The Brisbane International Film Festival starts on Tuesday (November 1) and runs for 12 days. If you want to know what’s on offer, you can check out my blog from a few weeks ago – 10 Reasons To Get To BIFF 2011 – by clicking here.
Tickets are selling fast and I believe some sessions are already close to sold out. Opening night should be particularly big with two cinemas showing Attack The Block up at the Palace Barracks.
In this week’s Film Pie blog, I thought I’d run through the films I’m booked in to see at the Festival. My tickets are already secured and if all goes to plan, I’ll be at each of these films. Hopefully I’ll see a few followers from Facebook / Twitter there as well. BIFF is always a fun event and there are plenty of films worth seeing.
On that note, here’s my program for 2011 (with plot descriptions from the BIFF website)…
Tabloid – Tuesday, 1 November at 7pm (Palace Centro)
In 1977, an American beauty queen named Joyce McKinney travelled to England, kidnapped her Mormon ex-lover, bound him to a bed and kept him as a sex slave for three days. The British tabloid press went bananas, turning the titillating tale into a media frenzy, and McKinney became notorious overnight. Now the ever-incisive Errol Morris (The Fog of War) brings us McKinney's side of the tale - but who, if anyone, is giving us the straight story?
Attack The Block – Thursday, 3 November at 7pm (Palace Barracks)
For Moses and his gang, an ordinary evening of time-wasting and petty felony takes an unexpected turn when they stumble across an intergalactic interloper. It's safe to say that ET isn't phoning home once the crew are done with him, but it isn't long before a whole legion of interstellar invaders are crashing to earth around the council estate, with the youths gearing up to defend their tower block against the alien menace.
Higher Ground – Friday, 4 November at 6:30pm (Palace Barracks)
Based on Carolyn Briggs's memoir, This Dark World, Higher Ground follows the life and passions of Corinne Walker (played by actor-director Vera Farmiga) as she moves from childhood to maturity, and with it from the ecstatic embrace of Christian fundamentalism to a state of secular doubt.
A Dangerous Method – Friday, 4 November at 9pm (Palace Barracks)
Under the lengthening shadows of the impending Great War, a young, ambitious Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) takes on the unbalanced Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) as a patient, a student and eventually a lover. When Jung travels to Vienna to seek the advice of the great Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), the two form a fledgling friendship - one soon to be threatened by jealousy and obsession.
Le Harve – Saturday, 5 November at 7pm (Palace Barracks)
When a cargo-load of illegal immigrants mistakenly lands in the port town of Le Havre the authorities capture all but one: wide-eyed Idrissa, a young African trying to make his way to London. Local shoe shiner Marcel enlists the townsfolk to help hide him, as they try to raise the money needed to help him escape - meanwhile a snitch neighbour and a hard-nosed inspector do their best to hunt down the refugee.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Saturday, 5 November at 9pm (Palace Barracks)
British intelligence officer George Smiley (Gary Oldman) finds himself yanked out of retirement, charged with unearthing a Soviet spy who has seemingly infiltrated the upper echelons of the secret service. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In) has turned his unerring hand to this adaptation of John le Carré's tangled novel of cold war espionage, portraying a chilling world of ambiguity and paranoia.
The Human Centipede 2 - Saturday, 5 November at 11:59pm (Tribal Theatre)
Inspired by watching of The Human Centipede, a depraved actor decides to emulate the film and construct his own human centipede, only this time with twelve people instead of three. And... that's about it for the plot.
Take Shelter – Sunday, 6 November at 1:30pm (Palace Barracks)
A film that walks the line between fear and paranoia, this taut thriller is set partially inside the mind of family man Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon). Or is it? That is the question before the audience: are the dreams and visions of an apocalyptic storm real or imaginary?
Happy Happy – Tuesday, 8 November at 6:30pm (Tribal Theatre)
Desperately lonely Kaja and hyper-repressed Erik share a marriage as frosty as the Norwegian winter they're currently suffering through. However, when the urbane Sigve and Elisabeth move in next door - ostensibly to escape Elisabeth's recent affair - a powder keg of repressed sexual energy is unleashed, with devastatingly comic consequences.
My America – Tuesday, 8 November at 8:30pm (Tribal Theatre)
Growing up in the gloomy socialist backwaters of 1980s Hungary, Peter Hegedus looked to America and Arnold Schwarzenegger for his dream of a better world: a world of justice, explosions and freedom. But 30 years later, everything has changed. America is failing, Arnie's best days are behind him and Peter, now living in Brisbane, is not entirely sure he's still allowed to believe in the USA.
Melancholia – Wednesday, 9 November at 6:30pm (Palace Barracks)
Celebrating her lavish wedding, Justine (Kirsten Dunst, in a performance that won best actress at Cannes) notices something amiss in the evening sky: a prominent star has been blocked out. As her wedding falls apart, and her life spirals downward into misery, the astrological anomaly is explained: the star was blocked by the planet Melancholia, which is now hurtling toward a collision with Earth.
Goodbye, First Love – Thursday, 10 November at 6:30pm (Palace Barracks)
Fifteen-year-old Camille tumbles headlong into a passionate relationship with the older Sylvain, and when he leaves for South American she is shattered. Over the years she gradually repairs her heartbreak, but when Sylvain unexpectedly reappears, the flames of her youthful passion flicker painfully back into life.
The Trouble With St Mary’s – Thursday, 10 November at 8:30pm (Palace Barracks)
Same-sex marriage. Questioning the Pope. De-virginising Mary. This is the story of a rogue Brisbane priest, Father Peter Kennedy, and his breakaway flock. Excommunicated by the Vatican in 2009 for his apostasy, Kennedy led his one-thousand-strong flock on to a new religious life. But as these parishioners follow their fallen priest, are they moving closer toward God or constructing a new messiah in His absence?
Martha Marcy May Marlene – Friday, 11 November at 7pm (Tribal Theatre)
After escaping from an abusive cult run by a charismatic Charles Manson-esque leader (played for maximum creepiness by John Hawkes of Winter's Bone and Deadwood), Martha reconnects with a sister she hasn't seen in two years. As she attempts to re-assimilate back into society, she finds her past reaching out to claim her.
A Bitter Taste Of Freedom – Friday, 11 November at 9pm (Palace Barracks)
When Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006, her death became a symbol of the unravelling state of Russia's democratic experiment. Vaunted for her courageous investigations into Russian crimes in Chechnya, Politkovskaya in the end paid for her idealism with her life. Directed by close friend and acclaimed documentary maker Maria Goldovskaya, A Bitter Taste of Freedom provides a deep personal insight into the final years of Politkovskaya's life.
The Skin I Live In – Saturday, 12 November at 6:30pm (Palace Barracks)
Brilliant plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (a commanding performance from Antonio Banderas) splits his time between work and experimenting on Vera (Elena Anaya), the beautiful woman he has locked away on his second floor, whose skin he is slowly replacing with a new synthetic substance. Driven by love and something far, far darker, their experiments threaten to erase the very essence of their humanity.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope – Sunday, 13 November at 12pm (Palace Centro)
Straight from its sell-out sessions at Toronto Film Festival last month, the latest doco romp from Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) explores the pop culture phenomenon of the annual San Diego Comic-Con. Spurlock reportedly had as many as 26 cameras rolling at any one time to capture the thousands of cosplay enthusiasts, über-fans, gamers, cult movie buffs and anime nerds who swarm Comic-Con in the hope of glimpsing heroes like Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Stan Lee and Frank Miller.
Australian Shorts 2 – Sunday, 13 November at 3pm (Tribal Theatre)
Will you find the next Scorsese, Tarkovsky or Charles Chauvel amongst this all-Australian selection of shorts? You wont know until you try.
All Rights Reserved. Matthew Toomey. 2012.