Jun 192016
 

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Read beyond for my thoughts on films watched during the quietest stretch of the festival; days 6-9, which includes Chevalier, Letters From War, Desde alla, Suntan, Toni Erdmann, The Endless River, Magallanes and ApprenticeThere are several in here that I didn’t like so much – but certainly none I am sorry I saw.

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Jun 162016
 

markees

Winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Screenwriting Award, writer/director Chad Hartigan’s third feature film Morris From America is the tender coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old African-American teenager, Morris (Markees Christmas), who is trying to navigate puberty and acclimate to a strange new world, after being relocated to Heidelberg, Germany with his single father, Curtis (Craig Robinson, The Office and This is the End).

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Jun 162016
 

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In 1974, television news show host and journalist Christine Chubbuck committed suicide live on air. Suffering from severe depression, Christine was committed to continuing the network’s obsession with blood and guts TV with this pre-meditated act. Though believed to be the inspiration for Sidney Lumet’s 1976 film Network, where her character was substituted for a veteran male news anchorman set to be sent to pasture, she remains an unknown. The taped footage of the suicide is kept under lock and key, and inaccessible online, and the true reasoning behind what led to her suicide remains only speculation.

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Jun 162016
 

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I present to you the biggest surprise of the Sydney Film Festival so far. This is an incredible film, and an understandable winner of Best Debut Feature and Best Director awards at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. As an actor, the 28-year-old Brady Corbet has displayed a taste for working with master filmmakers like Michael Haneke, Olivier Assayas and Lars Von Trier, appearing in films such as Mysterious Skin, Funny Games, Force Majeure, Clouds of Sils Maria and Melancholia. He has also written and edited several feature films, so after a decade of what seems to be grooming from some of the world’s élite directors he has been given the opportunity to produce and direct one to rival them. The result is an extraordinary debut achievement – a stylish, ambitious, and audacious period piece which feels like a lost great work from Louis Malle or Stanley Kubrick – which also offers mesmerising, precisely composed visuals and an assaulting orchestral score that immediately demolishes any expectations you may have for the film. Having seen thousands of films it is always exciting when one takes you aback, and offers such a whirlwind of intellectual and sensory impact.

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Jun 132016
 

BuzzGuide-Peacekeepers

Directed by Pakistani’s first, and now two-time, Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Saving Face and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, also screening at SFF16) and Geeta Gandbhir, A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers is an absorbing and enlightening document of the experiences of a group of Bangladeshi policewomen who join a year-long UN peacekeeping mission in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. While it serves as a challenge for these dedicated and strong-willed women, willing to leave behind their immediate families to honour other family members who had either died in the same line of work, or firmly believed in it, they do experience many psychologically affecting obstacles as they shatter commonly held Muslim traditions and gender stereotypes.

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Jun 092016
 

Mustang

In the breathtaking and bracing French/Turkish feminist drama Mustang the performances from co-writer and director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s striking and fiercely resilient young female cast are inarguably tremendous, and possess extraordinary range, but, for me, it is the assertive direction that is the film’s most exciting trait. You don’t often find a female-directed début film collect accolades as diverse as the Cannes Director’s Fortnight Prize, the Best First Feature Cesar Award, and an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. You can be sure, it deserves them. This film will floor you.

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Jun 092016
 

let-them-come

This adaptation of Arezki Mellal’s acclaimed novel ‘Now Let Them Come’ by Mellal and director Salem Brahimi is set during Algeria’s ‘black decade’, and tells the story of a family that must defend itself amidst an onslaught of violence between government forces and radical Islamists. It depicts, in confronting authenticity, the impact of a devastating war, and tells a story of love during troubled times.

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Apr 152016
 

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Yesterday evening the 2016 Cannes Film Festival line-up was announced. Always one of the highlights on the calendar year. For the first time, in one of the nerdiest decisions ever as a film buff, we watched the announcement on a Youtube live stream. In French. It had surprisingly little fanfare, simply two guys sitting at a table reading out the titles from a piece of paper. But, what they announced was an exciting list of films that went straight to our must-see lists.

The filmmakers competing in this year’s Official Competition include an all-star cast of Cannes veterans and first-time participants. It is an absolutely stacked field of world-class filmmakers, as you would expect. In the competition alone we can look forward to new films from… breathe, there are a lot…Mike Nichols (whose other new film Midnight Special is set to hit Australian cinemas next week), Jim Jarmusch (whose last film to premiere at Cannes, Only Lovers Left Alive, went on to become our favourite film of the year), Park Chan-wook (Korean legend – Oldboy, Stoker), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (previous Palme d’Or winners – Two Days, One Night, Rosetta), Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria), Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Red Road), Sean Penn (Into the Wild, and this is his first film since 2007), Nicolas Winding Refn (Only God Forgives, famously booed at Cannes a few years back, and Drive), Ken Loach (another previous Palme winner with The Wind That Shakes the Barley, but thought to have retired), Paul Verhoeven (just his fourth film of the 21st Century, but boasts an incredible career including RoboCop and Showgirls), Christian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Beyond the Hills), Pedro Almodovar (a Cannes regular, last time with The Skin I Live In), Alain Guiraudie (Stranger By the Lake) and Xavier Dolan (Canadian wunderkind making his second appearance in the Palme competition, after Mommy in 2014).

Check out the full list of films announced to screen as part of the Official Competition, Un Certain Regard, Midnight Screenings and Outside Competition, and let us know what films you are most looking forward to:

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