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By Concrete Playground
February 23, 2021
By Concrete Playground
February 23, 2021


Choc tops, popcorn and surround sound await.

After a year of streaming flicks on our laptops and phones, it's time to put bums back on seats at actual cinemas. Excitingly, you can do that at IRL film festivals, which are popping up at various Queensland cinemas over the next few months. We've rounded up a few of our faves right here. Pencil them in your diary and, when the time comes, order an extra large popcorn and get ready for some serious viewing.

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    Jewish International Film Festival 2021

    Each week, Australia’s cinemas deliver plenty of excuses to spend time in a darkened theatre with your eyes glued to the big screen. But when the Jewish International Film Festival returns for 2021 — after sitting out last year due to the pandemic — it’ll serve up even more reasons to spend a night or several at the flicks, especially if you’re keen to explore a top-notch program of movies and television shows with ties to Jewish culture.

    The full hefty lineup spans 29 features, 19 documentaries and episodes from three TV series, a portion of which will be on the bill when the festival hits Brisbane between Thursday, February 18–Sunday, February 28 — screening at New Farm Cinemas. JIFF 2021 will open with Incitement, which won Best Film at the Ophir Awards (aka Israel’s version of the Oscars), and steps into a young Orthodox law student’s attempt to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minister in 1995. At the other end of the fest, it’ll close with the first two episodes from the third season of Shtisel, starring Unorthodox breakout Shira Haas as the member of a Haredi family in Jerusalem.

    Also on offer: Haas again, this time as a teenager with a degenerative health condition in Asia; coming-of-age comedy Shiva Baby, focusing on a college student dealing with dramas at the titular event; and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, about a Jewish family fleeing Berlin in the 30s. Or, you can check out The Last Vermeer, with Dracula‘s Claes Bang as an army officer investigating paintings taken by the Nazis and Aussie star Guy Pearce playing a Dutch art dealer; documentary Breaking Bread, about the A-sham Food Festival; and Persian Lessons, which follows a man who falsely claims he’s Persian instead of Jewish to escape execution.

    Top image: Shtisel, Ohad Romano.

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    Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2021

    Australia’s annual Alliance Francaise French Film Festival marked its 30th year back in 2019, and celebrated the big occasion with no troubles at all. Proving that no one loves entering their 30s, however, the event hit a few struggles when it turned 31. That happened in March 2020, when Australia started to go into lockdown. The fest was already underway, so AFFFF had to stop screening, postpone its plans, then pick things up again in July and August after cinemas started reopening.

    Here’s hoping that 2021, the fest’s 32nd year, all runs smoothly. AFFFF has 37 films on its hefty lineup this time around, and it’s touring them around the country. The event will be making its usual capital city stops, so French movie fans in Brisbane can expect to spend plenty of time at Palace Barracks and Palace James Street between March 17–April 13 — and there’ll also be a season playing in Byron Bay as well.

    As for what you’ll be seeing, AFFFF will open its 2021 lineup with Eiffel, a new biopic starring Romain Duris (All the Money in the World) as the civil engineer who gave Paris’ most famous attraction its name. At the other end of its program, the fest will close out with rom-com #Iamhere, which follows a French chef who falls in love via Instagram. And, in-between its two big bookending events, viewers can look forward to a heap of movies starring recognisable faces — including Monica Bellucci, Lupin‘s charming Omar Sy, the incomparable Isabelle Huppert and Kristin Scott Thomas.

    Highlights include The Man Who Sold His Skin, a twisty tale about a Syrian refugee, a tattoo artist and an unusual bargain; Summer of 85, the latest film from acclaimed director François Ozon; and police drama Night Shift, which dives deep into not only law enforcement, but alsoits handling of immigration matters. Or, there’s Fahim, the Little Chess Prince, about the Bangladeshi refugee who became a national French chess champion; The Godmother, which sees Huppert tussle with the drug game; and Aline, which is inspired by the life of Céline Dion.

    Elsewhere, the story of France’s first restaurant hits the screen via 18th-century-set period drama, Delicious; Final Set sees an ageing tennis player try to win the French Open; Miss follows a boy who’d like to enter the Miss France beauty pageant; and delightful animated feature Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary imagines Calamity Jane’s early years. Fans of Deerskin filmmaker Quentin Dupieux can also check out his latest, Mandibles — and, because AFFF always shows at least one absolute classic French flick, this year it’s screening Jean-Luc Godard’s 1959 masterpiece Breathless.

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    Ocean Film Festival World Tour 2021

    There’s something oh-so-relaxing about staring at the sea, even if you’re feasting your eyes on the water via the big screen. That’s the concept behind the Ocean Film Festival Australia. You can’t always spend all your time at the beach, by the river or in a pool — but you can spend an evening peering at the next best thing in a cinema.

    From Wednesday, March 24–Sunday, March 27, the festival will unleash a cinematic feast of water-focused wonders onto the silver screen at Brisbane Powerhouse. Sessions screen at 7pm each night, and there’s a 2pm matinee on the Saturday as well.

    Film-wise, viewers will spend time both above and below the ocean’s surface thanks to a compilation of shorts from around the world. Expect to chase big waves, explore a range of sea life and get a hefty ocean rush, plus a heap of other sea adventures.

    The program is united by a love of the ocean, an appreciation of the creatures who dwell in its waters and a curiosity to explore the substance that comprises more than two-thirds of the earth. It’s the next best thing to diving in, all without getting wet.

    Image: Travis Burke.

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    Gold Coast Film Festival 2021

    There are a variety of ways to enjoy a great movie. Heading to the cinema is one of the best, of course, but you can get your big screen fix in multiple ways, too. Perhaps you’d like to watch a classic comedy on a rooftop? Maybe you’re keen on wearing pink, drinking cocktails and paying tribute to a retro favourite? Or, you could like watching flicks in a brewery — with beers, obviously — or while perched 77 levels above the ground.

    They’re just some of the options at the 2021 Gold Coast Film Festival, which returns for another year from Wednesday, April 14–Sunday, April 25, and will once again take over multiple venues around the beachside city. Under the guidance of new director Aimée Lindorff, the fest will showcase more than 100 films, talks and parties. The full lineup doesn’t hit until March 10; however, if you’re keen on special events, this celebration of cinema has already revealed plenty.

    Those eager to scale Australia Fair Shopping Centre can watch Clueless under the stars — at a secret rooftop location at the venue. And, if your wardrobe calls for it, you can hop over to the QT Gold Coast for a pink-themed Legally Blonde party and screening. Beer lovers can make a date with Burleigh Cinema at Burleigh Brewing Company, and pick between Aussie great Two Hands and the Margot Robbie-starring I, Tonya. Or, up at the Skypoint Observation Deck in the Q1 Building, you can catch family classics like Dumbo, Up and Mary Poppins Returns.



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