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"How many recent Australian drama films strike us as evocatively moody, eerily disquieting, rigorously intelligent, and fluently cinematic? Sotiris Dounoukos achieves all this in Joe Cinque's Consolation, a subtle tour de force of complex characters captured in their social environment." – Adrian Martin

Anu Singh was an Australian National University law student in the late 1990s when she started complaining about her health and talking about suicide to her friends. Her worried boyfriend, Joe Cinque, tried to help but his efforts only seemed to make her mental state worse. Anu's plans grew darker and more sinister, and she started hinting she would take someone with her. Her best friend, Madhavi Rao, seemed powerless – or unwilling – to stop her. Finally, Anu staged a farewell dinner party, preparing her guests, Rohypnol and two lethal doses of heroin. After all the warnings, who would step forward to stop her?

Based on Helen Garner's multi-award-winning book Joe Cinque's Consolation: A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law, and compassionately directed by MIFF Accelerator alumnus Sotiris Dounoukos (A Single Body, MIFF 2014, which went on to win the Toronto Film Festival's Best International Short Film award), this is an emotionally complex and chilling true crime drama. Dounoukos draws on his own memories of the law school, the people and the city from this time, as well as Garner's meticulous research, to build a compelling psychological study of community, culpability and collective responsibility.

Starring Maggie Naouri and Jerome Meyer, with Gia Carides and Tony Nikolakopoulos as Joe's parents, and bolstered by pitch-perfect period details and a soundtrack to match, the highly anticipated Joe Cinque's Consolation is sure to be one of this year's most talked about films.

Find the book at Readings.

Sandy George will host a Q&A with Sotiris Dounoukos at the session on 30 July.

MIFF Artistic Director Michelle Carey will host a Q&A with Sotiris Dounoukos at the session on 3 August.