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Get ready Brisbane, BIFF is back!

BIFF 2005
by Trevor Gensch

I must be getting old or the earth must be rotating faster because I am finding it hard to believe that BIFF is back around again with us. It seems only mere months ago Brisbane fans were treated to a dizzying selection of domestic and foreign film. But yes, BIFF 2005 is here.

This year the good people at BIFF have really put their heads together on how they can come up with a better festival. The program and associated events show a real creativity at work, something which this reviewer applauds and feverently hopes will work out.

So to quickly look at some of the innovations, let's start with the return of the children's screenings - this year renamed Cinesparks. The children's program brings together kiddie friendly programming from around the world in a showcase specifically designed to get the youngsters interested in films from the non-english speaking world. Some of the highlights include an intriguing Spanish film, 4th Floor, about a ward of young cancer patients and how they deal with their illness. Another to look at for is from first time French director Gilles Legrand, Malabar Princess, a film that really has it all; trains, treasure hunting and beautiful mountainous locations.

An exciting feature of this years festival is Blacktop Dreams, a retrospective look at some of the best road movies every made. Keep an eye out for the Nick Cave road-trip The Road to God Knows Where, as well as other classics like Badlands, Vanishing Point and Wrong Side of the Road.

BIFF has always been known for its innovative looks at differing aspects of cinema and film-making, and this year is no exception. We have an exciting look at fifty years of Malaysian Cinema, with 11 films show us a variety of styles of this often neglected part of world cinema. Korean independent cinema gets the royal treatment, with a dozen films provided by the latest Korean directors.

Silent cinema is again supported in this year's program with a screening of EA Dupont's 1929 classic, Piccadilly. Featuring a specially composed score by local jazz virtuoso Claire Hansson, it is an event not to be missed for lovers of this bygone era of cinema.

So where does that leave the rest of the program? In pretty good hands believe you me! With 200 or so films to keep you happy this year, there is something for everyone.

Some of the films I will be catching this year and are strongly recommended include:

Based on a True Story - you've seen Dog Day Afternoon, now see the real thing! An absorbing doco following the events immortalised in the Pacino classic, this film not only looks at the robbery, but the ensuing years as the protagonists deal with the infamy.
Banffy Castle - deep in the bowels of a crumbling Romanian castle, documentary filmmaker Tobias Muller searches for some vestige of humanity or hope amidst the refuse of society and the mentally insane.
Puppy - Australian filmmaker and BIFF favourite Kieran Galvin returns with his first feature film, a dark tale of love, delusion and abduction. Never a director to give you the easy path, Galvin will lead you through your darkest emotions, but somehow leave you revitalised, refreshed.
36 Quaides ofreures - one of the two Showcase presentations this year, this film sees the welcome return of Daniel Autueil to our screens, ably supported by Deparduei, in a stylish thriller about two detectives ruthlessly fighting for a prized promotion.
Pin Boy - the life and times of Ringo, an Argentinean country lad working in a bowling alley. If you liked last year's Buena Vida Delivery, then this one will not disappoint.
Heavens Gate -a lot has been said about this film, most of it unkind. If you have never seen it, go and see it and make your own opinion. It also screens with an excellent making of, making this a superb offering from BIFF.
I Told you I was Ill - Spike Milligan. If you have ever spent too much time rolling around on the floor trying to hold your sides in from laughing too much, then you will appreciate how much of a joy this documentary on the man is.
Beautiful Washing Machine - absurdity is let loose in this film of laundry, servitude and liberation.
Colour of Milk - part of Cinesparks, the children's festival, Colour of Milk is a Norwegian offering about teenagers in love.

Now this is only the smallest of examples of the great films at this year's festival. Check out the BIFF website, it's got all the details.

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for my exciting film diaries, where I will give you the low-down of all the exciting stuff happening at the festival.

See you in the stalls thrill-seekers!

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originally posted: 07/24/05 11:10:08
last updated: 07/24/05 11:41:03
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