The Iris names the five best films of the 2017 Sydney Film Festival

The Sydney Film Festival has come to a close for another year – and with it come all the great memories of the films that surprised us, inspired us and left us wishing the event would never end. Alas, it has – but here are five films we’re taking away with us as the best of the festival.


“Tucked away on closing night of the festival, OKJA was a true delight – weird and wonderful, with all the hallmarks of the best works of its director, Bong Joon-Ho  The whole cast was phenomenally entertaining, with Jake Gyllenhaal in particular looking like he was having a ball in the sort of role that would normally be filled by Johnny Depp. But of course it was all about the super pig. And we want one. We love super pig! It was wonderful to watch on the big screen, too – as it’s being relegated to the confines of Netflix later this month. Don’t miss it when it does show up on June 28th, however. It’s destined to be an immediate favourite of the streaming service’s collection.” – Larry Heath

4. The Go-Betweens: Right Here

“The Go-Betweens: Right Here manages to pack a lot into its slim time frame including the various line-ups of the band and the reunion albums that McLennan and Forster made shortly before the former’s untimely death. The film’s soundtrack is worth the price of admission alone and will help introduce the band’s jangly and glorious pop discography to a new generation of fans. For those people already acquainted with the group, they will learn more about the emotional rollercoaster that transpired in tandem with the creation of their fine and unique music and those jangly pop gems. When you sit back and watch you can listen, laugh and cry with this documentary and you will not be disappointed because it is ultimately a jaunt through the streets, valleys and highways of this band’s town.” – Natalie Salvo

3. Better Watch Out

“The surprisingly dark implications of what unfolds in Better Watch Out is unlike anything the genre has seen before, requiring a balance of terror and levity from all three leads who are more than capable of delivering, even when the script keeps taking things to the next unexpected level. There’s a bit of Home Alone in there, a hell of a lot of Funny Games, and plenty of interesting ideas that bring it in-line with the more creative home invasions of the past few years like You’re Next and Don’t Breathe.” – Chris Singh

2. I Am Your Negro

“Director Raoul Peck delivers a brutally honest documentary in I Am Your Negro that not only pays intimate tribute to James Baldwin, but also those legendary leaders of the civil rights movement. It also serves as a cultural thesis on the events and actions of the past that are scarily all too present today. It never attempts to gloss over the difficulties American society has with coming to terms with its checkered past. Instead it prefers to lay it all down for us to bear witness, just like Baldwin witnessed, and make our own judgements.” – Carina Nilma

And the Best Film of the 2017 Festival is…

1. Call Me By Your Name

“The Sydney Film Festival has provided an embarrassment of riches, but the undoubtable pinnacle is Luca Guadagino’s utterly sublime Call Me By Your Name. Oozing in style and powerfully affecting, the romance drama is beautifully portrayed. With a breakout performance from Timothée Chalamet and a spectacular turn from Armie Hammer, the film is an utter triumph. It feels authentic, it is beautifully shot, a frontrunner for film of the year and an immediate addition to the finest romance films of the 21st century.” – Connor Dalton


This content has recently been ported from its original home on The Iris and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.