What to see at the Brisbane International Film Festival South Bank screenings

Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) is back, and it’s taking over Brisbane! With cinemas all over the city participating in screenings of films from all over the world, October 11 to 21, how can you possibly choose? Here’s a roundup of movies screening at venues in the South Bank area, over the course of the festival. 

Celeste Brisbane International Film Festival

Special events

Both opening and closing night screenings will be hosted at GOMA’s Australian Cinematheque. See the premiere of Australian film Celeste, a drama set in tropical Far North Queensland either on Opening Night, with party tickets, or at a general screening on October 20th. The Closing Night film is a US drama Leave No Trace, about a family living off the grid in remote Oregon. There’s also a post-screening celebration included in your ticket price.

Even if you’ve not heard of Bruce Beresford, you’ve almost certainly seen one of his films. Catch up on the best of them during the Beresford Retrospective including Black Robe (1991), Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy, and newest release Ladies in Black. Don’t miss your chance to see the artist in conversation with the real-life subject of his film Mao’s Last Dancer – Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin – at a special event on 13 October at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

Family friendly

BIFF isn’t all high-brow and subtitles! Book and film lovers will be mesmerized by Ex Libris: The New York Public Library, a documentary behind-the-scenes look at how one of the world’s biggest libraries operates – from fundraising galas to librarian chatter. Suitable for all ages, Ex Libris screens at our own State Library of Queensland. 

Another fun excursion for the whole family will be a trip to GOMA to see The Little Witch. This German/Swiss live action film is adapted from the famous children’s book, popular in Europe. It’s in German with English subtitles, a great way to introduce young people to foreign films. 

Classics and flashbacks

The festival always features some classic cinema and this year is no exception. Choose from the 1928 black and white silent film, The Cameraman starring Buster Keaton, or a more retro screening of French director Olivier Assayas’s lost film, Cold Water about teenage rebellion in the 90s, which has actually never been released in cinemas. 

For cinephiles, don’t miss the documentary screening of Blue Velvet Revisited, a fascinating look at what went on behind the scenes of David Lynch’s cult classic. 

Thrills and chills 

Foreign film festivals are the best place to find a new spine-chilling thriller, or a thought provoking mystery. Top picks from this year include Can you ever forgive me – a US film starring comedienne Melissa McCarthy about a real-life celebrity biographer who took to forging fake letters from dead literary figures to boost her career. 

Thirst Street, a US/French film with subtitles stars Anjelica Huston, and is set in the moody back streets of Paris while The Green Fog is an arty, Hitchcock-esque thriller set in San Francisco. 

Local colour

Let’s not forget Aussie films! Adding to the list above, are the quirky Tasmanian flick Under the Cover of Cloud, about a family’s united interest in searching for people related to famous cricketer David Boon. 

For something completely different, check out Terror Nullius – weird and wacky super cut of Australian films, political references and famous identities woven into the scenery of Mad Max, to make one big mashup road movie, by local artists Soda_Jerk.

To discover more of the BIFF program and to book tickets head to the official festival website.

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