Thirty something girl, originally from Sydney but Brisbane is home now. Eats, drinks, socialises, watches art-house, studies the stars, and loves music. I'm a professional copywriter and editor. Hearts writing things.
If variety is considered the spice of life, it's no wonder Brisbanites are flocking to the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) to indulge in a soiree of some of the best local and international films, sourced from over 40 countries around the globe. Films have been selected from countries as far afield as Estonia to Mongolia to Iceland, and are being screened at five of Brisbane's leading independent cinemas. Since its inception 21 years ago, tens of thousands of people have attended what is well-known as Queensland's premier film event.
While it's true that Australian cinema has certainly come of age, foreign films have injected cultural diversity into this popular pastime. AT BIFF you can find a niche film that doesn't just cater for the masses as there are 25 categories to choose from including, International Shorts, Forbidden Pleasures, Monster Fest Presents, Beat Box, Art Matters, Blackfella Films and Curtain Raisers, plus many more. There are also numerous retrospectives, awards, and Q&A/conversation sessions with guest actors, producers, award-winning film makers and industry icons.
I was delighted to be invited to the screening of a Spaghetti Western - The Great Silence – an Italian film directed by Sergio Corbucci. I didn't know quite what to expect given the film was dubbed in German, subtitled in English and the lead character was a mute hero named Silence. Interestingly, Twentieth Century Fox considered the film to be too pessimistic. The Great Silence is a poignant film set in Utah during the great blizzard of 1899; amongst a backdrop of shanty towns, saloon bars and stage coaches. It was a time when psychotic, ruthless bounty hunters were on a rampage to slay petty 'outlaws' to receive desirable rewards for their demise. Local townsfolk were crying out for an amnesty to end the merciless killings, but to no avail. Silence plays the mute hero on horseback renowned as a top-shot gun-slinger, who is summoned by families of the victims of crooked bounty hunters and corrupt law officials to avenge these killings. As a child, Silence witnessed the horrific slaying of his parents by equally corrupt law officials and had his throat cut by the killers in an attempt to silence him – so his motivations run deep. Brilliant cinematography, combined with memorable one liners... 'Because wherever he (Silence) goes, death follows', tense stand-offs and an eerie soundtrack, makes this a truly epic Western.
Visit the BIFF website to browse films by category, country, language, cinema, director, date and classification, or grab yourself a colour program from your local cinema (venues below) to see what's on offer. The website also has loads of information on parking rates and public transport options. You can even download an app for your iPhone or android phone to browse session times, view film trailers, see whether tickets are 'selling fast' or 'sold out', create a shortlist you can share with friends, use the venue maps to find your way to a screening, and follow all the buzz on Facebook and Twitter.
Single session tickets are $17, Concession tickets are $15, BIFF Film Club members pay only $14.45 per session, and tickets to closing night events are priced at $35. If you plan to see a number of films, you might like to consider purchasing a 'Take pass' which is priced around $76.50 for six sessions. Some under 18s and family passes are also available but are only valid for classified sessions, BIFF is predominantly an over 18s affair.
Films are being shown at the Palace Cinemas (Fortitude Valley and Paddington), Tribal Theatre (Brisbane CBD), The State Library of Queensland (South Bank), Brisbane Open Air Cinema (Southbank) and Sir Thomas Planetarium (Mount Cootha). It's all about aromatic teas and coffees, glasses of fine wine, delicious desserts and gourmet ice-creams darling.
So this weekend make a deal with yourself, and opt for a truly cultural experience by attending a film that makes you think outside the square. I highly recommend seeing a Spaghetti Western. Admittedly, it isn't a genre that I would have previously chosen but after seeing The Great Silence, I was suitably impressed. Hurry though, the film festival closes this Sunday on 25 November.