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 the lesser-known cast members of Larry Clark‘s controversial 1995 breakout Kids, will be both NSW and Sydney premiere events that will touch on such varied thematics as European mythology, inequality, and the entertainment industry.
Directed by Philippa Bateman, Wash My Soul in the River is a documentary celebrating the astonishing talents of two of Australia’s greatest songwriters and performers, Archie Roach AM and the late Ruby Hunter. Both children of the Stolen Generation, the film utilises 2004 footage to capture them in the lead-up to their performance at the premiere of Kura Tungar – Songs from the River, the result of a two-year collaboration between Paul Grabowsky AO and the Australian Art Orchestra.
Also utilising a musical-driven narrative is Shoplifters of the World, a dramatic comedy soundtracked to the music of The Smiths. Based on a popular urban legend from the 1980’s, Stephen Kijak‘s film focuses on a grieving fan of the English rock band who doesn’t take lightly to their break-up and subsequently holds a radio DJ hostage at gunpoint, demanding he play their music all night.
Selected as part of 2020’s line-up at both Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival, My Best Part is a French melancholic comedy from actor Nicholas Maury, marking his feature debut as a director. After the death of his father, struggling with his career as an actor, and being dumped by his boyfriend, the film centres on Maury’s character as he returns home to his difficult mother to grieve.
Another French title premiering this year is Night of the Kings. Described as a “Mad Max-style thriller”, the Venice Film Festival/Toronto Film Festival/Sundance Film Festival entrant stars Bakary Koné as a prisoner trying to avoid his impending death sentence by spinning a captivating story for as long as he can, blending magical realism with explorations of traditional West African storytellers.
Similarly adopting a mythical temperament is Undine. Based on the European myth about a supernatural nymph who has to kill her lover should he betray her, the drama centres on the titular character (played by Paula Beer in her Silver Bear-winning role) whose urge to kill her ex is put on hold when she meets a new devoted lover. But how long she will resist her urges is another question entirely.
For further information on the aforementioned and any of the First Film released titles, as well as ticket option for the festival, please head to the official Sydney Film Festival site.