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The top 27 upcoming screenings at Sydney Film Festival

Thursday 9 May 2013

The top 27 upcoming screenings at Sydney Film Festival

The 60th annual Sydney Film Festival has officially launched its biggest ever program. More screenings, more than 190 titles, 19 world premieres and a geographically eclectic list of filmmakers means you’re spoilt for choice this June.

The event is renowned for debuting some of the best upcoming films and this year, with a focus on British noir, Austrian cinema, horror and the peculiar, we decided to list the 27 films we’re most excited about at this year’s Sydney Film Festival.

1.     The Act Of Killing (Denmark, Norway, UK – Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn)

This surreal and unsettling film shines a spotlight on the men who participated in the killing of the 1965-66 Sumatran massacres. Gangsters, wanting to be movie stars, willingly become a part of director Oppenheimer’s project as they brag of their horrific actions. In a retelling of the massacre they play themselves, write the script and even play the victims… a bizarre but enthralling documentary.

Thu 6 Jun 6:00 PM State Theatre & Fri 7 Jun 2:00 PM Event Cinemas George Street

2.     Mystery Road (Australia - Ivan Sen)

Alienated by the police force, the remote community and his daughter for a lengthy period living in the city, detective Jay’s first case back is the murder of a teenage girl. Up against uncooperative locals, and indifference from fellow cops, Jay is alone as he begins to uncover an intricate crime case in the stunning expanse of the outback.

Wed 5 Jun 7:30 PM State Theatre

3.     Stories We Tell (Canada - Sarah Polley)

After an Academy Award-nomination, director Sarah Polley takes the microscope (and lens) and turns it on herself and family. As secrets, lies and fond memories are brought to the surface, the film explores the content of truth in memory.

Fri 14 Jun 6:15 PM State Theatre, Sat 15 Jun 12:05 PM State Theatre & Sun 16 Jun 2:00 PM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne

4.     Midnight's Children (Canada – Deepa Mehta)

Salman Rushdie’s classic and infamous acclaimed novel has finally been adapted to screen, beautifully telling the epic story of two children who are swapped at birth and grow up in the life meant for the other through the beginnings of India’s independence. The film masters the tragedy and lightness of this colourful novel.

Sun 9 Jun 4:30 PM State Theatre & Sun 16 Jun 6:30 PM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne 

5.     Rear Window (USA – Alfred Hitchcock)

Confined at home with a broken leg, hard-nosed photojournalist (James Stewart) passes time by peeping on neighbours using his telephoto lens. Convinced he’s witnessed a murder during spying, he tries to piece together the crime whilst teetering on the verge of paranoia.

Sun 9 Jun 11:00 AM Event Cinemas George Street 8 & Sat 15 Jun 11:20 AM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne

6.     Lovelace (USA – Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman)

This is the story behind the phenomenon of Linda Lovelace, Deep Throat, pornography and a sexual revolution. Amanda Seyfried plays Lovelace in her journey from shy nobody to porn star to campaigner under the cruel manipulation of her husband Chuck Traynor.

Mon 10 Jun 9:00 PM State Theatre & Sat 15 Jun 2:00 PM Event Cinemas George Street

7.     ‘Before’ Trilogy: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight (USA – Richard Linklater)

This well known trilogy follows a young American (Ethan Hawke) and French woman (Julie Delpy) from their first encounter one night in Vienna, nine years later for an afternoon in Paris and again, nine years later in Greece. Each film brings out the wit, humour and charm of the characters and the chemistry between Hawke and Delpy.

Before Sunrise: Sat 8 Jun 12:00 PM, Art Gallery of NSW
Before Sunset:
Sat 8 Jun 3:00 PM, Art Gallery of NSW
Before Midnight:
Sat 8 Jun 9:30 PM, State Theatre

8.     Wadjda (Saudi Arabia, Germany – Haifaa Al Mansour)

Wadjda is a normal, fun seeking ten-year-old girl with a rebellious streak. Upon seeing a green bicycle, she decides she must have it, despite her mother’s refusal to buy it for her. Determined, Wadjda dedicates herself to reciting the Koran to win a cash prize in a Koranic verses competition to fund the bike, bringing to a head the conflict that surrounds her. This is the first film entirely shot in Saudi Arabia.

Fri 7 Jun 6:00 PM, State Theatre & Sat 8 Jun 12:00 PM, State Theatre

9.     Blancanieves (Spain, France – Pablo Berger)

Snow White, the 1920’s, the world of bullfighting, shot in black and white and a tribute to European silent films. This is a take on Snow White that hasn’t been seen before. Including dwarves and an evil stepmother, this film is a beautifully shot revival of a classic fairytale.

Tue 11 Jun 8:30 PM State Theatre, Fri 14 Jun 8:00 PM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne & Sat 15 Jun 4:50 PM Event Cinemas George Street

10.   The Look Of Love (UK, USA – Michael Winterbottom)

The true story of the ‘King of Soho’ (Paul Raymond), this film shows how an empire of nightclubs, real estate, porn and billions of pounds was built. Through the lovers, law breaking and living the high-life, the film focuses Raymond and his relationships with his wife, girlfriend and daughter. Great performance by Steve Coogan.

Fri 7 Jun 8:30 PM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne, Thu 13 Jun 8:45 PM State Theatre, Sat 15 Jun 9:30 PM Event Cinemas George Street

11.   ‘Paradise’ Trilogy: Love, Faith, Hope (Austria, Germany, France – Ulrich Seidl)

In the unique style of Ulrich Seidl, each film in the trilogy follows the story of different women from the same family. One is a sex tourist in Kenya, the other (her daughter) is attending a weight loss camp, and the third is promoting Catholicism.

Paradise: Love: Sat 8 Jun 8:30 PM Dendy Opera Quays Cinema & Sun 9 Jun 6:15 PM Dendy Opera Quays Cinema
Paradise: Faith:
Mon 10 Jun 7:35 PM Dendy Opera Quays Cinema & Tue 11 Jun 6:30 PM Dendy Opera Quays Cinema
Paradise: Hope:
Wed 12 Jun 8:30 PM Dendy Opera Quays Cinema & Thu 13 Jun 6:30 PM Dendy Opera Quays Cinema

12.   Stoker (UK, USA – Park Chan-wook)

Whilst grieving the sudden death of her father, India must come to terms with her long-lost uncle Charlie appearing back in her life. He decides to live with India and her unstable mother, the mood of the house changing dramatically. Despite an aunt’s warning of danger, this film unavoidably reaches an intense, suspenseful and thrilling climax. Great performances from three of Australia’s best actresses.

Fri 7 Jun 8:30 PM State Theatre & Sun 9 Jun 8:15 PM Event Cinemas George Street

13.   The Way, Way Back (USA – Nat Faxon, Jim Rash)

Young teenager Duncan hates a summer vacation with his mother, her arrogant boyfriend and his horrible daughter, until he meets Owen, manager at the nearby rundown waterpark. Through their friendship Owen instills confidence in Duncan and helps him find place and purpose in life. Heartwarming and humourous.

Thu 6 Jun 9:30 PM State Theatre & Mon 10 Jun 4:15 PM Event Cinemas George Street

14.   Blackfish (USA – Gabriela Cowperthwaite)

Following the story of orca whale Tilikum after the tragic death of a trainer; this documentary delves into the controversy that surrounds capturing these wild beasts and ‘training’ them for entertainment. This film also reveals shocking information about the skills and practices of these trainers and unveils never-before-seen footage.

Fri 7 Jun 8:45 PM Event Cinemas George Street & Sat 8 Jun 12:30 PM Event Cinemas George Street 

15.   Prince Avalanche (USA - David Gordon Green)

This is a story of a mismatched pair, Stern and his girlfriend’s lazy brother Lance working repetitively to repaint traffic lines down a quiet country highway. With nothing in common, little contact with others and boredom setting in, the two constantly argue. However, through the arguments, a bond slowly grows.

Sun 9 Jun 9:35 PM State Theatre & Thu 13 Jun 7:00 PM Event Cinemas George Street

16.   Only God Forgives (France, Denmark – Nicolas Winding Refn)

When Julian’s brother is killed, mother Jenna flies to Bangkok to collect her son’s corpse. The head of a criminal organisation herself, she demands her drug smuggling son Julian find his brother’s killer, which sees him face off with disturbing cop Chang.

Sat 15 Jun 7:00 PM State Theatre & Sun 16 Jun12:30 PM State Theatre

17.   Beyond The Hills (Romania, France, Belgium – Cristian Mungiu)

Alina and Voichita were childhood friends in Romania, and years later as adults Alina travels to find her love and take her back to Germany. After arriving at the monastery where Voichita is now a nun, and persistently trying to remove her, Alina is deemed possessed which results in alarming and gripping consequences.

Sun 9 Jun 8:45 PM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne & Mon 10 Jun 1:30 PM Event Cinemas George Street

18.   The East (USA, UK – Zal Batmanglij)

The East follows a young agent (Sarah) from an elite-intelligence firm as she infiltrates an anarchist group ‘The East’, who target large corporations with criminal activity to hide. Sarah is successful in being accepted by the group, but she becomes unsure of her actions as she grows closer to the group’s leader and is torn between her two identities.

Thu 6 Jun 7:00 PM Event Cinemas George Street & Wed 12 Jun 8:45 PM Event Cinemas George Street

19.   A Hijacking (Denmark – Tobias Lindholm)

When Somali pirates take a ship, the CEO of the company concerned ignores the experienced negotiator and takes matters into his own hands, which escalates and intensifies the hostage situation. This film highlights the stark contrast between the terror of being taken hostage, and the tightfisted stance of a company refusing to bow to pressure.

Thu 6 Jun 12:45 PM Event Cinemas George Street & Sat 8 Jun 4:15 PM Event Cinemas George Street

20.   What Maisie Knew (USA – Scott McGehee, David Siegel)

This film is the depiction of an unpleasant divorce seen from the perspective of a young child, and her ability to love despite constantly dealing with shifts and changes in parenting. Humourous and tinged with emotion, this is a genuine representation of love and what makes up a modern family.

Sat 8 Jun 8:55 PM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne & Sun 9 Jun 6:00 PM Event Cinemas George Street

21.   Ginger And Rosa (UK – Sally Potter)

Set against the threat of nuclear war in the early ‘60s, this film explores the close bond between teenage girls Ginger and Rosa. As they expand their political minds and learn to kiss boys, they are drawn to the ideas and beliefs of Ginger’s father. The friendship, however, is broken when Rosa develops affection for him.

Sun 9 Jun 10:00 AM State Theatre & Sun 9 Jun 6:50 PM Hayden Orpheum Cremorne

22.   Upstream Color (USA – Shane Carruth)

After Kris is drugged and her possessions stolen she finds herself drawn to Jeff, and together they become entangled in an organism that blurs each of their identities. Together they try to identify and reassemble their lives and who they are to find security and safety.

Sat 15 Jun 2:45 PM, State Theatre & Sun 16 Jun 9:45 PM, Event Cinemas George Street

23.   Frances Ha (USA – Noah Baumbach)

Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a dancer without direction, almost thirty and with a life that is going nowhere. Homeless, with no one to love, and a friendship in conflict, Frances continues on blissfully inviting adventure, love, happiness and light into her life. A witty, smart, humourous film.

Fri 14 Jun 9:00 PM, State Theatre & Sat 15 Jun 7:15 PM, Event Cinemas George Street

24.   The Past (France – Asghar Farhadi)

Ahmad returns from Tehran to Paris to finalise his divorce to Marie after four years apart. During his stay amid conflict between Ahmad and Marie’s new partner, it becomes clear that the relationship between Marie and her daughter Lucie has broken down. In an effort to salvage something between mother and daughter a secret is exposed that has repercussions for the family.

Sat 15 Jun 9:00 PM, State Theatre & Sun 16 Jun 12:00 PM, Event Cinemas George Street

25.   Mistaken For Strangers (USA – Tom Berninger)

Following his brother (lead singer Matt from The National) on tour as a roadie, Tom Berninger takes his camera along to capture the band ‘on the road’. What emerges instead is a story between brothers: rivalry, love, comedy, and the chance for Tom to prove himself to be more than just the younger brother.

Fri 14 Jun 9:45 PM, Event Cinemas George Street & Sun 16 Jun 7:00 PM, Event Cinemas George Street

26.   Oh Boy (Germany – Jan Ole Gerster)

After his father realises son Niko had not been attending university for two years, he is cut off financially. To make matters worse Niko is dumped by his girlfriend, is evading the law, and he can’t even find a decent cup of coffee. Feeling hopeless and an outsider, a woman from his past enters his life and events start to affect the possible path of his future.

Wed 12 Jun 6:00 PM, State Theatre & Thu 13 Jun 2:10 PM, Event Cinemas George Street

27.   Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls (Australia – Juliet Lamont)

Director Julie Lamont follows Miss Nikki as she helps create Burma’s first girl band, in a period of huge change to the country as military regimes are loosened. The five girls and Miss Nikki all face the struggles of any emerging band as well as challenging cultural traditions and trying to get their voice heard.

Thu 13 Jun 6:30 PM, Event Cinemas George Street

 

- Chelsea Denny

 

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