THE BIFF IS BACK – BIFF 2017 PART IV

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THAT’S NOT ME: This little Australian film directed by Gregory Erdstein is the kind of little local film that can be championed by home country festivals and boost them towards international deals. One of Karen’s picks I was still happy to go along and had solid hopes. If you’re keeping score all of Karen’s choices came a cropper and mine didn’t fare much better but I picked the best film of 2017 so there’s that. Karen still stands by The Party and I still don’t think it’s that great. We saw this film at Palace Centro Cinema 7, Thursday night at 6pm 31AUG2017 and grabbed some chow from a nearby Italian restaurant after.

Co-written and co-produced by star Alice Foulcher, who plays dual roles of aspiring actress Polly and her twin Amy also an actress who gets a big break and is off to Hollywood. Specialising in the kind of awkward understated character driven humour that Ricky Gervais made an industry out of, I admired a lot in this film but can’t say I really enjoyed it. I admired the work from Foulcher and the rest of the cast, to be natural in their performances and to play their roles as imperfect humans.

I liked the low production values that still lit atmospherically backyard townhouse parties favoured by young broke artists getting older every day. I liked how it was shot in L.A. and Victoria and showed how clearly without the 35mm film lenses of my childhood Hollywood more and more is just another pretty Pacific Ocean town not too different from where I live. As a comedy though I seldom laughed and as a character piece I found it more and more challenging to get caught up in the plight of this flawed character no matter how honest and real she was written and performed.

 

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AUSTRALIA DAY: Those who follow my blog will recall I covered with some excitement getting to review this film at BIFF for Scenestr magazine. Australia Day screened at 6pm, Palace Barracks Cinema 1 Saturday 02SEP2017 with BIFF 2017 closing down the following day. It turned out to be a great way to finish off BIFF 2017 with a good local film made here in Brisbane. As “press” I got to mingle at a party beforehand and by mingle I mean stand and chat to my wife. I did notice Hornblower himself – Iaon Gruffudd was present. BIFF 1.jpgAfter the film there was a Q&A with some cast, producers and director Kriv Stenders who also made the excellent closing night film of BIFF 2017 The Go-Betweens: Right Here which I later saw at Byron Bay. Kriv Stenders is one of the great modern directors of Australian cinema and the producers were local boys, of Hoodlum Productions, who had done good and were making their first feature film. Karen and I went to Libertines again afterwards for delicious crab sliders and other favourites where I noticed them celebrating with loved ones.

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Libertines on the night of 2nd of September, 2017. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

You can read more of my recap of events here and my review of the film here but suffice to say it was a great way to end our attendance at the Brisbane International Film Festival 2017. Australia Day was a moving energetic film perhaps not subtle in its themes but I found it terribly effective and affecting. I put it in Honourable Mentions for my end of year list and I still stand by it. Getting to be on assignment for Scenestr at BIFF was a personal highlight and I was pleased everything went well.

 

All up Karen and I had seen 7 films, 2 from Asia (one animated from Japan and another from Vietnam), two films from the U.S. (one a documentary), two films from Australia and one film from Europe (in this case the U.K.) Not a bad collection and while only two really passed the grade with me they did so by a far margin. BIFF is returning in 2018 and I hope to share some memories with you about it soon. I also hope to write about my attendance at the Sydney Film Festival in 2008 at some point but we have come to the end for now of my recaps of past BIFFs. I hope you have enjoyed, I admit there is a nostalgic twinge for the ones of the previous decade that I do not get for 2017 but time moves on. You treasure memories and create new ones and I look forward to making many new BIFF ones. I will close by thanking Palace Cinemas once again for bringing back my beloved BIFF.

-Lloyd Marken

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THE GO-BETWEENS: RIGHT HERE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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If you’ve never heard of the band The Go-Betweens, don’t worry you’re not alone. A documentary about the history of the band has just been released and even non-fans of the cult band should find it utterly engrossing. Director Kriv Stenders has highlighted the fascinating personalities that made up the band and the poignancy of looking back over the years.

Attending a screening at the Byron Bay Film Festival at the Brunswick Picture House, the documentary was a joy to watch. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/the-go-betweens-right-here-review-byron-bay-film-festival-2017-20171010

Whatever you write and put out into the world will be taken by readers however they like. For me personally though I was not really happy with my review for Kingsman: The Golden Circle. This review I felt a lot better about and hope you enjoy.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. The magazine is focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

-Lloyd Marken

AUSTRALIA DAY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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When I get a chance I will write about my memories of the Brisbane International Film Festival. BIFF returned this year and was a joy to have back. On the last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the screening of Australia Day to do a film review for Scenestr. To be on assignment for Scenestr at BIFF was a special treat for me.

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Me after the screening in the foyer at Palace Barracks. © Copyright by Lloyd Marken.

Not every film I saw at BIFF wowed me so it’s a delight to report that Australia Day was one of my favourites. There was a Q&A afterwards with the director Kriv Stenders, the producers and two of the actors. Unlike previous Q&As I’ve attended at BIFF in the past there wasn’t many questions from the audience, the times seems to fly by but there were many illuminating stories from the sessions. The producers and directors are Brisbane boys and have made a film in their hometown.

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Part of my way to work. © Copyright by Lloyd Marken.

This holds a special delight for us locals, I was astonished to find a road I walk on my way to work featured in the movie and there was an early scene near a train station that I once travelled through and thought this would make a great place to shoot a scene. Locations were around the CBD, Darra and Rocklea. I believe its just coincidence but these were places I went to that were heavily affected by the 2011 Brisbane floods.

 

The first feature film from Hoodlum, they chose discerningly the script by Stephen M. Irwin wanting to make a splash and getting Kriv Stenders hot off the success of Red Dog to direct and casting Bryan Brown alongside an exciting group of newcomers. Reviews have been mild at other publications, complaints of not enough sub in the subtext and a certain flair in the cinematography for the sake of style rather than substance. All I can say is I was riveted from beginning to end and think its one of the best Australian films of the year. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/australia-day-review-20170904

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Libertines. © Copyright by Lloyd Marken.

My wife and I attended a nearby restaurant Libertines after the screening, as I left the bar I not to go to our table I noticed the producers at another table with some cast. One had his suit jacket off standing up on the edge of the table listening and gesturing. Was he ordering drinks? Sharing congratulations? I don’t know but he was beaming with a wonderful smile. I went to my table and seated myself with my back to them not wanting to pry. Libertines specialise in Asian cuisine with a colonial French influence. Karen and I make a point of ordering entrees rather than main meals. Goat curry in lettuce cups are what first turned us on to the place, sand crab sliders are the popular favourites, duck crepes were missing in action so we were advised to try the pork spring rolls which were great. We discussed the merits of the film not 20 metres from the men who made it possible. An hour passed and I paid our bill.

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On the way out I noticed the party had fallen to the producers and their partners I assume. Australia Day’s premiere at BIFF had followed triumphant screenings at the Sydney Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival. Now it will be about the money. A limited run at Dendy cinemas will begun nationally September 20 before the film moves to screening on Australian cable provider Foxtel who were a funding partner of the film. On the night of September 2nd though, two young lads from Brisbane screened their first feature film with in front of an approving rapturous audience. In the wee small hours they enjoyed a delicious meal with loved ones content in one victory. The victory to create art that you can be proud of and put it out into the world and have it be enjoyed by others. They are dreamers living the dream. It made me smile to see that.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. The magazine is focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

-Lloyd Marken