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Brisbane International Film Festival 2021

The 27th Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) has unveiled its program. BIFF presents a Brisbane-wide program of international festival favourites, Australian content, award-winners and critical darlings over 11 packed days from 21 to 31 October 2021. The program this year includes 81 feature films – including 4 world, 26 Australian and 33 Queensland premieres – 22 short films and 10 industry events across seven venues.

Opening night: The Drover’s Wife

The festival will open with Leah Purcell’s debut feature, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson. This highly anticipated film is a re-imagining of Henry Lawson’s classic tale. Purcell wrote, directed and co-produced the film.

It closes with the 2021 Cannes Jury Prize-winning Memoria, directed by acclaimed auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives). The film stars Tilda Swinton and explores the power of memory and the significance of relationships. It represents Weerasethakul’s first English language feature.

Elsewhere, the program includes the return of Shock Corridor to BIFF. The sidebar features cult and genre films including outrageous science fiction westerns, horror films, conspiracy theories and psychedelic animations. This edition will also see the debut of Future Moves, a dedicated strand of immersive, experimental titles that explore cinema’s ability to evolve; and Connections, a collection of films that reveal the beauty of meaningful relationships, the delight of romance and the possibilities of unexpected encounters.

Closing night: Memoria

Among the other highlights:

Zola: The smash hit from Sundance 2020, Zola stars Taylour Paige (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) as Zola and Riley Keough (The Girlfriend Experience) as Stefani. Zola, a Detroit waitress, is seduced into a weekend of stripping in Florida for some quick cash — but the trip becomes a sleepless 48-hour odyssey involving a nefarious friend, her pimp, and her idiot boyfriend. Zola captures the stranger-than-fiction appeal of the viral Twitter thread that inspired it. A darkly comic and raucously outrageous road trip adventure.

Paris Funeral, 1972: This striking feature debut from Brisbane filmmaker Adam Briggs follows the passage of Rosario, an itinerant and highly charismatic Italian in his 60s as he drifts through Australia before he returns to France and Italy, in the company of musicians Kate and Ella. Attentively shot on 16mm, the film’s cast is composed of non-actors playing versions of themselves as they reinterpret and fictionalise their own lives.

Compartment No. 6: A poignant, quirky love story that shared the prestigious Grand Prix at Cannes 2021. Compartment No. 6, like all great train movies, is full of humour and romance, and complete with surprises. Compartment No. 6 has been compared to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. The second feature directed by Juho Kuosmanen, is based on the novel by Rosa Liksom and the story of a Finnish woman who escapes a love affair in Moscow and connects with a Russian miner she meets in a small train compartment on the way to the Arctic port of Murmansk. They’re divided by class, nationality, and language. This is a charming, captivating film that follows two strangers who form an unexpected bond.

Bergman Island

Bergman Island: A couple of American filmmakers, Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) retreat to the mythical Fårö island for the Summer. In this wild, breathtaking landscape where Ingmar Bergman lived and shot his most celebrated pieces, they hope to find inspiration for their upcoming films. As days spent separately pass by, the fascination for the island operates on Chris and souvenirs of her first love resurface. Lines between reality and fiction will then progressively blur and tear our couple even more apart.

For those seeking old rather than new, BIFF is also including The Discreet Charm of Ernst Lubitsch. This segment showcases six essential films from the master filmmaker that define Lubitsch’s
signature wit, humour and maturity.

BIFF is an 11-day celebration of film from 21 – 31 October 2021. View the full program and purchase tickets at biff.com.au.

David Edwards

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