Everguide Unravels the Sydney Film Festival Program
If you’re anything like us, you get justifiably excited when the Sydney Film Festival rolls around, then, once you’ve perused the film program, you’re crippled with indecision and the pressure of time constraints – what to see?
Woah there, take a seat and let us help you to unravel the astounding program that has been put together by maverick festival director Nashen Moodley. He’s managed to snag Wes Anderson’s latest offering, Moonlight Kingdom as one of the special presentations, he’s showing Gangs of Wassypur as a two-part violent and confronting Indian epic, and is premiering one of the most important Australian films of recent times, Mabo.
The Sydney Film Festival revolves around three competition categories – the Sydney Film Prize for the most audacious cinema, the FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize for the best film from an Australian documentarian, and the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films. Each of these competition categories highlights the most exceptional Australian and international film talent, many of which have been recognised internationally at the Berlinale, Cannes, South By South West and Sundance.
Alongside these programs, the 2012 Sydney Film Festival boasts two retrospectives: a collection of films by and about the great and controversial Italian filmmaker Bernado Bertolucci, and also a showcase of some of the best films from Japan’s oldest film studio, Nikkatsu, which offers the rare opportunity to view some of these films in new 35mm prints.
On top of that, the Sydney Film Fest offers Blackfella Films, which, in partnership with Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival, will screen the world premiere of Mabo – the story of one of the defining moments in Australia’s legal and national history.
So we’ve broken down some of the categories for you, now to some specific highlights:
Short films always offer a variety of experimental and bizarre cinema, and the short programs of SFF really bring it. Don’t miss the Sundance selected OK Breathe Auralee, about a woman obsessed with having a baby, and Luminaria, a sweetly surreal film using different animation techniques with live action filming to tell the story of a town where the sun is controlled by a light bulb factory.
The feature films this year are diverse, but on the must-see list are the Oscar-nominated Goodbye, the confronting Hemel, On the Road (which cinematises Jack Karouac’s classic book with a cast of big talent like Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen), the much anticipated Moonlight Kingdom from Wes Anderson, and The Comedy, a film about privileged hipsters which is anything but a comedy and harshly divided its Sundance audience. The flick features James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
Speaking of James Murphy, the film Shut Up and Play the Hits will screen at SFF to an audience gagging for anything LCD Soundsystem-related. Along with this, in the Life Stories category is Woody Allen: A Documentary, which will finally satiate Allen’s ardent followers. Also of note in the same category is Tatsumi, the story of one of Japan’s greatest comics artists, told through his somewhat autobiographical stories.
The Sydney Film Festival runs from June 6 - 7. For the full program check out sff.org.au.
WORDS: Lauren Bertacchini