James Hewison has taken anunusual approach to the opening night of his last Melbourne International FilmFestival (MIFF): in order to give the audience a "virginal cinema experience"he will not tell them what they will be seeing on July 26.

"Cinema seems to infiltrateour lives so much, that I often wonder whether it's possible to see a filmwithout a sort of predetermined point of view," Hewison said. He also promisedthat his audience would not forget and not be unmoved by the chosen film.

What he did reveal is thatAustralian director Paul Goldman's SuburbanMayhem will close the festival on August 13.

Suburban Mayhem underlines two aspects of MIFF: Hewison has placed even greateremphasis than usual on new Australian films, and 23 features are coming directfrom the official Cannes programme including Palme d'Or winner The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Suburban Mayhem was in Un CertainRegard.

The Australian films includethe dramatic features The Book OfRevelation, Em 4 Jay, Rats and Cats, Hunt Angels and Last Train toFreo, and the documentary features Kanyini,Women Of The Sun - 25 Years Later andRampage.

The 300 or so filmsscreening at MIFF include spotlights on Danish films, films gathered fromacross Asia, and the work of Jafar Panahi, "one of the world's mostimportant living filmmakers".

The festival has alsointroduced a fifth venue.