Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
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 (440)

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

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
By James White

DreamWorks Touts New 'Toon Footage
By James White

Golden Globes 2012
By James White

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
By James White

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
By Helen O'Hara

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
By James White

Shutter Island: A Thriller Out Of Time?
By Damon Wise

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
By James White

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
By Helen O'Hara

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Little Favour, Big Impact
"A really good short film. Gripping from the outset, a noir-ish action thriller with an interesting s"  Jaks
Read comment

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
"I received this yesterday with high expectations Now I am an advocate for 3D and a massive "  BigNickUK
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Someone at E! needs to get fired! Their coverage was shocking! Thanks god for Empire showing me the "  guysalisbury
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
""Harvey Weinstein’s nickname apparently being The Punisher. Write your own Thomas Jane jo"  loafroaster
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Have to agree with the previous comments about the coverage by E! Truly inept. Other than that, high"  wgfuzzydunlop1
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Sadly boredbluekoala is spot on with the description of E!'s shockingly incompetent handling of the "  spacemonkey95
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Great, so let's get the Oscars back on the BBC then."  Cameron1975Williams
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"I don't know which broadcast everyone else was watching, but the one shown by 'E' in the UK was shoc"  boredbluekoala
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Either Gervais was told to tone it down this year or he just couldn't come up with anything funny (m"  BenTramer
Read comment

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
"As a younger generation movie lover, i am thrilled by the fact that Titanic is coming back to the bi"  AusteV
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

You Wouldn't Steal A Car...
140 comments

Should Spider-Man Have Gone 3D?
27 comments

Spielberg's Harvey: Why It's A Good Idea
26 comments

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
21 comments

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
18 comments

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
16 comments

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
11 comments

Golden Globes 2012
7 comments

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
3 comments

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
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)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Review Of The Year: 10 Best Soundtracks Of 2014
The scores and OSTs to add to your playlist

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

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 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month 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  |  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)