By Charlie David Page
7th October 2021

It's been a bloody long time since we've been in a cinema. But now, not only are Sydneysiders able to return to the dark room with the big screen, but we're being spoiled with the Sydney Film Festival! Running from the 3rd to the 21st November 2021 so the festival stays COVID-safe after our lengthy lockdown, this year's announcement is filled with life, love and laughter. Our team has scoured the freshly-released line-up, so here are our recommendations for this year's festivals!

There are some big names that have been announced. Really, really big. Denis Villeneuve's much-anticipated adaptation of 'Dune', starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson. It's been getting rave reviews after premiering at Venice Film Festival. Sci-fi thriller 'Titane' is also coming to Sydney, after director Julia Ducournau won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Starring Will Smith, King Richard tells the story of the rise of Serena and Venus Williams from the streets of Compton to super tennis stars with the help of their coach and father. There's also 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye', starring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as controversial televangelists Tammy Faye Bakker and Jim Bakker. Plus following rapturous reviews from numerous festivals following its debut in Cannes, Joachim Trier's dark romantic comedy-drama 'The Worst Person in the World' will get a run in Sydney ahead of its Boxing Day release across Australia.

Add to that Jane Campion's 'The Power of the Dog', Pedro Almodóvar's 'Parallel Mothers' ('Madres paralelas'), Céline Sciamma's 'Petite Maman', MIFF premiere 'The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson', Grand Jury Prize Winner at Venice Film Festival 'The Hand of God', Berlinale Golden Bear winners 'Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn' and 'There Is No Evil', Mia Hansen-Løve's 'Bergman Island', 'Dear Evan Hansen', the film adaptation of the Tony-winning stage musical, starring its star Ben Platt, Justin Chon's 'Blue Bayou', Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish's revenge thriller 'The Card Counter', and the film adapted from a tweet 'Zola', and you're talking quite a comeback for Sydney Film Festival.


The festival will open with 'Here Out West', a collaboration of stories from eight talented Western Sydney writers, and directed by five powerhouse women directors, including Leah Purcell ('The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson'), Fadia Abboud ('Les Norton'), Lucy Gaffy ('The Spa'), Julie Kalceff ('First Day') and Ana Kokkinos ('Blessed'). Closing out SFF this year is Wes Anderson's long-awaited 'The French Dispatch', which we've been looking forward to since what seems like before the pandemic. Also starring Timothée Chalamet along with Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Elisabeth Moss, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Anjelica Huston - just to name a few - had its premiere at Cannes earlier this year, and now this love letter to journalism will be entertaining Sydney audiences ahead of its national release in December.

Australia's offerings are an exciting mix also. In addition to 'The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson' and 'Here Out West' is 'Wash My Soul In the River's Flow', an intimate look at the collaboration between First Nation artists Archie Roach, the late Ruby Hunter, and Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra. Luke Hemsworth and Isabel Lucas star in Bosch & Rockit, a magical father-and-son story, imbued with the salt and sun of Australia's east coast. Documentary The Bowraville Murders will also screen, chronicling the epic battle for justice fought by the families of three Aboriginal children murdered 30 years ago in the rural NSW town. You'll also be able to catch 'Strong Female Lead', a shocking exposé of the media, public and political treatment of Julia Gillard, and Ben Lawrence's 'Ithaka', a look into John Shipton's determined public advocacy for his son, Julian Assange. There's also a quirky look at a country music star in 'I'm Wanita', where audiences meet Tamworth's renegade Queen of Honky Tonk on her journey to Nashville to record an album.

Sydney residents are spoiled for choice with their Sydney Film Festival offerings this year. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so head to for the full program and tickets - and we'll have a huge collection of reviews as the festival gets underway, so check back at SWITCH!

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