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Brisbane International Film Festival 2023

A Paul Mescal-starring romance, Taika Waititi's new movie, this year's Cannes and Venice winners — they're all on the lineup when BIFF returns for 11 days.
By Sarah Ward
September 21, 2023
By Sarah Ward
September 21, 2023

When you've already got 2023's Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or-winner and Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion recipient on your lineup, what comes next? If you're the Brisbane International Film Festival, you fill out your program with impressive flicks from fests around the world, and featuring beloved talents. Two big standouts: All of Us Strangers, as led by Fleabag's Andrew Scott and Aftersun's Paul Mescal — plus Taika Waititi's new movie Next Goal Wins.

Both sit on a bill that'll show River City cinephiles 42 features and 18 shorts across 11 movie-filled days in from Thursday, October 26–Sunday, November 5, taking over various Reading, Dendy and Five Star cinemas. Accordingly, BIFF will see the two of the internet's boyfriends grace its screens in the newest effort directed by Weekend and Lean on Pete's Andrew Haigh — and then come to a close with a Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Dark Phoenix)-starring soccer comedy based on the 2014 documentary of the same name.

Also a massive highlight: BIFF becoming the latest Australian festival to show Strange Way of Life, aka the most-anticipated short of the year. As well as featuring The Last of Us favourite Pedro Pascal, the 30-minute flick is the newest work by inimitable Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers) and co-stars Ethan Hawke (Moon Knight).

The 2023 fest will open with Uproar from New Zealand — then showcase Palme d'Or-anointed Anatomy of a Fall, French director Justine Triet's (Sibyl) drama about an author (Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann) accused of her husband's murder; Poor Things from The Favourite's Yorgos Lanthimos, which gives Frankenstein a new take; and Hirokazu Kore-eda's Monster, the prolific helmer's latest on a lengthy resume that also includes Shoplifters and Broker.

Other standouts span May December, which hails from Carol filmmaker Todd Haynes, is led by Natalie Portman (Thor: Love and Thunder) and Julianne Moore (Sharper), and dives into a scandal — and also The Royal Hotel from Casting JonBenet and The Assistant helmer Kitty Green, which turns doco Hotel Coolgardie into an Aussie thriller featuring Julia Garner (Ozark) and Jessica Henwick (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery). Hugo Weaving (Love Me) also pops up in that, as well as in The Rooster, which follows a hermit and a cop who form a bond during a crisis.

Or, Brisbane movie lovers can check out Housekeeping for Beginners from You Won't Be Alone and Of an Age's Goran Stolevski; German filmmaker Wim Wenders (Submergence) heading to Japan with Perfect Days; Earth Mama, an A24 release by Grammy-nominated music video veteran Savanah Leaf; birth/rebirth, which also riffs on Frankenstein; and Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, a documentary about an Estonian log-cabin sauna.

Body-horror film Tiger Stripes is set in the Malaysian jungle and won the 2023 Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prize, Riceboy Sleeps spends time with a Korean single mother and her son as they start a new life in Canada in the 90s, and Sunflower spins a coming-of-age tale in the Melbourne suburbs — plus Australia's You'll Never Find Me centres on a caravan resident, a surprise visitor and a thunderstorm.

The list goes on, complete with the talk show-set horror Late Night with the Devil; The Ending Goes Forever: The Screamfeeder Story, focusing on of Brisbane's 90s indie-music favourites; You Should Have Been Here Yesterday's look at the early days of Aussie surf culture; the Randall Park (Strays)-directed comedy Shortcomings; and homegrown festive comedy A Savage Christmas.

Peering backwards, BIFF's lineup also features retrospective sessions of 1950'sThe Munekata Sisters, 1963's Contempt and 2002's Rabbit-Proof Fence.

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