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ASIA PACIFIC CINEMA AT BIFF

24 Frames

In partnership with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the newly revived Brisbane International Film Festival is screening a host of Asia Pacific cinema. With titles from the likes of Iran, India and Australia, the program features films in competition for the upcoming awards alongside past winners and a special retrospective of APSA Academy member Andrey Zvyagintsev.

24 Frames (Iran, France), directed by Abbas Kiarostami

The final work of the incredible auteur Abbas Kiarostami was made over three years, with a crew of Iranian technicians. It is more than a movie – it’s a haunting art installation and a moving meditation on nature, life and death. His legacy is this collection of 24, four-and-a-half-minute short vignettes, inspired by paintings and nature photographs he took over a span of more than four decades.

In Competition for the 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Hotel Salvation (India), directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani

Hotel Salvation, in the holy Hindu city of Varanasi situated on the banks of the most sacred Ganges River, is a place dedicated to people’s death transition. After a peculiar dream, 77-year-old Dayanand Kumar is convinced his time has come and insists to his very busy but dedicated son Rajiv that he will go to Varanasi to end the cycle of rebirth and achieve salvation. Faced with his father’s untimely and bizarre demand to go and die in the holy city of Varanasi, Rajiv is left with no choice but to embark on this journey.

In Competition for 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

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Ordinary People (Philippines), directed by Eduardo Roy Jr

Sixteen-year-old Jane and her one-month-old baby live on the harsh urban streets of overcrowded Manila, where the gap between abject poverty and wealth continues to increase at alarming rates. Jane and her boyfriend Aries, the baby’s father, survive from day to day as pickpockets eking out a paltry existence and sleeping on flattened cardboard boxes. Not even a month into their young parenthood, a catastrophic occurrence stretches them to their limits and tests the streetwise couple.

Winner Best Performance by an Actress at the 10th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Sexy Durga (India), directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

When two hitch-hiking lovers on the run through the backwaters of southern India are picked up at midnight by a crew of small-time gangsters, it’s the start of a pulse-pounding descent into madness and cruelty in this disturbing, relentless and horrifying thriller.

In Competition for 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

The Way Station (Vietnam), directed by Pham Thi Hong Anh

Young Phuoc aimlessly wanders into the restaurant and with adept chopping skills is hired. He quickly discovers there is a mysterious and beautiful woman, Chu, the boss’s daughter, living upstairs. Sharing the living and working space, the family and eclectic workers struggle with their own loneliness and unfulfilled dreams.

In Competition for 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Last Man in Aleppo (Denmark, Syria), directed by Feras Fayyad

Winner of the Grand Jury Documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Feras Fayyad’s heartbreaking and visceral documentary is a searing example of boots-on-the-ground reportage, as the Syrian filmmaker fearlessly embeds his crew in the heart of the action at immense personal risk, following some of the same first responders featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary The White Helmets (2016).

In Competition for 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

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Loveless (Russia), directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (APSA Academy Member retrospective)

Somewhere in suburban Moscow, a marriage is in its death throes. Angry, embittered and frustrated, Zhenya and Boris have come to the end of their long and toxic road together. Caught in the middle of this nightmare is their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Unsupervised and neglected, one day Alyosha simply disappears without a trace. It falls to his estranged parents to find some way to work together and lead a search for the runaway boy, which takes them on a painful journey into their own past.

In Competition for 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Leviathan (Russia), directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (APSA Academy Member retrospective)

A corrupt mayor’s land grab against a small-time mechanic spirals out of control in this taut, electrifying thriller that takes a swipe at hardliner Vladimir Putin’s controversially crooked regime. A morally complex, blackly comic parable about the tangles of ordinary people’s little lives playing against the monstrous machinations of an unscrupulous political system.

Winner Best Feature Film at the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Elena (Russia), directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (APSA Academy Member retrospective)

Elena finally clawed her way out of poverty by marrying a wealthy man – but happiness remains tantalisingly outside her reach. Now she’s a submissive 60-something grandmother, rattling around inside a gilded cage, trapped in a loveless, and faltering marriage. Their Moscow city apartment may be plush and luxurious, but Vladimir holds the purse strings tight. Elena’s hopes of helping her family out of the slums are unforeseeably crushed, as she comes up with a desperate – almost unthinkable – plan.

Winner Best Performance by an Actress at the 5th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Winner Achievement in Directing at the 5th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Refugee Women – History’s Silent Women (Turkey)

With its projects for social development and the empowerment of the individual, the Sabanci Foundation has championed social justice in Turkey for 42 years. Now turning to cinema to highlight social issues, the foundation signals that it is spearheading a very important movement in social responsibility. APSA Academy member Zeynep Atakan is the Art Director for this piece.

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The Go-Betweens: Right Here (Australia), Directed by Kriv Stenders

Brisbane musical royalty, The Go-Betweens’ music still reverberates around the streets of this town, more than a decade after the untimely death of one of the band’s co-founders. Part memoir and part concert film, this inspiring documentary by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog) charts the rockers’ path to greatness and examines the passionate, creative and sometimes fraught bond between musicians and the price they paid for pursuing their art.

In this Corner of the World (Japan), directed by Sunao Katabuchi

Set in Hiroshima during World War II, an 18-year-old girl gets married and now has to prepare food for her family despite the rationing and lack of supplies. Based on the manga by Fumiyo Kouno, this heart-warming, sweet and uplifting coming-of-age tale recreates the pre-war look and feel of Hiroshima by referencing photographs and stories of the apocalyptic atomic bombing.

In Competition for 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

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Ali’s Wedding (Australia), directed by Jeffrey Walker

After a “white lie” which spirals out of control, a neurotic, naive and musically gifted Muslim cleric’s eldest son must follow through with an arranged marriage, except he is madly in love with an Australian born-Lebanese girl. This feel-good film is a funny, authentic and poignant tale about love, duty and the juggling act of family life in multicultural Australia.

Australia Day (Australia), directed by Kriv Stenders

On Australia’s most controversial national holiday, three Aussies from diverse cultural backgrounds explosively collide in this simmering thriller from Director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog) and writer Stephen M. Irwin (Secrets & Lies), set in Brisbane’s seedy underbelly.

Copy courtesy of BIFF.