Tight lid on Melbourne

Fest opener still under wraps

The 55th Melbourne Film Festival will close with “Suburban Mayhem” — but the July 26 opener is being kept a strict secret.

“Cinema seems to infiltrate our lives so much, I often wonder whether it’s possible to see a film without a predetermined point of view,” said departing executive director James Hewison, explaining his decision.

Hewison has likely chosen an Australian film, possibly Murali K. Thalluri’s teen suicide drama “Two Thirty 7,” which played in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar, or Ana Kokkinos’ adaptation of Rupert Thomson’s erotic novel “The Book of Revelation,” both powerful stories slated for local release in August.

Australia’s leading film fest will close Aug. 13 with helmer Paul Goldman’s “Suburban Mayhem,” penned by first-time screenwriter Alice Bell. Kiwi Emily Barclay stars as a 19-year-old single mother trying to get away with murder.

More than 300 films, including eight world preems, will unspool during the event.

There will be a spotlight on Jafar Panahi, a collection of Danish films, a pan-Asian retrospective and a program on globalization featuring Michael Glawogger’s “Workingman’s Death,” David Guggenheim’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and “A Crude Awakening — The Oil Crash,” by Ray McCormack and Basil Gelpke.

Hewison takes the helm of the Australian Film Institute a week after wrapping the Melbourne fest. His successor has not been announced.

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