Sydney Film Festival

Sydney Film Festival 2022 Dispatch #1 – Family Dinner, As in Heaven and Fire of Love

June 23, 2022

Family Dinner (dir. Peter Hengl) Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Family Dinner tells the story of a reticent and obese teenager Simi who is spending her Easter Weekend at her auntie’s house. Her aunt Clara is a popular nutritionist and comes across as passive-aggressive toward her. Her partner Stefan comes off as a ladykiller as […]

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Please Baby Please is a sleazy, insufferable drama that loses its commentary in high camp: Sydney Film Festival Review

June 13, 2022

A gaudy game of cat-and-mouse and pseudo-philosophical musings on sexual orientation and gender sit at the core of Amanda Kramer‘s Please Baby Please, a wild but, sadly, insufferable drama that’s more sleazy than it is stylish. Set in 1950’s New York, the film reveals its bizarre, sexualised tone in its early minutes when bohemian couple […]

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Incredible But True is so bombastically silly that it’s somehow brilliant: Sydney Film Festival Review

June 13, 2022

The type of filmmaker who’s able to create stories so bombastically silly that they are somewhat brilliant, Quentin Dupieux once again expresses straight-faced frivolity in Incredible But True, a tightly-paced (a lean 74 minutes) twilight-zoned comedy that, somehow, is one of his more level-headed features in spite of its ludicrous plot. Said ludicrous plot revolves […]

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Peter Strickland’s Flux Gourmet balances that delicious tone between the eccentric and the perverse: Sydney Film Festival Review

June 12, 2022

Nobody quite does obscure like director Peter Strickland.  Finding that delicious balance between eccentric and perverse, Flux Gourmet – set over a month-long period in an institute for sonic caterers (yes, that’s a thing) – is perhaps his funniest yet, indulging in the mischief that comes with his unique blend of deadpan dialogue and a […]

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Good Luck To You, Leo Grande is deliriously charming and strikingly emotional: Sydney Film Festival Review

June 11, 2022

Whilst there’s no surprise revealed in the fact that Emma Thompson truly deserves to be considered one of the greatest living actresses working today, it’s always appreciated when a performance solidifies such a statement.  And in the deliriously charming and strikingly emotional Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, Thompson turns in career-best work that leans […]

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Emily the Criminal; if it’s wrong to root for the bad guy then you won’t want to be right!: Sydney Film Festival Review

June 9, 2022

They say crime doesn’t pay, but whoever stated as such may want to have a chat with the titular criminal in John Patton Ford‘s scrappy, oft intense thriller, one that furthers Aubrey Plaza‘s hold on chaos personified characters in the off-kilter subsect of cinema. Plaza’s Emily is a former art student with a $70,000 debt […]

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Sissy is a queer, female-strong chiller that deepens Australia’s connection with the horror genre: Sydney Film Festival Review

June 9, 2022

Whether we like them (or follow them) or not, influencers – sorry, “content creators” – are a cultural mainstay in our society that often extends beyond the environment of social media.  In Australian horror effort Sissy, co-writers/directors Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes seem all too aware of the faux importance influencers place upon themselves, a […]

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Sydney Film Festival announce opening night feature film

May 4, 2022

The 69th Sydney Film Festival has announced it’s opening night film, presenting the world premiere of We Are Still Here as its Gala event at the State Theatre on the 8th of June. The film, which will be followed by a post-screening celebration in the Sydney Town Hall, is a multi-genre First Nations collaboration that […]

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Sydney Film Festival announces 2022 in-cinema return with sneak look at its programming

April 11, 2022

The 69th annual Sydney Film Festival has announced a sneak peak look at 22 film titles that will be featured during this year’s event, running 8th-19th June, 2022. Ahead of its full program announcement on 11th May, this first taste of of programming “gives audiences a snapshot of the selection and flavour of films featured […]

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The Power of the Dog marks a triumphant return to cinema for acclaimed filmmaker Jane Campion: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 12, 2021

“He’s just a man, Peter. Only another man.” – Rose (Kirsten Dunst) Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons star as Phil and George Burbank; brothers who work as reputable cattle ranchers. George is a simple, upstanding and honest man while Phil is boastful, malevolent and manly. While Phil is happy with their routine of continuing the […]

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After Love rises above the sum of its parts to deliver an affecting drama: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 11, 2021

“We all break the rules we set for ourselves in the end.” – Genvieve (played by Nathalie Richard) Joanna Scanlan stars as Mary, a widow who is undergoing a period of grief after the sudden death of her sea captain husband Ahmed (Nasser Memarzia). Going through his belongings to attain some sort of closure, she […]

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Memoria is one of 2021’s best films thanks to its undeniably immersive nature that is cinematic morphine: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 11, 2021

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” – Anonymous According to writer/director Apitchatpong Weerasethakul’s latest film Memoria, the answer to the question above is a resounding yes. The acclaimed filmmaker is best known for works including Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His […]

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The Justice of Bunny King is a stellar directorial debut from Gaysorn Thavat; Essie Davis and Thomasin McKenzie shine: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 11, 2021

“You never even asked me if it was true!” – Tonyah (played by Thomasin McKenzie) Essie Davis stars as the titular role of Bunny King; a poverty-stricken mother of two who is struggling to fight the social system to get her kids back. During her battle, she crosses paths with her niece Tonyah, who is […]

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The Worst Person in the World is a compelling film that defies the tropes of the romantic comedy genre: Sydney Film Festival review

November 8, 2021

As much as The Worst Person in the World adheres to many of the standard ingredients of the “romantic comedy”, to refer to Joachim Trier‘s as one would be doing it a massive disservice. Detailed over 12 chapters (and both a prologue and epilogue), the film gives us a look into a certain period of […]

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Blue Bayou is a deliberately heartbreaking drama about the intricacies of immigration: Sydney Film Festival review

November 5, 2021

Immigration is a topic that’s quite intensely debated across the world, particularly in the United States.  And in Blue Bayou, a spotlight is shone on a specific group of immigrants, those that come to a country as infants with little to no recollection of their homeland and, quite often, had no other choice. Such is […]

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The Beta Test is a twisted, pitch black comedic thriller: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 4, 2021

On the surface you’d be forgiven for assuming The Beta Test is just another film industry picture, spending its minutes somehow justifying its existence as it hones in on the obnoxious and obnoxiously wealthy Hollywood players who wrongfully assume they’re untouchable in their town.  The film has that air about it, but this satirical-cum-unnerving thriller […]

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Pleasure is a cold, calculating film detailing the politics of the sex industry: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 4, 2021

After introducing itself as a film that promises there’ll be no sugarcoating its subject matter – the first thing we hear are the audible moans and verbal berating from a pornographic film, and the first thing we see is the extremely graphic imagery of a young girl’s privates in the shower – Ninja Thyberg‘s confronting […]

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Titane is an auto-erotic body horror oddity focused on the specifics of sexual identity: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 4, 2021

Similar to how Jordan Peele, Robert Eggers, Jennifer Kent, and Ari Aster all secured their place in the annals of genre cinema with their debut offerings, Julia Docournau‘s bold cannibalistic horror effort Raw cemented the French filmmaker as a name to pay consistent attention to.  And just as those aforementioned auteurs all swung big with […]

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The Card Counter is a bleak and repetitive effort mildly saved by the presence of Oscar Isaac: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 3, 2021

Kenny Rogers so famously told us “You gotta know when to fold ’em”, and in The Card Counter writer/director Paul Schrader seems unsure as to which hand he wants to confidently play.  It’s not that this film is poorly made, nor is his commitment to the representation of desolation anything other than pure, but it’s […]

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Sydney Film Festival postponed until November 2021

August 3, 2021

In light of the Sydney lockdown extension announced by the NSW Government on 28 July, Sydney Film Festival will postpone the 68th edition of the Festival until 3rd-14th November, 2021. “Sydney Film Festival looks forward to returning to cinemas for a COVID-safe event in November, when we’ll come together to celebrate the films we love, […]

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Sydney Film Festival announces teaser art films for 2021

June 23, 2021

As the Sydney Film Festival prepares to return to theatres for its 2021 season, running from the 18th-29th August, it has teased a line-up of art titles ahead of its official program launch. Set to screen alongside such already announced titles as Mads Mikkelsen‘s crime comedy Riders of Justice and The Kids, a revisit with […]

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Sydney Film Festival moves to August for 2021 season only

February 18, 2021

After a successful Summer Season at the State Theatre and a sold-out Wong Kar Wai retrospective, Sydney Film Festival is excited to announce the 68th edition will take place 18-29 August 2021. The shift will allow the Festival to continue to include films from major international festivals (in addition to Australia’s best new feature films […]

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8 top films to watch for Sydney Film Festival’s Virtual Edition this week

June 16, 2020

You may be forgiven for not realising one of Sydney’s most beloved festivals is running right now. The 67th Sydney Film Festival has been condensed, tinkered with, and ported to the digital-only world to align with the ongoing global pandemic. And we’re in it’s second week right now, given the program of just 33 films […]

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Sydney Film Festival joins major film festivals across the world for We Are One: A Global Film Festival

April 28, 2020

Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube jointly announced today We Are One: A Global Film Festival, an unprecedented 10-day digital film festival exclusively on YouTube, bringing together an international community of storytellers to present festival programming for free to audiences around the world. Set to begin on May 29 on YouTube.com/WeAreOne, the festival will feature programming curated by […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps is a love letter to a brave, post-punk poet

June 19, 2019

Martin Phillipps is a brave, post-punk poet. The leader of the New Zealand band, The Chills has had a long and varied career writing heavenly pop tunes that are filled with dark undercurrents. The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillipps is a revealing look at an eccentric protagonist in his own tragicomic story. […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: XY Chelsea is barely the first chapter in Manning’s story

June 17, 2019

You get the sense that the stage was set for a great documentary about Chelsea Manning. It was May 2017 when the former US army soldier and intelligence analyst had her sentence commuted by President Barack Obama. She also granted a documentary film crew unfettered access to her life. And yet what follows is a […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Leftover Women is an eye-opening look at love & marriage

June 13, 2019

Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. But what do you do if you’re a single woman who is over a certain age living in China? The documentary, Leftover Women, is an illuminating look at three individuals who grapple with various stigmas and expectations, in a society where women are encouraged to […]

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Photo Gallery: RJ Mitte walks red carpet at Standing Up For Sunny World Premiere (12.06.19)

June 12, 2019

RJ Mitte walks the red carpet at the world premiere of Standing Up For Sunny as part of the Sydney Film Festival alongside actress Philippa Northeast and Matthew Nable.

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Souvenir (UK, 2019) is one of the best films of 2019

June 11, 2019

Before I start off this review, it must be said that I have not seen any of the works by director Joanna Hogg. It wasn’t due to any prior indiscretions, rather my personal ignorance. But upon hearing the massive amounts of praise from festivals and critics all over the world for her latest film, The […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Third Wife (Vietnam, 2018) is an entrancing, haunting and sensual experience

June 10, 2019

It feels absolutely wonderful to see a Vietnamese film in this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Of course, there have been many Vietnamese film in film festivals before but, with a stronger focus on genre-centric cinema over the recent year, it feels invigorating for a Vietnamese critic such as myself. This year, we have Ash Mayfair‘s […]

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