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20th Brisbane International Film Festival: Preview of Coming Attractions

The benchmark for any decent film festival is the level of cinematic diversity it offers and thankfully Brisbane’s 25th anniversary international film festival, which commences on the 3rd November, appears to have delivered that desired ensemble.

The benchmark for any decent film festival is the level of cinematic diversity it offers. A good mix of entertaining, provocative, intriguing and possibly even perverse selections from around the globe with a few classic retrospectives thrown in for good measure that inform, intrigue, delight, outrage and provoke thoughtful debate is all that one can hope for in a well compiled line-up. Thankfully Brisbane€™s 20th anniversary international film festival, which commences on the 3rd November, appears to have delivered that desired ensemble. While commencing with the Aussie premieres of Joe Cornish€™s UK genre-bender Attack the Block and closing with Pedro Almodovar€™s psychologically intense genre hybrid The Skin I Live In, and with a few entries bleeding over from this year€™s Sydney Film Festival (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Tyrannosaur and Take Shelter amongst others), there€™s more than enough fresh material in between to make the trip to another Aussie state worthwhile. Something that was noticeably absent from the Sydney line-up was sufficient local Aussie product. Thankfully Brisbane has filled this gaping void somewhat with a slew of classic and contemporary Aussie surfer movies native to the state that is famous for having a €˜Surfer€™s Paradise€™ on the Gold Coast. One of such surfer safaris is Bruce Beresford€™s classic dating teenage surf chick flick Puberty Blues (er, actually set in Sydney) from 1981 while another, Morning of the Earth is a seminal seventies counter-culture favourite that bogusly dismisses dialogue and narrative all-together to let the majestic surf do the talking. For genre aficionados there€™s the always encouraging spate of horror movies from around the globe. Ones that stand out from the pile include the low-budget Israeli slasher film Rabies, which promises to navigate chillingly uncharted territories, the Argentinean Apartment chiller Penumbra, whose directorial team has been billed as €œhorror cinema€™s answer to the Coen Brothers.€ Then there are the repulsive unapologetic prospects of The Human Centipede2, the debauched cult horror endurance tests that will be Canada€™s Manborg and the post-apocalyptic video game fuckery of The FP, whilst The Troll Hunter (spilled over from SFF) completes a frightening late-Halloween line-up. But perhaps most promising of all is Drive-In Delirium Presents Trailorpalooza, which unveils a collection of warped cult film trailers cut from the last half-century, introduced by the impressionable Not Quite Hollywood Aussie master Mark Hartley and screened in style at a purpose-built drive-In cinema. The thirst for total carnage continues with 50 Best Kills €“ a comical collection of the finest kills committed to film, which has been curated by cult name Lars Nilsen - founder of Austin-based film evening Weird Wednesday. And how could we forget to include the Hitchcockian Aussie outback thriller Crawl (more No Country For Old Men/Blood Simple than Psycho) that has been brought to screen by another debuting sibling line up: the Gold Coast brothers Paul and Benjamin China. No film festival is complete without a host of mind-broadening documentaries. BIFF doesn€™t disappoint with docs on the great Arthur Penn (as part of a tribute to the deceased auteur €“ which also sees Night Moves, Left-Handed Gun, Missouri Breaks and Bonnie and Clyde screened), Ingmar Bergman, Tony Curtis, Charlotte Rampling, Fellini along with offerings by both documentarian debutant Anthony Baxter and the latest from Morgan Spurlock that target subjects as diverse as Donald Trump and Comic Con respectively. Missed the Venice Film Festival? Well BIFF has managed to ship over both David Cronenberg€™s latest Viggo Mortensen collaboration A Dangerous Method, Tomas Alfredson€™s unrelated Let the Right One In follow up Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Lars Van Triers critic divider Melancholia. Shame no Shame (London Film fest has it) but you can€™t have everything. Oh and I failed to mention uncompromising Aussie master of sleazy, pornographically hinged edgy dramas and tough relentless serial killer thrillers (see Redball, Darklovestory and Acolytes) Jon Hewitt and his latest intoxicating effort X - which chronicles the last night on the job of a call girl and was daringly shot on location in the midst of the red light district confines of Sydney's The Cross. And then there's Nikita Mikhalkov€™s long-waited back-to-back Burnt by the Sun Soviet Union centred follow-ups Exodus and Citadel and the audacious output from Hong Kong (The Drunkard, Let the Bullets Fly, Revenge: A Love Story), South Korea (The Yellow Sea, Arirang), Iran (the politically controversial This is Not a Film), Norway (King of Devil€™s Island), France (See How They Fall, A Little Princess) and Austria (Michael). Gus Van Sant's promising quirky romance Restless and Nicolas Winding Refn's stylish and loving ode to cult car-integral crime thrillers Drive (fittingly screened at the purpose built drive-in cinema) complete the stateside offering. Tune in daily from 3rd till the 13th November for complete coverage from one of the biggest film festivals down under.
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Oliver Pfeiffer is a freelance writer who trained at the British Film Institute. He joined OWF in 2007 and now contributes as a Features Writer. Since becoming Obsessed with Film he has interviewed such diverse talents as actors Keanu Reeves, Tobin Bell, Dave Prowse and Naomie Harris, new Hammer Studios Head Simon Oakes and Hollywood filmmakers James Mangold, Scott Derrickson and Uk director Justin Chadwick. Previously he contributed to dimsum.co.uk and has had other articles published in Empire, Hecklerspray, Se7en Magazine, Pop Matters, The Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle and more recently SciFiNow Magazine and The Guardian. He loves anything directed by Cronenberg, Lynch, Weir, Haneke, Herzog, Kubrick and Hitchcock and always has time for Hammer horror films, Ealing comedies and those twisted Giallo movies. His blog is: http://sites.google.com/site/oliverpfeiffer102/