Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Revealed
The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Promotion: Destiny Awaits
Win a limited edition PS4 and a copy of Destiny
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 (439)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Screen To Stage: Shakespeare In Love
By Helen O'Hara

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
By Ali Plumb

Pete Docter And Jonas Rivera Talk Pixar's Inside Out
By James White

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
By Dan Jolin

H. R. Giger: An Empire Tribute
By Ian Nathan

How Edible Cinema Finally Allows You To Eat A Movie
By Ali Plumb

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
By Helen O'Hara

Are iPads And Smartphones Changing The Face Of Filmmaking?
By Ben Kirby

Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
By Helen O'Hara

My Encounter With Shia LaBeouf
By James White


RECENT COMMENTS

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
"Nice to know Martin enlisted another author to help in his world-building. Time to get acquainted wi"  Imperion
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"@Y2Nield.com The original Hogwarts section and what was duelling dragons (has now"  Sexual Harassment Panda
Read comment

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
"Actually i recomend The Foucault Pendulum for several reasons, in the first place it explores the es"  andresfelipeurb
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"A great sneak peek, Ali. Aside from your confusion as to where Diagon Alley/King's Cross and Hogsmea"  bruciebonus
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"im due to go in October this year and having been before, i can honestly say i cannot wait. I agree "  kopite
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"still think it's a shame that they didn't make this in England. imagine getting the Hogwarts Express"  RX78
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"Were you actually there Ali? If so, surely you know that Marvel Land is Islands of Adventure and not"  Y2Neildotcom
Read comment

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
"I did the exact same thing with the books after season 1(even though I'd promissed myself to just re"  manufan
Read comment

H. R. Giger: An Empire Tribute
"Giger was such a major influence and I was such a major fan! I just wish I possessed more of his inc"  Courtland
Read comment

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Avengers12, I think you're confusing the theme of this original post with the film, it's not saying "  davidleach2000
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Movies’ Most Quotable Lines
566 comments

'It's Just A Bit Of Fun': Why Defensive Fans Are Bad News For Movies
361 comments

Competitive Geek Baiting: Or, How To Start A Fanboy Fight
338 comments

The Avatar Backlash: Evaluatin' The Hater-atin'
303 comments

The Complete List Of Tired Movie Cliches
286 comments

Your Favourite Animated Film
217 comments

Note To Hollywood: How To Get People To Switch To Blu-Ray
192 comments

Food For Thought
132 comments

The Ten Moviegoing Commandments
127 comments

Just The Facts, Ma’am
127 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (167)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Everything You Need To Know About The Dragonriders Of Pern
The lowdown on Warner Bros. new fantasy sci-fi

A Pocket Guide To Game Of Thrones’ New Cast Members
Know your Doran Martell from your Nym Sand

Empire's The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Covers Are Here
Bard The Bowman or Smaug The Magnificent?

Directors Special: Peter Hyams Goes Film-By-Film
The veteran director on Timecop, Outland, 2010, Enemies Closer and more

Explore The Massive Avengers: Age Of Ultron Comic-Con Banner
Use our interactive gadget to zoom in on Hulk, Iron Man, The Vision and co. in action

The 10 Biggest Stories Of Comic-Con 2014
The shocks to emerge from this year's geek-fest. Avengers! Max! Mann!

Models Inc.: The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
How the likes of Batman, Superman and Luke Skywalker become collectible figures

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)