I returned to the Brisbane International Film Festival October 23, 2021 as a freelance writer for Scenestr. Having a long association with the festival going back to the days when I used to be a Volunteer at it, it was a particular joy to get to review so many films at the Festival for Scenestr. As it always with such a wonderful program there were plenty of films I would have liked to have seen but did not get the chance one of them being You Can Drive My Car which went on to win an Oscar for Best International Feature Film. Others were The Worst Person in the World and Zola. I do have to say I feel like those films found audiences in any event and the films I got to see and maybe champion are still to be discovered. 

BIFF was under new management having switched from the Gallery of Modern Art to be run for the next three years by Film Fantastic Limited who have been responsible for several years for the running of the Gold Coast Film Festival.

First up on a Saturday morning at Newmarket Reading Cinemas I went to the screening of Queensland documentary Ramblin Racer. It told the story of two middle aged men who pursued a boyhood dream to race cars for real. Low key and local there is a charm to the film. You can read my review here 

Following the film there was a Question and Answer session with the two “stars” of the documentary Phil Robinson and Tim Boyle, editor Navas Illava and writer/director Neil McGregor led by film academic Ruari Elkington. One of the pleasures of such film festival screenings and particularly special when it is something home grown.

Next up I went to New Farm Cinemas that afternoon and discovered a new Italian place outside the cinema named Ombra. It is just a fairly small place, beautifully decorated and with friendly staff who served delicious meals at reasonable prices. I fell in love with it immediately and have gone back from time to time with Karen who was sadly not joining me for these BIFF screenings.

I was in attendance at New Farm to watch eight locally produced shorts, I found something to commend about all eight of them but a personal favourite was James Latter’s Home. I also found Stephen Lance’s Torch Song riveting and was touched by Loani Arman’s Our Greatest Escape.

There were quite a few people packing into the New Farm lobby waiting for this one. 

You can read my review here

The next day I was back at New Farm to see the German film Undine which really left an impression on me. A beautiful melancholic love story which I was already keen to see since it starred Franz Rogowski who was so good in a film Karen and I enjoyed from BIFF 2018 – In the Aisles.

You can read my review of that film here

It was such a joy to be back at the Brisbane International Film Festival and to be reviewing so many movies and Undine was easily one of best films of the year.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken