Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sydney Film Fest Announces Line-Up

I don't live in Sydney, y'all know that, but I thought I'd mention this anyway. Organisers for the 55th Annual Sydney Film Festival announced their lineup and, interestingly, they have decided to create a competition field like Cannes or Berlin, just... ya know, not as prestigious (although that's the aim, apparently, to make the fest more world recognisable and such.)

The $60,000 prize is up for grabs between 12 films:

Happy-Go-Lucky (UK) - The fest's opening night film is this Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Topsy Turvy) comedy, which has already garnered praise and Oscar buzz. It screens June 4 (7.30pm) and June 5 (10.00am)

Hunger (UK) - The debut film by British artist Steve McQueen focuses on the last six weeks of a jailed IRA member who went on a hunger strike. It screens June 7 (9.15pm) and June 9 (10.00am)

In Bruges (UK) - The acclaimed crime comedy by Oscar-winning short director Martin McDonagh (Six Shooter) and starring Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes. It screens June 14 (6.30pm) and June 15 (10.00am)

Lake Tahoe (Mexico) - The second film by Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke (Duck Season) has already won prizes at Berlin. It follows a boy who wanders the streets of his small town after he crashes the family car. It screens June 12 (6.30pm) and June 14 (10.00am)

My Winnipeg (Canada) - A Canadian film God, Guy Maddin (Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary) presents his vision of his hometown of Winnipeg. I have heard nothing but superlative things about this film and I'd definitely try and check it out if it screens at the Melbourne Film Festival. It screens June 10 (7.30pm) and June 11 (10.00am)

Quiet Chaos (Italy) - Italian TV director Antonio Luigi Grimaldi directs this romantic drama. It won a couple of awards for it's music at David di Donatello awards earlier this year as well as playing at Berlin. It screens June 6 (6.30pm) and June (10.30am)

Rain of the Children (New Zealand) - New Zealand filmmaker Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart, River Queen < < teehee) directs this docu-drama that follows the life of an elderly Tuhoe woman while also reimagining what her life may have been like since Ward first documented her in 1978's In Spring One Plants Alone. It screens June 7 (6.30pm) and June 8 (10.30am)

Silent Light (France/The Netherlands/Germany/Mexico) - This film by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas (Japón) has won many awards from festivals all over the world (Cannes, Chicago, Rio, etc) and is about a man's challenged faith. It screens June 5 (6.30pm) and June 6 (10.00am)

The Square (Australia) - The first of two Australian competition titles comes from prolific short director Nash Edgerton and is written by and stars his brother Joel (still carrying goodwill from the amazing Secret Life of Us). It also stars Anthony Hayes, Peter Phelps, Keiren Darcy-Smith and rising actress Claire van der Boom. The Square is described as a "suburban noir" and is a crime thriller. It screens June 15 (6.30pm) and June 16 (10.00am)

I really like this artwork from the film's official site, too, for some reason.

Stop-Loss (USA) - Kimberley Pierce's followup to Boys Don't Cry comes some nine years after that shot the likes of Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny to stardom and Oscar nods. Stop-Loss stars Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Victor Rasuk and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a drama about the after-effects of the Iraq war on a group of men from Small Town, USA. It screens June 13 (6.30pm) and June 14 (11.50am)

Three Blind Mice (Australia) - *note, this film doesn't have an IMDb page yet* - The second Aussie entry is another Iraq-themed "psychological drama", directed and written by Matthew Newton, who also has a supporting role. It deals with three men (Ewen Leslie, Toby Schmitz and Newton) on the night before they get shipped off to war. It screens June 8 (6.30pm) and June 10 (10.00am)

Tôkyô Sonata (Japan) - The director of films like the original Pulse and the Palme d'Or-nominated Bright Future Kiyoshi Kurosawa returns with this homage to not only '60s Japanese film, but also - apparently - Jacques Tati. It has been selected for the Un Certain Regard field at this year's upcoming Cannes Film Fest. It stars Koji Yakusho who may recognise as the father of Rinko Kikuchi in Babel. It screens June 11 (6.30pm) and June 12 (10.00am)

If you live in NSW and want to know more, Click on over to the official site.

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