MIFF 2022 : Broker
“The study of festivals is key to the study of film as an art form, one that has important transnational and social dimensions, rather than, as it still currently is, an agglomeration of national cinemas or texts.”(Valck, Kredell & Loist 2007, pg xii)
This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Melbourne International Film Festival, also known as MIFF. This was especially an exciting film festival anniversary for myself as it would mark the first time I would be able to experience a film festival, whilst also being able to observe it through the lens of a film student. This can also correlate to how “studying film festivals is an endeavor to bring out a more complex transnational narrative that permits comprehension of the full dynamics of cinema’s evolution as a global art form.” (Valck, Kredell & Loist 2007, pg xii)
Since this was my first ever film festival experience, I wanted to make sure I watch a film and take part in what I believe would have an impact on me as a film student as well as me as a person. Film festivals can be known for creating “imagery (that) renders a feeling of glamour, celebration, happening, and community.” (Valck, Kredell & Loist 2007, pg 1) When I first heard about the film Broker, I immediately placed it on my watch-list as not only did the storyline captivate my interest, but it was also the fact that one of my favourite South Korean singer/actor’s was taking part within the leading cast, which happened to be one of the main reasons I felt the need to watch Broker.
The blurb of Broker (spoiler-free of course) follows the story of a baby who gets left anonymously at a baby box centre owned by a church, and how life takes a twist for not only the baby but the people who become involved with the infant.
I was fortunate to be able to attend with two friend’s from Uni who are also film students, in which they didn’t know much about the storyline beforehand, essentially ‘going in blind.’ I believe there’s always pros and cons when it comes to knowing a movie’s plot line based on a trailer or going into it with ‘fresh eyes.’ There could be certain expectations set upon the film not only based on your personal interest in the film, but it could go to a higher level especially if it becomes critically acclaimed worldwide: or in my case; when I heard Broker was received positively well at 2022 Cannes Film Festival with a ’12 minute standing ovation.’
As mentioned before, since this was my first film festival I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of many different things, including what type of audience range would choose to watch certain films and their reasonings. When I first had a thought about what audience I would expect to see at the ‘Broker’ screening, my initial guesses were that it might cater more to young adults and older whilst also having the occasional group of teenagers (who might be interested in media or films in general/ or also a fan of certain actors like I was)
I agree with the idea that reasonings for the showcasing of “identity-based festivals” (can be) because (of) the thematic selection of films programmed for these festivals is made with explicit interest in engaging identity questions and representational issues that concern specific communities and groups.” (Valck, Kredell & Loist 2007, pg 3) I think this can also relate to what type of audience chooses a film, based on the ‘identity’ of a film; for example a film’s identity can be highlighted through the culture, views, beliefs etc. Through the case of ‘Broker’ being a South Korean film (which was directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, who had received achievements previously at Cannes Film Festival in 2013, 2018 and now 2022 again) I noticed there were was a substantial crowd of Koreans especially in the older senior category in terms of age.
One of the reasons I have confidence in, based on the fact why MIFF is a successful film festival program is the fact that they do not shy away from showcasing diversity on the screen. This of course can be linked to any other film festival interstate or worldwide, as through “festivals not only (being) committed to expanding our audience’s eyes and minds about other cultural traditions, we (as an audience) are also committed to drawing people to look at film traditions right here that they might not have given much attention to previously.” (Haslam 2004, pg 58) This is something I felt was quite significant when it came to the audience who went to go watch Broker.
“International film festivals have appeared to bring national film cultures into the world cinema system, attracting foreign guests to cities and revenue to national film industries.” (Ahn 2012, pg 33) Although I wouldn’t be able to speak on behalf of all the South Korean’s within the audience, I would like to think that a majority of them would leave the theatre screening with a sense of pride or even comfort knowing that their country has evolved so much through its film industry.
When it came to the program viewing of Broker, I was quite surprised when I saw that it was only to be screened three times. It could be due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to film festivals, but it didn’t occur to me that most films would have to be limited in terms of screening as there are many films and shorts to be shown within a timely manner. MIFF 2022 ran in August from the 4th to the 21st in Cinemas, while its online presence went from the 11th to the 28th.
Another South Korean film that was highly anticipated was the romance mystery; Decision to Leave, by director Park Chan-wook. When I was looking at the ticketing sessions available on the MIFF site, I realised that there was an extra session added for ‘Decision to Leave’ which made me wonder what allows a film at a film festival to be granted extra sessions? Whether it be through ‘by popular demand,’ or by quickly sold out tickets, this film was definitely highly acclaimed and is going on the watch-list.
It was unfortunate that neither Broker or Decision to Leave had their own panels available, however that does not change the fact that MIFF did have numerous programs from various countries to multiple genres and styles catered to people with different tastes.
I was hoping to be able to view Broker in a new setting that wasn’t a cinema theatre I had been to before, but nevertheless still enjoyed my first film festival experience. I don’t think it would have the same impact on myself if I were to attend the online screenings despite “online film festivals (becoming) the first sprouts of our new normal, (however by being there in person is) the part of every festival, that an online avatar can’t replicate.”(Nicholson & Bailey 2020)
Overall, I would definitely recommend MIFF to especially new film festival goers as they have a wide range of programs available for you and others. I encourage you to support not only local films but venture out for international films too, as there are many beautiful films out there waiting for you to enjoy them! 🙂
Ahn, S 2012, Pusan International Film Festival, South Korean Cinema and Globalization, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. <https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/deakin/reader.action?docID=877740&ppg=1>
Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (9th August 2022), BROKER (MIFF 2022) Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Alliance Of Women Film Journalists, Accessed 22nd August 2022.
De VM, Kredell, B, & Loist, S (eds) 2007, Film Festivals : History, Theory, Method, Practice, Taylor & Francis Group, London. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central.
Tim Chuma (22nd August 2022), MIFF 2022:Broker 2022 Review, Impulse Gamer Accessed 25th August 2022.
Grant Watson (15th August 2022), MIFF REVIEW: Broker (2022), WordPress, Accessed 24th August 2022.
Nicholson, A. & Bailey, J. 2020, Are Online Film Festivals the Future?: (The Arts/Cultural Desk), Late Edition (East Coast) edn, Ney York, N.Y.
Mark Haslam, 2004, Vision, Authority, Context: Cornerstones of Curation and Programming, University of Minnesota Press.
MIFF 2022, (online) https://miff.com.au/