Queensland Film Festival‘s inaugural program has been announced ahead of its three-day run from 24-26 July 2015. Gathering an eclectic mix of arthouse and festival hits from the past two years with a focus on quality of content rather than immediacy of delivery, the festival will open with a talk from Jason Di Rosso, the ABC’s only staff film critic, about the role of film criticism in a post-At The Movies Australia. Following this, the festival’s film program kicks off with opening night features Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako’s Palme d’Or nominated feature, which tracks the slow transition of a village from calm to chaos after it is infiltrated by a group of jihadists and which received a rare Highly Recommended rating from us at last year’s MIFF, and the world premiere of Australian film Eight, a virtuosic single-shot tale of agoraphobia from Peter Blackburn.
While the earlier hours of Saturday showcase a number of interesting films like the legendary Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy, a distinctively auto-biographical film about a man (played by Louis Garrel, the director’s son) who leaves his pregnant wife for another woman, and Ramon Zürcher’s debut The Strange Little Cat, a subtle and distinctly auteurist addition into the family drama genre, it is Saturday night that seems to pack the greatest punch. The night program sees a back-to-back screening of two Giallo pastiches, Peter Strickland’s critically acclaimed The Duke of Burgundy – another film playing the festival that received our Highly Recommended stamp of approval at this year’s SFF – and the vastly underappreciated Belgian film The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (pictured above) from writer/director/husband-and-wife duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani,1 a visually enrapturing throwback to the work of Dario Argento and Mario Bava that follows a man on a hypnotic and nightmarish journey through the halls of his apartment building after the disappearance of his wife. These screenings are preceded by a talk presented by the Australian Screen Editors Guild deconstructing the editing techniques used by Matyas Fekete and Bernard Beets to enact a Giallo-like experience.
Sunday kicks off with a full-season screening of the critically acclaimed miniseries P’tit Quinquin, the French black comedy from writer/director Bruno Dumont, an addition that pushes the boundaries of what we consider film having initially screened on television in 4 parts before its global festival run, although the highlight of the day is surely the new restoration of Sergei Paradjanov’s The Color of Pomegranates, the Soviet-era biography of Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova comprised of a number of surreal poetic images, presented in its most aesthetically rich and complete form since the film’s initial release in 1969.
The film aspect of the weekend-long event closes with the screening of two festival favourites, Lisandro Alonso’s FIPRESCI Prize recipient Jauja, a cross-country journey comprising of a series of long, static tableaux that impressed our staff at MIFF last year, and Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson’s throwback to the silent era of cinema, The Forbidden Room, which received a mostly positive response from our staff, a fitting conclusion to the festival’s impressive and challenging program that is sure to generate a lot of discussion amongst film aficionados. The festival will formally conclude with a roundtable discussion amongst academics about the reconciliation of divergent film cultures to be held at the UQ Art Museum on Monday. Although each film screens only once, as there is no overlap it will be possible to view the entire program. The weekend event looks to be a fantastic and welcome new addition into the Australian film festival circuit, one that currently lacks the academic depth that the Queensland Film Festival seeks to offer.
QUEENSLAND FILM FESTIVAL 2015 – FULL FILM PROGRAM
Eight (screens w/ Magic Miles)
Episode of the Sea
The Color of Pomegranates
The Duke of Burgundy
The Forbidden Room
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears
The Strange Little Cat (screens with Night Noon)
The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga2
In Conversation with Jason Di Rosso: On Criticism
ASE Art and Craft of Editing in The Duke of Burgundy and The Strange Colour of Your Bodies Tears
Reconciling Film Cultures Symposium (Panelists: Frances Bonner, Anne Demy Geroe, Jason Jacobs, Mark Ryan, Louise Sheedy, Herman Van Eyken)
Tickets can now be purchased here.