Preview :: Sydney Film Festival

June 6th 2011


When you start pointing out historical inaccuracies in 300, or describing Adam Sandler’s role in 50 First Dates as ‘moving’, then I think it’s about time you hit up the Sydney Film Festival. One of the longest running events film festivals, it brings in the best new films from around the world. There are also free forums on the films, so you can get the most out of the films you see and don’t have to ask anyone “hang on, is he a goodie or a baddie?”

Here are some films from the festival that I think are worth a look at.

Cedar Rapids (USA)

Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office) stars as Tim Lippe – a no-frills, straight edged employee of BrownStar Insurance. He finds, however, at an industry conference in Cedar Rapids, that his moral worldview is to take a daring turn, thanks to the debauched shenanigans of his roommate Dean Zielger, played by John C Reilly (Step Brothers), and Ronald Wilkes (The Wire’s Isiah Whitlock Jr). This film is an ironic twist on a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas inspired theme. Also, fans of The Wire should watch out for the several references made to Omar from the hit TV series.

Le Quattro Volte (Italy)

This film from Michelangelo Frammartino is inspired by Greek philosophy ‘four-fold transmigration’ – from human to animal to vegetable to mineral. A unique film that is neither fiction nor documentary, with very little dialogue, it follows the life of an old goat herder (Giuseppe Fuda) and his dog, with a poignant and beautiful poetic treatment of his rustic lifestyle. The film premiered last year at Cannes, where it picked up Best European Film in Director's Fortnight, and awards at the Annecy Italian Cinema Festival.

Toomelah (Australia)

Toomelah is a tiny community north of Moree, where ten year old Daniel (Daniel Connors) is a promising Aboriginal boxer. He hangs out with local dealer Linden (Christopher Edwards), who trains Daniel as a gangster. Things turn violent as the return of Bruce (Dean Daley-Jones) from gaol threatens Linden’s territory and plunges Daniel into violence. The raw, intimate and passionate treatment of substance abuse and cultural erasure comes from the familial connections that director Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds, Dreamland) has with Toomelah, and is why most actors are from Toomelah. Toomelah was this year selected for Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

Armadillo (Denmark)

Armadillo is the creation of director Janus Metz who, with cameraman Lars Skree, spent six months with Danish soldiers in southern Afghanistan, following their movements on the ground and inside their base. This film perfectly captures the tedium, fear and bravado of a modern warfare culture and has been compared to The Hurt Locker and Come and See in terms of hallmark classic war movies. The movie won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize in the 2010 Cannes Film Festival as well as the Best Documentary in the London Film Festival.

What: The Sydney Film Festival

When: June 8 – 19

Where: State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street , Dendy Opera Quays, Art Gallery of NSW, UNSW, AFTRS, Martin Place Amphitheatre, SFF Festival Lounge at Grasshopper, Sydney Town Hall, Metro Screen, Museum of Contemporary Art, Apple Store

How Much: Varies. You can buy them here


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