The Brisbane International Film Festival is back again — with more than 100 films over 11 days, and with the Gallery of Modern Art at the helm. Organised by GOMA for the first time, this year's BIFF boasts local and international features, an array of special events and guests, and the Australian premiere of one of 2018's most controversial titles.
The festival kicks off on Thursday, October 11 with the already-announced Celeste, an operatic drama set within north Queensland's lush greenery, before coming to close on Sunday, October 21 with Debra Granik's empathetic father-daughter drama Leave No Trace. In-between, high-profile highlights include Hotel by the River, the latest film by prolific Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo, and the Melissa McCarthy-starring Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a twisty effort about a real-life writing scandal. And then there's Lars Von Trier's ultra-violent The House That Jack Built, which is set in the 1970s, stars Matt Dillon as a serial killer, and prompted considerable walk-outs when it debuted at at Cannes.
Other notable titles span festival circuit favourites such as Cannes Palme d'Or-winner Shoplifters, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's The Wild Pear Tree, and Jia Zhangke's crime romance Ash is the Purest White, plus Jafar Panahi's 3 Faces, Christian Petzold's Transit and the Paul Dano-directed Wildlife. This year's Berlinale Golden Bear winner Touch Me Not also features, as does the experimental and immersive Madeline's Madeline, the gloriously lurid Knife + Heart, and Guy Madden's entrancing The Green Fog. Or, there's M.I.A. documentary Matangi/Maya/ M.I.A., as well as a doco about the making of David Lynch's Blue Velvet — a nice remember that Lynch himself went to GOMA just a few years ago, in his first and only visit to Australia.
On the local front, Australian standouts include the excellent Acute Misfortune, about artist Adam Cullen and journalist Erik Jensen; [CENSORED], featuring film clips excised by the country's censorship board between 1958–71; Terror Nullius, Soda Jerk's Aussie movie mashup; and Ghosthunter, which relays a strange tale that can only be true. Keeping things very local is The Picture Show Men, a documentary about the Sourris family — aka the folks behind New Farm Cinemas, the Elizabeth Picture Theatre and the potential new cinema slated for Red Hill.
Events-wise, viewers can see documentary Ex Libris: The New York Public Library at a special screening at the State Library of Queensland, or catch a blend of virtual reality with live performance courtesy of the inventive thriller Frogman. Live music will accompany sessions of classics The Cameraman and The Passion of Joan of Arc, while the soundtracks of Japanese composer Teiji Ito will also be thrust into the spotlight.
As previously unveiled, BIFF is training its gaze on movies either involving or considered inspiring by festival patrons Bruce Beresford and Sue Milliken — who've worked together on a number of titles, including this year's Ladies in Black. As well as featuring in an in-conversation session about their careers, they'll join Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin for a chat about Mao's Last Dancer, Beresford's adaption of Li's autobiography.
The list goes on, with strands dedicated to African and Iranian cinema, plus a mystery movie in a secret location. With the latter, the details won't be revealed until you get there, but it's a new, buzz-worthy film that you won't see elsewhere in BIFF's 2018 program.
The 2018 Brisbane International Film Festival will take place from October 11–21 at the Gallery of Modern Art, Event Cinemas Myer Centre, New Farm Cinemas, the Elizabeth Picture Theatre, Reading Cinemas Newmarket, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane Powerhouse and the State Library of Queensland.