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By Jess Fenton
2nd June 2013

You’ve probably spent the last few weeks pouring over the SFF lift-out guide, the app or their website compiling a wishlist, circling movies or dog-earing page after page. It’s overwhelming, we know, and this year's bumper crop of films for the festival’s 60th birthday is bigger and better than ever. Well, we’re not here to tell you what to see or what not to see - experience has taught us that when it comes to cinema, it's each to their own. What we can do is point out a few picks that made our must-see list that we feel might deserve a little extra attention.

For those of you new to the film festival scene or if you’re simply wanting to get a jump on the flicks bound for a wider release later in the year, may I suggest you wet your whistle with ‘Thanks For Sharing’ - it re-teams Marvel-verse stars Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow as members of a support group for sex addiction. This comedy also stars Tim Robbins and features music superstar Pink. It may not be Pink’s first foray on the silver screen, but it’s the only one worth noting. ‘Thanks For Sharing’ is the directorial debut for ‘The Kids Are Alright’ scribe Stuart Blumberg, so it’s sure to be a goodie.

It’s been 18 years since Celine and Jesse took that fateful train-ride in ‘Before Sunrise’. A quick trip down memory lane in 2004 saw the pair finally reunite and answer those burning questions that had haunted them for almost a decade - well now it’s 2013, and this stunning tale is getting a bookend with ‘Before Midnight’. One of the most anticipated sequels in recent years is at our fingertips and any fan of the series will be gagging to see chapter three. For all the newbies out there, I suggest hitting up iTunes or your local Blockbuster to play catch-up - you won’t be sorry.

Last year saw comedian extraordinaire Billy Connolly make an entrance only he could, as he strutted into a George Street cinema to a fanfare of bagpipes for the premiere of Pixar’s ‘Brave’. This year, SFF boasts yet another Pixar feature with ‘Monsters University’. Any animation and/or Pixar fans (both adults and children) surely cannot contain their excitement for the prequel of prequels (sorry, 'Star Wars').


For music lovers, SFF is featuring two big ones: ‘Greeting From Tim Buckley’, and the festival’s closing night feature ‘Twenty Feet From Stardom’. The first is the journey of a young, unknown Jeff Buckley preparing for a tribute concert dedicated to his late father, a man he never met, in New York in 1991. This sad, tragic yet beautiful story not only features ‘Gossip Girl’ alum Penn Badgley in a role that will blow your mind, but also contains an exquisite soundtrack, highlighting the soulful sounds of Tim Buckley. ‘Twenty Feet from Stardom’ is the documentary that will change the way you see music. This film highlights the unsung heros of the music industry - back up singers. They’ve brought depth and feeling to the songs we love for decades, but we’ve never known their names or faces - well, all that’s about to change.

Blame the ’50 Shades of Grey’ effect, but all that once existed behind closed doors and well hidden from the public eye is no more hidden than the nose on your face. ‘Kink’, ‘Exposed’ and ‘I Am Devine’ showcase the worlds of Burlesque, BDSM and drag queens in titillating documentaries, ensuring that there’s something for everyone - and I mean everyone.

Mumblecore followers and moviegoing people who like their tales a little left of centre will surely be on the lookout for ‘Frances Ha’. Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach team up in this black and white indie about a dancer who can’t dance, among other things. Lost souls and clueless adults are all on the menu in this humbling human snapshot.

No country is too small, no subject is too vague and genre is not a dirty word at the 60th annual Sydney Film Festival. With something for everyone in the way only cinema can do, there’s no excuse to miss out on this delectable menu of cinematic gems. Past years have given us ‘The Sapphires’, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, ‘High Fidelity’, ‘Lantana’ and ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’. With premieres, retrospectives, live talks, art and music all on offer, for two weeks Sydney-siders and visitors get to immerse themselves in this beloved medium in every way possible.

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