Malcolm (1986)
Malcolm (1986)
Malcolm (1986)

Presented by MIFF


Nadia Tass | Australia | 1986 | PG

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Winner of eight AFI Awards including Best Film, the surprise Australian smash-hit of 1986 is a delightfully lo-fi heist film, caper comedy and love letter to inner-city Melbourne.

Shy and introverted, Malcolm is a gentle, tram-obsessed naif who excels at building goofy contraptions and gadgets. After his latest – a one-man tram – gets him fired from his job at the Metropolitan Transport Authority, he takes on lodgers Frank and Judith to help pay the rent. They are suspicious of each other at first, but when Malcolm’s mechanical wizardry meets Frank’s petty criminality and Judith’s street smarts, it’s a match made in Melbourne cinema heaven.

Filmed across Melbourne, including Collingwood and the CBD, director Nadia Tass’ (Amy, MIFF 1998; The Big Steal, MIFF 1990) debut wears its lo-fi charm with endearing, and enduring, pride. Malcolm was based on Tass’ brother, and her affection for him shines through every scene, buoyed by a magnificent performance from Colin Friels that respectfully captures what we recognise today as the neurodivergent nuances of a man on the spectrum. John Hargreaves and Lindy Davies are equally compelling as Frank and Judith, and all three actors won their respective AFI category awards. In turn, Tass became the second woman to win Best Director while her husband and creative partner David Parker took home the screenwriting gong. Parker also shot the film, gloriously showcasing the city as the backdrop to Malcolm and his up-to-no-good new housemates’ oddball, side-splitting shenanigans.


Please note: This feature film screening will be preceded by the short film Monaco.

A dazzlingly inventive, tender, utterly unpretentious comedy … Hargreaves, Davies and Friel are simply marvelous.

Los Angeles Times (1986)


85 mins




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ACMI, Fed Sqaure

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