“People definitely walk out of films at MIFF,” Jinx says. “I’ve witnessed people walking out and even yelling at the screen.”
She says this is often a result of cinemagoers venturing out of their comfort zone and not quite liking what they find: “At festivals, people are a bit more open about what they’re seeing. It’s their time to expand their viewing habits.”
But, she says, “as so many of the films at MIFF are Victorian or Australian premieres, you can’t read a thousand reviews beforehand; you can’t do as much research as you normally might when picking a film [at your local cinema chain].”
If you’re at all squeamish, Jinx says you should probably steer clear of anything by Cronenberg (who has been known for aesthetically grotesque films since the ’80s). But there are other titles at MIFF which might prove a challenge too.
Despite earning the Palme d’Or and an eight-minute standing ovation, Ruben Östlund’s satire of the super-rich, Triangle of Sadness, also prompted some walkouts at Cannes over some “quite abject scenes” involving gooey oysters, champagne and sea-sickness.
And Jinx predicts the documentary De Humani Corporis Fabrica won’t be smooth sailing either. This French documentary is largely filmed via laparoscopic cameras inside the human body.
While Jinx says some directors are “knowingly provocative”, like Gaspar Noé or Denis Côté (who also has a film in this year’s festival), she maintains that’s not an agenda or priority of the festival: “You don’t program for walkouts. I’ve never put a film forward that I didn’t love.”
Although she doesn’t shy away from films that will provoke conversation or disagreement either. And, though she points out anyone having a strong negative reaction to a film should certainly leave – “you don’t need to stay for the sake of cinema or anything” – she adds, “sometimes the more provocative films are more fun”.
“I think there’s something to be said for that kind of the communal experience [of people outwardly reacting to a film].
“Film festivals are important to me – especially ones like MIFF that aren’t about the industry – because it really is about the dialogues that happen around the films. It’s about the conversations that happen in the foyer, or in the line to the bathroom. Everyone talks about what they’ve just seen and, all of a sudden, all the guards are dropped between strangers.”
This is part of the reason Jinx says she’s a “glutton for punishment”.
“I sit through absolutely everything – you never know what that last 10 seconds is going to be.”