BIFF 2011 (Brisbane International Film Festival) Australia

101 feature films and 51 shorts were shown at the highly anticipated movie marathon in the capital city of Queensland, Australia. The 19th BIFF (Brisbane International Film Festival) was a 10 day event, running from November 4th – 14th.

Head of Screen Culture Richard Moore sums up the enormity of 152 films in the programme ; “That’s about one third of the annual commercial release in Australia, all packed into 10 days.” I only had the pleasure of seeing two feature films, however a combined total of 226 minutes viewing the beautiful art form of film making is something I would happily participate in everyday if it were possible.

On Friday I was treated to Copacabana – a French comedy starring Isabelle Huppert. This was an unexpected pleasure from writer-director Marc Fitoussi. An intelligently written script, that oozes sharp humour and backed up with wonderful cinematography from Helene Louvart.

Essentially the story is about the relationship between Babou – an unemployed free spirited Mother (Huppert) and her conservative daughter Esmeralda (Lolita Chammah – real life daughter of Huppert). When Esmeralda tells her Mother – in a powerful scene – that she is too ashamed to have her mum attend her wedding, Babou sets out to prove to her daughter that she can be responsible by taking a job selling Timeshare apartments.

The film then developments into a story with an array of characters, which in one way or another all play a part in providing moments of comedy, despair, anger, humour, betrayal and eventually leading to reconciliation for the finale.

This comes highly recommended especially for fans of comedy, as you leave the theatre with the equivalent feeling you would a restaurant after a lovely big meal – a complete feeling of satisfaction.

On Sunday i had the pleasure of viewing a martial arts extravaganza – Reign of Assassins. John Woo co-directs with Chao-Bin Su for an action packed two hours of sword slicing set to the beautiful backdrop of ancient China.

Zeng Jing (Michelle Yeoh) is a highly skilled but retired assassin who has found a good husband to settle down with and start a new life. However she finds herself in possession of the remains of a legendary Buddhist monk…and because the remains hold ancient special powers it comes in high demand by many trained assassin bandits ! This sets up a rollercoaster ride of kung fu, dazzling swordplay and high flying entertainment.

Delivering in the action department is a guarantee with John Woo on board, but this film provides several interesting character studies. Yeoh gives a solid performance as usual but Barbie Hsu is superb as one of the deadly assassins in hot pursuit – and very easy on the eye. Only qualm ; because it was co-directed I found it quite obvious which scenes were shot by John Woo – it just had his stamp of quality all over it which left the other sequences a little pale in comparison.

Looking forward to BIFF in 2011 – where I plan to see a lot more films than just two.

© BRWC 2010.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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