This year was exactly my second year as a MIFF festival-goer, and as an experience it’s already a familiar one – the queues heading out the door and around the corner; the applause at the end of every film (even though you can tell that some of it is just a polite observance – not every film at a festival is a masterpiece); the critics and serious movie buffs discussing the film as they leave the cinema, or discussing the director’s previous work as the line up in serious voices. I honestly felt a little amateur.

I found myself in the Greater Union cinema for at least half the films I saw, and made a habit of getting a coke each time, maybe some popcorn or a choc-top as well – a movie is still a movie, and I have my habits! If I was seeing a film in the evening, I’d find myself grabbing a coffee before as well (I’d hate to view my caffeine intake during the festival, but it helped me survive). I carried a bottle of water with me always, as well as my notebook so I could jot down thoughts as soon as they came into my head.

I saw some excellent movies at the film festival and some not so excellent ones (always a bit disappointing, but you can’t win them all). I sympathized with the volunteers as they were forced to try and herd the crowds together in line; when you’re almost pressed up against someone’s back in line for a sold out session, you learn a lot about your own tolerance levels. I laughed, I was moved to tears, and I saw a wider range of films than I get an opportunity to see at any other time of the year.

Here are some of ReelGood’s recommendations from this year’s MIFF:

The Act of Killing (2013) – Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer

Frances Ha (2013) – Directed by Noah Baumbach

Fruitvale Station (2013) – Directed by Ryan Coogler

Closed Curtain (2013) – Directed by Jafar Panahl and Kumbuzia Partovi

Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) – Directed by Gyorgy Palfi

The Rocket (2013) – Directed by Kim Mordant

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