As we draw even closer to the Sydney Film Festival kick-off on June 6 we bring you part two of our series titled the ten films you should see at Sydney Film Festival. With an impressive line-up of over 150 films three male musketeers from the AU review bring us their top picks.
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I've been asked to choose the first four of these films for you and I have to admit, this is was a difficult task.
Synopsis: Today is a magical-realist story about a Senegalese man (played by Saül Williams) who wakes up one morning knowing that this day will be his last.
Why you should see it: What a beautiful premise for a film. I know it's been explored slightly in the past - hell, even The Simpsons have done it, but given director Alain Gomis' previous films - L'afrance and Andalucia - combined with what I hear is a phenomenal performance from Saül Williams, should make for a unique and inspired film. I'm first in line for this one.
Screens: 13 & 14 June
2. Easy Come, Easy Go:
Synopsis: Unseen since 1967, Peter Clifton's recently unearthed documentary follows The Easybeats, Australia's answer to The Beatles, as they make the journey to London, the world capital of pop. Highlights include a performance of 'Friday On My Mind', and footage from Olympic Studios as the band records 'Heaven and Hell' with producer Glyn Johns.
Why you should see it: They're one of Australia's most successful bands, but are too often forgotten in today's age... though you know their music. I'm enthralled to see what their reception was like in the 60s. Unfortunately, however, it's only a 30 minute documentary and is screening with a film that's already sold out...
Screens: Thu 14 Jun - With Searching for Sugar Man
3. The Loneliest Planet:
Synopsis: A young engaged couple - Alex (Gael García Bernal) and Nica (Hani Furstenberg) - are travelling in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. The idyll is interrupted by a momentary misstep that cannot be undone - one that threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and themselves. The film plays off the relationship between travellers and the places they go, between guide and guided. It is a film about love, betrayal, masculinity, failure and the ambiguities of forgiveness.
Why you should see it: I'm a huge fan of Gael García Bernal, ever since his journey in The Motorcycle Diaries inspired us all. The film, directed by Julia Loktev, seems to be a unique take on the traditional "journey" film. As an avid traveller myself, I'm enthralled to see where Loktev's journey will take us...
Screens: 14 & 16 June
4. Moonrise Kingdom:
Synopsis: The opening film at Cannes, Wes Anderson's charming Moonrise Kingdom has two 12-year-olds fall in love and run away together into the wilderness. With Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand.
Why you should see it: Ah, I don't care if you'll call me a hipster, but I cannot wait to see Wes Anderson's latest. From Bottle Rocket all the way to the terribly underrated Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson is a Director who has honed is craft while staying true to his stylistic ideals. There are very few directors who have been as lucky as he has been, to be not only granted the freedom to deliver the films he wants to deliver, but also never feel the need to stray from that path. Oh, and Bill Murray is in it.
Screens: 8 & 9 June
AU Review Contributor
Synopsis: Amour follows Georges and Anne who are cultivated, retired music teachers in their 80s. Their daughter is also a musician who lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne suffers an attack and, as a consequence, the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Why you should see it: There is a reason it won top prize at the recent Cannes Film Festival. The praise is flooding in for what looks like one of the most poignant films of the year. I’m sure there will be tears, so if you like your dramas deep and meaningful then this is a sure shot.
Screens: 10 & 16 June
2. Whore's Glory:
Synopsis: This stylish and hard-headed look at the commodification of sex from Michael Glawogger, the multiple award-winning director of Megacities and Workingman’s Death explores the lives of prostitutes and their clients in three very different locations.
Why you should see it: Any film which offers the viewer insight into a dark, underground culture is bound to be interesting. Oh yeah, and the soundtrack features PJ Harvey - that is reason alone to give this film a shot.
Screens: 6 & 8 June
3. Missing in the Land of Gods:
Synopsis: In 2005, a young Australian named Ryan Chambers went missing in northern India. He was last seen walking out of an ashram in Rishikesh, a holy city in the Himalayan foothills. Six years later, in Davor Dirlic’s moving documentary, we follow his troubled parents, Jock and Di, as they travel to India to perform one more search for their youngest son. The final note in Ryan's diary sustains their hope: “If I’m gone, I’m not dead. I need to free minds, but first I had to free my own.”
Why you should see it: Expect some heartbreak. This was an emotionally involving story when it made news in 2005 and the film will undoubtedly be just as powerful. Often we hear about spiritual journeys in India, this seems to be a dark exploration of that experience.
Screens: 10 June
AU Review Contributor
1. Woody Allen: A Documentary
Synopsis: Follow Woody Allen as he revisits both the Brooklyn haunts where he grew up and the many films he has written and directed across a more than 40-year filmmaking career.
Genre: Documentary, Comedy, Biography
Why you should see it: If you’re an Allen fan you’ll know he rarely adds extra features to the DVDs of his films but here you’ll get on-set making-of clips, interviews with most of his collaborators, as well as detailed insights from the man himself
Screens: 6 & 11 June
2. Killer Joe
Synopsis: Director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) returns to form with a darkly-humorous, uber-violent film noir about an insurance scam and murder plot by a bunch of low-life trailer trash
Genre: Crime, Drama, Comedy
Why you should see it: Matthew McConaughey debases his Hollywood persona playing a crazed, lecherous hit man, while Gina Gershon’s stellar supporting turn will have you wondering what the hell she’s been doing since Showgirls.
Screens: 7 & 14 June
3. Harold’s Going Stiff
Synopsis: Shot in the style of a BBC TV documentary, this follows old age pensioner Harold’s attempts to live with ailment O.R.D (Onset Rigor Disease), a disease that is gradually turning him into a zombie.
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Why you should see it: For the artful blending of genres (mockumentary, comedy, horror, drama), the many laugh-out-loud moments, and the oh-so poignant reminders that growing old alone is no picnic.
Screens: 6 & 13 June
The 59th Sydney Film Festival includes feature films, documentaries, short films and animations and will take place from 6 – 17 June 2012 at various venues in the city. For more information on the Sydney Film Festival visit: http://www.sff.org.au
Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage and film reviews from the Sydney Film Festival over the coming weeks....