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Brisbane International Film Festival 2003 Officially launched
by Trevor Gensch

You know you're at an Australian film festivall when a politician turns up to a movie and doesn't try to ban it from being shown. And that' sjust what happened when the Honourable Matt Foley, Minister for Employment, Training and Youth, as well as Minister for the Arts, officially launched the Brisbane International Film Festival for 2003 in a ceremony at the Queen Street Mall. Traditionally overshadowed by the growing Sydney Film Fest, and the population explosion of Melbourne-based festivals, the Brisbane Fest has quietly maintained a strong line-up from year to year, and BIFF 2003 promises to be another spectacular year for the festival.

So I had a quick browse through an early release of the festival lineup and picked out some of the flicks that look like they will be interesting viewing, at least to me. If you're not that interested, clearly you have issues. Or I do.

Blue Car ( - USA
Meg is a quiet teenager with a promising literary ability, but since her father left her family has been falling apart and she increasingly struggles to care for her scarred younger sister. Her only outlet is poetry, supported by her teacher. A melancholy, insightful coming of age drama.

The Cuckoo ( - Russia
A surprisingly funny film, about enemy solders both condemned to death by their own sides who find themselves sharing a farmhouse with its owner at the end of WW2.

Dracula - Pages from a Virgins Diary ( - Canada
An extravagant masterpiece, re-telling Dracula in a lush synthesis of silent film and classical ballet.

Intacto ( - Spain
Holocaust survivor Sam (Max Von Sydow) runs a casino in the Canary Islands, only facing humanity for the occasional game of Russian Roulette. When his right hand man Frederico leaves, Sam steals his gift of luck. Bent on revenge - Frederico searches the world for someone lucky enough to take on Sam and finds Tomas, the solve survivor of an air disaster.

Love Liza ( - USA
Philip Seymour Hoffman is compelling as a man going off the rails in this fierce, tragic film. When Wilson Joel's wife Liza inexplicably commits suicide, the people around him want to help. One by one they turn away as he fails to conform to their need. He seeks solace in petrol sniffing and finds temporary salvation in the company of remote-control model enthusiasts, but nothing lasts....

Sex is Comedy ( - France
Jeanne is directing a difficult love scene. Aided by her loyal assistant director, Jeanne is hell-bent on getting it right, without compromise or dishonesty, but she is constantly frustrated by a coy lead actress and an insecure actor.

This years festival also has a spotlight on Argentinian film - with three films on offer - The Faith of a Volcano, Lucky Day and Smokers Only. As with last years focus on Iranian cinema, this years selections look to be an incredibly interesting mix.

Of course a BIFF would not be complete without the complement of fine Asian features, and this year is no exception. Expect to be dazzled by such far as Eliana, Eliana, Oasis, Shadow Kill, Too Young to Die and Bitter Harvest.

Australian film is not neglected either with the superb new film Japanese Story being screened. Other Australian fare includes the bittersweet tale of Martha's New Coat, comedy with Roy Hollsdotter Live and the environmental drama Wilderness. And of course the opening night film is the new Australian heist film, the hilarious Gettin' Square

All this and more is at your fingertips at BIFF 2003. Tickets go on sale at the Hoyts Festival Box Office or online ( Monday 7 July 2003. Patrons at this time will also be able to pick up the official catalogue.

Me? I'm going for free, because I'm special. Feel free to boo me on the red carpet.

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originally posted: 06/29/03 10:25:05
last updated: 12/30/03 09:56:00
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