SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2007 – PREVIEW
AUSTRALIA TO THE FORE
A large Australian selection combines with 60 new films from around the world – including opening night’s La Vie En Rose - in Clare Stewart’s debut program for the Sydney Film Festival (June 8 – 24) of 290 films, including 113 features, 86 documentaries and 91 shorts.
The Australian premiere of the highly anticipated Edith Piaf biography La Vie en
Rose will open the festival on 8 June, directed by Olivier Dahan, featuring a
career defining performance by Marion Cotillard. Day Watch, the sequel to the
horror hit, Night Watch, from Russia’s Timur Bekmambetov, will close the
festival on 23 June.
This year’s selection of Australian films will be bigger than ever, tackling a
wide range of contemporary issues. Feature films in the section include Tony
Ayres’ The Home Song Stories, whose cast includes festival guest Joan Chen and
which achieved critical acclaim at Berlin earlier this year; West, Daniel
Krige’s edgy drama set in Sydney’s western suburbs (featuring Khan Chittenden,
Nathan Phillips and Gillian Alexy). Emma Lung stars in The Jammed, directed by
Dee McLachlan, a gritty social thriller about human trafficking inspired by
actual events; and Lucky Miles, a comedy from first-time feature director
Michael James Rowland which tackles one of Australia’s hottest topics - illegal
immigration. Also topical is Cross Life directed by Claire McCarthy intertwining
stories from the Kings Cross area of the city.
Documentaries include Temple Of Dreams set in Sydney’s west which provides a
different take on the Islamic community in Australia and Rachel: A Perfect Life,
directed by Fiona Cochrane, the story of a NSW woman’s fight to control her
epilepsy. The Fibros and the Silvertails starts out as a story of the feud
between the Wests and Manly in the late 70s and turns into a film about class
and corruption, portraying social history, sports history and political essay
all rolled into one.
By contrast, In The Company Of Actors, directed by Ian Darling, follows the
success of the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Hedda Gabler, and features
festival patrons Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. In Our Name is the new film
from multiple Dendy Award winner Christopher Tuckfield, an investigation of the
use of torture; and Bomb Harvest documents the work of Australian bomb disposal
expert Laith Stevens in Laos.
ACCESSIBLE CINEMA brings powerful and
inspiring films by or about people with a disability to Sydney. The eye-opening
documentary Autism Every Day follows a day in the life of eight families with
children who have autism and Blindsight, produced by festival guest Sybil Robson
Orr, follows the awe-inspiring journey of six blind teenagers who climb Mount
Everest. In the moving Hear And Now filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky’s parents
decide to undergo cochlear implant surgery after 65 years in silence while
Braindamajd’d…Take II follows filmmaker Paul Nadler’s amazing recovery from
Traumatic Brain Injury.
WORLD VIEWS offers a selection of more than
60 new titles from across the globe. Highlights include 12:08 East Of Bucharest
(Romania) the winner of the Golden Camera at Cannes and After The Wedding
(Denmark), which received an Academy Award© nomination for Best Foreign Language
film and features a knockout performance by Mads Mikkelsen. Also included is the
hilarious Black Sheep (New Zealand) which already looks set for cult status and
Away From Her (Canada) the directorial debut from respected Canadian actress
Sarah Polley, starring Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent and Olympia Dukakis.
David MacKenzie follows Young Adam with Hallam Foe (Scotland), starring Jamie
Bell and Clare Forlani and festival guest, screenwriter and director Jeff
Nichols, presents his first feature Shotgun Stories. Bella (USA), directed by
Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, won the Audience Award at Toronto and the stripped
back and minimal approach of Beaufort (Israel), ensured Joseph Cedar the Best
Director Award at this year’s Berlinale.
The Walker (USA), directed by Paul Schrader, has a strong ensemble cast
including Woody Harrelson, Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Also featuring a stellar cast is writer-director Craig Brewer’s anticipated
Black Snake Moan (USA), starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin
WORLD VIEWS also features Spanish thriller
Me. Lead actor Alex Brendemühl and the director Rafa Cortés are both guests of
the festival and the film will also screen as part of Critics Week at the Cannes
Film Festival. Screenwriter Wahid Hamed will be in Sydney with Yacoubian
Building (Egypt), an epic tale of a famous Cairo building and its residents.
Further highlights include the exuberant Hana from Japan and the perfectly
formed The Last Dining Table from Korea.
The deeply evocative films in TURKISH POETS
reflect the rich complexities and profound contradictions of contemporary
Turkey. Echoing the literary poetics of Nobel prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk,
are award-winning films such as Climates, Takva – A Man’s Fear of God and Times
and Winds. Other films screening in this section include feature film Riza,
documentaries To Make An Example Of and Housekeeper along with select short
STORIES FROM BRAZIL showcases an eclectic
mix of stories and the renewed energy of Brazilian cinema. Highlights include
the sassy and streetwise Antonia which follows four girlfriends splitting from
their roles as back-up singers and starting their own R&B and Brazilian hip-hop
group; the visually and aurally arresting Cattle Callers explores ‘aboio’ – a
singing style invented by Brazilian cowboys; Suely In The Sky which centres on
an impoverished, but full-of-life character determined to change her fate. Also
included in STORIES FROM BRAZIL is the double bill Mapping Brazil which features
Săo Paolo_CityTellers which documents the survival tactics of a few of the
city’s 18 million residents and Accident which captures the rhythms of daily
life across 20 cities and towns in south-east Brazil.
NEW CROWNED HOPE comprises of a daring
collection of films - Dry Season, Half Moon, Opera Jawa, Paraguayan Hammock, I
Don’t Want To Sleep Alone, and Syndromes And A Century. Mozart’s Visionary
Cinema: New Crowned Hope was commissioned by Peter Sellars, the Artistic
Director of Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival, in partnership with Illumination
Films to celebrate Mozart’s 250th anniversary. Each film responds to the
dominant themes of Mozart’s final works – magic transformation, forgiveness and
reconciliation and recognition of the dead.
EMERGING TALENT focuses on festival guest
and award-winning Dutch filmmaker Nanouk Leopold who wowed critics and audiences
at this year’s Berlinale with Wolfsbergen (2007). Leopold’s previous two
features Guernsey (2005), which was selected for Directors Fortnight at Cannes
and Îles Flottantes (2001) screen along with Leopold’s graduation short Weekend,
demonstrating the developing talent of a rising star.
For the first time, Sydney Film Festival is devoting a strand of the program to
KIDS’ FILMS, created to give the young
people of the city a chance to see some fantastic films from around the world.
The first film to screen in the strand is the 1953 musical fantasy The 5,000
Fingers of Dr.T, the only film ever scripted by ‘Dr. Seuss’. Other highlights
include Dorm a ghost story (and winner of the Glass Bear for Best Children’s
Feature Film at the Berlin Film Festival) from Thailand, Swedish feature Kidz in
da Hood, French animation U and the enchanting Winky’s Horse. Sydney Film
Festival is also delighted to present Pixar: 20 Years of Animated Shorts.
Festival guest and Pixar character animator Gini Santos will introduce the
Australian premiere of the Academy Award© nominated short film Lifted, along
with nine other short films from Pixar.
SOUNDS ON SCREEN offers a selection of music documentaries, live events,
screenings, shows, parties and dance lessons.
Published May 10, 2007
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La Vie En Rose - opening night film
Festival Director Clare Stewart
WIN 10 double passes to
Daywatch - closing night film
The Home Song Stories