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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Brisbane International Film Festival Has Just Revealed Its Full 2020 Lineup

Going ahead as a physical event, this year's festival will feature more than 70 movies across 11 days.
By Sarah Ward
September 02, 2020
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By Sarah Ward
September 02, 2020
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A powerful Australian western that explores the country's troubled history. The world premiere of a celebratory documentary about one of the nation's most important dance companies. A food and movie event that lets audiences step into the world of truffle hunting after eating a feast of truffles. If you're a Brissie cinephile looking for a reason to abandon your streaming queue at the beginning of October, this year's Brisbane International Film Festival has plenty.

The three aforementioned movies — opening night's High Ground, starring Simon Baker as a policeman navigating the aftermath of a brutal massacre of an Indigenous tribe; closing night's Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra, exploring Bangarra Dance Theatre's 30 years in operation; and Italian doco The Truffle Hunters — sit among a 70-plus film program for this year's BIFF, which is slated for Thursday, October 1–Sunday, October 11. And while some of Australia's other major film fests have run virtual events in 2020 (to huge success in Melbourne's case), Brisbane's is forging on as a physical-only affair (with COVID-19 safety measures in place, obviously).

That means Brisbanites will need to head to the Gallery of Modern Art's Australian Cinémathèque, which organises the whole event, to get their festival fix — and to Dendy Coorparoo, the Elizabeth Picture Theatre, New Farm Cinemas, Reading in Newmarket and the State Library of Queensland as well. That's where movie buffs will be able to watch the latest out-there flick from Japanese auteur Sion Sono, Red Post on Escher Street; the Australian premiere of acclaimed British feature Rocks, about a rapping teenager of Nigerian heritage living in East London; Ai Weiwei's new documentary Vivos, examining the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico; and Sundance sci-fi hit Nine Days, starring Us's Winston Duke and Atlanta's Zazie Beetz.

Other highlights include Pete Davidson-starring comedy Big Time Adolescence; drama Blackbird, featuring Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska and Susan Sarandon; Sydney-shot Aussie queer coming-of-age flick Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt); and the latest absurdist piece from Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson, About Endlessness. There's also the delightful Jumbo, starring Portrait of a Lady on Fire's Noémie Merlant as a woman in love with a theme park ride; German horror film Pelican Blood; unnerving British standout Saint Maud; and Hong Sang-soo's minimalist yet insightful The Woman Who Ran.

BIFF also breaks some of its features down into thematic strands, including one on transcendence featuring Tilda Swinton-narrated sci-fi Last and First Men, another on belonging with dive bar hangout doco Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, and yet another about homecomings with includes Gold Coast-made horror-comedy Bloody Hell.

And, as it has every year since GOMA took the helm in 2018, BIFF will also showcase the work of this year's patrons: Aussie acting legend Jack Thompson and Academy Award-nominated film editor Jill Bilcock. On the bill are films starring the former and edited by the latter. The likes of Burke & Wills, Yolgnu Boy and The Assassination of Richard Nixon fall into the first category, with Romeo + Juliet, The Dressmaker and Road to Perdition in the second.

It wouldn't be a GOMA event without getting out the Gallery's 1929 Wurlitzer organ, too, of course. In 2020, it'll be given a whirl during a screening of 1915's Filibus, about the adventures of a female sky pirate.

The 2020 Brisbane International Film Festival runs from Thursday, October 1–Sunday, October 11 at a variety of Brisbane venues. For further information, and to book tickets, head to the festival website.

Top images: Production still from Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra 2020. Directors: Wayne Blair, Nel Minchin. Image courtesy: Icon Film Distribution. Production still from The Truffle Hunters 2020. Director: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw. Image courtesy: Sony Pictures Releasing. Production still from High Ground 2020. Director: Stephen Maxwell Johnson. Image courtesy: Madman Entertainment.

Published on September 02, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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