There’s a decidedly oriental tinge to this year’s Gold Coast Film Festival. Jiang Wen’s extremely successful rice-noodle Chinese comedy western Let The Bullets Fly (which had its premiere at the Brisbane International Film Festival – read my review HERE) has been chosen as the opening night film and there’s a ‘Cool Japan’ line-up which features the Australian premieres of Makoto Shinkai‘s (Voice of a Distant Star) exquisitely rendered anime Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below - a nostalgic and mystical adventure concerning family loss which firmly places the young director in a league with the laudable likes of manga masters Katsuhiro Ohtomo, Mamoru Oshii and Hayao Miyazaki. On the non-animated front we have the welcome return screenings of Anh Hung Tran‘s Sydney Film festival favourite Norweigan Wood and Takashi Miike‘s kinetic Seven Samurai throwback 13 Assassins. Two further manic manga adaptations, Shinsuke Sato‘s Gantz and it’s sequel Gantz: Perfect Answer complete the Cool Japan program.
But undoubtedly the biggest draw to GGFF are the Aussie premiere’s of some decidedly dark Aussie films, which continues a trend after the brooding impressive likes of Animal Kingdom, Red Hill and Wasted on the Young. This year we have the debut Queensland release of the smartly executed Needle – a mystery killer thriller with a supernatural twist that stormed the 2010 Screamfest in Los Angeles and picked up a slew of awards at the 2010 British Horror Film Festival in Bournemouth. With an attractive cast that includes Animal Kingdom’s Ben Mendelsohn and genre favourite John Jarratt we anticipate something special here. The same can be said about Joe Bauer’s low-budget stalk and slash comedy rehash The Killage which makes its Australian premiere at GCFF. And for anyone who attended the Brisbane International Film Festival but missed Paul China’s Noirish double-crossing Hitchcockian thriller Crawl there’s a welcome second essential opportunity to view it here following its world premiere at Screamfest 2011 in Los Angeles.
An ‘Action on Film’ segment also paths way for James Gunn’s action comedy loser-in-superhero-guise mash-up (sound familiar?) Super, which features Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Liv Tyler and Rob Minkoff’s (The Forbidden Kingdom) crime-caper Flypaper, that sees Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd caught up in a twin bank heist complete with supposedly hilarious consequences. From South Korea there’s action revenge thriller The Man From Nowhere, which became the country’s highest grossing film last year, from China Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame will prove that elongated titles are back in vogue, while there’s the first ever Congolese to see a US release: Viva Riva! and a screening of the enormously fun Norwegian found-footage horror comedy Troll Hunter. A documentary program includes the martial arts likes of Put Up Your Dux – concerning famed martialartist Frank Dux; the man who Jean Claude Van Damme played in actioner Bloodsport, Tominaga Masanori’s The Echo of Astro Boy’s Footsteps, which celebrates the Astro Boy sound designer Matsuo Ohno and Peter Hegedus‘ guilty but fun ‘American Dream’ lambaster My America.
How couldn’t you look forward to a new Luc Besson film? Well, (continuing the title trend), The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is a period, err, adventure that has a barmy premise involving a reporter tackling mummies in Egypt and a recently hatched 136 million-year-old pterodactyl egg that unleashes flying dinosaurs onto a panic-ridden Paris! Salvation Boulevard will pit pastor Pierce Brosnan against born again Christian Greg Kinnear in an all-star comedy caper yawn (sorry yarn!) and The Ages of Love promises to re-ignite Robert De Niro’s libedo and his career in a tale of men and the wild women they encounter (one of whom being Monica Bellucci). Completing the cosmopolitan feel are Asia Pacific Screen nominated dramas from Turkey (Once Upon A Time in Anatolia), Russia (Elena) and Sweden (Beyond the Border) and from Ken Loach Route Irish - the Cannes nominated post Iraq war drama that centres on the unsung private contractors who helped to rebuild said city.
With a host of encouraging film-maker seminars headed by the likes of John Soto (Needle), Andrew Traucki (Black Water & The Reef), Ross Grayson Bell (producer of Fight Club and Under Suspicion) and Japanese anime producers like Noritaka Kawaguichi (CEO of CoMix Waves Films Incorporated) and Tamaki Oramoto, along with a retrospective 35mm screening of Mad Max, not to mention Attack the Block for the closing night film, there’s plenty to be intrigued about at this year’s GCFF.
The Gold Coast Film Festival commences from 21st until 27th November.
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