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    Characters from the Australian film Cactus. in Brooklyn International Film Festival
    Characters from the Australian film "Cactus."

    Road trip

    The 11th Brooklyn International Film Festival is all about travelers, from badasses in the Outback to the president of the United States in his fictional hometown.


    The Brooklyn International Film Festival has now persevered — maybe the word isn't "persevered"; maybe it's "permeated"? — into its 11th year. Previously known as the Williamsburg Film Festival, it was, like its namesake neighborhood, an odd little corner of the movie universe that the culture happened to discover.


    Related links: Official site
    Brooklyn International Film Festival, 2008
    • Overview

      • Official site

    • The Collective
    • Coyote
      • Crawford
    • Fix

    Created by two Italian transplants who are filmmakers themselves, the festival tends to honor idiosyncratic visions, inscrutable stylists and daring adventurists.

    Each year's festival has a name, and this year has been dubbed the "Cinergy Edition." I guess that means cinema + synergy or cinema + energy; undoubtedly the organizers know what it means. I have a different name for BIFF 2008: "The Travelers' Edition."

    This year's lineup is about journeys, including these films reviewed by festival time:

    Fix: My favorite of the films I've seen so far, it's a scramble through L.A.'s unseen otherworld by a drug addict with his brother and his girlfriend who have come to take him to rehab.

    Coyote: A smart drama of Mexican border-crossers that's as fun as it is serious.

    Crawford: This documentary is less about the travelers than about the locals who were already in Crawford, Texas, when future President George Bush moved to their little town — followed by admiring tourists, then followed by protesters.

    The Collective: A less successful indie effort about a young woman who comes to New York to save her sister from an underground religious society.

    Besides these, there's Cactus (pictured above), a tense Australian thriller about a battle of wills between a duct-taped captive and the bounty hunter who's been paid to haul him across the outback to his death. Bigga Than Ben, about two Russian dropouts who move to London and dream of home. Carny, about traveling fairground workers. And Apollo 54, about two youngsters who build their own spaceship to follow signals from the great beyond. And that's just the first part of the alphabet.

    Festival articles



    The Collective

    A beautifully shot but inadequately conceived movie about a menacing secret society that we can probably rest assured doesn't really exist in the dark heart of New York.



    A hyperreal and perhaps ill-advised tour of the Mexican border-crossing business by two regular guys who decide it can't be that hard.



    A documentary about what happened to a town in Texas when it was hit by Hurricane George.



    The story of three people's dizzying dash through the unseen underculture of Los Angeles to get $5,000 for drug treatment.

    JUNE 3, 2008

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