AbstractWHAT A PLEASUR TO OPEN the catalogue of the 44th Melbourne International Film Festival to discover the absence of "welcoming messages" from the Prime Minister down to the local Mayor and introductions from the festival staff (complete with portraits) telling us how marvellous the program is and what great audiences we are! Melbourne runs at exactly the same time as Sydney's film festival. No one quite seemed to know why, or to think that this was odd; after all, no one in Melbourne expected moviegoers to come from Sydney and none from Melbourne was expected by Sydney to attend its festival. So why not? There seems not to be any rivalry between the two, some films are shared, otherwise the programs are quite different - a likeably Australian relationship. As 1995 marks the centenary of cinema it was fitting that Melbourne brought Australian films to the fore: the opening...