A host of state and federal pollies, led by Arts Minister Mitch Fifield, and a smattering of vaguely recognisable screen stars (Hugo Weaving the brightest) suited up to walk the blue carpet for the opening of Australia’s biggest film festival in Melbourne last night. Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush acts as enthusiastic patron of the Melbourne International Film Festival, and he stole the show of long speeches at Hamer Hall with some freestyle rap to the rhythm of New York musical phenomenon Hamilton, with a little “Memory” from Cats mixed in. Our Geoffrey sure knows how to get a party started (that, and the night’s vodka major sponsor). Local low-budget flick The Death And Life Of Otto Bloom, from first-time feature-maker Cris Jones, had the honour of opening the two-week film marathon — producers took to the stage to remind the audience that we (taxpayers) had primarily paid for it. We’ll let the critics decide whether it was worth the money …

Peter Fray

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