SFF & Chill: 12 Films to Binge at Sydney Film Festival
May 31st 2018
Still from Rafiki: Samantha Mugatsia (left) and Sheila Munyiva
A Kenyan LGBQTI love story, a Kiwi black comedy and a music doco about M.I.A – this year’s festival program is jam packed with incredible film screenings from around the globe.
SFF is basically the fancy, real life version of Netflix; you can binge it, it’s full of addictive films and it’s easy to get lost in the all those movie choices. But never fear! We’ve got you covered. Here’s your go-to cheat sheet of what to watch and where, across all 12 days of Sydney Film Festival.
Wednesday 6th June, 7.30pm – The Breaker-Upperers
If you’re going to go to SFF you may as well celebrate! Hit up the Opening Night and see the hilariously quirky Breaker-Upperers to get you in the mood. It’s a comedy in the same vein as Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, about two friends who make a career out of telling the unlucky in love that they’re dumped. When one of the Breaker-Upperers falls in love with a client things get messy — like ‘accidentally lighting a penis on fire’ kind of messy. This one’s a must-watch.
If not that, then this: Pig
Thursday 7th June, 6.45pm – Terror Nullius
Event Cinemas George Street
Hitch hike your way through Soda_Jerk’s subversive re-imagining of Australian culture in Terror Nullius. Equal parts eco-horror, political satire and road trip, Soda_Jerk remix iconic scenes from our cinematic past to interrogate our national sense of self. If you ever thought Pauline Hanson would be more at home in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, this one’s for you.
If not that, then this: Anchor & Hope, The Seen and the Unseen
Friday 8th June, 4.40pm – The Seen and the Unseen
If you’re a sucker for a bit of magical realism, don’t miss this one. This slice of fantasy from Indonesian director Kamila Andini weaves psychology and symbolism into a beautiful story about a young girl whose brother is dying. As she escapes into a world of Balinese mysticism to cope with this traumatic experience, the bond between the siblings explored. While the film looks light on plot, the emotional beats of the story really carry the film.
If not that, then this: Mug, Upgrade, Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist
Saturday 9th June, 8.30pm – The Miseducation of Cameron Post
A Sundance favourite, The Miseducation of Cameron Post stars Chloë Grace Moretz as a teenager sent to a Christian gay conversion camp. Once there she finds solace and humour amongst the other kids, while holding out against the bigotry of the camp’s counsellors. In a year where Australia (finally) passed marriage equality laws, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a heart-warming reminder that loves comes in many forms.
If not that, then this: The Breadwinner, The Insult
Sunday 10th June, 8.15pm – Searching
Searching takes place entirely on a computer screen. That might seem a little gimmicky, but this thriller starring John Cho is a masterfully nerve-wracking experience. Cho plays a father who, when his daughter goes missing, has to excavate her online identity to find out what’s happened to her — and discovers that her life online isn’t all that it seems (queue suspenseful music).
If not that, then this: A Vigilante, Foxtrot, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Monday 11th June, 12pm-3.54pm – An Elephant Sitting Still
Event Cinemas George Street
It’s a public holiday! So why not treat yourself and settle in for a modern cult classic from China. An Elephant Sitting Still is a thoughtful, humanistic take on the struggles of small town living under the CCP. Focusing on four locals whose lives intersect, it’s filled with honest, authentic dialogue and superb cinematography. Fair warning, the film is nearly four hours long, so maybe take a snack!
If not that, then this: The Marriage, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A, Mug
Tuesday 12th June, 6pm – A Vigilante
Event Cinemas George Street
Content warning: There are so many reasons to see A Vigilante. A thriller by debut Australian director Sarah Daggar-Nickson, it spits in the face of films that use the abuse of women as a nothing more than a plot point. Olivia Wilde plays Sadie, a survivor of abuse who acts as a vengeful guardian for other women. But A Vigilante isn’t a revenge film. It carefully and intelligently explores the experiences of those affected by domestic violence, without presuming to have all the answers.
If not that, then this: Juliet, Naked, Terror Nullius
Wednesday 13th June, 6pm – Rafiki
The first ever Kenyan film to be screened at Cannes, Rafiki was banned in its home country for its depiction of homosexuality. Set against a lush, vibrant Nairobi, it’s a ‘Romeo & Juliet’ style story between Kena and Zik. Their relationship is built on stolen kisses in a society where their love is illegal, but their warmth and affection resonates throughout the film. Rafiki is sure to be a visual and emotional delight.
If not that, then this: The Cleaners, The Kindergarten Teacher
Thursday 14th June, 6.15pm – Half the Picture
It might not seem like it from looking at this year’s SFF line-up, but there really aren’t enough female film directors. Half the Picture is a doco that tries to figure out why. Assembling an incredible cast including Ava DuVernay, Lena Dunham and Miranda July, they’ll share their personal experiences within the film industry and their views on its limitations. Urgent and illuminating, Half the Picture is a long overdue argument for gender equality in the director’s chair.
If not that, then this: Aga, Foxtrot
Friday 15th June, 6.30pm – Matangi/Maya/M.I.A
Unapologetic and personal just like her music, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A is both a history of M.I.A’s life and a statement of her political beliefs. Drawing upon interviews with her family as well as celebs like Kanye, Diplo and Julian Assange, it’s supposed to be somewhat anarchic, but would you want anything less from M.I.A?
If not that, then this: Genesis 2.0, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A
Saturday 16th June, 11am – Leave No Trace
A touching father-daughter tale set on the margins of society, Leave No Trace looks absolutely riveting. Will and Tom live in a national park until they are discovered and forced back to civilisation. As they struggle to get used to their new lives they have to learn to survive on a new frontier. It’s the type of the film that would make me want to live off the grid, except then I wouldn’t get to see movies like this.
If not that, then this: Juliet, Naked, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Transit
Sunday 17th June, 12.15pm – BlacKkKlansman
Finish off the festival with Spike Lee’s defiant answer to the Trump era. The true story of a black cop who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan, BlacKkKlansman received a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes and stars Denzel’s Washington’s son and Adam Driver. Despite the heavy subject matter, the film looks like an irreverent, kinetic ride. It’s also considered Spike Lee’s best film in years, so get on it quick.
If not that, then this: Foxtrot, Juliet, Naked
For your chance to win a double pass to a film of your choosing, email firstname.lastname@example.org with SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL in the subject. Must include FBi supporter number and contact details. Films subject to availability.