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
 

The_Childhood_of_Leader_Still

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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May 152016
 

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With 244 films screening, picking which films to see at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival can be an overwhelming experience. We’ve combed through the impressive programme and have selected 12 films we think are must-sees at this year’s festival. The films we have picked included Afghani cinefiles, a vampire-mermaid, an escape into virtual reality, and Daniel Radcliffe’s farting corpse.

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