s political rival as he investigates a state-sponsored poisoning: his own.

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Nelly & Nadine

Nelly & Nadine

Winner of the Berlinale’s Teddy Jury Award, this is the true story of two women who survived WWII’s horrors and smashed social taboos to pursue love.

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Nothing Compares

Nothing Compares

Sinéad O’Connor broke the mould: she was a nuclear bombshell, an angelic-voiced firebrand and a woman ahead of her time. But she was broken in return.

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The Pawnshop

The Pawnshop

A dark but tender docu-comedy about the eccentric proprietors of Poland’s largest pawnshop – and their absurd idea to save a business lost in time.

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The Pez Outlaw

The Pez Outlaw

Corporate espionage thriller. Globe-trotting heist caper. Sweet rom-com. True-crime documentary. The Pez Outlaw is all these things and more.

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The Plains

The Plains

An intriguing, intimate epic that charts the personal ebbs and flows of two men in conversation across the highways and byways of Melbourne.

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Pub: The Movie

Pub: The Movie

From the director of The Search for Weng Weng comes a film as delightfully irreverent as its subject, Fred Negro – “the unofficial mayor of St Kilda”.

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The Real Charlie Chaplin

The Real Charlie Chaplin

A warts-and-all (or moustache-and-all) account of the life and times of a cinematic legend whose grand hijinks thrilled and scandalised the world.

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The Reason I Jump

The Reason I Jump

Returning to MIFF, this Sundance Audience Award winner is a revelatory, immersive adaptation of Naoki Higashida’s memoir of a neurodiverse life.

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Rewind & Play

Rewind & Play

Director Alain Gomis

Thelonious Monk broke the jazz mould. Here’s what happened when a French TV show tried to stuff him back into it.

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The Rise and Fall of Squizzy Taylor

The Rise and Fall of Squizzy Taylor

An oral history of the 1920s Melbourne criminal underworld recounts the life and times of one of its most infamous figures.

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Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams

Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams

Italian cinema luminary Luca Guadagnino tells the story of Salvatore Ferragamo, whose fancy footwear took him from the silver screen to the runway.

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Senses of Cinema

Senses of Cinema

This archival treasure trove chronicles the rise and role of Melbourne and Sydney filmmaking cooperatives in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey - David Thomas Tribute Screening

Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey - David Thomas Tribute Screening

Director Rob Murphy

Join us in tribute to MIFF’s late Technical Manager for 30 years for a new film that itself finds its heart among the projection booths of Melbourne.

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Under Cover

Under Cover

Director Sue Thomson

As Australia’s housing crisis deepens, this Margot Robbie–narrated film shows us the fastest-growing social group facing homelessness: women over 55.

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Volcano Man

Volcano Man

When a filmmaker son sets out to make a documentary about his filmmaker father, long-buried feelings and dormant memories bubble to the surface.

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We, Students!

We, Students!

An rare look at life in the Central African Republic as four students are thrown personal and emotional curveballs on their path to a better future.

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We Were Once Kids

We Were Once Kids

Eddie Martin revisits the cultural landscape of Larry Clark’s iconic 90s film Kids, which paved a bumpy path for its young stars’ future success.

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Who Killed The KLF?

Who Killed The KLF?

Audiences are bound for Mu Mu Land as a line-up of house music heroes gives the low-down on the greatest and most mysterious dance outfit in history.

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