Melbourne Fest director sets slate, plans to ankle

Retrospective to examine work of Denis

SYDNEY — As Australia’s film festival season goes into full swing, Melbourne Intl. Film Festival director Sandra Sdraulig has announced that the event’s 49th edition, which opens July 19 with helmer Curtis Hanson presenting “Wonder Boys,” will be her last.

During her four years in the post, Sdraulig increased the fest’s box office by 87% while admissions increased 82% to 100,000.

International fare at the fest includes Mary Harron’s “American Psycho,” Steven Soderbergh’s “The Limey,” Terence Gross’ “Hotel Splendide,” Stephen Frears’ “High Fidelity,” Sofia Coppola’s “The Virgin Suicides,” as well as “Nora” and “Saving Grace.”

Sidebars will focus on director Luis Bunuel (“The Exterminating Angel”), Nippon helmer Seijun Suzuki (“Branded to Kill”) and Ken Russell’s early series of biographies on classical music figures.

Major retrospective will examine the work of French helmer Claire Denis (“Beau Travail”), while a new French cinema spotlight includes Frederic Fonteyne’s “A Pornographic Affair,” Claude Miller’s “Of Women and Magic,” Francois Ozon’s “Water Drops on Burning Rocks” and Helene Angel’s “Skin of Man, Heart of Beast.”

Fest closes Aug. 6 with the Australian preem of Vincent Giarrusso’s Cannes screener “Mallboy,” while other Oz films include Daniel Nettheim’s “Angst,” Mark Lamprell’s “My Mother Frank” and “Molokai: The Story of Father Damien” and “Innocence,” both from Paul Cox.

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