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Brisbane International Film Festival Has Just Announced Its Jam-Packed Full 2021 Lineup

Under a new team, this year's BIFF will screen 103 films across 11 days, including new movies starring Oscar Isaac, Tilda Swinton and Nicolas Cage.
By Sarah Ward
October 01, 2021
By Sarah Ward
October 01, 2021

After revealing the first four titles from this year's program back in mid-September, the Brisbane International Film Festival has just unveiled its entire 103-film 2021 lineup. Brissie cinephiles, get ready to spend 11 days in the city's cinemas watching everything from Edgar Wright's latest, an Oscar Isaac-starring gambling drama and this year's Berlinale Golden Bear winner, through to flicks based on Twitter threads, new works from acclaimed directors and Nicolas Cage's latest OTT effort (yes, another one).

Those aforementioned highlights include Last Night in Soho, which sees Shaun of the Dead filmmaker Wright embrace psychological thrills; The Card Counter, starring not only Isaac but Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip); and Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, owner of the best movie title you're likely to see anytime soon. And, it also covers Zola, the wild drama based on that viral 148-tweet thread; Vortex, the latest film from Love's Gaspar Noe; Memoria, which sees Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Cemetery of Splendour) team up with Tilda Swinton for his English-language debut (and for BIFF's closing night slot) — and Prisoners of the Ghostland, where Cage joins forces with inimitable Japanese director Sion Sono (Why Don't You Play in Hell?Tokyo Tribe).

In total 81 features and 22 shorts are on the revamped BIFF's bill, screening at New Farm Cinemas, The Elizabeth Picture Theatre, Reading Newmarket, Dendy Coorparoo, Palace James Street and GOMA's Australian Cinémathèque between Thursday, October 21–Sunday, October 31. Still sticking with numbers, that includes four world premieres and 26 Australian premieres among the feature lineup — and, across both full-length and short films, 150 sessions in total.

Other must-sees: the already-announced The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, with the Leah Purcell-starring and -directed film kicking off this year's festival; Petite Maman, the eagerly anticipated new film from Portrait of a Lady on Fire's Céline Sciamma; and The Worst Person in the World, the Norwegian comedy-drama that picked the Best Actress prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

From the just-revealed newcomers to the lineup, Australian documentary River, Hugo Weaving and Tilda Cobham-Hervey-starring Aussie thriller Lone Wolf, and eagerly awaited drama Bergman Island from Mia Hansen-Løve (Things to Come) all sit alongside Andrea Arnold's (American Honey) documentary Cow, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's Japanese duo of Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, and sublime German fantasy-drama Undine. Plus, Viggo Mortensen jumps both behind and in front of the lens with Falling, Alicia Vikander leads immigration drama Blue Bayou, Wyrmwood: Apocalypse serves up an Aussie horror sequel and the original version of The Witches is getting a retro screening.

And, if you didn't see them during the Melbourne International Film Festival's online-only 2021 event, Sisters with Transistors, The Girl and the Spider and Witches of the Orient are also in BIFF's program. So is stellar Aussie doco Strong Female Lead, if you haven't watched it online.

BIFF 2021 marks the fest's latest iteration, after the festival has gone through more than a few changes over the years. The event was unceremoniously cancelled after its 2013 fest in favour of the short-lived Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival, then revived by Palace Cinemas in 2017, and then run by the Gallery of Modern Art from 2018–20. Now, it sits under Film Fantastic, who also organise the Gold Coast Film Festival, with the organisation winning a three-year tender for the 2021–23 festivals.

The 2021 Brisbane International Film Festival runs between Thursday, October 21–Sunday, October 31. For further information, or to buy tickets, head to the festival website.

Published on October 01, 2021 by Sarah Ward


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