From Hollywood superstars and pop singers to serial killers and intimate family portraits, the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival has a little something for everyone.
The Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF) is a window to the world, and will showcase 82 films from 46 countries over the next two weeks.
“Asia Pacific cinema is known for its willingness to push boundaries and explore the human condition at its best and worst,” says BAPFF chairman Michael Hawkins.
“BAPFF in 2016 will enchant, mesmerise and amaze audiences. This year we have also expanded the brief and chosen 10 titles from Europe and America for inclusion, while the Australian showcase is exceptional.”
Here are 10 films you can’t miss at BAPFF.
The opening night film, Parched has won 18 international awards and toured 24 film festivals. With Academy Award-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter (Titanic) and Academy Award-nominated editor Kevin Tent (Nebraska) in the crew, writer-director Leena Yadav’s film is billed as an emotionally and visually vibrant testament to the solace that springs from sharing a tough plight with others. It couldn’t be more relevant.
Parched will screen at Palace Barracks on Wednesday 23 November at 6pm; writer-director Leena Yadav will be in attendance.
Under the Sun
Ever wondered what life is really like in North Korea? Filmed by a Russian crew determined to break through the heavily scripted and impeccably staged fantasy their state minders want them to see, Under the Sun tells the true story behind the pomp and propaganda.
Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo
René Redzepi — the owner and head-chef of Noma, rated the world’s best restaurant — moves his operation from Denmark to Japan in this eye-opening, stomach-rumbling look into the world of (very, very) fine dining. Culinary delights like deep-fried whale sperm, green strawberries, raw squid, rose broth, salted cherry blossoms and, of course, ants on a shrimp all feature.
Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo screens at Palace Barracks on Saturday 26 November at 7pm, with pre-screening drinks at Libertine Restaurant from 6pm.
The Fourth Direction
The Indian paramilitary are fighting the Sikh separatists in Punjab in 1984, and tensions are rising between Hindis and Sikhs over Indira Gandhi’s hardline approach to the militants. Against this backdrop, two Hindis try to board a train, and a Sikh farmer is told to shoot his barking dog. This is the story of what happens next, as ordinary people (played by non-professional actors) are caught up in history.
Queen of Katwe
Internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) brings the tale of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi to the big screen. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo star alongside impressive newcomer Madina Nalwanga in this inspirational true story.
The immovable object (the Iranian patriarchy) meets the unstoppable force (youthful rebellion) in this intimate Iranian film that taps into a global movement, as the traditional balance of power is challenged by a new generation of young women with keen aspirations.
Daughter screens at Palace Barracks on Friday 25 November at 6:30pm; screenwriter Mehran Kashani, producer Reza Mirkarimi and actor Farhad Aslani will be in attendance.
Hounds of Love
Remember Stephen Curry? Not the NBA superstar, but the lovable Australian actor of The Castle and The Nugget fame? Well, he’s not so lovable in this one. Curry goes the full John Jarratt in this disturbing vision of suburban horror that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Hounds of Love screens at Palace Centro on Saturday 26 November at 8pm; Stephen Curry, director Ben Young and producer Melissa Kelly will be in attendance.
Nagasaki: Memories of My Son
Nominated for 11 Japanese Academy Awards and selected as Japan’s foreign-language submission for the Oscars, Nagasaki: Memories of My Son tells a haunting story of love, loss and struggle in the aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki. It’s the 83rd directorial credit for the legendary Yoji Yamada (Twilight Samurai), so you’re in good hands with this one.
New Jersey bus driver Paterson shares two things with his hometown — his name, and his laidback temperament. Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Girls) stars in director Jim Jarmusch’s latest mellow masterpiece with Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani.
Raise Your Arms and Twist
Director Atsushi Funahashi is known for taking on serious subjects in his documentaries (like the Fukushima nuclear disaster), so his choice of subject matter for Raise Your Arms and Twist is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. It’s an up-close observation of Japanese girl group NMB48, exploring the real reasons for their popularity and providing a jaw-dropping look into Japan’s idol-making industry.
Oh, and let’s throw a bonus freebie in here…
A true Australian classic, Storm Boy — starring David Gulpilil, and adapted from the beloved children’s novel by Colin Thiele — has been recently restored by the National Film and Sound Archive. 40 years since its release, it hasn’t lost any of its power to pull at your heartstrings.
Storm Boy will screen for free at The Piazza in South Bank on Saturday 26 November at 6:30pm, with children’s activities from 5:30pm.
BAPFF will run from Wednesday 23 November to Sunday 4 December. For more information and tickets, visit brisbaneasiapacificfilmfestival.com.