May 132014

Fish and CatLooking to fill your flexi 10? Have a few gaps in your schedule? I have combed the 180+ titles in the 2014 Sydney Film Festival programme and have selected 10 films which I believe are worth your time. Think of this as a carefully curated selection of 10 films which offers both variety and a clash-free schedule.

Below are my 10 picks for an amazing flexi 10. I’ve listed the times which create a clash free schedule across all 10 films. Most of these films are screening twice. Please check for more information on times and tickets.

tom at the farm

Tom at the Farm (Xavier Dolan)

Wednesday 4 June 7:45pm – Event Cinemas George Street

The prolific French Canadian filmmaker’s fourth film is “a tense and complex Hitchcockian thriller with converging streams of desire, psychological violence and romantic nihilism”. Sounds intense! Dolan directs, stars, producers, edits and co-writes the screenplay which is adapted from a play by Michel Marc Bouchard (who also co-writes the screenplay).

Human Capital (Paolo Virzi)

Thursday 5 June, 6:30pm – Hayden Orpheum Cremorne

The Hayden Orpheum is a little further afield, but don’t let this stop you visiting the gorgeous art deco style theatre. This beautiful old dame is the perfect setting for Human Capital. a stylish Italian thriller with a star-studded cast. The fates of two families are intertwined after a cycle crash, in this look at greed and inequality.

The Rover (David Michôd)

Saturday 7 June, 7:00pm – State Theatre

Fresh from Cannes, The Australian première of The Rover is sure to be very special. The film gets an Australian release on June 12, but if you want some star power with your flexi, you’re going to want to attend this event. In attendance will be director  David Michôd, producer Liz Watts and stars Robert Pattinson (!!) and Guy Pearce.


Jodorowsky’s Dune (Frank Pavich)

Sunday 8 June, 2:15pm – Event Cinemas George Street

Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of the greatest “what if” projects in recent film history. An adaptation of Frank Herbet’s epic sci-fi novel Dune, the film was never completed.  French comic-book artist Moebius, screenwriter and special-effects artist Dan O’Bannon (Dark StarAlien), artist H.R. Giger (Alien), Salvador Dalí, Mick Jagger and Gloria Swanson were all connected to the film. This doco is sure to be as interesting and weird as the cult director himself.

Kumiko, the Treasure Huter (David Zellner)

Monday 9 June, 4:45pm – State Theatre

Based on a true story, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter stars incredible Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi as a lonely woman determined to find the buried treasure from the film Fargo. How great is that premise? A film where film obsession and escapism reach new heights, it is sure to be a compelling watch.

The Captive (Atom Egoyan)

Tuesday 10 June, 8:25pm – State Theatre

Straight from Cannes (where it is screening as part of the official competition), Atom Egoyan’s The Captive looks to be nail-biting thriller which is sure to take the audience on one heck of an emotional ride. The film focuses on a kidnapping and the long-term impact it has on all  who are involved. Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman and  Rosario Dawson star.


Black Panther Woman (Rachel Perkins)

Thursday 12 June, 6:15pm – Event Cinemas George Street

Sydney Film Festival hosts the world première of Australian Rachel Perkins’s Black Panther Woman, the story of  Marlene Cummins and her experience with “Brisbane’s short-lived chapter of the Black Panthers, a global Black revolutionary movement”. Thirty years after the events Marlene gets the chance to speak at an international event for ex-members and finally has the chance to share her memories from the difficult time.

Fish & Cat (Shahram Mokri)

Friday 13 June. 4:35pm – Event Cinemas George Street

This 134 minute Iranian film is composed of a single shot. This fact alone makes this film a must-have on your flexi pass. Winner of the special jury prize for innovation at the Venice Film Festival, Fish & Cat was shot by cinematographer  Mahmud Kalar, who also shot the wonderful A Separation. The film is described as “creepy and disturbing”, so you might want to bring a friend along to this one.

At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman)

Saturday 14 June, 10:00am – Dendy Opera Quays

If you want more bang for your buck, then this 244 minute documentary (the longest film at the festival) is the way to go.  Film-maker Frederick Wiseman fly-on-the-wall film observes “the diverse world of an élite university; from the students, administrators and academics to the gardeners”. It’s unlikely you’ll ever get the chance to see such a comprehensive portrait of such élite and multi-faceted institution such as Berkeley from anyone other than Wiseman.

Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)

Sunday 15 June, 12:00pm – State Theatre

Legendary Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Memories of Murder, The Host) has created a 126 minute sci-fi, action, political thriller where “an experiment to halt global warming has gone horribly wrong, freezing the world over and killing virtually all life”. His first English-language film is said to be his most ambitious project yet, one with more overtly political tones. This is sure to be a thrilling way to spend a Sunday afternoon!


Bonus picks – you can’t use your flexi for these two events but Nashville (Robert Altman) + Michael Altman Live (Friday 6 June, 6:30pm – Dendy Opera Quays) and What We Do in the Shadows (Taika Waititi), the festival’s closing night gala (Sunday 15 June, 8:00pm – State Theatre) are worth an extra little splurge.

By Sam McCosh

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