The Sydney Film Festival is a must-attend annual calendar event and one of our personal favourites. Showcasing the world’s best new films across 12 days, the festival proudly supports the greatest, strangest and most exciting work cinema has to offer in an array of venues around the city. With the majority of films screening at their beautifully historic flagship venue, The State Theatre, movie-goers can also see flicks at venues in the CBD, Newtown, Cremorne and Western Sydney, with more than 200 films to choose from. Capture the beauty and essence of the glorious world of cinema at the Sydney Film Festival with our ‘top five’ handpicked selection.
A docu-fiction hybrid, Director Bart Layton’s first feature film depicts the story of four young men who attempt one of the most audacious art-heists in history. American Animals is the surprisingly true story of four college students who hatch a plot to pull off an incredible heist: stealing a number of incredibly valuable volumes from their college’s under protected rare books collection. American Animals promises to be an energetic, boundary-pushing thriller.
A beautiful animated film, Oscar-nominated The Breadwinner tells the story of 11-year-old Afghan girl, Parvana, who must pose as a boy to support her family when her father is unjustly jailed. Animated by a team of more than 200 artists and adapted from the popular novel by Deborah Ellis, audiences are guided through life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule via this powerful tale of youth, adversity, creativity and courage. The Breadwinner speaks to the contentious topic of female oppression and appeals for human rights and the power of imagination against tyranny.
Set in a small Sardinian community, Daughter of Mine depicts the emotional and dramatic story of a young girl torn between two mothers. Propelled by a fiercely strong cast and exceptional performances, Daughter of Mine starts from an archaic and visceral maternal feeling and then tries to open up the discussion in more contemporary terms, offering a new, different vision in which both mothers are actually the young girl’s mothers. Psychologically complex, unflinching and emotionally raw.
Starring the ever-charming Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Kindergarten Teacher is a dark and funny drama of a teacher who becomes wrongly obsessed with nurturing a poetically gifted child’s talent. Unpredictable and clever, the film follows a primary school teacher who aspires to a more engaged cultural life for herself and her family – who don’t share her enthusiasm. While immersed in her creative outlet of evening poetry classes, she meets five year-old student Jimmy and becomes convinced he is a poetry prodigy, taking it upon herself to foster Jimmy’s talent, where soon enough the boundary is breached between care and unhealthy obsession.
McQueen is a vibrant portrait of the late UK fashion icon Alexander McQueen, packed full of interviews with friends, lovers and family, and footage of his inspirational shows. London Eastender Lee Alexander McQueen started his career as an apprentice at Saville Row, before his rag-trade aunt put up the money for him to study at Central Saint Martins. By 27, McQueen was head designer at Givenchy, but behind the glamourous scenes, he drove his staff too hard, abandoned close friends, and tragically lost his way. This stunning documentary is an appropriately lavish and multifaceted celebration of his life and boundary-pushing creations.
To see what else is screening at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, see the full schedule here