Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Take a survey for the chance to win an iPad
Empire Blogs
Words From The Wise

Back to all blogs Comment Now

BIFFF: Special Festival Report By Anne Billson!

Posted on Wednesday May 4, 2011, 10:56 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
BIFFF: Special Festival Report By Anne Billson!

How many films do we need about nerds who think they're superheroes? We've already had Kick-Ass, Defendor and Special; now brace yourself for Super, in which greasy spoon chef Rainn Wilson has a psychotic breakdown when his wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a wealthy drug-dealer (Kevin Bacon at his sleaziest) and, with the help of imaginary brain-burrowing worms from outer space, transforms himself into – ta-da! – Crimson Bolt, a DIY "superhero" whose modus operandi is mostly crouching behind dumpsters, waiting for bad guys to walk past.

Super was part of the line-up at this year's Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, better known as BIFFF. Highlights included Balada Triste, the new film from Alex de la Iglesia (part of the opening ceremony and thus out of bounds to low-ranking reporters like me), Jee-Woon Kim's I Saw the Devil (which won the festival's Golden Raven prize), Guillem Morales' giallo-esque woman-in-periller Julia's Eyes, Jim Mickle's lively vampire apocalypse-western road movie Stake Land (pictured), and Cesar Ducasse and Mathieu Peteul's no-budget Norwegian eco-horror Dark Souls, which features an army of driller-killers in orange boiler-suits and zombies bleeding oil instead of blood.

For the past few years, BIFFF has been held in The Sheds, part of a complex in the North West of Brussels called Tour et Taxis, which started life as a 19th century railway depot but now looks like Dartmoor Prison with a facelift, housing chic shops and restaurants, and playing host to cultural events. Despite ongoing development, it remains a rather inhospitable part of town, amid the sort of canalside industrial wasteland which puts a lone female pedestrian on her guard, especially late at night. But during BIFFF, the inside of The Sheds is transformed into genre-fan heaven, with DVDs, BDs, steampunk scupltures, body-painting and vast bar and restaurant areas stalked by unearthly creatures: huge Chinese dragons, a guy in a frock and feather boa with his moobs hanging out and, best of all, a giant eyeball on stilts which poked at me while I was queuing for a film.

Talking of queues, one of Crimson Bolt's early targets in Super is a guy who jumps a cinema queue and gets his head bashed in with a wrench. Serves him right! The writer-director is James Gunn, whose directing debut, Slither, was a genre-savvy monster-mash, but Super's over-the-top gore and sick sexual humour (one "highlight" is Wilson being raped by his nympho sidekick, played by a manic Ellen Page) is more reminiscent of films like Class of Nuke 'Em High, so it comes as no surprise to learn that Gunn used to work for Troma. Since them, he has written screenplays for Scooby-Doo and the remake of Dawn Of The Dead but, as Super shows, you can take the boy out of Troma, but you can't take the Troma out of the boy.

The Super screening was livened no end by input from spectators, who yelled smart-aleck comments at the screen and greeted each fresh outbreak of splatter with loud whistles. I'm told that yelling at the screen is a BIFFF tradition, so it pays to pick your screenings wisely. Barking-mad movies like the Finnish killer-Santa movie Rare Exports or André Øvredal's Troll Hunter may benefit from this sort of audience participation, but it was less welcome during, for example, John Carpenter's The Ward, in which the female characters were repeatedly regaled with shouts of "Slut!" and "À poil!" (French for "Get 'em off!"), or Hou Chi-Jan's chronology-shuffling One Day, a delicate Taiwanese tale in which two people meet, fall in love and are tragically parted by fate – but much too slowly for BIFFF's noisier patrons.

Login or register to comment.

Currently No Comments

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (444)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Final report: The Kid With A Bike, Le Havre, Michael, Walk Away Renee, The Murder, Oslo 31 August
By Damon Wise

This Must Be The Place
By Damon Wise

The Artist
By Damon Wise

Drive
By Damon Wise

Cannes Videblogisode #9
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #8
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #7
By Amar Vijay

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 6
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #6
By Amar Vijay

The Skin I Live In
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Drive
"So it's more of an 80s homage? Judging by the title, as well as the theme, I thought this would be a"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #6
"Good 'un!"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #8
"I live my life like I'm in a Carry On film, Megan."  Chris Hewitt
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #8
"My bra just fell off LOL amazing Carry On film vibe there. Have to say though, Chris is scarier when"  megank13
Read comment

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 6
"★good★ look love--- w w w - jordansforking - c o m   qeedsss
Read comment

Melancholia
"More on this will follow in the magazine later; I met Lars after the banning and heard his views on "  Damon_Wise
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #6
"Heh hee hee hee. So, Chris, twitter profile pic now, right?"  Ethanial
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #4
"Is that the young Mike Cimino playing "Neil LaBute?"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 4
"Fair point usually but in that dress I think we should make an exception for Cheryl"  ErnestWilde
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #4
"Aha. Sam informs me that he had to cross the line as his original shooting angle would have ended up"  Chris Hewitt
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Cannes 2011: Tree Of Life: First Reaction
13 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #2
8 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #5
7 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #4
5 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #6
3 comments

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 4
3 comments

Cannes 2011: The Tree Of Life
2 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #1
2 comments

Melancholia
2 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #8
2 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Will Lawrence (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Who Are The New Mutants?
Fox’s X-Men spin-off features a bunch of fresh faces. Here’s what you need to know...

Stoical Supermen: 10 Quiet Heroes That Get Stuff Done
Silent but deadly...

Ana Lily Amirpour On A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
'There's nothing sexier than a vampire...'

Rick Baker: Creature By Creature
The make-up effects titan on his greatest creations

12 Of The Weirdest Things Jean-Claude Van Damme Has Done On Camera
Outside of his movies, that is...

Spooks: An Oral History
Cast and crew on the spy smash

Barbarians And Battletrucks: The Weird World Of Mad Max Knock-Offs
20 diversions along the Fury Road

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)