Some film festivals take audiences to corners of the globe they won't visit in the multiplex, shine a spotlight on different cinematic voices, and showcase the wealth of talent working beyond the English-speaking realm. That's not the British Film Festival's remit. Here, you'll find recognisable names and faces aplenty as the best new movies Old Blighty has to offer embark on a tour of the antipodes.
Taking place between late October and early November at Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay and The Astor Theatre, this year's lineup includes Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy in opening night film Breathe, which marks the directorial debut of The Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis, as well as Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning in the eagerly anticipated How to Talk to Girls at Parties. The former tells a true tale of a couple striving to overcome a death sentence from polio, while the latter is a queer sci-fi rock-punk comedy based on a Neil Gaiman short story and directed by Hedwig and the Angry Inch's John Cameron Mitchell. Yep, this program might speak the same language as Australians, but it's serving up a variety of stories.
If you're going to put one flick to put on your must-see list, make it The Death of Stalin. It's the latest from The Thick of Itand Veep creator Armando Iannucci, and features everyone from Steve Buscemi to Jeffrey Tambor to Michael Palin. Other highlights include Fanning again in Mary Shelley, a biopic about the writer behind Frankenstein that's helmed by Wadjdadirector Haifaa Al-Mansour, as well as England is Mine, with Dunkirk's Jack Lowden playing none other than Morrissey.
Elsewhere, Saoirse Ronan stars in On Chesil Beach, her latest Ian McEwan adaptation after coming to fame in Atonement, while true story 6 Days recreates the 1980 storming of the Iranian embassy in London with Mark Strong, Jamie Bell and Abbie Cornish. BFF also boasts docos about Manolo Blahnik and Eric Clapton, a biopic about AA Milne and the genesis of Winnie the Pooh, and one of the last films to feature the late John Hurt in That Good Night.
Looking back as well as forward, a selection of Agatha Christie adaptations round out the lineup. Timed to coincide with the new version of Murder on the Orient Express, the program includes the 1974 take on the same tale, plus three other classics.