With 288 films from 59 countries, including 37 world premieres and 10 films screening straight from Cannes, including four nominated for the Palme d’Or, the Sydney Film Festival program runs a gamut guaranteed to include something to appeal to seasoned cineastes and cinematic amateurs alike.
“The Sydney Film Festival is a collection of perspectives from many of the world’s most interesting storytellers, who reflect our shared desire to understand today’s world – from refugees and gender rights, to attitudes about country and community,” said Sydney Film Festival Director, Nashen Moodley, in a statement accompanying the release of an engaging and eclectic program. “From the heart of the ancient Pilbara, to the rubble of besieged Aleppo, or messages from the universe delivered 40 years later, filmmakers go to incredible lengths and dedicate many years of their lives to inspire, enlighten and entertain us.
“A film festival is the one place where all of these perspectives come together and offer us a temperature reading of the global zeitgeist: of who, what, where and why we are today.”
This year’s festival, which runs from June 7 until June 18, will commence with the world premiere of Cannes-awarded Indigenous director Warwick Thornton’s We Don’t Need a Map, which interrogates the country’s contentious relationship to the Southern Cross through colonial and Indigenous lenses. Bookending the festival lineup will be a highly-anticipated screening of celebrated Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s (Snowpiercer) Okja, which sees the critically-acclaimed director reunite with Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and An Seo-hyun for a Netflix original science fiction adventure film that looks absolutely breathtaking. Both directors will be in attendance at their respective screenings, with Bong making his appearance after premiering the film at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Of the ten films making a beeline from the French film festival, four are contenders for the prestigious Palme d’Or, including Sofia Coppola’s chilling period thriller The Beguiled, with an all-star cast that includes Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning; German director Fatih Akin’s In the Fade, which stars German-born Diane Kruger acting strictly in her native tongue for the first time; and lauded Austrian director Michael Haneke’s (Amour) refugee crisis film Happy End, which sees Isabelle Huppert continue a seemingly unbreakable streak of award-winning performances.
Tile and cover image: Courtesy of SFF