Four years after adding a new celebration of cinema to Brisbane's annual calendar, Queensland Film Festival returns with perhaps its most ambitious event yet — and its most topical. Running from July 19 to 29, the 2018 festival will not only span high-profile new titles, multiple cinephile-friendly retrospectives and QFF's first gallery installation, but will also boast an overwhelmingly strong contingent of female filmmakers.
From opening night's Australian duo of Terror Nullius and Strange Colours (with filmmakers Soda_Jerk and Alena Lodkina in attendance), to festival circuit favourites You Were Never Really Here and The Rider, to a restored print of under-appreciated local coming-of-age horror gem Celia, more than 80 percent of QFF's lineup of 59 features and shorts is either directed or co-directed by women.
That includes the fest's showcase on French filmmakers Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, with the pair coming to Brisbane for QFF ahead of their appearance at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Renowned for lurid genre films that toy with everything from horror to crime to spaghetti westerns, Cattet and Forzani's three full-length efforts to date — the psychosexual, psychedelic Amer; follow-up The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears (which actually initially screened at the first QFF back in 2015); and their latest effort Let the Corpses Tan — all feature in the program.
From the rest of QFF's 2018 bill, other highlights include Lucrecia Martel's Zama, which marks the long-waited next effort from the acclaimed Argentinian filmmaker; as well as the gorgeously otherworldly The Wolf House by Cristóbal León and Joaquin Cociña — an astonishing piece of stop-motion animation that turns a meticulous and creative art installation into an entrancing movie. And, among the fest's other retrospectives, the festival will celebrate the work of avant-garde Czech director Věra Chytilová, whose subversive comedy Daisies is considered one of the landmark films of the 60s.
Anthropologists and documentarians Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel are also in QFF's spotlight, thanks to a program focusing on their observational and immersive explorations of both the natural and man-made world. As part of the latter, GOMA will screen a free, ongoing installation of the duo's work for the duration of festival.
Elsewhere, the fest will feature German horror Hagazussa, about women deemed witches during the Dark Ages; An Elephant Sitting Still, the bleak but moving first and last film by Chinese filmmaker Hu Bo; and creative 3D effort Prototype, which ponders both the deadliest natural disaster in US history strikes and the history and future of cinema. Then, closing out the fest is a pair of movies that combine film and sport: documentary John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection and fictional effort Diamantino, about a soccer star coping with everything from neo-fascism to the refugee crisis to genetic modification.
Queensland Film Festival runs from July 19 to 29 at New Farm Cinemas, Elizabeth Picture Theatre, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Institute of Modern Art. To view the full program or buy tickets, head to the festival website.