It's hard to believe that it's less than a month until the Sydney Film Festival kicks off for another year; time files. Today, the full line-up for the festival was announced - and this year, there's a great selection of highly-anticipated Australian films, along with a big-name collection of international offerings and an appealing collection of documentaries.
Here's what we already knew: the opening night film is 'Palm Beach', the new Australian film starring Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Richard E. Grant. The film is Rachel Ward's feature directorial debut, and makes its world premiere at the festival. There's set to be a great selection of family-friendly films which will screen at HOYTS Entertainment Quarter, including 'The Secret Life of Pets 2', 'The Elephant Queen', a documentary narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor (‘12 Years A Slave’, ‘Doctor Strange’), 'Emu Runner', which follows a young Indigenous girl who forms a very special bond with a wild emu, and 'Tito and the Birds', about 10-year-old Tito and his feathered friends as they save the world from an epidemic of fear.
Also from the teaser announcement for SFF 2019 was 'Amazing Grace', the new documentary on Aretha Franklin, Robert Pattinson's highly-anticipated ‘High Life’, Melbourne Queer Film Festival opening night film 'Papi Chulo', and 'The Final Quarter', which documents Adam Goodes' battle with racism. Also showing will be Michael Winterbottom’s modern film noir 'The Wedding Guest' starring Dev Patel, and winner of the Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Screenplay 'Piranhas', about a group of 15-year-olds in Naples transitioning from petty thieves to gun-wielding gangsters overnight.
So what's new? Plenty. 'Hearts and Bones' is the directorial debut from Ben Lawrence, starring Hugo Weaving as a war photographer who captures horrific images that come back to haunt him. Also premiering is Mirrah Foulkes' directorial debut 'Judy & Punch', which reimagines the puppet show as a black comedy feminist revenge tale starring Mia Wasikowska ('Alice in Wonderland', ‘Stoker’) and Damon Herriman ('100 Bloody Acres', the upcoming 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' and 'Nightingale'). There'll also be a visceral film which recreates a key battle from the Vietnam War, 'Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan'.
Internationally, you'll be seeing a lot of Jamie Bell (‘Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool’, 'Billy Elliot') in 'Skin' along with Danielle Macdonald ('Patti Cake$') and Vera Farmiga (‘The Conjuring’ franchise, 'Up In The Air'); Bell plays a white supremacist who's forced to leave his world of violent hatred when he falls in love. Emilio Estevez stars and directs in 'The Public', a heart-warming film about homeless people who occupy a library to escape freezing conditions, which also features Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater and Michael K. Williams.
With such a spectacular line-up, we'll be counting down the days until the Sydney Film Festival kicks off.
Pedro Almodóvar’s 'Pain and Glory' will be arriving direct from Cannes, and stars Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, while Bong Joon-ho's ('Ojka') satire 'Parasite' will be showing. Jeff Goldblum will also be appearing in 'The Mountain', a film set in the 1950s that's been described as "a beautiful portrait of America’s fractured identity." Plus New Zealand box office darling 'Daffodils' will be screening, starring pop star Kimbra and featuring musical hits from our close cousins. We'll also get a chance to catch the double Oscar-nominated 'Never Look Away', Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s epic drama that draws inspiration from the life of revered German artist Gerhard Richter.
On the documentary front, we'll have the Australian premiere of 'Mystify: Michael Hutchence', Richard Lowenstein's documentary of the INXS lead singer. we'll also be able to catch legendary director Agnès Varda’s final film 'Varda by Agnès'. 'RuPaul's Drag Race' fans will be fascinated by 'Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts', an honestly revealing portrait of the life of the professional performer.
With such a spectacular line-up, we'll be counting down the days until the Sydney Film Festival kicks off. The SWITCH team will be submerging themselves in this year's program, so keep an eye out for our reviews from the festival. For more information and to buy tickets, head to www.sff.org.au.